Moving to France? 10 Reasons Why You Should Move to the Charente

Welcome in South-West France

Montmoreau in South-Charente is situated right in het heart of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region with Bordeaux as its capital city. This region is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean in the West and by the Pyrenees in the South


Why South Charente?

The golden triangle to invest in, one hour drive from Bordeaux, between the Dordogne and the Atlantic Coast.

Why you should move to South-Charente, 10 times over. (These aren’t necessarily ranked in any particular order):

1) The climate, of course: 40% more hours of sunshine than in the U.K.!
With a milder climate, not nearly as extreme as in the Provence.
2) Food: This is France, they know great food here. The Charente in particular is known for its delicious Melon Charentais, which you should try with some Pineau de Charentes. It’s the perfect starter course. And don’t forget to try a little Cognac after a nice meal with some friends.
3) The area, nature and the opportunity for family outings:
An absolutely stunning countryside. After all, they don’t call it the French Tuscany for nothing.
4) Distance: The South within reach!
At the very most, it will take you 1 day to get here.
5) Economic development: the LGV-project: an 8 billion euro investment!
Since July 2017, to go from Paris to Bordeaux only takes a short two-hour ride, Angoulême being the penultimate stop.
6) Low prices: Same budget, (much) bigger house!
Building land prices are set at 10 €/m², low energy fees, etc.
7) A real sense of security: low crime rates
8) Climate change: ideal altitude.
80 to 180 meters above the sea level. So no worries there.
9) Higher life expectancy: Live 10 years longer in the South-West of France.
We’re serious. Try Googling “The French Paradox”.
10) Stargazing “à volonté”
No air pollution whatsoever. Enjoy those stars.

1/ Charente’s ideal Climate

Due to the proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, the climate over here is milder than in the Ardèche or in Lubéron. It can also get really hot here in the Summer, but ventilating the house at strategical hours usually more than does the trick. You don’t have to go into hiding in a room with air-conditioning. Depending on the season, the average temperatures are 5 to 10 degrees higher than in the U.K.

40% more sun hours than in the U.K.

*Statistic period 1981 – 2010:
London: 1.410 hours of sun / year
Manchester: 1.416 hours of sun / year
Dublin, Ireland: 1.424 hours of sun / year
Glasgow: 1.203 hours of sun / year
Montmoreau (South-Charente): 1.955 hours of sun / year
This means that, in one year, we enjoy at least 80 days or almost 3 full months of extra sun! (With 7 hours of sun a day in average)

*Carte d’ensoleillement:
This is a term used by the French government to determine the amount of energy generated by solar panels throughout the area. The gauranteed amount generated in South-Charente is equal to the energy generated in the Rhone Valley (which is 30% more than what is generated in the North of France).



Need we say more? France and food, a marriage made in heaven.


  • Melons: Melon Charentais or Canteloup: grown on the ideal clay and limestone grounds of the Charente
  • Pineau-de-Charentes: an apéritief: white or rosé: always serve chilled!
  • Cognac: all great Cognacbrands: Remy Martin, Hennessey, Martell, Courvoisier, Otard, …
  • Magret de Canard and Foie Gras, Poulet de Barbezieux, Veau de Chalais, Boeuf Limousin (from the Charente Limousine)
  • La cagouille: l’escargot à la charentaise (our version of the (in)famous French taste for snails)
  • Goat cheese, walnut-oil, Pineau vinegar
  • Artisanal flower by the miller
  • Truffles

On the Atlantic coast, near Bordeaux

  • Oysters: more than 50% of the French oyster-production
  • Bordeaux wine: Saint Emilion, Médoc, Graves, Pessac-Léognan, Pomerol, …

Breakfast with a view, enjoy





South-Charente, also called “The Tuscany of France”, has lots of idyllic villages with their Roman churches, set in stunning hilly landscapes with beautiful manor houses and their vineyards.


Montmoreau, located on the pilgrimage route to Santiago di Compostella, is a centuries old French village situated in between the hills, woods and open fields of the South-Charente. Near the old 12th Century Roman church and the beautiful castle, you find all you could possibly need: a big supermarket, a medical centre, a train station to both Angoulême and Bordeaux, pharmacists, banks, butchers, bakers, restaurants, bars, hair salons, beauticians, etc.
Wherever you walk, turn a corner and there is yet another unique view to be admired, a sunflower field seemingly stretching on until infinity, the golden brown colour of the bales of straw alternating with vast colourful vineyards.


At approximatively 15 minutes from Montmoreau, there are various charming villages with local markets, brocantes, cosy café terraces and restaurants:
Aubeterre-sur-Dronne (one of France’s most beautiful villages!), a very charming village with an authentic town square lined with nice restaurants and typical French bars.
Chalais with its castle and monastery as well as a much sought out market sprawling through the entire village on Mondays.
Villebois Lavalette‘s lovely castle, church, and roofed market place stem from the Middle Ages.
Magnac-Lavalette: La Mercerie


Also nearby:

Angoulême: (the capital city from the Charente)
If you want to escape the peace and tranquility of the French countryside for a few moments, a visit to Angoulême should definitely be on the top of your list. This world famous “city of the comic book” needs no introduction to the fans of the genre. Angoulême has everthing: a modern shopping street, an authentic old city centre with many cosy restaurants, cafés and beautiful cultural sightings. Every year, a vintage street car race, the “Circuit des Remparts” takes place at the heart of the City.


Cognac: World famous because of the eponymous product which is made there.
Offers plenty of interesting sights, as well as many Cognac houses to visit.


Neighbouring departments:

Dordogne: just 10 minutes away, with among others Brantôme, “The Venice of the Périgord”, Bourdeilles and Sarlat-la-Caneda.


Charente Maritime with Messchers-sur-Gironde, Saint Georges de Didonne and La Rochelle with its peninsulas of île de Ré and île d’Oléron.



The Gironde department is one hour drive away. There you will find:

1) Bordeaux: France’s most beautiful city! (after Paris of course)


2) Famous vineyards and wine villages:
Médoc, Graves, Sauternes, Pomérol
Saint Emilion
: a beautifully preserved city from the Middle Ages (Unesco World Heritage)


3) Bassin d’Arcachon and Dune de Pyla
The highest dune of Europe offers a breathtaking view of the bay and the Atlantic Ocean.


4/ THE PERFECT Distance

The South is within reach thanks to France’s excellent infrastructure

By car: barely 900km:
Go via Rouen or around Paris and follow the A10 to Bordeaux until Poitiers, take the exit at Angoulême and then follow Libourne. Almost the entire trip can be done on the motorway (130km/h) or 2×2 voir rapide (110km/h).
The trip is easily done in about 10 hours


By Train: TGV:
From Lille straight to Angoulême in just 4 hours!
From Paris to Angoulême: 2 hours
If you book early enough you can find tickets at 40 € or less.

By Plane: From the UK:
Flights to Bordeaux-Mérignac – BOD from:
London City – LCY (11km from London)
Stansted – STN (64km from London) – Ryanair: 9,90€
Gatwick – LGW (53km from London)
Luton – LTN (64km from London)
Other flights possible from Bristol, Birmingham or Dublin (Ireland)
Flights to Mérignac (Bordeaux) or Bergerac: 1h30′ from 10 € onwards


5/ CHARENTE’S Economic Development

8 billion euros ( €) has been invested in a new train track from Tours to Bordeaux, for high-speed trains (LGV)


This means that it takes barely 2 hours to go to Bordeaux (one of the French’s favourite cities, second only to Paris) from Paris.

All cities and areas near this new train track will experience some sort of economic “boom”. Angoulême will then be only 35 minutes away from Bordeaux, and at only 1h35′ from Paris and will be, with the entire South-Charente, an interesting economic (i.e. cheaper) expansion of the Bordeaux metropole (1 million inhabitants estimated by 2030).



6/ Prices

Get more for your money!

After a substantial price decrease following the financial crisis:
Figures 2016:
Charente: 1.129 €/m²
Dordogne: 1.354 €/m²
Charente-Maritime: 1.994 €/m²
Gironde: 2.254 €/m²
Bordeaux: 3.153 €/m²


A “Golden triangle”, the South-Charente, emerges – for now. It is highly likely that, in the short term, those prices will be pushed up by the dynamic imposed by its neighbouring regions.

Lower energy fees: a very efficient electric grid, and thus cheaper.


7/ Security

Barely any crime : low crime rates.
It is still possible to leave behind your car unlocked here. Doors and windows are usually only closed over long absences.


8/ Climate Change

Location, location, location: not too high, not too low.
Altitude: 80 to 180 meters above the sea level.
Even with global warming and the sea level rising, the Charente is safe until the 23rd Century at least!


9/ Longer life expectancy

People in the Charente tend to live longer. In fact, the longer people live there, the longer they live. Meaning that, the sooner you get here, the likelier it becomes that you live longer.
The life expectancy in the South-West of France is 10 years higher on average than in the North-East of France.
It is also in the South-West of France that the most centennials live.

This is due to:

The air quality: barely any industry, factories, etc. as well as very little traffic (traffic jams are rare phenomena around here!) so very little fine dust particles.

The French paradox:
The so called contradiction between the eating habits of South-West France locals and their health.
Despite their diet of foie gras and confit de canard, drinking Bordeaux wine, Cognac, Pineau de Charentes, etc. people here live longer than average.
There are several explanations for this French paradox:
Good cholesterol in the poultry used in local dishes.
A milder climate: better air ventilation of the workplace and home during the entire year.
Warmer temperatures reduce the risk of heart attacks. Only 80 out of 100.000 people get a heart attack versus twice as many in the rest of France and four times as many in the US!
A sense of freedom and space.
Excellent healthcare.
The Charentais way of life: our “savoir vivre”: NO STRESS
“Demain” or “la semaine prochaine” are the most commonly used expressions in the Charente. After all, it is definitely not a coincidence that the symbol of the Charente is a snail (La Cagouille).



10/ Stargazing “à volonté”

No air pollution whatsoever. Enjoy those stars!



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