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Relocating to France

Retirement in Languedoc - a case study

 

Enjoying retirement in the Languedoc, France3: David and Sheila Brown

 

Retired couple David and Sheila Brown moved to the Languedoc village of Fitou (Aude) in 2001. They bought themselves an old forge in the small but lively village, with a view to creating a home for themselves and David’s elderly mother.

 

Their daughter and her husband had already made the move from the UK and it seemed logical for the grandparents to follow suit; when their first grand-daughter was born shortly after David and Sheila’s arrival in Languedoc, they were ready, willing and able to lend a hand.

 

An unforeseen change
 
The Brown’s Languedoc retirement property purchase needed major renovation, but undaunted, they spent €100,000 turning it into a comfortable home with a granny flat. Sadly, David’s mother passed away the day they were due to move into their new home, leaving the couple with a 4- bedroom, 3-bathroom home that was far too large for their needs.
 
They rented out the spare flat in the summer months, generating a little extra income, but ultimately the Browns decided to move on. Like many maisons de village in the Languedoc, their house had no garden or outside space, and after several years, they wanted a home where they could relax outdoors and enjoy the sunny Languedoc weather.
 
They loved their village and had made many friends there, but couldn’t find a property there that really suited their needs, so they bought a plot of land on the outskirts and had a new house built from scratch. David and Sheila moved into their new three-bedroom home in May 2005, where they are now happily settled.

 

Making firm friends in the Languedoc

 

The couple have made many good friends in the Aude; “after eight years of retirement in Languedoc, I think we can say we have integrated pretty well!” comments David with a smile. He and his wife have established an inter-denominational group of English-speaking Christians who meet every Sunday to worship; they are also members of a mixed-nationality, over-sixties group called VHV (Vive Heureuse Village) which meets weekly to play Loto and card games.

 

And retired they may be, but the Browns are no slouches, attending a local keep fit class every Tuesday. “It’s a class of mixed nationalities and ages, though I am the only male!” laughs David.

 

The other side of the coin

 

If there is a downside to retirement in the Languedoc, it is the fact that their daughter and son-in-law decided to return to the UK last year, “so we no longer see the grandchildren quite as much.” Additionally, at the time of writing, the couple’s UK pensions (paid directly into their French bank account) have slumped with the exchange rate by almost a third.

 

However, David and Sheila have no plans to move in the foreseeable future, “unless we become infirm or incapable of looking after ourselves - if that was the case, we would possibly consider returning to UK” and thanks to their concerted efforts, they have formed solid friendships in the Languedoc which will doubtless see them through many years of happy retirement.

 

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