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Author Topic: Locations: France  (Read 3396 times)

Troubled Waters

  • Joined Jun 2009
Locations: France
« on: June 18, 2009, 04:24:28 pm »
Hi there,

So we want to have a smallholding.  We want to move.  We want the most for our money. We are not adverse to moving.  But we need to research.  We can't property hunt over a huge area so narrowing down of choices is good!

Why is it a good place for a small holding?
What are the drawbacks?
Length of growing season/climate?
Good for livestock?

Sorry for the barrage of questions but although I am scouring the net info can be hard to come by in a concise form and nothing compares to the experiences of those there doing it!

Thanking one and all.


  • Joined Jan 2008
Re: Locations: France
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2009, 05:46:12 pm »
Normandy and Limousin still have a few bargains left to be had (can only speak for those two areas,because that's where we looked before buying here).
 We live in Normandy where the weather is a bit more temperate than Limousin and not so extreme, 3-4 weeks longer growing season than the Uk in my experience. Sourcing animals is easy enough,there's good quality stock to be had in all forms. No real drawbacks other than the language barrier,but then my new best friend is babelfish!
The majority of properties will come with a fair amount of land (but mostly the house/barn will need major updating/renovation,depends on your budget),and usually more if you ask for it before buying. The buying process is similar to that of Scotland I'm led to believe,and we found the process painless. Barclays bank .fr sorted the mortgage with no problems at all.
As with most things,it all comes down to money and what you want and what you're prepared to go through to get it.

EG. Super house, plus stables, plus fantastic batiment, house ready to walk into.
4 beds bathroom. lounge dining room, fully fitted kitchen. integral garage, plus further garage. 5 paddocks, direct access to bridlepaths. private but not isolated. stunning views.
Fully double glazed, central heating. A loveley property. would suit horses, gites or just large family home. valued at 260.000 euros, but open to offers.

   For sale a house to renovate with full planning for a four bedroomed detached house over three floors, granite under slate roof, oak beams , arched door, electricity and water, loads of character, second house and 3 hectares of land. Just outside villdieu les poeles up quiet lane 75,000 euros.

 ...... Ree
They don’t join cliques — more times than not, they stand alone — but they recognize and gravitate towards one another. Only warriors understand other warriors.


  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Muiravonside, near Linlithgow
Re: Locations: France
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2009, 08:20:22 pm »
i'm off to Limousin in 4 weeks - with the plan of finding a nice wee area that i'd like to move to one day. build my own place, have a bit of a small holding and just escape the scottish climate.


  • Joined Sep 2008
Re: Locations: France
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2009, 07:54:14 am »
One of the best ways to find a place, is either have friends in the area or take a holiday there. Explore and look. I found our place in Belgium through locals rather than an agent. I do not know about France but here many people try selling privately first. Sometimes this can result in a good deal for you.

Buying procedure as already mentioned is simple and stress free. Belgium and France have the same system, thanks to Napoleon ( see he did something right after all )  10% deposit on the table and a pre sale document is drawn up.They may accept a little less deposit but not a lot. After signing you can only back out without a financial penalty ( 10% of sale price ) if you honestly cannot get a mortgage ( they will ask for proof ) or the house was deemed to have a major problem after a inspection ( not talking damp here or a loose wire !) 

The seller can withdraw with reason but will have to pay you 10% of the asking price.This rarely happens though.  The exchange date is set at time of deposit, and is normally 3 to 4 months. You can then go back to the UK knowing that you are not going to be gazumped.

Remember to add on applicable fees on top. Not sure what it is in France, but here it is 12% that covers all fees and notaries fee.

Hope that helps Kevin in the Ardennes.


  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: Locations: France
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2009, 07:55:18 am »
Brittany is lovely, middle is a bit wetter, coastal areas are dearer.  We live between Vannes and Pontivy.

Drawbacks: the paperwork, and until recently the high social charges for running your own business.  Thanks to M. Sarkosi things have improved in that area.  Also when dealing with anyone - remember that the outlook here is if you want to know something ASK they dont often offer information, so if you dont get the right answer, go back later and ask someone else, if that fails just reframe the question.  

Language can be a drawback French lessons help enormously.

Its definitely warmer here than Dorset, longer growing season, the fact that we are 1 hour ahead gives us that much longer in the evenings.

You can source quality stock here both French and English breeds.  Google for Anglo INfo in your chosen area, to see what stock is available which will give you an idea of whether the climate suits the livestock you are interested in.

Other sites are  and  (if the links dont work then google for them).  They will give some idea.

If you have family in UK Brittany and Normandy both have easy access.  

I can only speak for Brittany, which I find very friendly, slower pace of life, and time for people.  A little like moving from a big city into the countryside, much slower pace of life.  

Troubled Waters

  • Joined Jun 2009
Re: Locations: France
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2009, 11:02:40 am »
Hi guys,

Thanks so much for the info.  There is so much to consider and I'm sure we're not the only ones to be considering different areas.  We are looking for about 10 acres a I suppose with a house that is habitable. Ideally in time we want to build our own, strawbale or timber kit i think. the origianl house we would then like to let for small income.

Gorw veg, keep livestock, produce some energy. I'd like to build up my freelancing a bit so I have some income to bring with me.  It's so exciting I want to do it NOW!  But i know I have to make some plans and lay some groundwork. Hurry up hurry up hurry up...

So have people found French locals accepting?  We want to work hard and be part of the community whereever we end up.

Thanks again, Helen.


  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: Locations: France
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2009, 11:10:34 am »
Im not really one for mixing I enjoy my isolation, although I do belong to a craft club, and am the token English speaker.  Also have french friends who visit to speak English, you can get very involved in your local village if you wish.  Most French are very, very welcoming.  Most of my English friends are very integrated, one plays boules in the village, another works in partnership with a chap in his village.  My OH works with a group of French speakers, all of whom are very friendly and tolerant of our language difficulties.  Its as much as you make of it.  There are plenty of friendly expats around too, most of whom are great.

Troubled Waters

  • Joined Jun 2009
Re: Locations: France
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2009, 07:51:40 pm »
Thanks guys.  No doubt I will have so many more questions as we travel down our research road.  It's so good to know that there is such mine of knowledgeable people out there!  ;D


  • Joined Jan 2008
Re: Locations: France
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2009, 08:47:47 pm »
Ask away anytime. We have a spare room here that will take two,or a spare bit of the field if you want to camp. Might give you the opportunity to explore this area and towards HM's area too.Best of luck..... Ree
They don’t join cliques — more times than not, they stand alone — but they recognize and gravitate towards one another. Only warriors understand other warriors.

Troubled Waters

  • Joined Jun 2009
Re: Locations: France
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2009, 01:07:05 pm »
Hi Ree, that's such a kind offer.  thank u!  i never fail to be suprised by the generosity of peeps in the smallholding community. 

Was the same in NZ, we had been staying with a family for 3 days when they asked if we would house and business sit their organic smallholding and send produce to suppliers etc for two weeeks.  they had triplet lambs and a calf while we were 'in charge'.

shows u what a great community small holding is, even if we are far spread!


  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: Locations: France
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2009, 09:28:14 am »
Cant always offer a spare room, you would be welcome to lunch and for the day. 


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