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An Insider’s Guide to Living in the South ...
There is a reason why so many expats are drawn to the South of France and it isn’t just because the weather is good - although with 300 days a year of sunshine, blue skies are almost taken for granted. The main motivating factor is that a move to France’s warm and cultural south offers a complete change of lifestyle.
Here are 7 glorious things about the South of France that make living there so appealing:
From the ancient towns and cities near the Spanish border in the West to the style and sophistication of resorts like Cannes and Antibes as you nudge closer to the Italian border in the East, the gently lapping waters of the Mediterranean create a laid-back holiday feel.
British writer F Scott Fitzgerald once described the waters of the Riviera as “fairy blue” and the Cote d’Azur as a “playground”. Right along France’s Southern coastline residents and holidaymakers alike enjoy a beach lifestyle of al fresco dining and outdoor activity.
In the summer months the options for eating outside are even greater as paillotes pop up serving food and drink on the beach. Even towns and cities that lie a little inland are influenced by their proximity of the coast and enjoy a relaxed ambience.
Going Car Free
The superb public transport network from Cannes to Monaco and Italy means that there are alternatives to driving your sports car around town with the roof down. In fact, expats living on the Cote d’Azur rarely drive.
If they are not taking the bus they are usually walking and making the post of the pedestrian-friendly cities and cloud-free skies. Nice is a particularly pleasant city centre to walk around and has the added benefit of a broad seafront esplanade which stretches for miles and is well-utilised by walkers, cyclists and joggers.
Taking a Lunch Break
How many of us ever really take a proper lunch break? In the South of France it is virtually unheard of to have a sandwich at your desk. The French take lunch very seriously and give themselves a proper break. One of the joys of becoming an expat in this part of the world is taking time to enjoy a meal – and even a swim - outdoors in the middle of the day.
The pace slows down and whatever you happen to be doing next, whether you are returning to work or going back to the shade of your luxury villa you are bound to feel refreshed.
Trying a New Sport
The proximity of the sea, the mountains, national parks and coastal trails makes the South of France the perfect place to try out a new sport or pastime. Thanks to the mild climate, there are year-round opportunities for swimming, scuba diving, rambling, rock-climbing, windsurfing, yachting, canoeing, cycling, horse riding and orienteering. These are just a few ideas and if there is something else you are keen to try, there is bound to be somewhere to learn it.
Unlocking your Inner Foodie
The abundance of local food and wine In the South of France is a phenomenon that amazes many expats when they arrive in the South of France and the bounty continues all year round. The local markets are a superb source of ingredients and most towns and cities hold them regularly.
The Medieval city of Carcassone has a particularly lively market in the Place Carnot which sells fresh regional produce three times a week. It won’t be long before the weekly drag around bland supermarket aisles full of pre-packed, uniform fruit and veg is a distant memory.
In this part of France shopping, like cooking and eating, is all about taking time and picking up your bread from the boulangerie, meats and cheeses from the boucherie and charcutiere and fish from the poissonnerie.
Slowing Down the Pace
Commuting, traffic jams and diary cramming are some of the push factors that inspire a move to France in the first place so how different is it when you get there? It isn’t just that life is lived at a slower pace. The reality is that life is savoured.
There is far less pressure to be somewhere at a certain time and as a result everything is simply more enjoyable. Let’s face it, there is little point relocating to a beautiful city like Toulouse, with its stunning old town, orangey brown rooftops and coral pink buildings if you don’t have time to stop and appreciate it.
You may be lucky enough to be moving into your very own modern villa in the Alpes-Maritimes or in exclusive Occitanie resorts such as Argelès-sur-Mer but even if your accommodation is a little more modest, your surroundings won’t be. Soak up the glamour of the Riviera, indulge in the cultural riches of Carcassonne and Montpellier and enjoy the natural beauty of Languedoc, Provence and the Alps and Pyrenees. Tell us about your requirements and start your search today ....