I ran a B&B and holiday cottage in Limousin, France for eight years and now I'm renovating an old farmhouse to create a gite.
The Beauty Of France
Ten Reasons To Make A New Life In France If Britain Leaves Europe
Whether you are for or against Brexit, there are good reasons to relocate to another European country now that Britain has chosen to leave the EU.
Britain might not remain Britain for long. Scotland may well choose independence in order to stay within Europe. Would Northern Ireland finally join with the rest of Ireland to stay in? It could be that we're looking at Exit rather than Brexit if England is left behind by the rest of the British Isles.
In the recent referendum 'the people' of Britain were asked whether they wanted to stay in the European Union or not. Of those who voted, almost half voted to remain in the EU but slightly more voted to leave. Whatever happens, half the population will be unhappy in Britain. Many are exploring the idea of leaving Britain to find a happier and more secure place to live.
What are your choices? Stay and try to ameliorate the situation somehow? Stay because you have no choice? Or vote with your feet and move abroad to live in another European country - for at least some of the time depending on what comes out of the negotiations?
Each European country has so much to offer, but I have lived in rural France for almost fifteen years and I would like to share with you the benefits of buying a home in rural France in these uncertain, Post-Brexit times.
A Brexit Boom In France 2018
Recent agreements point to British people being able to stay in France if they arrive before Brexit day March 2019 - or possibly for the transition period of a little under two years after Brexit. All this is creating a bit of a bonanza in the Haute-Vienne and Dordogne where sales are up and houses moving more quickly than ever before. An article in The Guardian reports that "It's been mad" in the Dordogne town of Eymet, and the Brexit effect is making itself known in other parts of France too.
Are you thinking about buying property in France?
Will Britain Become Little England?
1. Stay Connected to Europe
Benefit from all the rights and protections that the EU offers its members:
Theresa May has proposed leaving the European Convention on Human Rights. This will leave you at the mercy of whatever government becomes elected in the future.
Freedom of movement
Keep your freedom to move around and work in Europe, you don't know what the future holds for yourself and for your children.
An added extra for anyone moving to France who would like to travel is the fact that you can get into your car and be in Spain or Italy or Germany in a matter of hours.
Benefit from the security of a large number of countries who have belief systems and standards similar to us. Be surrounded by friendly countries who pool their strengths for the greater good.
Safety, standards and regulations
The EU regulations protect our rights, our safety and the rights of animals that we farm for food.
There is a big question mark over the economic future of Britain. Will trade deals be made to keep British standards of living as they are now, or will we be isolated from our biggest markets? (Look at the map below to see just how isolated England would be.)
French pensions are almost double those of the UK. I have just found this out - alas too late. Come to work in France and retire relatively rich.
Save the United Kingdom
Nicola Sturgeon announced a referendum on leaving the UK on Monday 13th March 2017 in direct response to Brexit. Will the Union Jack become the flag of St George?
2. Survive A Possible Recession In Britain
If you are a keen Brexit supporter, you will believe that Britain will stay together as Britain and will become great again. You will believe that there is a whole world out there to trade with, a whole world to form alliances with and that Britain will go from strength to strength. I hope you are right - my pension depends on this.
If you are a gloomy Remainer, like me, who listens to the much maligned experts, you will see Britain falling away to leave only England, you'll see a race to the bottom in trade deals with the previous Empire countries and countries of dubious repute. America might be that special friend - or it might gobble up our industries and enterprises. If you are like me, you will see ten years of uncertainty and recession ahead as England is passed over for trade deals. A recession from which, according to the experts (The Economist, for example), Britain will never recover.
If this scenario plays out and you don't have pots of money, moving to France might mean that you don't starve - which brings me to Reason number 3 - Cheap housing with lots of land. Act now as since Brexit the pound has plummeted and forecasts (by experts I'm afraid) suggest that the pound will reach parity with the euro in 2017.
Where Is Limousin?
3. Rural France Has Cheap Housing
Just to give you a couple of examples of what you could own if you moved to our region of France. You can buy a four bedroom, fully renovated house for 140,000 euros with lots of land for horses or for several new houses. There are several toilets and bathrooms, wood burning stove and garage. All in a peaceful, beautiful rural setting only minutes on foot from a fishing lake with beach and cafe.
The farm below in an idyllic setting overlooking a small lake and consisting of a two bedroom partly renovated farm house and an array of other farm buildings that would be ideal for a holiday cottage / B&B complex. It has a large barn and two smaller buildings all with planning permission for conversion to gites. It has spring water and woodland - ideal for anyone looking for an eco-build site.On the market for 145,000 euros.
These are just two of many houses. You can buy a basically habitable house (indoor toilet, running water etc) for perhaps 50 - 70,000 euros. The Brits have been holding off since the Brexit sword has been hanging over us so now is the time to buy!
4. Live In An Immigrant-free Zone
(Apart from British immigrants of course!) It never fails to amaze me that a number of British people living in France voted to leave the EU and many of them came here "to get away from the immigrants" in the UK.
Two points especially puzzle me - firstly, they themselves are now the immigrants, although I think they prefer the world 'expat'. Secondly, they are now totally surrounded by foreigners and are in the minority here. Anyway, they also seem to be very happy to move to France.
5. You Can Be Self Sufficient And Survive In France
Lets suppose that the worst comes to the worst - you can buy a house with land to grow vegetables and raise animals, woodland and a well or spring water for less than a two up two down terrace house in Manchester. You can heat water and cook on a wood burning stove, you can light your house with petrol lamps. You can even get a horse or two. And if war breaks out they are unlikely to be gunning for us in the middle of woodland and fields.
A Taste Of Rural France
6. Rural France Is Excellent For Drivers
Rural Limousin has miles of empty roads, loads of free parking and is a great place to drive. No more traffic jams, no more car pollution, no more heart attack inducing road rages.
As you get older driving becomes more difficult so one of the advantages of moving here is that you avoid the hectic roads in the UK. Another advantage is that you are not subjected to tests at seventy.
At the moment it's easy to change your UK license for a French licence, but there may be problems with driving licences after Brexit, so another reason to get here before the Leave date and get a French licence.
7. Good Internet Connection
Limousin is perfect for anyone who can work on line. It was one of the first areas to benefit from fast internet connections.
8. An Agreeable Climate
This is one of the main reasons to move to France - warm sunny summers and bright if cold winters. Say goodbye to miserable, grey, wet winters and disappointing British summers. Spring starts in March and Autumn extends to November so you have perhaps four months of winter. Save money on heating.
Having said that, winters can be colder, if sunnier, than most parts on Britain and, thanks to the government cheating pensioners by including the islands of the Caribbean as part of France when calculating average temperatures, you won't get a cold weather allowance.