Jane Vernon from Staffordshire UK, moved to France in 2005. Her first home was near Marmande, a tranquil town in the Lot-et-Garonne, southwest France. However, she recently moved to the town of Duras in the same area, with her four children. As an agent of Leggett Immobillier, the award-winning agency in France, her property portfolio covers the Lot-et-Garonne and Gironde areas and Jane knows this part of France very well.
We asked her – what makes this such a great place for expats?
What is your home like in Lot-et-Garonne?
My first house was basically habitable but it needed heaps of work. It was quite remote, had lots of land and needed a lot of renovation. It was a great learning curve. My current house is in the town of Duras where I moved to be closer to friends and convenience a town can offer. I work full-time and have three children in full time education and Duras is the perfect base for a family.
What do you love about Duras and the surrounding area?
The transport networks to this area of France are excellent, approximately 30 minutes to Bergerac and just over an hour to Bordeaux. With the TGV high-speed train from Paris to Bordeaux at just under two hours, this area is proving to be very popular. The region is also well known for its micro-climate, resulting in a mediterranean-style warmth and with good weather for most of the year, what’s not to like?
There is so much to do here, the chateau town of Duras is a lively, thriving town, with small shops and restaurants, and as its centerpiece the chateau, with many ongoing events throughout the year. We are also close to the wonderful beaches at Arcachon, Bordeaux and its shopping, and of course the vineyards of Duras, cotes de Duras, where a wine tasting trip is a must.
Do you consider yourself a member of the local community?
I used to be involved on the council (Mairie’s office) for social events. I attend weekly sportive classes – it’s a great way to meet people, and I’m also a member of the rambling team. The more you put into becoming a part of the community, the more you get out of it and will make friends and feel like you belong.
What are your top tips for others house hunting in France
I’m a full time bi-lingual estate agent and love to help clients of all nationalities find their dream property. I search for their ideal property whatever the budget, arrange visits and accompany the buyer through the entire buying process from start to finish.
My top tips are:
It’s really important to learn the language, it opens so many doors.
Get to know the area and listen to the advice of the estate agent.
Work out exactly what type of property you want and take into consideration the key things. Budget, size of land, renovation project, is it a permanent home or holiday property? Some clients think they wants lots of land, this can be a mistake if it is only a holiday property. My job is to give advice and really help a client figure out what is best and then find it for them. If I don’t have what they want on my portfolio, then I will search for the property that meets their requirements.
See Jane’s property portfolio of properties at: www.frenchestateagents.com/allproperties/agent/jane-vernon