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The Dennisons share their story of creating a new life in Deux-Sevres
There are many reasons why you will have thought about, dreamt of, or even considered moving to France; the culture, the climate and the cost, but what has stopped you from making that move?
France has over 170,000 expats currently scattered throughout its beautiful country, all of whom have their own story to tell yet these inspiring tales are rarely shared once the ‘sold’ sign has been placed outside their home. As true romantics for people living their dreams we regularly meet couples and families with desires of moving to France, it’s always a pleasure to revisit them once they have settled into their new home. Since making their move in 2014, we have recently caught up with Barbara and Martin Dennison as they share their story about their new life in Deux-Sèvres.
What made you move to France?
We have been holidaying in France for as long as we can remember; when our children were small we would travel down from Somerset to Montpellier and "Perpignan":/blog/a-postcard-from-perpignan on the train, which was quite an adventure! Once the children had grown up our summer holidays changed quite a bit, we preferred a slower-paced style of holiday staying in rental homes and visiting local markets to test out our favourite French recipes. We enjoyed trips to Gaillac and the Dordognel but there was just something about the Charentes region, in particular, Deux-Sèvres that made our decision to move so easy.
What was it that you loved about Deux-Sèvres?
After visiting Deux-Sèvres one summer, we came home and told people that we were thinking of buying a home there and everyone’s response was the same, “Where?” This is when we realised that we had found a special place that had captured our hearts and we were looking forward to sharing this hidden gem with our friends and family. As the least well-known and sparsely populated department in the "Poitou-Charentes":/blog/a-postcard-from-the-charente, rolling countryside, historic towns and great food and wine surrounds us, what’s not to love?
How do you spend your time?
Now that we are retired our life has become one long holiday, as we were both previously teachers our vacation time was always determined by the school calendar but now even our weekdays feel like weekends! Our decision to move to the Poitou-Charentes region also had some other key factors; one was the price of property in the Charente area and the other being the close proximity to the sandy beaches of the Atlantic coast and the Vendée. In fact the beaches are just one and a half hours away, La Rochelle is one of our favourite places to visit for the day. Back at home, we still enjoy taking in the natural beauty of the area, our morning walks can sometimes see us returning in the late afternoon after we’ve stopped for a coffee and croissant at our favourite delicatessen. When our children and grandchildren come to visit it’s like being back on one of our family holidays as adventure takes over and we’ve even been known to enjoy a birds eye view of our home in a hot air balloon! That was quite a day we could almost see to the coast! It’s not all go, go, go though, there are also places to fish and we’ve taken up golf, the rest of our time is spent relaxing, eating and drinking!
We remember that you bought a traditional country house, has it changed much?
We were so lucky to have found a beautiful 16th century stone house that quickly became our home. Full of charm and character we love it as much now as we did on our first viewing, it hasn’t changed inside but we have turned one of the outbuildings in to a guest house for our friends and family and we even have the occasional paying guest. It feels like a kind of full circle, we used to rent properties just like ours for the week as we explored different areas of France and now we are able to open up our home to do the same for other couples and families like us.
Do you have any advice for anyone thinking of moving to France?
Do it! We are honestly the happiest and healthiest that we have ever been. We can fly home in around 2 hours or it’s just a 5-hour drive to the ferry port. My French House was where it all began, we were able to quiz Patrick with all of our questions about moving, "home and car insurance":/insurance/, as well as "French health insurance":/insurance/health-insurance.php, "currency exchange tips to get best value for our euros":/legal-and-finance/commission-free-foreign-currency-exchange.php and even settling and life in France. We’re living the retirement that we’ve always dreamt of.
Barbara and Martin’s story is just one of many that we work with every day, as France is one of the most popular destinations for expat retirees. Enjoy your pension whilst paying less tax and stamp duty in the sun with a laid-back lifestyle and excellent healthcare system. France has it all and My French House has your dream rural and character home to suit, "start your search here.