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South West Dordogne

South West Dordogne

Old Sep 5th 2019, 6:57 pm
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Default South West Dordogne

Hello everyone
I am 57 and took voluntary early retirement in April. My wife is a bit younger and works p/t. Neither of us are fluent in French ( though I can manage a little). I guess we'd be "inactive".
we are hoping to have 3 weeks in the Dordogne next may/june 2020 (focussing more on the south west region as our desire is to have a property with a little land and I understand that the south west is flatter and is where the orchards/vineyards are?). we currently live in South Cumbria and yes! we are fed up with the climate there and seeking something warmer and drier :-)
The idea is to have 3 weeks to tour the area to get a feel for it and also check out some properties.
We'd then look for a long term rental (1 year) to test out the reality of living in France before committing to buy.
is anyone out there who has already made the move and would be willing to help/advise us?

thank you in advance
Woody

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Old Sep 6th 2019, 8:03 am
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Default Re: South West Dordogne

Hello Woody, welcome to the forum.

You don't say how well you already know France. If you already know France pretty well, spending 3 weeks in a specific area should certainly give you chance to get a better feel for it but ideally you would visit at different times of the year to see what it's like in winter too. If France is new territory for you, I'm not sure how far below the surface you will get in one three-week visit, especially if you don't speak a lot of French. It can take a couple of weeks to orientate yourself in a new country, figuring out what to buy and how to buy it and when shops open and close and all the rest of it. It's the same wherever you go, you have to give yourself time to get over the wave of excitement at all the new discoveries before you can start looking at places critically.

Originally Posted by Woody57 View Post
is anyone out there who has already made the move and would be willing to help/advise us?
Woody
No Brit has already made the move post Brexit and that's a fact! Having freedom of movement made moving to France as easy as falling off a log for Brits. Assuming Brexit happens and assuming Brits do lose freedom of movement, it will be a case of waiting to find out what the visa conditions are. You probably won't need a visa for a three week visit, but presumably France will impose the same conditions on Brits as it does for most other nations for long stays, so there will be an income requirement and you will probably have to attend integration/French language classes, see here: http://www.ofii.fr/IMG/pdf/CIR/CIR%20anglais.pdf
The upside to having to go through OFII immigration procedures is that within a year you will have a pretty good picture of how France works and you will know whether it's for you or not. Historically, it's been possible for Brits to drift across to France and live in a bubble, understanding very little about how France works and what their rights and obligations are, getting more and more confused and eventually (three years is often quoted as the watershed) giving up and going "home".
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Old Sep 6th 2019, 8:50 am
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Default Re: South West Dordogne

Thanks for your kind response.you make a very good point; we've only been to France in the summer months, never in winter. 3 week holiday is just an initial visit to the area. Long term rental over a full year would hopefully give us more insight.
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Old Sep 6th 2019, 8:52 am
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Default Re: South West Dordogne

Originally Posted by EuroTrash View Post
Hello Woody, welcome to the forum.

You don't say how well you already know France. If you already know France pretty well, spending 3 weeks in a specific area should certainly give you chance to get a better feel for it but ideally you would visit at different times of the year to see what it's like in winter too. If France is new territory for you, I'm not sure how far below the surface you will get in one three-week visit, especially if you don't speak a lot of French. It can take a couple of weeks to orientate yourself in a new country, figuring out what to buy and how to buy it and when shops open and close and all the rest of it. It's the same wherever you go, you have to give yourself time to get over the wave of excitement at all the new discoveries before you can start looking at places critically.


No Brit has already made the move post Brexit and that's a fact! Having freedom of movement made moving to France as easy as falling off a log for Brits. Assuming Brexit happens and assuming Brits do lose freedom of movement, it will be a case of waiting to find out what the visa conditions are. You probably won't need a visa for a three week visit, but presumably France will impose the same conditions on Brits as it does for most other nations for long stays, so there will be an income requirement and you will probably have to attend integration/French language classes, see here: http://www.ofii.fr/IMG/pdf/CIR/CIR%20anglais.pdf
The upside to having to go through OFII immigration procedures is that within a year you will have a pretty good picture of how France works and you will know whether it's for you or not. Historically, it's been possible for Brits to drift across to France and live in a bubble, understanding very little about how France works and what their rights and obligations are, getting more and more confused and eventually (three years is often quoted as the watershed) giving up and going "home".
+1
woody Would it be possible to come over this Winter for a preliminary recce? some places are buzzing during Spring/Summer, but dead in Autumn/Winter. There are other "flatter" areas in France with orchards and vineyards. Why S.W. Dordogne in particular?
The consequences of Brexit are as yet unknown, but the link indicates the conditions for other non-EU citizens in France at present, so it's good to be aware of the worst conditions that UK expats might have to comply with.
P.S. Maybe the link could be posted as a Sticky?
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Old Sep 6th 2019, 1:24 pm
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Default Re: South West Dordogne

I've been told it rains a lot in the South West
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Old Sep 6th 2019, 3:44 pm
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Default Re: South West Dordogne

DMU, I'm not sure if we'd be able to come over this winter, though it's a great idea. What areas of France are flatter where you can grow apples?(and has plenty of sunshine!😎☀️)
I'm a hobby cider maker so would like a small piece of land to plant an orchard. I know Normandy is where the most well known cider's are made, but I believe it's quite wet there.
Sorry I don't know what a "sticky" means.
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Old Sep 6th 2019, 3:46 pm
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Default Re: South West Dordogne

Originally Posted by Annetje View Post
I've been told it rains a lot in the South West
Oh!
Well I suppose it depends on what quite a lot means compared to soggy South Cumbria 🌧️🌧️🌧️🌧️
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Old Sep 6th 2019, 5:27 pm
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Default Re: South West Dordogne

Originally Posted by Woody57 View Post
DMU, I'm not sure if we'd be able to come over this winter, though it's a great idea. What areas of France are flatter where you can grow apples?(and has plenty of sunshine!😎☀️)
I'm a hobby cider maker so would like a small piece of land to plant an orchard. I know Normandy is where the most well known cider's are made, but I believe it's quite wet there.
Sorry I don't know what a "sticky" means.
Sorry, it was a vague suggestion for ET or one of the Mods to put the link in the Read-Me: Moving to France FAQs, AKA "'stickies", so that others can be aware of what might just happen in the near future. As it concerns non-EU citizens, it would also be useful for citizens from English-speaking countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia, etc....
Can't advise on where best to grow apples - we've been in a drought situation in the general South since the Spring, which IMO is as bad as wet weather, although, as Annetje says, it usually rains a lot in the Autumn and Spring (and Winters have been getting more and more cold over the last few years).
Wherever, it might be worthwhile considering buying an orchord already bearing fruit - it would save time....
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Old Sep 6th 2019, 9:00 pm
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Default Re: South West Dordogne

Apples are grown in Dordogneshire although it is principally a wine growing region.
Originally Posted by dmu View Post
it might be worthwhile considering buying an orchard already bearing fruit - it would save time....
Agree with that.
You may know this already but the use of land that is classed as agricultural, is tightly controlled in France, you can't just buy a piece of land and do what you want with it. If you want an apple orchard it might be better to buy an apple orchard, rather than buy a piece of agricultural land and hope you'll be allowed to plant apple trees on it.
You also need to be aware that if you intend to sell any of your cider or apples or make any income at all from the land, you need to register as a farmer, with all that that entails, and also that if the piece of land you exploit is above a certain surface area (depending on département can be anything from 3 hectares upwards) you could be liable to pay solidarity contributions to the MSA even if you're not registered as a farmer. The mindset being, insofar as I understand it, that France regards its agricultural land as a valuable resource and each département wants to ensure that the most productive use is made of the land. Likewise every sale of agricultural land has to be approved by an organisation called SAFER. It's very different from the UK where as far as I know nobody interferes with changes of ownership of land, once you've bought it you can do pretty much what you want with it. The flipside is that the MSA does offer a lot of support to local producers.
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Old Sep 7th 2019, 7:54 am
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Default Re: South West Dordogne

Originally Posted by EuroTrash View Post
Apples are grown in Dordogneshire although it is principally a wine growing region.

Agree with that.
You may know this already but the use of land that is classed as agricultural, is tightly controlled in France, you can't just buy a piece of land and do what you want with it. If you want an apple orchard it might be better to buy an apple orchard, rather than buy a piece of agricultural land and hope you'll be allowed to plant apple trees on it.
You also need to be aware that if you intend to sell any of your cider or apples or make any income at all from the land, you need to register as a farmer, with all that that entails, and also that if the piece of land you exploit is above a certain surface area (depending on département can be anything from 3 hectares upwards) you could be liable to pay solidarity contributions to the MSA even if you're not registered as a farmer. The mindset being, insofar as I understand it, that France regards its agricultural land as a valuable resource and each département wants to ensure that the most productive use is made of the land. Likewise every sale of agricultural land has to be approved by an organisation called SAFER. It's very different from the UK where as far as I know nobody interferes with changes of ownership of land, once you've bought it you can do pretty much what you want with it. The flipside is that the MSA does offer a lot of support to local producers.
I hadn't thought "Bureaucracy" when I suggested buying a mature orchard.
The OP said it would be a hobby, but, in that case, why ask about an "orchard"? And when do several apple trees become an orchard? Fair enough if he's got a large family to consume the resulting cider, but life would become extremely complicated if he wanted to get an income from his "verger" in some way.
Maybe a property with a large garden and enough apple trees already in it, would fit the bill?
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Old Sep 7th 2019, 8:53 am
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Default Re: South West Dordogne

Thanks for the detailed responses. I'm not looking to make any money, it's about the pursuit of a personal interest. Any cider would be for own consumption. Like the idea of a large garden with existing apple trees ( I could always regraft them!)
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Old Sep 7th 2019, 9:18 am
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Default Re: South West Dordogne

Originally Posted by Annetje View Post
I've been told it rains a lot in the South West
We moved to SW France from the north of Cumbria 2 1/2 years ago and from our point of view it is certainly a lovely dry climate. We have had three great summers and our grass is currently parched and brown, I can’t remember the last time we had a good shower of rain.

We put our house on the market on the day of the Brexit referendum result and managed to move out here pretty quickly. We have never had a seconds regret and whilst the bureaucracy has at times been challenging we have just looked at it as a means of improving our French.

We are in the Lot et Garonne, lots of plums, hazelnuts and walnuts here, mainly agricultural.

Bon chance!
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Old Sep 7th 2019, 10:23 am
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Default Re: South West Dordogne

It's nice to hear that a fellow Cumbrian has made the move successfully 😀👍.
3 good summers sounds good to me, August here has been thoroughly miserable 😕🌧️🌧️.
Hope to speak with you again.thanks for your post.
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Old Sep 7th 2019, 11:20 am
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Default Re: South West Dordogne

Originally Posted by Peter219 View Post


We moved to SW France from the north of Cumbria 2 1/2 years ago and from our point of view it is certainly a lovely dry climate. We have had three great summers and our grass is currently parched and brown, I can’t remember the last time we had a good shower of rain.

We put our house on the market on the day of the Brexit referendum result and managed to move out here pretty quickly. We have never had a seconds regret and whilst the bureaucracy has at times been challenging we have just looked at it as a means of improving our French.

We are in the Lot et Garonne, lots of plums, hazelnuts and walnuts here, mainly agricultural.

Bon chance!
Hi, all things being relative, we've had three consecutive summers with long "canicules" and drought in the Hérault (and elsewhere in the South), which isn't great for raising animals and growing food. There have been/still are fires all over.... After 27 happy years in north Hérault, I'm researching a move to another part of France where there are fewer climatic extremes (but must admit that the weather isn't the main reason for moving.....)
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Old Sep 7th 2019, 11:24 am
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Default Re: South West Dordogne

Originally Posted by Peter219 View Post


We moved to SW France from the north of Cumbria 2 1/2 years ago and from our point of view it is certainly a lovely dry climate. We have had three great summers and our grass is currently parched and brown, I can’t remember the last time we had a good shower of rain.

We put our house on the market on the day of the Brexit referendum result and managed to move out here pretty quickly. We have never had a seconds regret and whilst the bureaucracy has at times been challenging we have just looked at it as a means of improving our French.

We are in the Lot et Garonne, lots of plums, hazelnuts and walnuts here, mainly agricultural.

Bon chance!
Sorry, I should have been clearer ... I was talking coastal SW eg Biarritz ...
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