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Locheelad specifically stated that his reason for wanting to move from the Somme to the Loire area was because the Somme was too cold. Now I have to assume that refers to the weather and not an uninsulated house. An uninsulated house will be cold anywhere in metropolitan France during the winter.

It is not about painting France as a black place. It is about painting France as it is - or at least as we individually find it.

I live as far South as Bordeaux. We are colder than Amiens in the winter and yes our house is nice and cosy, but you cannot spend 3 winter months locked up inside - although some locals do a first approximation. People we talk to from outside the region find it difficult to comprehend that being so far south we have such cold winters. Even when I point out that the Alps where some of them have skied are just a couple hours drive away.

For us a cold winter is no surprise. For us we have insulated and installed heating to cope (I hope). We too can be snug when indoors. We did our homework and we know that one day we could end up with 3m snow - we have seen the postcards from the 1930s and 1950s when this last happened.

But when someone comes on and at least gives the impression that they do not understand that simply going south does not improve winter temperatures, do you not think we should point that out? Or perhaps we should just feed the misapprehension and tell him it will be fine and meet all of his needs.

If in the knowledge that the winters will not be markedly warmer and perhaps even colder he still decides to move to his chosen area, that is fine. It is done with knowledge - just as we moved with knowledge.
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The depths of winter are going to be cold wherever you are and if its bright and sunny whilst it will be even colder it will make for nice outside weather, cold damp and gloom for months on end are not much fun and I know exactly what Locheelad wants to get away from.

Something that I find everywhere here is a sort of mould/damp/algae that covers everything that is not regularly cleaned or wiped, its a sort of reddish colour and I have never experienced it anywhere else, anywhere can have damp places especially shaded ones or those that never see sunlight but this stuff grows everywhere even on the rubber and plastic of my car, render on houses looks superb for only a few years and then the stuff gets a hold, it has to be to do with the climate.


Also going South is not about how cold it is in winter, whether you live here or there you are likely to spend most of the time in a heated insulated house and you can be as warm and spend no more money doing so in either place, however the South is likely to have far more sunny winter  days than here where you can get out and enjoy it, get fresh air in your lungs, no its not about winter but the colder spring and autumn months, keeping in touch with friends in the Dordogne I am always hearing how they are outside on the terrace in T-shirts or using the swimming pool and I tell them that I have had my heating on for 2 months and had to sleep with winter socks on the night before, i truly believe that the further South you go you will have several more months of the year that you can spend outside also far more bright winter days than the Somme but perhaps not the Pas de Calais.


today was bright and sunny, tonight there is the brightest full moon in a cloudless sky that I have seen for a long time.

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We're right down in the Gard and have bitterly cold weather at times, especially in windy conditions - as Idun mentioned, the Mistral and the Tramontine can make things grim in the south.

A lot of people don't think it's possible to be so cold right down in the south. In the early days of owning down there, one of our English neighbours didn't take warm clothes in February - it ended up as an expensive fortnight's visit for her, although friends from Paris have been very surprised by the bitter cold too.

So yes, as Andy pointed out, it's not painting things black, it's telling it as it is. We knew how cold the Languedoc could be long before we bought there, but many people don't realise. We love the weather, apart from the heat we escape from each summer, but we knew about that in advance too and tge pkan was never to stay through the summer.

Today in our area the forecast is for sunshine all day, but very windy too - winds of up to 65kmh; that might well play havoc with all the tents etc in the square for truffle day, but 7C and sunny is pretty good in sheltered places. Here in the Thames Valley it's raining and set to stay that way throughout the day and similar tomorrow so it will be gloomy and depressing.

Our apartment in the Gard faces south, and is in the angle of the 2 joined buildings it's sheltered from the wind and has sunshine all day whenever it's out, which is a lot of the time. The heating can be off on a winter's day but we're snug as insulation is good too, and we eat lunch on the balcony often right through winter. But at first we used to have to go back inside when we set out for town etc, as we needed more clothes. It can be very deceptive when you're in tshirts on the balcony and just slip one extra layer on for the 5 minute walk up to the square, when you really need a warm coat, scarf, gloves etc and still the cold wind eats in to you; I'm a chilly mortal and soon learned.

Good luck to the OP, he seems to be going about it in the right way, renting in the area to try it out first.

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Interesting points of view and bringing out the multi-faceted nature of weather in France.

Personally the overriding requirement for me in winter is being dry rather than wet. Its beautiful when there is a hoar frost in the morning- as long as you are looking through the window or are well wrapped up outside!

An older local in our hamlet used to spend her summers in her house in the hamlet and in the winter moved into an apartment in Perigueux.

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 Love to see a good hoare frost, used to make the trees around our french house look startlingly beautiful in the sunshine.

And I love the dry cold best, we used to live next to a little river and a french friend used to tut and say that it must be very damp living there......... and I would smile and say that I was brought up next to the North Sea, and if she thought the little river was 'damp' she should see how cold and damp coastal NE England could get in mid winter...... and still does, but I am always warm, thank goodness for Landsend Clothing[Www]

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Shall we get this thread back on track !!!!

Back to the Loire Valley.

I would start your search in Meung sur Loire (I love Meung) A nice little historical town (nice chateau) beside the Loire. There is a train that goes to Orleans (15 mins) and Tours (45 mins) and Paris (1.30) for your city needs. There is a great Super U and everything else you need in life. There is a superb doctor (my ex doctor) there as well.

If that is too towny (although it is a small place) I would head into Sologne (south of the Loire) to find a small village there. Sologne is beautiful. Somewhere like La Ferté-Saint-Aubin. Sologne is fantastic if you like nature. This is where rich Parisiens have second houses.

If that does not take your fancy, follow the Loire towards Beaugency (where I used to live) which is a very very nice town but slightly bigger than Meung. After Beaugency you have Mer. All have good shopping facilities.

Again, if those towns are too big head back into Sologne which is south of the river. Cheverny (best wine in France) is a nice village.

The idea is to be in 30 mins of Chambord, because Chambord is the place to go for a Sunday walk.

From Mer, head to Saint-Dyé-sur-Loire (very small with some shops) which is nice and very historical because it was the harbour of chambord. Now you are 5 mins from Chambord.

After Saint Dyé, you have Blois (kids born in Blois). There are villages around Blois which are nice. Blois itself is lovely. I would live there.

From Blois, follow the D952 towards Amboise and Tours. There are plenty of villages along the route. You will note also the countryside changes.

Amboise is very very nice (quite possibly one of the best places to live in France) but a bit busy in tourist season. There are nice places around it mind you. Bleré has a few British living there apparently.

As you head towards Tours (either side of the Loire) then you have all the little towns associated with wine etc. Also, note there are loads of beaches on the Loire which is great during the summer.

The closer towards Tours, the warmer it is.

The North side of the Loire is called 'Beauce' and is very flat and the wind is cold during the winter. I would avoid.

So stay south of the Loire (but as close as possible) between Meung and Tours.

Note that most towns and villages in the region have gas.
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Again thanks for the comments - all good stuff. Our house is right on the border of the Somme and Pas de Calais. Nearest biggish place Bapaume. Maybe I am getting old ( what do you mean maybe!!) bit I am of no doubt the weather there has got worse over the last 10 years. It rains a lot lot more plus in the summer its never hot for a period. The winters are not clever. House is mega insulated, problem is when you go out the house! Yup can put up with a cold winter if traded against warmer days in the rest of the year. In my humble opinion where we are does not get that. Bob
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As someone who has lived in Pas de Calais for almost 10 years, I now want to move to the south west. And I too want to be near a town, as a single person this is imperative. The weather here is very cold in a bad winter as it is at present, minus temperatures still forecast for another week or more. And it isn't very interesting socially for sole residents. Hopefully the Vendee/Deux Sevres will be my home shortly. And as one poster said, I will visit throughout 2017 at different times. Which is exactly what I did before I moved here in 2007.

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Weather in Pas de Calais is excellent at present, sunny days, wide open beaches, little rain.

Vendee is very flat near the coast and it can rain and rain and rain and rain though there is a drought at the present.

Plenty expats round Challans, Fontenay le Compte.

Summer is spoilt by too many tourists.

Good for cycling though and supermarkets much better that P de C
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