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France > Expat Experiences


Richard Haylock, Dordogne

Published Monday June 17, 2019 (14:53:32)
Richard and Alison
Richard and Alison

Who are you?

My name's Richard Haylock, and my wife's Alison.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

We moved to the Dordogne in November 2014 after retiring and wishing to open a B+B in a warmer country than Scotland.

What challenges did you face during the move?

Moving three dogs, two people, two vehicles, nearly 1000 miles, without knowing that we had actually completed our purchase!

How did you find somewhere to live?

Internet research and using a local, English-speaking estate agent.

What is your relationship like with the locals?

Excellent. They have welcomed us, supported us and appreciated our cooking!

What do you like about life where you are?

There's a general absence of traffic. Also the different rhythm of life - it's more relaxed. And the big, open countryside.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

The jobsworth attitude of gas, water and phone companies; absence of English translations in official French documentation; and the apparent unaccountability of notaires.

What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

The bases of the two legal systems and the French dinner party, which starts late and goes for ever!

What do you think of the food and drink in your new country? What are your particular likes or dislikes?

We've eaten out a lot, and we ran our own restaurant. We have not gone fine dining.

Foodwise I'm unimpressed with the French resistance to change, improvement, or opening their markets to foodstuffs from outside France. Their agriculture is very heavily protected, and their cooking, in general, is little better than average.

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

Do not renovate older properties unless 1/ you have a very big wallet or 2/ you are a builder and do it yourself.

Get bilingual clerical and business support as soon as you arrive. It's worth it.

What are your plans for the future?

We're going to generate a third income to support the renovation of our old house (see above, har har!)

You can keep up to date with Richard's adventures on his website, Franco Kitchen, and get in touch with him via email on

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