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Why the South coast of France to live?


richard51
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A bit cheeky to put it under French culture but as a person who has a house in Dordogneshire (along with lots of other nationalities) I do wonder what the attraction of the southern France coast is to English immigrants.

Ok love the Dordogne ,but I do hate the tourist issue - Sarlat in peak season and all those previous colonial subjects spending large amounts on tins of confit du canard and blocking the blue badge parking spaces for OH.

We once spent a week in Aix en Provence and did find it lovely inland: BUT we thought it would be a good idea to travel along the coast as well as the immediate area to get more acquainted with the region. We gave up due to the crazy amount of traffic (including Brit registered Jags sitting in the traffic jams) and the crowds of people anywhere near the coast.

So, in contrast to ALBF's total hate of anywhere outside Paris, can people who live there give a reason to live there as opposed to Dordogneshire.

Even those with a hatred/aversion for Dicks can respond - politely of course.

I appreciate this question is more for the "older" contributors but, perhaps comments why younger participants don't live and work there would be interesting - though I may be wrong and they do.

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Dickdick, how many nationalities do you have?

Horse for courses, really. You are right that the tourism thing is an overwhelming pest plus the long over hot times, various nasty breezes.

No culture, just incomers.

But for me there is the issue of growth and abundance; the Med area is largely rocky and barren, much of it unproductive, the ground empty, without thick grass or decent lawns unless artificially maintained.

Plus, the sea is a floating refuse and polluted pond.

Though I must say that Sicily does tempt me mightily off season.

Ultimately though, I like seasons, having lived in the Tropics, the desert, sweaty hot HK etc.

And decent trees, not ruddy olives or cork oaks or fir trees or those awful palms (which IMHO should have camels anchored under them, not vehicles or cannas.

And of course, Norman lives there too!😜
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WB - quick reply but all those foreign registered cars (as opposed to lorries) that head south from Calais and plus South African and Australian (white I must say) nomads who have taken over a hamlet near to our house.

Your response is very much in line with my views (without your experience) but hopefully those living there will give a greater positive insight.?

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The Cote d'Azur has been a winter watering place for the British for over 125 years. That attraction I think is a basis for why it seems so popular now.

I think over time the climate has shifted and the area is less appealing now than it was at the end of the Victorian age. Plus of course the rest of the world has discovered it as well. Today more a multinational attraction than the previous British winter enclave.

Note I have used winter twice above since summers would surely have been far to hot for civilised Victorians.

The popularity has undoubtedly been promoted by such works as "A year in Provence".

Dordogne is perhaps the CdA of the late 20th century.

Personally I find little to attract me to either - but to each his/her own. It would be a dull life if we were all the same and ALBF's corner of Tours would be incredibly crowded with Brits.

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If I may - as one of those "Southerners", but knowing equally the Dordogne area (look at my sig) ... I can say that for us (or at least my hubby) it was the amount of sun, for me, the relative dryness, and apart from summer, the relatively quiet roads, though is anywhere quiet these days.  I well remember a Spring trip along the Dordogne towards where the caves are (??) which was definitely slow, tortuous and bedevilled by tourists.

Here we do have space, straight roads, and even when busy, there are places to get away from it all.  I love the heath / moorland around here.  There is one route which every time I used it reminds me of home ...

And who wants to go the Riviera ... for there, you will find Dordogneshire all over again.

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I've always thought of the Riviera as the place for the very rich - the dreaded celebs. To show off their money.  It doesn't seem to be a place to 'live', unless you have a job there.
Much nicer from the Dordogne down to the Gers where we lived.

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My neighbours had a place in Cannes too and they loved it.

I have hardly ever been to La Cote. I prefer the 'real' sea. The first time we headed south was in mid September and then the other two occasions, was at this time of year, for toussaint.

There are parts of the Cote that I do not like at all. And places like Nice, well, what can I say, I like Nice.

Never fancied moving there, ever. If I ever did, I reckon that I would head north from early June until mid September,get out of the heat and far from the madding crowds.I could probably manage the rest of the year in somewhere nice  like Nice.

Some friends, she from the south, had planned to move back when they retired, but holidayed off season and said it was simply too dead, at least where they had fancied. So they simply moved within the Alpes, close enough to places that were dynamic all the year round.

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Richard51 wrote "can people who live there give a reason to live there as opposed to Dordogneshire."

You make it sound like Dordogneshire and the Midi are the only two parts of France that Brits can choose from... heaven forbid! They're both very nice areas to visit, preferably in May/June or September, but I wouldn't want to make my home in either.

For a holiday home, Dordogneshire has to win hands down on price - one of France's cheapest areas versus one of the most expensive.
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ET - I would call it value for money. OK take your point about restricting my question to just the two areas, so why do people choose the south coast rather than anywhere else in France? So far its just the sun and people watching. Is to the west of say Marseille any better than to the east.
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I went to Bormes Les Mimosas every Easter holiday for ten years. It was lovely there at that time of year, usually ‘English summer’ weather and enough people around to make the area seem alive. A nice treat after a Northern European winter. Having travelled through there in mid summer I know that it would not suit me as a permanent place to live. Too hot, too crowded and too expensive for a start.
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"Value for money".

Really ? The Dordogne is value for money ? Anywhere with cheap houses is not value for money.

Anyway, I would not move anywhere because it is 'value for money' perceived or not. I move there because I want to live there.

It makes me laugh when I read posts saying 'we decided to move to the Limousin because we get more for our money'. What ? What happens if you don't like the place ? The house is more important than the area that you live in ?

Well that is just going to end in tears.

I would love to live in Marseille for a year. Or Aix.

Sarlat, 2 hrs is enough. Then I am sticking pins in my eyes for entertainment.

THERE IS NOTHING TO DO !!!!

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But isn't it a bit like saying, why does person A prefer steak to chicken and why does person B prefer chicken to steak? Leaving aside pork, lamb, fish etc.

To me it's a non question, the two regions are different in so many ways, they have different types of appeal therefore they will appeal to different people. Climate, landscape, cultural influences, the local accent and intonation, food, lifestyle, the colour of the sky, the quality of the sunshine, the smell of the air. To me, all these things distill themselves into a unique ambience and that's what I base my feelings about a place on. I suppose other people do too? Like steak and chicken - yes there are lots of specific difference but basically, for most people, it comes down to flavour, which tastes the nicer to you. It's subjective not objective, and emotional not logical. To me the Midi has a buzz to it that the Dordogne doesn't, in fact nowhere in France that I've ever been has the same buzz. From touring both areas in my camping car, staying on aires, I know that in the Midi there's a far higher chance you will get chatting to people of all nationalities wherever you stay, people seem to be more outgoing and fun-loving. Obviously this is tourists not residents but, I put it down to the ambiance, it's just somehow more colourful and vibrant and it invites people to relax and open up and do mad things that they wouldn't normally do. You wake up in the morning, you smell the air and see the sky and hear the voices with the Midi intonation and the way they say their vowels all wrong, and it's exhilarating. And, I suppose association of ideas comes into it too - I've had some truly magical times in the south of France, so whenever I go there the memories come back. Dordogneshire is nice enough, I've had very pleasant times there but it doesn't have the same ambiance nor anything equivalent.

But, we're all different. From the fact that you're asking the question I take it that you don't tend to pick up on the ambience of a place or it isn't important to you so you will probably think I am raving ;-)
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I notice in your first post you asked why young Brits don't live and work in the Midi. Well they do, but as already said it attracts a totally different type of person. Typically they go there to work on the yachts and they live in rented accommodation and move around following the work, they live like that for a few seasons and then either they settle down or they move on. Compared to the typical Brit who moves to Dordogneshire, it could hardly be more chalk and cheese.
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Yes ALBF value for money. Ours is a nice house and we have exchanged it for places like Hawaii 4 wks, centre of Venice 2 wks, Red brick in New York for 2 wks, I could go on..........

Don't understand it myself, but after selecting an area, when choosing places to stay OH always looks at the accommodation (rooms decor garden etc) and immediate surroundings as a priority.
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Richard51 wrote

Is to the west of say Marseille any better than to the east.

There is an area of heavy industrialisation to the west of Marseille so really until you get to the west of the Rhone much of the area has restricted attraction - there are some nice coves on the Cote Blue but to get there you are forced through the industrial or vast trading estates.

Once on the western side of the Rhone, you lose the attraction of steep hills and mountains behind the coast.

So in answer to the question, with of course exceptions the west of Marseille is not as attractive.
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[quote user="richard51"] Is to the west of say Marseille any better than to the east.[/quote]

West of Montpellier, the "real" south of France, is far superior to anything east of it ... I do wish that people would not equal the Cote d'Azure and Provence as the only bit of the south ... much better places, as already said darn sarth, than the Riviera to actually live ... work and even play.

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[quote user="Patf"]
I've always thought of the Riviera as the place for the very rich - the dreaded celebs. To show off their money.  It doesn't seem to be a place to 'live', unless you have a job there.
Much nicer from the Dordogne down to the Gers where we lived.

[/quote]
The Gers would have been my choice, but I was overuled!

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[quote user="Judith"]
[quote user="richard51"] Is to the west of say Marseille any better than to the east.[/quote]

West of Montpellier, the "real" south of France, is far superior to anything east of it ... I do wish that people would not equal the Cote d'Azure and Provence as the only bit of the south ... much better places, as already said darn sarth, than the Riviera to actually live ... work and even play.

[/quote]In your opinion. The Côte d'Azur isn't all pretentious but it does have class and beauty. Unlike the western side of the Med coast. In my opinion.
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[quote user="Judith"]
West of Montpellier, the "real" south of France, is far superior to anything east of it ... I do wish that people would not equal the Cote d'Azure and Provence as the only bit of the south ... much better places, as already said darn sarth, than the Riviera to actually live ... work and even play.

[/quote]

Yeah, right. The windswept, east-facing budget resorts from Montpellier to Perpignan are far better then Nice, Cannes, or Antibes, and nowhere in PACA can compare with the cultural delights of Beziers, Carcassonne, or Toulouse.

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I have passed through the west side, but I have never felt the need to visit/stop/explore other than I have, which is little.

I keep wondering why the SW of France and to be precise, Languedoc Roussillon and Midi Pyrenees hold absolutely no interest for me at all. But they do not, and I shall never visit there, as there are many many other places I really do want to visit.

I like the Cote d'Azur. I don't like everywhere along that part of the coast, and would avoid Cannes and Antibes at all costs, but the rest in general, I do like a lot. 

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moss, I wasn't thinking of the coast, though some parts are nice, I rarely visit either.  I was thinking of the country, not as barren as some would have us believe ... Minervois, Corbiers, Cathar Castles, OK not pretty, but scenic, panoramic, and in my eyes beautiful, they are.  And not too buys either.Since I was brought up on the foothills of the Penines, I know green and green, but there is some splendid scenery, not necesarily pretty but formidable,  around here to challenge many another place in France, and so I rest my case.

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Why not live near the coast in the South? The French themselves seem keen to retire here..

L’Hérault (Languedoc-Roussillon) :

Deuxième département le plus apprécié par les français pour leur retraite, l’Hérault est situé en Languedoc-Roussillon et possède une grande diversité de lieux et de paysages. Avec près de 15 000

emménagements de seniors ces 5 dernières années, le département est

particulièrement apprécié pour la richesse et la variété de ses paysages

: entre mer et plages, garrigues et vignobles, montagnes et villes, de

nombreuses activités sont proposées et les habitants y apprécient le

cadre de vie et le patrimoine culturel de la région.

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