Wednesday 4th January 2017

France offers a lot more than just sunshine and has always been on the top of the list of possible countries for retirement in Europe.

Lots of space, with the different regions offering ski, beaches, quiet countryside together with good food, good wine and sunshine!

Many  British are again looking across the channel for a suitable property to spend their retirement. 

Most regions of France still offer amazing value for money, with character houses, lots of land at less than half the price of the UK. 

Leaving the UK often means leaving a built-up urban town or city, where property is expensive and often with little or no land.

The temptation in France is to buy a large country property, with lots of bedrooms for all the friends who will come to stay and a large garden with open views over the surrounding countryside – it’s such good value for money. 

After the move and a year spent arranging the new home, the bills start to show that double glazing would have been a good idea to reduce heating costs, that few friends have less time to visit and the grass never stops growing. 

After visiting the children in the UK, the return home means a list of DIY jobs and the days go by without the planned leisurely walks in the countryside or visits to the local chateaux and museums.

Every time anything is needed from the shops, it involves a trip in the car, even for the baguette and milk.

Not a real problem as it is good to go to the local market, meet the locals and have a coffee. 

But, as time goes by, the large house needs painting, the grass takes longer to cut and the housework goes on for ever.  

A large country  house is a lot of work and expense; a dream for many people leaving the rat-race and looking for peace and open space.

A dream which can become expensive, if help is needed to maintain the property. 

Retirement is well earned and well deserved and should allow time to do what we want, not what we need to do.

A modern, low-energy bungalow, on the edge of a busy village is the perfect solution.

Sadly, today security is a key part of our lifestyle. A remote country house is an easy target.

There are an increasing number of Lifestyle Villages in France, which offer a secure community atmosphere, with as much, or as little help as needed.

Richard Edds.

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