The Yanks Are A-Comin'! Help with Microclimates (and more, pretty please)

Hello, SFs.

I just joined a few days ago (ack! Another newbie!) and have been busy reading your posts. My partner and I are Yanks from Seattle. We’re traveling to France in early May to check out possible retirement locations. I’ve checked out lots of weather sites and also found a list of the top 20 or so towns vis a vis hours of sunshine, but am hoping some of you seasoned homeowners could assist in trying to get a better handle on microclimates. We would love to have lots of clear skies, but really hot weather and - worse, really hot, HUMID (muggy, stickie) weather makes my guy wilt. Apparently, certain parts of southern Ardeche and Drome have lots of sunshine (Aubenas in particular being sheltered by the Cevennes), but the available literature does not indicate whether being sheltered in such a manner means it is also very humid. If any of you have been to the Seattle area, you might have noted that it does not rain a LOT here - not at all. Rather, it “mists” - persistently and darn near permanently in certain months - and suffers from the grey sky blues. I would not mind downpours as long as the rain fell quickly and the skies cleared rapidly thereafter – much like what one experiences in Hawaii.

This first post is just to see if I’m asking the right questions in the right forum. Will have plenty more, fair warning. :slight_smile:

Will also post a pic if I can figure out how to do it so you’re not chatting with a cipher.

Thank you very much to all who reply!

Jaye Lynn


Welcome Jaye Lynn …

Sounds like you have some exciting travel plans. I’m sure folk will chime in with their suggestions…how many weeks do you plan to be touring around… ??

Thank you, Stella!

Just 2 1/2 weeks. My sweetheart is still recovering from a bad accident in June 2017 so his mobility and stamina are somewhat encumbered.

It amazes me the amount of information available on the web - yet it is often of such broad scope and superficiality that one cannot drill down to the kernel of knowledge sought.

My best,

Jaye Lynn (or Legs will do, too!)

If you want dry weather you could try the Luberon…also magnificent scenery great weather and not too far from the Med and Alps.
Been to Seattle on holiday … its lovely as well… we were lucky with the weather though !!!

Jaye, There is a definite Micro Clim’ around the ‘Golfe de Morbihan’, South Brittany, ( we live 40mins away), but property is expensive, relativly.
When we win the Lottery, we will buy a house there :wink:

Thank you very much, Phillip and Bill! Seattle is gorgeous when it’s sunny and not too shabby in the mist as long as you’re not stuck in The Grey for weeks and months at a time. We’ll definitely look into the Luberon and I think we knew about the Golfe de Morbihan - that’s near La Rochelle? Need a physical map instead of toggling back and forth on the laptop.

BTW, my first name is actually two words - Jaye Lynn. It’s a Southern thing (or “thang” as they say in some parts).

Thank you again and I am happy to swear an oath of secrecy if any wish to inform me of “pet” microclimes that one wishes to remain free of hoardes of escapees o’ The Grey.

Jaye Lynn (Legs)

Putting my dunce cap on. I see that the G de M is further North. Cool - will look into it altho our resources might be too slim depending on prices sought. Thanks again!


Cool. That’s probably a good word for the Gulf de Morbihan. :slight_smile: It’s not that far from La Rochelle, a very straightforward drive, distances are not the same as in the States.
After you’ve looked at data showing the humidity of places in the south have a look at wind data too. It can also be very relevant.
I visited Seattle twice. I experienced beautiful weather both times and loved both the location and the people I met.

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Thank you, Dominic. Humidity is a bugger - it is often “humid” here because of all the moisture in the air, but your skin isn’t sticky to the point where you want to dive into a shower immediately after drying off from the previous one! The winds would be the Mistral and the one that starts with a T, yes?

Glad you liked the place and the people :).

Please forgive my hogging the forum - just very excited to find such hlepful people! Will keep quiet (shhh) for now.



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every back garden (or yard as you may say) in France has a micro-climate

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Not been to Seattle, but loved Vancouver and Kittimat, bit further North but beautiful! :slightly_smiling_face:

Argh. So embarrassing to spot a typo after you’ve sent a message. :flushed:

Phillip, yes, that is very true about every garden/yard/yarden having a micro-climate, but I suppose I would call such teeny places as possessing an electron-micro-climate :wink: . What I’m interested in is finding out about the places that are known to the locals to be especially favorable or unfavorable vis vis the rest of the surrounding area.

Bill, I so agree - Vancouver BC is stunning. The North Shore mountains between the Burrard Inlet and Howe Sound are breathtaking. It’s less than three hours (given fortuitous traffic and border crossing time) from Seattle and it’s a favorite destination for a more cosmopolitan experience, not to mention re-stocking my private stash of Cadbury Flake bar, Macintosh toffee and Smarties.

Thanks again. If anyone here has additional pointers on favorable micro-climes (or, if you’re thinking of selling, electron-micro-climes :innocent:), please feel free to msg me directly if that is okay with forum rules.

Thanks again - merci!


Hi Jay Lynne,

It’s always interesting to have another viewpoint on the eventual acquisition of a property in France re-weather, so here’s mine.

I retired and moved here to France 5 months ago from the UK. I too have an aversion to excess humidity and took pains to pick an area less likely to boil me alive. However, I wanted the sun, and knew humidity would have a play somewhere along the way, and It would mean just minimising it.
France is huge, so the first thing I did was narrow the search field to a region of recommended sunshine hours.
Armed with all the suggestions I drew a shape which was more or less a crescent around the west of France starting roughly below the Loire valley moving east around Limoge and curving back to Bordeaux.

Of course, there are microclimates all over France but I just didn’t have the time to review every one.

As a potted addition to reconnoitring notes, I further reduced the search area by deciding what I wanted out of the new house and location.
I required a courtyard as opposed to a large garden, as I didn’t want to spend all my time keeping it all in shape but did want off road parking. No Fosse septic, main sewer only. Internet essential!! This meant it would be in a village or town and able to stroll along to a cafe and shops and be in the thick of it so to speak. Isolation was not on my agenda.
As I like to make lots of noise: Bagpipes – woodworking machines – loud Hi-Fi – tuning ancient engines, the correct location was important if I didn’t want to alienate my neighbours ( this sound vandal should be miles away from anyone). Oh, and the old chestnut – liveable but with heavy cosmetic work and inexpensive.
If I couldn’t get a lovely landscape vista ( not always possible in a village or town), then the house must be the “view” itself. A building which lifted the heart when it hove into view.
So, when perusing the prettiest villages, it was clear that they mainly ran along the rivers. Certainly it seemed all the loveliest Manoirs and Châteaus were along rivers (some were shrouded in mists for a time during the day so I needed to get the weather opinions of other expats in each area when on the ground). This cut down the viewing area tremendously and as I also had this notion that I might indulge in some sort of commercial enterprise for fun it would mean the premises easily being visible from the road in a popular place. Certainly not selling anything to the locals as my French is terrible (yes yes, I’m learning), but Antiques - Art or such, but instantly recognisable and “sign-able”, so no advertising necessary. Ridiculously vague but hey, it was a whim to come here in the first place. The beauty of this idea was that I could spend hours trolling the roads in Google street view in 3D at home. From a commercial standpoint, it had to be “on the road”. So the fact that Street-view was only available on the more important roads was a bonus. (I found my house by this very method thereby avoiding estate agents fees).
This was going to take months to cover on the ground so I booked a long-term Airbnb during the late summer last year to cruise around in ever increasing circles getting a feel for the areas. This is important, as, if you are buying in France, you are in for the long-term and might as well get it right the first time or as best as possible. I would be recommended reading all the books available on moving and living in France before you come over. I had about sixty books purchased and read over the previous year. Worth every minute!
The house I settled on, in the Vienne, Poitou Charante, fulfilled all my needs and more. The weather to date has been a surprise though. Overcast, cold and rain have been the order of the day for most days this winter. I’m told this is not the usual blue sky winter and seems to have affected most of France and blame is placed firmly on global warming. However, we do seem to have missed the very low temperatures experienced around us due to what I’m told is it’s own micro-climate. Roll on spring which by all accounts would appear to be beautiful. Summers here are, I’m told, hot but not as humid as down south.

James Eyre


This hits many of my own points for where to live, ultimately, in France. I chose Sancerre. Frankly I was hoping to live in a small town near a church with fantastic acoustics and friendly people working there who might let me practice my french horn on the odd, un-populated day in a corner somewhere. The inspiration from getting to do things like that will overcome any perspiration. I think. :slight_smile:

“Sancerre’s climate is classified as warm and temperate. Sancerre has a significant amount of rainfall during the year. This is true even for the driest month. According to Köppen and Geiger, this climate is classified as Cfb. The temperature here averages 10.3 °C. About 755 mm of precipitation falls annually.”

Excerpted from:

I prefer living on top of a hill, especially one that’s been settled for oh, about 10 centuries. The storms are magnificent - like those that swept through Austin on their way out to the ‘Hill Country’ as they call it. The Loire is close by, but not so close that the inondation (flooding) will require extra flood insurance…

If you prefer less humidity you might want to also see what native plants grow in the area in which you settle? Succulents, saguaros (just kidding), pines… The soils and what grow in them contribute as much to the climate, I think perhaps, as does the terrain. Lots to think about. Good luck.

Hi Jaye Lynn,

I’ve lived in Austin TX, New Orleans, Western MA, coastal ME, and Burlington VT. I figure that whatever climate I climb into, here in France, I’ll have something figured out to live with/combat. Bringing lots of my favorite non-DEET bug spray, might seem off-topic but there you go :slight_smile:

Here’s something that you might already know about, that gives - not so much microclimate, sorry - but maybe a stepping-off point for climate info in France:

That is how I feel, exactly, James! Am also pretty much looking at the crescent slice but am including the northern bits of Languedoc Roussillon and the southern Ardeche and Drome (my smile is wider :wink: ).

Great points, Mary. and thank you for the links. Will have to figure out “cfb” - Continental something something? Would love to hear you play!

Thanks again, all.

Jaye Lynn

James, your post describes exactly my requirements for where to start looking for a property in France. You’ve helped me narrow down my search area; thanks for that. Ps if your bagpipe playing means your from Bonnie Scotland, Im not too far away across the Irish Sea in Bangor…in fact we can see Scotland from here…hence my desire to escape the cold grey weather of what seems to have been a never ending winter this year…2nd April and its still on 3 degrees today with wind and rain!

I dont have a requirement for a business selling to passing trade, but I am looking to be able to rent out my property when I get it, during May-August so that may also have an affect on where I look…any advice in that regard would be most welcome.

Best Regards,


Hi Michael,

Glad to help. London I’m afraid. Here in the Vienne it has been a long winter. A couple of weeks ago we thought spring had arrived with temperatures in double figures. A few days later it snowed. Even now with the daytime temperature at 18 and forecast 21 at the weekend, I had to scrape the ice from my windscreen on Sunday.
Definitely global warming.


Hi Jaye Lynn.

Sorry, my computer transposed your name (not me of course).

Yes. I was going to look further down around Drome but it was simply so much more expensive in those areas and I might be wrong but had heard the weather was more extreme.