When Linda Chamberlin from the UK met up with someone she met on a school exchange trip 22 years on, she little knew how much it would change her life.
Living the good life in Nontron
Linda Chamberlin left her home in a small fishing village in Cornwall, England, to move to France in 2010 with three of her four children, the eldest being at University at the time. She moved to be with her French partner in the lovely town of Nontron in the north of the Dordogne close to the Charente border.
“I came here by fate really. My partner and I met when we were 14 on a school exchange and we kept in contact for a few years, unfortunately as often happens we lost touch. However we found each other again 22 years later! We had a long distant relationship for three years and then we decided to really make a go of it and I made the move to France”.
Linda’s partner had already built a house but with six children between them, they needed to add more rooms to make it suit. Luckily they had the space to do that. “I love the vast open spaces and the undulating unspoilt countryside with no shortage of woodland, lakes and rivers. This area is beautiful and perfect to enjoy outdoor activities. I love the climate here and the clear distinction between the seasons” says Linda of the north of Dordogne. From Nontron, it’s even possible to do a beach day trip and weekend ski trip.
Life for an expat family in Nontron
Linda says that her kids were lucky to have help with their homework from her partner and living with someone French certainly helped her with learning the language. The children are involved with local sports and dance clubs. There are many local community events in Nontron and the surrounding villages which they enjoy joining in with.
“When I have the time I enjoy cycling, walking my dog and of course spending time with friends and family. In the summer we often go to one of the local beach lakes and enjoy a wander around the pretty town of Brantome where there is no shortage of restaurants with terraces to sit and relax.
I work as a Leggett Immobillier agent and spend time in the office and also travelling around discovering the area from tiny hamlets that you would hardly know existed, to towns where there are lots of facilities. “I love meeting people and the challenge of finding clients their ideal home and helping vendors find a buyer” she says.
Top tips for finding your idea property in Dordogne
Linda’s top tips to help clients find their ideal home in the Dordogne area:
Consider the location you want, it’s really important as France is so large and varied. I’d recommend you visit several different areas so you can consider what suits you best.
Budget is critical. If you need a loan, it’s a good idea to have an agreement in principle. I also advise you seek advice from exchange brokers to maximise your funds if you have currency conversion requirements.
Take your time, don’t cram in too many viewings in a day, you’ll end up exhausted and confused. If you can, build in a day off to take time to visit the area you’re interested in, don’t make it all about home seeking, this will give you a much better feel for the place you may end up living in.