Covid complications causing concerns

Martin and Nadine haven’t been to France since January, and Covid complications certainly are an issue and a constant worry. It seems sorting out a ferry crossing isn’t the only hurdle. Is it better to go or to cancel?

Requirements for driving in France – Breath Test Kits

On 1st July 2012, a law was introduced in France: all drivers had to carry a breath test kit in their car. Find out why and if or how that law was implemented. Read more about the driving requirements in France.

Kouign-amann vs Lardy cake

Kouign-amann is a beautiful, buttery, traditional Breton cake. During the current lockdown, unable to travel to Brittany, we have found an alternative: the British lardy cake. Read on.

Exporting a UK-bought LHD car to France

Is it possible or indeed practical to buy a LHD car in the UK, originally registered in Poland, and then import it to France? Are there guidelines to be followed?

Driving in France

In recent years, travelling across to the continent and driving in France has become increasingly easy for Brits, but there are laws and regulations to bear in mind while driving abroad.

How do you choose a new house? 2So, why did we choose that one?  What are the criteria for making the selection?

I can”t really tell you what you should do but I can tell you what we did … and didn”t do!

General Location

I guess that”s the first issue to be sorted out and, if you are making a group purchase – like us – this could be a non-trivial task.

We can assume that you would be seriously thinking about France (although I think the principles would apply anywhere else), but where in France?  If there”s one place you go back to year after year, it may be a no brainer – but, even then, isn”t it worth checking out whether you wouldn”t prefer to be somewhere else.

We didn”t really have any interest in the East of France but there are plenty of lovely parts to the West that we would have been happy with: Brittany, Normandy, various parts of the Loire and around the Dordogne.  We wanted a reasonable guarantee of sun and – pretty as Brittany is – it and Normandy didn”t seem sufficiently different from the UK climate to attract us. In the end, the decision was a pragmatic one: how far south could we realistically travel by car in one day without knocking ourselves out.  Our answer was the Loire valley.

Price

That was an easier issue: our bank balances were limited.  Also part of the purpose was for Anne”s sister to spearhead a renovation project, so we didn”t want a house that was too finished.

Town or Country?

For some a flat in the heart of a thriving restaurant area might be just the thing.  For others, perhaps, a small (or large) house in the suburbs of a town.  Since ours was a holiday home, we weren”t so worried about schools or work, but that might be a factor for some.

So, we chose a fairly isolated country area near a quiet village but not too far away from a reasonable sized town.  However, our initial search covered a variety of locations before we made up our minds – and I would suggest that it would normally be good not to be too isolated because that makes it quite difficult to build relationships with neighbours.

Transport Links

For younger folk, this will probably not be an issue – although think about your children and whether it will be good having them tied to you to be able to get around.  As you get older, it might be more and more important to have an alternative to the car.

Other Amenities

How far is cheap food shopping?  Do you enjoy book browsing or clothes shopping and, if so, are you going to have to spend hours to satisfy the shopping urge?  For holiday makers, do you want a restaurant or bar within walking distance so that you don”t have to worry about your alcohol intake.

All questions that could affect where you end up.

Animals

If you have boisterous animals (a dog, rabbit or goat!), you will want completely enclosed land – or something you can enclose.

Add your own criteria

These are just some of the questions.  You need to think about what are “must haves” wherever you holiday or live.

And, finally, there is that extra spark: does it do something special for you?

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