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buying a second home in the morvan

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hello everyone
I am a new Forum user but have been following the general news and subscribing to Living France for some time now. My husband and I have finally (after a year of research!) begun the process of finding a second home in France. We have made steps toward financing it and have chosen the Morvan area. This is something of a leap of faith as neither of us have been to that part of France! Originally, like others, we considered Brittany or the Calvados region of Normandie but we want to buy a habitable home and can't afford the prices there! I have made contact with an immobilier in Corbigny who is sending me emails of properties. My questions are - am I right to go for the Morvan? Is it as beautiful as it looks? Can anyone recommend a certain area or town? What are your experiences of this region?
ps We are not fussed that there are few English there - I need to improve my French!!!
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Dear Sandy
We have been living in the Morvan since July 2002, we have moved over permanently.
It is a really beautiful area, and the lifestyle is calm and relaxed. We have heard mixed reports about the winter weather which we have not yet experienced, it does get cold but there's no longer much snow. Summer wasn't fantastic this year - a couple of really good weeks - but I think that's been the same everywhere.
I think choice of exact location depends on how important good transport links are to you. We are between Saulieu and the Lac des Settons - we made our first trip to Dijon airport last week and it took an hour and a half each way. Dijon itself is over an hour from here. If you want to be within easy reach of Dijon, suggest you look as far east and near to the A38 as possible - from Pouilly-en-Auxois on the motorway to Dijon is only 20-30 minutes.
Travelling by car, within about and hour and a half from the southern outskirts of Paris on the A6, you are at Avallon - we're about 40 mins from there.

The TGV station at Montbard is great for us - trains from there take only just over an hour to Paris, and there's a daily link to Charles de Gaulle and onto Lille - great connections for England. There is car hire at the Renault garage in Montbard - but haven't tried it yet.
Autun is a popular location, but not great for motorway connections - although it is about half an hour from the TGV station at Le Creusot-Montchanin.

People here are lovely once you get over the initial suspicions, but with 4 young children it's alot easier to meet people!!

Would be happy to discuss further - let me know what other info would help.
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  • 2 weeks later...
Hello there,

I've just come across your posting, so I hope you are still picking up responses. We have a second home at the southern end of the Morvan - not far from Luzy. Would I recommend it - certainly. Buying our house was the best thing we ever did - but then everyone who buys a house in France says that! the great thing about this area is that it is so quiet and peaceful. Even in the height of summer you can drive from Luzy to Chateau Chinon and hardly pass a car. We tend to get invaded by loads of Dutch tourists in summer but they're not much there for the rest of the year. A week in Provence convinced me to stay away completely from the tourist honey pots. Incidentally there seems to be something of a property buying boom on at the moment, mainly caused by the Dutch it seems, and prices are said to be rising accordingly.

When we first started looking for somewhere to buy our main problem was finding estate agents. Then we came across Autun where there is a whole streetful of them - a good place to start looking.

As for the people. Well, we've met some really nice British people and also made some French friends. I hesitate slightly because the main thing as always is the language. My french isn't really that good but if yours is good enough I'm sure you'll have no problems making friends with French people.

Good luck with your house hunting.

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The Morvan is beautiful, lots of small villages and the towns are not very large. We originally thought of that area to buy our house but ended up with our house near to Flavigny-sur-Ozerain by accident. My husband picked up one of the property magazines from outside an estate agent and we saw the house in one of the little adds. It just went on from there. If you do end up in the Morvan there are a few English people, a lot of Dutch and some friendly helpful locals and the Morvan itself is very interesting and lovely.
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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 months later...
How wonderful!

This is a beautiful area with lots to do and see. Historially fascinating and from the natural history point of view endless. In the Morvan National Park there are lots of not much more than villages but towns such as Avallon, Saulieu and Autun are not far.

I think a fairly good knowledge of French is necessary. I know there are at least three "immobiliers" in Avallon but cannot guarantee that they all speak English. There are some sites on the web but you will need to spend some time searching for them.
From my experience in (vaguely - because I cannot do anything about it at present) most property for sale seems to be in the southern part of the Morvan. Perhaps I should not mention a rival magazine, but I noticed in "Everything France" (Jan/Feb 2003) that there were some houses advertised by Immoboulevard on 00 33 3 86 78 66 20 or www.immoboulevard.com.

Happy hunting - perhaps a holiday in the area browsing would be a good idea!

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I read the last message (from maryjc) where reference is made to www.immoboulevard.com. If you're still looking for a property, then I can certainly recommend these people.
We'd been looking to buy in the area for about 2 years and were tempted by a property on their web site last January. We fell in love with it immediately and finally signed the paperwork in May.
There is much work to do (the house is not habitable yet) and the agent (Joost Kubbe) has been extremely helpful and the after-sales service very good. He's helped with banking, insurance, rubbish disposal, water and electricity connections and found an architect for us (etc, etc).
The south Morvan area is very nice and the people friendly. Our immediate neighbours are great fun (they even turned up with supplies in the hot summer when our car was out of action and would accept no payment) and there was much in the way of introductions and hand-shaking at the local village fete.
Apparently, we're referred to (in the valley) as the "mad English" for wanting to take on such a restoration project but everyone drops by to see how we're getting on and I think (secretly) they support us and wish us well.
Good luck with your house hunting (not that we want too many Brits to find our bit of paradise) but be quick. Prices are certainly going up in the area. We reckon we could sell ours now for 50% more than we paid for it last year ... not that we ever would!
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