The Good Life France

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Why Gers is one of the best places to live in France

Beautiful stone house with big garden, sun bed and bottle of wine in garden, Gers France

The beautiful rural Gers deparment is a little known and forgotten corner of southwest France.

For those looking for a laid back lifestyle in la France profonde, a region where the good life is revered, and the people are friendly – Gers is a fabulous place to live.

And if teleworking or working from home are an option, you’ll find that the Armagnac region of France has lots to lure you.

Living and working in the Armagnac region

Half-timbered house with arcaded front in Fources, GersThe many advantages of a destination like the Armagnac region. The area encompasses the departments of the Gers, Landes and Lot-et-Garonne (the same for the Armagnac AOC brandy appellation zone). It has great accessibility to the transport network be it Toulouse or Bordeaux airports (1½-2 hours drive). TGV high speed trains can speed you from Agen to Paris in just 5 hours. And, if you want to work from home the internet service offers high speed broadband and fibre optic networks. Huge investments are being deployed over the whole area.

As the birthplace of D’Artagnan, Alexandre Dumas’ hero from The Three Musketeers – and France’s oldest brandy, Armagnac, Gers is steeped in history. It’s biggest town is Auch, the capital of the department, but with a population of around 32,000, it’s not crowded.

Gorgeous villages and heavenly countryside

Beautiful countryside of Gers, rolling hills covered in vineyards and forests

Choose from picturesque stone bastide towns and pretty medieval villages like Fourcés and Larressinge. The  countryside is dotted with Roman ruins and castles alongside hamlets and villages. You’ll find it’s a feast for the eyes in any season. This little-populated region is crisscrossed by country lanes that wind over hillsides and valleys past swathes of sunflowers, fields of wheat, orchards of figs and walnuts. Not to mention the hillsides smothered in vines.

This is a land of plenty. Bestowed with phrases such as God’s larder, gastronomy is an essential element of ‘art-de-vivre’ in the region. In the fertile soil and with a mellow year round temperature – everything grows.  Most homeowners have a ‘potager’, vegetable garden. And, if you’re a keen gardener, you’ll find yourself in good company in Gers. This is a land where chickens roam free-range and bustling local markets are a part of daily life.

With enticing areas such as the stunning Pyrenees, west coast beaches, Basque country, Spain and the Côte d’Azur on the doorstep, you’ll never run out of things to do.

Buying a property in Gers

Looking out from a hilly village, topped by a castle, over the countryside of Gers

The low prices of properties in the area are a real temptation. Examples range from €50,000 for a 2-bedroomed village house to €400,000 for a country property set in an enviable location with a private lake.

If you don’t speak French, don’t worry.  Though you’ll often read its necessary to speak fluent French to get by, you’ll find a smattering helps and most people pick it up really quickly. Also the friendly locals are happy to help correct you!

There’s a ton of advice and help on the Internet regarding the practicalities and logistics of moving to France. It’s pretty straightforward for those wishing to become self-employed (auto entrepreneur) which registers you into the French system. And by the way, the health care system in France is superb.

If you long to escape the rat race, then this idyllic off-the-beaten track location might be just what you’re looking for.

British-born Victoria Garnham is an independent property agent working with Armagnac Immo based in Eauze, Gers. If you’d like to find your dream home in Gers, contact Victoria at: victoria @ armagnac-immo.fr

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