A letter from France;Should we, could we, will we and will it be good for our health?
VISIT OUR WEBSITE
House hunting in the Dordogne or is it the Perigord?
For those of you who fancy flying to the Dordogne, there are four airports, Limoges in the North, Bergerac in the South, Brive to the East and not in the Dordogne but to the far West is Bordeaux. The Dordogne is about 9000 km2 which probably means little until I say that Yorkshire is 11900 km2. So, with just over 400, 000 inhabitants against Yorkshires 5.3 million, there is room to move here. Known locally as the Perigord, its divided up into four areas. Perigord Noir because of the black truffle around the Sarlat area. Perigord Pourpre, purple due to the vineyards around Bergerac, Perigord Blanc, referring to the chalky ground around the capital Périgueux. Last but no means least, Perigord Vert in the north because of the forests and lush green landscape.
With a raft of different styles of properties on their books, you simply indicate your price bracket, and roughly what you are looking for and the agent pulls out details of what might suit. Given they need the sale, its however not always what you are looking for, but then on the other hand you need to keep an open mind because, well you never know! Properties are terribly slow sellers in France, and many are on the market for two years or more, so with room to negotiate we didn’t rule out looking at those on the market above budget. It’s also still possible to buy something small with two bedrooms for around £30 000, but there are usually a reason for the low price such as its dilapidated as its last housed a herd of goats or it has no water and electricity! At the other end large to die for manor houses and small chateaux can be still bought for the same price as a 3 bed Terrace in Chelmsford! You do however have to not let your eyes rule your heart, for there is a reason the French leave their crumbling old relics to the expats. Generally, because the expats have more money than sense! By the way there are over 1000 chateaux in the Dordogne, some open to the pubic but many in private hands, so you could find your own ‘Escape to the Chateaux’!
William then dropped into the conversation he had found an independent estate agent in the beautiful village of St Jean de Cole. I was amazed as it was an hour’s drive away, talk about needle in a haystack, anyhow it turned out to be Dutch and we were introduced to Kate, from Ireland. She had lived in France for over 15 years as an employee of the estate agent and did up houses. So, we felt we may be nearing the end of our search. By now we had a long wish list of requirements ranging from village location with a bakery to having no fosse (septic tank) but mains water. Apparently over 5 million homes in France still do not have mains water. Further, if the fosse they have does not conform you may have to put in a new one (if you can find it!) which cost from 5k euros upwards.