France has 101 departments, each with their own distinct character, geography and styles of property. In a recent post, we talked about the different geographies of regions, departments and provinces in France and the challenges of planning a move to such a large country. To help narrow down the search it’s important to think about what matters most to you in the move and how this affects where you might base yourself.
Priorities in a French Area Search
People move to France for different reasons and those factors can affect where it would be best to live. For retirees, climate and easy transport links home may be the lead priorities. For those needing to work, proximity to a major town or city could be a factor.
The French Hideout: Our Personal Priorities
It’s really important for our property to be a source of income for us. When we move to France we’ll still be in our thirties and needing to make a monthly income. At the moment we’re not sure how easy it will be to work in France post-Brexit. Also, we’d like to change our work lives to work less conventionally. We hope to achieve a more independent work life by establishing a B&B and tourism business. Knowing this helped to define our top three criteria.
- Access to French Airports & Ferry Ports
Many tourists to France arrive by air or ferry and so being in close proximity to these transport hubs makes a big difference to the number of visitors in an area. It also makes the location much more accessible for friends and family to visit and for us to pop back home.
- Tourism Potential
Having a healthy supply of tourists is about much more than just being near a source of transport. Different regions of France are well known for their cultural or geographical appeal. France boasts many different attractions including wine regions, historic centres, modern cities, chateau towns, kayaking and hiking destinations, and, of course, sunny beaches and beautiful coastlines. These all act as big draws to visitors and so being based near a major site of interest is important to us.
- Budget & House Prices
As with every country, property prices in France vary dramatically from area to area. Our budget for our move is really small. A big motivation behind The French Hideout is to live a simpler more financially independent life. We want to be mortgage free and so that means choosing an area where property and land are available on a smaller budget.
Ranking Priorities for Our French Property Hunt
Once we’d established the three factors that we would use to narrow down our search area we had a discussion about whether we could rank or prioritise them. There were merits in making each criterion the most important. But in the end, we found that each one mattered to us, but also each could be compromised for the right property.
No one factor was singled out as more or less important. At least, not at this stage… after all this exercise is only to identify which departments to focus our efforts on. The department is still quite a broad area to work with.
Next Steps in Our French Emigration Dream
Having identified our most important criteria, the next step is to see which departments score well on each. Ideally, we’ll be looking to create a shortlist of departments with good tourism potential, which are easily accessible from the UK and other European countries, but where properties are available on a limited budget.
We’ll be updating the blog shortly with details of how we went about this research and the areas we shortlist.
Share Your Thoughts
Have you moved to France and have a suggestion about where to live? Or are you going through a similar process yourself? We’d love to hear from you with any hints, ideas, or tips about moving to France. Equally, if you have any questions you think we could help with please get in touch.