Jump to content
Complete France Forum

The reality of living near the Tarn Gorge! Help.

Recommended Posts

My husband and I have moved to the Lot-et-Garonne and are staying with friends until our sale completes back in the UK. We have recently returned from a week in the Aveyron and have fallen head over heels with Millau and the surrounding areas. Most people we have spoken to think we are nuts for wanting to live there. They cite weather, winters, isolation, rural nature etc as reasons not to live there. One even commented that you must be born there to enjoy living there! Husband is from New Zealand and well used to isolation with forest, hills and rivers, and albeit on a smaller scale I am from Yorkshire and have lived in many rural isolated places. We intend to go and rent a gite there for a month or so in the depths of January/February to see how we feel about it. We intend to fully integrate in the area and will be self employed and have a variety of opportunities to pursue depending on the property we end up with. So my questions are, do any of you live there, if so, where? What is your first hand experience of the area? Any general thoughts or experiences good or bad? Thank you!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I worked for nearly 4 years in a centre on the causse above Les vignes, not far from la pointe sublime


before the Millau Viaduc was completed, although it was a bit of a cheat as I was allowed to go home at weekends back to the Mediterranean climate of Béziers.

Although Millau is in the Aveyron much of the Gorge is in the much poorer and less populated la  Lozère

It is spectacularly beautiful and I loved the scenery but was spoiled as I was in a centrally-heated building with a group of people, not alone and dependent on myself.

It can get very cold (-15 /20 )and solid freeze ups for long periods. I remember a snowstorm in May one year coming down the A 75 to ward Séverac le Château.

It is not an easy community to break into, as the population is very sparse. People have often been at school together and look askance at outsiders.

You will need to be fluent in French to survive and there are distances to take into account for things like Medical services. I spent a couple of weeks in Hospital in Millau and had to be taken by ambulance for consultations to specialists in Rodez for example. Remember that this is over roads that mey be snowed in or have more or less permanent black ice in patches where the sun doesn't defrost the surface under trees.

I was in Séverac  10 days ago and I noticed a distinct downturn in the economy too. The cafés near the station for example have a down-trodden air very different from 10 years ago.

Tourism is only viable for about 6-8 weeks of the year, but if you can offer something local people need in their own language why not give it a go.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're quite right to be renting a gite in Jan/Feb. This should enable you to make a sensible decision. Personally I wouldn't want to be that isolated or in such extreme weather conditions. We find that Lot et Garonne satisfies all our needs. Extended summers and shorter winters which don't get too cold for long. It's laid back but not isolated. We don't live near any British enclaves and all our neighbours are French. Plenty of shops and supermarkets within 10 mins. Hospitals and other services are all available within 30 mins. Do remember that though your husband may be from NZ, unless you live deep down in South Island the temperatures are rarely extreme. You get the Desert Rd on North Island which closes occasionally due to bad weather and some snow but other than that not bad, Good luck with your search but be sure of what you want because reselling afterwards can be a nightmare!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
[quote user="NormanH"]I can only presume that my experience of 4 years  is not what the OP wanted to hear, so it was not even acknowledged.

Sometimes I wonder why I bother to try to help.[:@]


Frustrating isn't it Norman, poster's forget how long it takes to write long answers. I think its one of the reasons forums are dying off a bit. Long standing posters chat but newbies seem to demand attention then you never hear from them again.

On pool topics I have a short list of those who treat it as a free service they feel entitled to. They do not get answers from me. Sometimes I feel like asking "what answer shall I write that you would like to read".
Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="Théière"] .............  On pool topics I have a short list of those who treat it as a free service they feel entitled to. They do not get answers from me. Sometimes I feel like asking "what answer shall I write that you would like to read".[/quote]


On top of that you're doing yourself, or maybe someone else, out of work, and that's short enough these days for some.

I restrict myself mainly to giving hints and wrinkles on bureaucracy here, but don't advise on my own metier, as I am too used to charging for that. Anyway, I don't want to be responsible for something I gave away for free[:D]

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...