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Where to buy a house in the country?

As mentioned in the first part of How to buy a house in the country, there are a number of criteria you need to study carefully before taking the plunge. This will 1) save you time in your search, but above all 2) ensure that your change of life goes smoothly.

For our part, once the decision had been made to move to the country, we had to decide where in the region we wanted to live. For reasons of family proximity, but also for its easy access to most of France (A7 highway and Paris-Marseille TGV), we quickly targeted the Drôme. After that, you need to know where in the region, because it's vast and not every location has the same advantages and disadvantages.

When you're buying a house in the country, location isn't just a question of price, as it tends to be in Paris (although that's also a factor). The location of the house in the country defines our daily life and the rhythm of our days. Living in the country generally means a car journey, something we know little about or avoid as much as possible in Paris intramuros. And naturally, the amount of time spent behind the wheel each day will depend entirely on the location of the house. So you need to think carefully about :

  • Your work

If the move is gradual and involves a lot of telecommuting with a few return trips to Paris, proximity to a TGV station is essential. Alternatively, you could look at a wider area, but be careful not to stray too far either, if you want family and friends to be able to visit you easily. For us, telecommuting is out of the question, so we decided on the larger option :)

  • Children

Depending on their age, the location will change, but you have to bear in mind that if you want them to take drama on Wednesday mornings, a bit of rugby in the afternoon and piano on Saturdays, it's best not to be far from everything. For school trips, there are often shuttles that pass through many small villages, but beware of their frequency and the time it takes to get them there. For older children, living in a house far from the center can be synonymous with isolation.

  • Shopping

When you move from a big city to the country, you like to think of yourself in a remote setting, where birds are the only noise nuisance. But when you come from a big city, you tend to do your shopping piecemeal, depending on the mood of the day. Of course, you can change your habits, but you'll always need to visit the food shops regularly. The village house can therefore be a good solution for those who don't want to change their lifestyle too much, but it means more terraced living and a smaller plot of land.

  • Road access

Even beyond the importance of roads (national or departmental), certain roads are favored because they serve important work sites more directly or represent a good alternative route for returning from vacation. Some people have already experienced this phenomenon in Paris since the advent of Waze, as they discovered traffic jams just outside their homes overnight from 9.30pm to 10.15pm. I visited a house that seemed quite peaceful along a small 3-digit departmental road, and on revisiting it I discovered that the traffic was incessant because it was Friday evening and the freeway, 10 km away, was completely clogged.

  • Connection to city networks

When we bought our house, we were very reluctant to buy an isolated house located 3 km from a village of 1,400 inhabitants. The water came only from a borehole in a spring (never dried up, according to the sellers), and of course there was no mains drainage. These 2 criteria shouldn't be prohibitive for everyone, but you have to think about them, because in these cases, you're on your own to keep your network healthy, and if you ever want to hook up, you'll have to pay for the connection to the city network, which isn't necessarily right next door.

Today, I congratulate myself every day on not having chosen this house, because the one we chose is located 10 minutes from all our daily interests: school, nursery, shops, sport, etc. So my car journeys are reduced to a strict minimum, which suits me just fine. So my car journeys are reduced to a strict minimum, which suits me just fine. We're set back from the main roads, and connected to all the urban networks.

If you're unfamiliar with the area you're looking at, or would like to consult an expert, don't hesitate to call on the services of a property hunter. I'll be able to advise you according to your needs.


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