Jump to content

Recommendations in Burgundy

Recommended Posts

Hi eveyone,

New here to the forum and would like to know if anyone can provide us with some information regarding life in Burgundy.

We are a couple from the US and are looking into moving in the not too distant future.

We'd like to look into Burgundy and the Ardenne for beginners....

Can anyone who lives in or near to Dijon or Auxerre share some info with us regarding life in either of those two towns?

 We're interested in knowing if the people are accepting of expats...is there a community of American or British  expats that we could get to know?

How is the housing market in the area and we'd love to know what the summers and winters are generally like.



I suppose that's good for starters and thanks in advance!




Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Hi Lilac

Firstly, life in Burgundy couldn't be better - some Brits but not too many, not like the over populated west side of France.

Dijon and Auxerre are more cities rather than towns, so it depends on what kind of life you want when you move here. If the hussle and bussle of city life is what you are looking for then Dijion or Auxerre would probably suite you fine. If you are looking for a town rather than a city then I can highly recommend looking at Avallon(89) or Autun(71). On the other hand, if you are looking to escape to the country then look no further than the Morvan Regional Natural Park.

The French locals in this region are very friendly and are largely welcoming towards expats. Speaking from my personal experence, in our area we have families from England, Australia, South Africa, Holland, Polland and more.

What can I say about the housing market? There's plenty of properties for sale, it's a buyers market. I would never advise anyone to buy a property through a realestate agent (immobilier), but that's your choice. As for the weather, the summers are hot and long, but not too hot (May-September with a max of approx. 38C) the winters are short and predicable (November-March with a min of approx. -7C) you can convert to F.

Hope this helps and hope to see you in the area soon.  [:)]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Lilac,

Burgundy is great - your idea of great might not be my idea of great though.  We have french neighbours all around, a dozen or so English speaking friends within an hours drive and our 3 year old daughter is the only English child in her school so is totally bi-lingual.  We did live in a huge ex pat community and are so much happier living in the real France and trying to settle in amongst the locals. 

Summer is wonderful but winter is not great - it's not very long though, which is great.  Housing is cheap where we live, pretty expensive in Dijon - there is work to be found in Dijon, not too much round here.  There are always ex pats around, it just depends how far you want to travel to find them - do you want to live amongst them, or just touch base occasionally?

Dijon is 45 mins drive from us and a lovely bustling city, Auxerre is further away but my brother used to live there so I know it and find it a nice size town, without being too busy.

You might be better of telling everyone the kind of place you are looking for and then people could make recommendations to suit you

And when you have decided where to live, the real adventure/fun/work starts.  Have a lovely time, living in France is something I would never change!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Lilac, you might want to look at www.burgundypulse.com which you can join or just read the forum. There is a very new member, Debra, also from the US so you may know her. Debra is asking very similar questions regarding a possible move to Burgundy. You might find that your own questions have already been answered. There is also www.burgundyfriends.com which is longer established, its site has just had a face lift. There is a small membership to pay on the latter.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

We have been in Burgundy since 2002 and are in the Auxois which makes all the departments accessible.

The Morvan has lots of small villages and not many larger towns for shopping. We are 4 minutes from all commerce but still in a village with village advantages. We are ten minutes from a railway station with TGV and can be in Paris within an hour. Dijon is an hour from us but we only go if we really want to. We are going this week as we are going to a concert there.

I find that both burgundypulse and Burgundy Friends are dominated by people from the Saone et Loire, but we make our own friends here and have a good life. Our daughter and her children have settled in too and love the mix of country life with good commerce on our doorstep.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...
In reply to Keith with regards to his comment that he would never buy through an estate agent, as a couple that run a small local estate agency in Burgundy I would like to put forward some of the advantages of buying through an estate agent.

Buying privately is great is you are fluent in the language, know the estate agency law back to front and have researched the local market and amenities thoroughly. Legally a buyer shouldn't sign a contract unless he unstands the compromis and acte de vente word for word.

My husband is French and I am English meaning that we are able to offer a full translation service to all of our overseas buyers, we hold the buyers best interests at heart and I would never sell a property to a client that I feel would not suit their needs as the last thing that I would want to do is bump into them on a Saturday morning at the local market to be told how unhappy they are.

Having lived in the area for several years we are able to give advise on where to buy, local amenities, doctors, builders etc and keep in touch with many of our buyers well past the purchase of their property.

Estate agency is well regulated over here in France to protect the buyers unlike in the UK where an 18 year old can come out of college and open an office. Buying through an esate agent you are protected by their insurance, should you decide to buy privately you have no come back should there be a problem in the future.

Often we are able to negotiate a better purchase price for buyers and can advise buyers on a realistic price for a property. Private sales are often overpriced or being advertsied by a vendor at the same price as with several agents, a private seller is unlikely to be honest with a buyer and tell them that he has been trying to sell his property for 2 years.

The agency fees may appear to be high but when taxes and charges are taken into account we are left just earning a living and certainly do not live the high life. On average an agent sell one in ten of properties on his books due to multiple agency contracts and private sales. All viewings are accompanied by the agent, in a rural area this often means travelling upto 200kms a day with just one client.

Please do not tar us all with the same brush as we are not all bad and are only trying to make a living to feed our family, as a couple we both work 10 hours a day 6 days a week with no paid holidays, we certainly don't do this for the money but because we enjoy the work, meeting new people every day and seeing some wonderful properties in a beautiful part of France.

Thank you for your understanding.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Just to clear up a small thing on the fee for www.burgundyfriends.com

Acess to the site and all that it offers is free like other similar social sites in the region.

If you would like to join Burguyndy Friends there is a small annual fee of 25 euros. What do you get for that?

a) Subsidised events for members. The Association (fully registered under French Law) holds on average 50 odd events a year, the bulk of which are subsidised from the Association funds

b) Charity program- as many members are keen to put something back into the local communities and region that have welcomed them, Burgundy Friends contributes to local charities. In 2007 Butrgundy Friends donated over 2,000 euros

c) Welfare Support-the Association assists members in times of need,bereavement and illness. Hospital visits are made by members amongst other things. Through the Associations' relationship with national embassies we are able to help members (and have done so many times) with a range of problems. We are also able to assist members with local difficulties through our relationships with local French organisations.

d) Through the tie ups with local associations and Government bodies, we try and assist on a general and personal level regarding setting up businesses, general issues. We have experts give talks to members regarding retirement planning, tax issues and the like.

e) Through the auspices of the Association we assist locally in language programs, assist in schools and participate in lobby programs that are for the benefit of our members.

f) With such a broad church of members in terms of age, interests, working, retired, families etc., we look to circulate around the region holding a diverse range of events to try and satisfy (as much as one ever can) our members in all departments. So far this year we have held events in each department bar the Yonne. This is going to happen late summer as we have 27 members in that department and are discussing dates etc. with them. We also try to ac commodate events, information etc. for our many members who do not live in the region but either have holiday homes or just visit

g) Burgundy Friends is not another expat club for Brits. We have members from UK, France, Germany, Holland, Australia, United States, Finland. On the committee there are members from Australia and United States.

h) What we do recognise though is that whilst people take steps to integrate within their local area, in line with similar associations abroad, our members who are primarily english speaking; welcome the regular opportunity to meet up for a chat in their mother tongue. Some of our french members also appreciate this and we get families at some of our get togethers where our French members specifically want their children to mix with English children.

All the work undertaken for the members is done voluntarily and given freely by the Committee members and regular members. We are always pleased to receive suggestions from both members and visitors to our site in our continued aim of providing a better and relevant service to all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nearly right Burgundyboy. You actually do not need to pay €25.00 to become a member of Burgundy Friends. You can join without paying the fee. You have full use of the Forum. The only caveat is that if you want to attend any of the events you would have to pay a small fee towards the cost. This is a great improvement on the old service especially for those who are only visiting for short periods. It is a very good well run site and the committee are to be congratulated on the work they have put in to get it back on track




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just a quick update on Redcap's comment that if you are not a member you have to pay to attend events.

This system was stopped over a year ago and events are open to all in the region who would like to attend.

The only time either members or non-members  pay for an event is when there is a universal charge for all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have oftened wondered the same thing [:)]  It seems a long way south when we arrive at Le Havre and then have to drive for several hours to reach our second home in the Brionnais (which is in 71 and the SW of Burgundy).
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We don't find the drive back to the UK too tedious, nine hours door to door, from the Cote d'Or; but then we only go once a year!

We have just been on holiday to northern Brittany and the Mayenne, actually we are nearer Germany than the other side of France.

We have very few Brits around us, which we like, as we have to speak French all the time. But have a French/British group that meet monthly to speak in both languages. This helps all concerned as we learn from each other regarding language and culture. We attend all things that go on around us as far as possible, especially those in the village. Our grandchildren love school here and have loads of friends and our daughter works here and has a French partner who helps with the childrens' acquisition of the language.

My husband and I belong to committees which means we mix with the local people and need to use our language skills too.

If you are more interested in playing golf, wine tasting, rambles etc with English speakers your best bet is to look at the Saone et Loire/lower Cote d'Or/lower Morvan as more and more are moving there.

Dijon, Beaune, Autun are great to visit but give me my village in the forest and by the canal any day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
We will be moving here permanently on about 21st September from Germany and can't wait to get started on what we want to do to our first home after years of living in army quarters.  We have children in England and Germany so France seemed an obvious choice as it's about equi-distance.  No doubt I will be asking for advice on various things on the forum - so watch this space!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...
Moved to Burgundy in May this year.  15 kms from Montbard (21), which is ideal for TGV (Paris 1 hr) and also a direct TGV to CDG airport.  My wife works in London occasionally and with TGV and Eurostar, she can do door to door in 4 1/2 hrs. 

Good part of the world for autoroutes too and prices in north Cote d'Or are cheaper than the south!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...