Moving to the Charente

Your reasons for moving to the Charente will be as unique as you are.

The Charente is a wonderful area, with amazing countryside, beautiful weather and charming people.

We fell in love with is almost as soon as we saw it.

But besides the wonderful scenery and relaxed lifestyle, our key reason for moving to the Charente was to give ourselves and our son a new start. We thought a move abroad might provide opportunities that weren't available at home

Moving to the Charente

Whatever your reasons, (perhaps you're looking to buy a holiday home; maybe you're buying a place for your retirement;
or you may have decided to move your entire family for a total lifestyle transplant),
one thing is sure,
you will experience many of the same 
highs and lows that others have along the way.

Looking around

But before we get started on moving to the Charente, let's take a step back for those of you who haven't found the house of your dreams yet. 
What's the best way for you to get to the Charente? 
Many of you will have been coming to, or through, this region for your holidays over the years, so you already know your favourite routes. 
If you're not sure, or if you want to check out some alternatives, the Travelling to the Charente page might be useful.

Getting Ready for the Move

The decision to move to the Charente was fairly easy for us. The process wasn’t quite so!

A major revelation came when we went into the attic and realised just how much stuff we had accumulated over the years, especially with five children. And with both of us working to save up for the move, there was precious little time to organise the actual process of moving.

We pondered over what we were going to do with everything, as there was no way we could afford to transport everything in the house and a lot of it had remained untouched in the darkest corners of the loft for over ten years, so the chances of us needing it again were fairly remote!

We did scan the local newspaper for information on car boot sales and auction houses but our daughter’s boyfriend told us about e-bay and it proved by far the best way to get rid of most of the things we no longer wanted.

It really is amazing what some people will buy. We made more money than we could have thought possible just selling things we would have otherwise thrown out, which is always handy if you’re moving abroad! Also, because we could do everything from our house, at whatever time we wanted, it meant we didn’t have to spend our Saturday mornings selling dusty bric-a-brac from the back of the car in the drizzle.

And of course, once you’ve activated your account, it means you’ve got a permanent outlet to carry on selling once you get to France.

We did find out, though, that ebay can be quite addictive and you have to be disciplined to make sure you don’t end up buying more stuff than you sell!

We thoroughly recommend it, even if you’re a complete novice when it comes to the internet, as it’s very user friendly and so convenient that you may well discover a new hobby that (potentially) pays you quite handsomely!

Click here to trade on!

For information about selling: How do I Sell Safely?

The Old House at Home

If, like us, you are not planning to sell your house in the UK straight away and are coming over to rent for a few months, it is well worth taking a few extra precautions on the old place.

Notify your local police, burglar alarm company and your insurers.
Leave a key with a trusted neighbour as well as contact numbers in case of emergency.
I went to the DIY centre and bought some extra motion-sensor security lights to fit outside and got a few timer sockets to plug lights into, for strategic rooms inside.

Turn off your gas.

If you're coming over in winter, it might also be advisable to turn off your water and central heating.

(Of course you might also be able to pay for your trip and save some of these worries by renting out your house for the duration. But that's something we have not looked into yet.)

Council Tax

If your house is going to be empty you can claim a reduction on your council tax. We had a fifty percent reduction as it was furnished - otherwise we could have claimed more.

Electrics, TV, etc.

Electricity in France operates at 220 volts, so most of your UK equipment shouldwork fine, but the sockets are all two-pin. The little travel adapters that you can buy easily in the UK are not so widely available here, but they soon start to fall apart with repeated use and changing of appliances.

I soon found that the easiest solution was to buy a few four or five gang sockets from the DIY store in England and change the plug on those for an earthed two-pin over here.

I still run some equipment through these and they have stood up to all sorts of power surges and random power cuts.
But if you are running sensitive electronic equipment, do check with a qualified electrician first and don't just take my word for it.

TV's bought in the UK now work perfectly well over here. There's no longer any of the PAL vs SECAM hassle we used to have.

DVDs are comparatively expensive in France, so if you are heavily into them, it might be worth stocking up in the UK.

When buying videos or DVD's in France, remember that if you want the English language version, to check the back to see what languages it supports - most videos will be in French unless they are US / UK films marked VO (version originale).

Incidentally, if you want to sell any of your stock of DVDs or videos, you arewelcome to use the Classifieds section of this website.

If you buy a French television set, don't forget that you have to have a TV licence.
There's a Television Licence page on this site that explains how to obtain one.

Accommodation in the Charente

The best bit of advice we had when we came to the Charente was to rent for six months before we bought.
Not only did it give us a chance to settle into the area, (to find out about schools and work and to meet lots of new friends) it also brought us the opportunity to buy our own house directly from the sellers.
What a saving that was - and it is common practice in France.

To find our list of owners who are happy to rent at preferential rates for longer-term stays visit the Accommodation in the Charente page.

Language shouldn't be a problem for any of those listed, but if youdo hit a stumbling block, you can always contact us and we will be only too pleased to act as a go-between.

Or maybe you already own property in the Charente that you would like to rent out during the low-season? Again just contact us and we can include you on our list.

More on Moving to the Charente:

Finding a Property in the Charente
Moving to the Charente with Animals