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Quillan - The Impact of Incomers

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Recently back from a visit to look at progress with our house-build, we notice that migration by the 'English' is a definate talking point. "We will soon be re-naming the square 'Picadilly Circus'" said one, adding that his familly had moved to France 500 years earlier and they were only now being regarded as 'Quillanaises'.

Apparently too, Axat, a small town just a few kilometres down the road, has become 'Dutch'.

This subject is also raised with us way up in the hills, in the small hamlet that houses us during our visits.

As our move draws nearer, maybe we notice more, maybe as folk get to know us they are more willing to share their concerns.

House prices in Quillan are said to have 'doubled in the last two to three years', making them "inaccessible" to those born and raised there. Available building land in the town itself has almost gone, and signs of significant property development are apparent in many outlying villages.

At the bank, we hear that one in ten of local customers are now English.

Considering, for example, the reducing employment opportunities in the area, the rate of change looks likely to accelerate.
It makes us wonder what change will bring during our time in France to come!

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>signs of significant property development
>are apparent in many outlying

There's a new lotissement being built between us and the village, and there's something quite sad about the whole thing.

I'm not being NIMBY (really I'm not!), I'm thinking more of the nature of the lotissement. High walls round every garden, the metal gates already in place at each drive. Building work is still going on, but people are already moving in, nice cars and all. We know they have piscines because we saw them before the high walls went up! Given the price of the houses (starting at about 350 000 euros), there probably aren't too many anglais there, so I guess many of them will be Parisians?

I don't know, it's just all starting to look, well, less conviviale somehow, and more bog-standard suburban.

Those of you who haven't bought yet, don't believe everything you hear about the land round about being "non constructible", or "ils n'ont pas le droit". 4 years ago they apparently didn't have "le droit" to build on those vineyards, and now suddenly the vineyards have gone and we have a load of rich people in their place! Thinking about it, it's another good reason for renting before you buy - that way you get to talk to neighbours and pick up bits of info like plans for new motorway exits or whatever. The things immobiliers will never tell you!

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I think Quillan has become a buzz word for where to move to in the Aude area. There is a similar situation in Dordogne in a town called Eymet, I beleive they have a newspaper called 'The Dordogne Telegraph'.

They have there own cricket team, possibly Quillan could form a team to play them ?
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Funny enough we had a conversation today with some English people who know of two English families who are selling up and moving on. This has bought the total to four families we have heard about in the last week and about seven in total. The reasons for moving on are a combination of too many English and not hot enough.

The latter I found interesting and did a bit of digging around and discovered that the summers have got less hotter (with the exception of 2003) over the last 25 years and the winters a lot warmer (hence one of the ski stations could only open for two weeks this year).

It is true to say that it is accepted that there is a English Quarter now in Quillan, in the Ginoles area I believe, also the English are spreading out from Quillan, we have about 6 English families in Belvianes et Cavirac now.

The Belgians do however own more houses than the English but this may be because all the villas in L'Espinet are individually owned by Belgians and there are about 250 villas catering for some 600 people. I have to say I didn't realize it was that big till I visited their website. That combined with the other Belgians living here makes them by far the biggest group of home owners in Quillan.

There is no longer any real manufacturing in the area with the main Formica factory and the Huntsman closing making over 3000 unemployed in the last 2 years. There is a small Formica factory left just outside Quillan which will stay for the next 3 years. It was nice of Formica to offer relocation to either Spain or North Wales, went down a treat did that.

Without wishing to get into the next statement to deeply the mayor of Quillan in conjunction with the prefecture in Carcassonne has applied to the EU to have the area designated an EU Economical Disaster Zone with the hope it will allow him/them to get EU funding to bring industry into the area. As a result of this it has been said that this will reduce house prices by around 20% (or even more). This has caused a bit of a stir amongst a certain English group who are complaining about this because they see their investment being devalued. Oh dear what a shame, there was me thinking people wanted to move here to improve their quality of life and enjoy the fantastic French culture, way of life and beautiful scenery but then what do I know. At least by devaluing the cost of property French families wont be split up because the younger generation cant afford to live here anymore I hope.

I guess some people will be thinking what about him (Quillan) it will affect him as well. Well no it wont, I didnt come here with the idea I was investing to better myself, I came here for a better quality of life and to escape London and not have a mortgage. Sure I have a B&B but I wont be a millionaire running it but I do at least pay my bills, tax, social etc. My house may or may not of doubled in price but who really cares when Im dead, I cant take it with me and we have already told our daughter we are spending her inheritance, she has a very good job so doesnt give a toss.

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We too have just returned home (now looking forward to the glorious Bank Holiday weather?) Bearing in mind that we were out for the Easter Holiday, did we then not expect to hear more English spoken? Eagerly waiting for our Summer trip.
P.S. I think we may have the same builders PipRob. Have been waiting for half a new toit since X-mas.
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I had a good laugh at this, we are all incomers aren't we so all causing the so-called problems which I don't see at all where I live.
My neighbours nearly all have apartments in Quillan to retreat to in the depths of winter, last week I think, and are seriously concerned about the poor English who are to be seen rummaging through their old junk looking for all the things they can't afford to buy in the shops. They just don't understand the concept of car boots, depot ventes and the like even though they do exist in France!
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I visited Quillan and thought the place was charming. The only criticism was the amount of dog pooh on the pavements. I fail to understand why the owners, in France, can never bother to clean up especially as it is not only very unsightly but a major health hazard.

For 20 seconds work using an old carrier bag, Quillan, in fact the whole of France would be a much prettier place.

Perhaps we should start a new thread entitled 'The impact of dogowners'
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Just curious, why is Quillan considered South Eastern France? It appears to be located in the South West.

On a personal note, I have never been to Quillan (been all around that area). I know it isn't a realistic view by any means but after reading the posts, I looked at a few websites and it looks really beautiful to me.
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  • 3 weeks later...
We bought our house in Montjardin near Chalabre last March, and eventually we plan to retire there as you know. We get over about 4 times a year and at easter saw that there is now an Immobilier in Chalabre and whats more it has a sign in the window saying English spoken, and now also so does our bank Credit Agricole. Both these changes in 12 months and looking at the prices in the Immobiliers window they too are shooting up, looks like we were lucky in what we paid.
Arthur and Lyn
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