Attending the meeting organised for the British Ambassador’s visit to the Dordorgne at the France/British Chamber of Commerce & Industry a couple of weeks ago reminded me just how many retired and semi-retired Brits live in this region.
Eymet, one of our local towns, is very well-known for its British community and appears regularly on the French news the minute they want to interview “un anglais”. There is a bridge club that meets twice a week at the bar at Allemans du Dropt and nearly everyone on the terraces of the bars and cafés in Duras seem to be speaking English at this time of the year.
One of our associates is semi-retired and currently enjoying life in the Dordogne after having spent eight years living and working in Switzerland.
Thomas and his wife Ulla, who are both German took a very Germanic approach to deciding where to live. They spent two years researching different areas and after having decided against the more southern regions of Provence they finally put down roots near the town of Thénac in the Dordogne.
The reason Thomas and Ulla chose this area is because it still manages to retain the quintessential France that hasn’t really moved on with a typical French way of living that they both love.
They have spent the last three years renovating their beautiful house and Thomas has become heavily involved in the local community taking on the role of President of one of the largest local associations that is renovating the intriguing church at Monbos.
He has made concerted efforts to speak French and although not completely fluent, he certainly speaks enough to co-ordinate the team that organises concerts, fund raises and works on the building, holding regular meetings in French.
There are few Germans in the area as they seem to choose more to live in Provence but that did not put Thomas and Ulla off. They have made many friends in the area both French and English speaking and enjoy a full social life.
Thomas has stated many times that he wished that a company like ours had existed when he moved here at first. Having help to buy a house and relocate would have been just what they needed, as well as help translating for local artisans. Three years down the line they are finally settling in but the road has not always been smooth and learning from his own experience has brought Thomas to become an associate in Aquitaine Lifestyle Solutions so he can help open the door for others who choose this region as their new home.
For Yvonne, David, Neil and myself, well they are completely different stories which I will share with you in a future blog.
Au revoir et à bientôt