With France so easy to reach all year, it’s a waste to leave your home there just for the spring and summer months. Winter in France has a charm all of its own, whether you love the countryside, the wine or just snoozing by a roaring fire
Whether you are buying a second home or planning to live full time in France, it’s important to understand that there can be enormous differences in the seasons. Much of the country is bathed in warm sunshine for the summer and often right into September and October, but the winter months can be cold and many restaurants and bars may not open as much or even at all in rural parts.
The key to successful French living is to integrate into French society.
France has so many stunningly beautiful towns, villages and countryside, but if you are intending to stay there off-season, you really ought to see if you still like it when the weather is chilly and the days are short. France isn’t always warm and sunny, although it’s always wonderful (in my opinion!).
Integrating in France
The key to successful French living is to integrate into French society. There are plenty of differences between life here and in the UK but instead of remarking on them, go with the flow and join in. Go to your village café as much as you can, talk to people and ask advice. You will often be more successful at making friends in winter, when you will be welcomed as a local, and will soon find your network of friends and acquaintances growing.
Air transport is different in the winter too. Although there are plenty of routes and a choice of budget airlines covering the whole country, flights may be scheduled to your favoured destination less often in winter (unless you’re near a ski resort, in which there will be many more). When you are looking for your new French home, do your homework on transport so you know you are within striking distance of an airport which still has flights in the winter.
The colours are truly extraordinary when you walk by the canal or amongst the vines
We love the winter months here in the south of France. The sun is low in the sky but there is still plenty of it, even though it has now turned colder! The colours are truly extraordinary. There is nothing like a long dog walk by the canal or amongst the vines and coming home to a roaring open fire and a glass of Corbieres or Minervois wine.
We live in a working rural community and it is satisfying to know we are a part of it. There are still plenty of canal-side restaurants open here and our local weekly market is as busy as ever. Anywhere in France which has a tourist industry is likely to be the same so if you would rather not feel isolated, it is important to seek out the more popular parts of France or be close to a thriving city or town.
France is beautiful and inviting in all seasons. Although the long hot summers, where we are outside until the early hours, are wonderful, we would not be without the changing seasons. You need to experience them all before you decide if you feel the same way!