Next year marks three decades since the late Peter Mayle published A Year in Provence, a must-read book that quickly became a benchmark for expats writing about their new life in France. It inspired countless others to move across the Channel, in particular to Provence. Of course, other adventurous Brits have since written about their own experiences in other parts of the country and here we pick five that may interest you.

Region: Pas-de-Calais

Book: My Good Life in France: In Pursuit of the Rural Dream

Tucked in the north-west corner of the country in sight of Dover across the Channel, Pas-de-Calais is somewhere most Brits pass through when they drive off the ferry or Eurotunnel train. Calais and the flat landscape that surrounds the port city are uninspiring, to say the least. However, as author Janine Marsh knows full well, drive south for about an hour and you find yourself in a wonderful land of rolling hills, ancient woodland and rivers.

The Seven Valleys are home to rolling hills, ancient woodland and rivers.

This area is known as the Seven Valleys. It’s home to pretty old towns like Hesdin and Loisin-sur-Créquoise, and riverside villages like Planques and Fressin. In her book, Janine recounts her adventures buying a run-down home there. Find out how she slowly turned it into a rural bolthole – one that is very easy to reach from the UK!

Many of us who make the leap across the Channel have been inspired by a book.

Not a bad place to sit and read a book!

Region: Loire Valley

Book: À La Mod: My So-Called Tranquil Family Life in Rural France

Stand-up comedian, radio presenter and writer Ian Moore lives in France with wife Natalie and their three children, after waving goodbye to the UK 14 years ago. The family live in a converted farmhouse near the town of Chabris in the countryside of the Loire Valley, where they have recently opened a chambre d’hôtes called La Pause. ‘À La Mod’ is one of Ian’s two books. The other is ‘C’est Magnique: Adventures of an English Grump in Rural France’, which recounts his experiences becoming an expat with a family in rural France, including a tricky period of commuting back to the UK. As you’d expect, both have comic edges!

If you've been inspired by reading a book about the Loire, discover this property.

Charming renovated character property with guest accommodation in the Loire Valley. Click on the image to view more detail.

 

Region: Dordogne

Book: Grape Expectations

Who hasn’t dreamt of having their own vineyard nestled amongst the rolling French countryside? Wine guru and writer Caro Feely and her husband Sean turned that into reality. They bought and moved into a run-down 18th-Century farmhouse surrounded by ten hectares of vines in Saussignac, near Bergerac. And that was with their two young children in tow.

Caro’s first book describes the trials and tribulations of restoring their run-down home while transforming their ‘beyond eccentric’ organic winery into a successful business.

Caro’s first book describes the trials and tribulations of restoring their run-down home while transforming their ‘beyond eccentric’ organic winery into a successful business. She followed up with two sequels, ‘Saving our Skins’ and ‘Glass Half Full – the Ups and Downs of Wineyard Life in France’.

Looking for legal advice to make sure your property is completely above board, but not sure how to find a trusted solicitor? We can put you in touch with our hand-picked legal specialists, about whom we regularly receive glow feedback from our readers.

Region: Poitou-Charentes

Book: Tout Sweet: Hanging up my High Heels for a New Life in France

Still in her thirties and single, former fashion editor Karen Wheeler decided to escape her busy London lifestyle by throwing herself into a more tranquil, rural existence in Poitou-Charentes. She bought a fixer-upper village house and with no hot water or heating began the journey of transforming it into a home. In the process, she highlights how under-rated the Poitevin countryside is and discovers how much she enjoys exploring by bike or on foot. Her French adventures have resulted in a blog and two more books, ‘Tout Allure: Falling in Love in Rural France’ and ‘Tout Soul: The Pursuit of Happiness in Rural France’.

 

If you've been inspired by reading a book to move to the Poitou-Charente, discover this stunning period home.

Picturesque character home in Poitou-Charentes countryside. Click on the image to view more detail.

 

Any of these properties or others from our property portal tick all your boxes? The next step is to go out and view them – so make sure you know what to look out for with our free Viewing Trip guide.

 

Region: Limousin

Bon Courage, Les Anglais: Tales of the Uninitiated in Rural France

Peter and Christine Wakefield offer a warts and all account of their experience tackling a restoration project in rural Limousin. Retired and looking for adventure, the couple bought and moved into their rundown house in the village of Bénévent. However, it was all far from plain sailing. As they reveal in their book, the realities of fixing up and maintaining an old, rural property leave little time for kicking back and sipping chilled wine, even during the winter.

 

Has a book inspired you to move to the Limousin? Discover this property.

Charming and very affordable stone cottage in Limousin. Click on the image to view more detail.

Ready to move to France?

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About The Author

Richard Way

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