Expat Life In Bearn, France

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The Secret To Enjoying The World’s Best Quality Of Life

After seven years in Spain, Euro-Correspondent Lucy Culpepper and her husband decided it was time to try a new lifestyle on for size.

How to choose a new country?

They’d take off for an extended scouting mission, they decided, with their two young children in tow.

As Lucy explains:

“We agreed we’d spend a year or so trying out different places. We wanted to do this before our children, then 6 and 10, got too old to appreciate the adventure (or the time with us!).

“We focused first on the Caribbean coast of Mexico, at Merida. We’d done a lot of research and thought we’d really love this part of this country. We rented a house in Progreso, the beach town outside Merida, for a month.

“We knew within the first 24 hours, however, that this place was not for us. It was too hot, too flat, too arid… We stuck out our month here but couldn’t wait to move on.

“Next we tried El Valle, Panama. This place we loved. Cooler climate, rolling hills, and much greener. This area outside Panama City is so lush. The trouble was there was no international-standard school in this region of Panama. So, while we really enjoyed our time here, we knew we’d have to move on.

“While in El Valle, other expats we met recommended we take a look at Costa Rica. This country, in the mountains outside San Jose, could offer just what we were looking for, they thought–lush landscapes, cool climate, and, critical for us, good international schooling options.

“Again, we rented a house for a month. On paper, as those we’d been speaking with had explained, this was a perfect fit. But we didn’t feel comfortable…or safe. All the expats we met had invested in gates and grills and glass-encrusted walls around their properties. Home break-ins are very common, we found out. We didn’t feel good about raising our children here, and even our easygoing children found the attention they got a little unnerving.

“Then we had a family emergency in the United States. It was good timing, as the six weeks we spent in the States gave us a chance to regroup. We decided we wouldn’t return to Costa Rica…and we came to a more fundamental decision, as well…

“What we really wanted, we realized, was Europe. We’d been so happy in Spain all those years. Central America just wasn’t working for us.

“More research led us to France, where we’ve been happily installed now for more than two years.

“After decades traveling around the world and spending time in dozens of countries, I can say with confidence that, for me…and for many other expats, as well…France simply offers the best quality of life in the world.

“We’re in the Bearn, next-door to the Basque region in the southwest of this country. The lifestyle here is relaxed, and the community has been very welcoming. We feel completely at home and safe. The crime rate is exceedingly low. We have no sense of insecurity…

“Plus, this part of the world is historic, cultured, and beautiful. As I’m writing this, I’m watching out my window as the sun is setting on the Pyrenees…”

Lucy has brought all this firsthand experience to bear in the new “Live and Invest in France” manual that she has just completed for us. Lucy’s comprehensive guide to living, retiring, owning real estate, enjoying yourself, even raising a family in this glorious country is in production now. When it’s complete, we’ll bundle it with the three region-specific France Retirement Guides Lucy has also written…as well as the complete set of audio-recordings from the two days of meetings we convened in Paris with key experts on residency, taxation, banking, purchasing real estate, obtaining a local mortgage, running a business, medical care, health insurance, and every other topic of importance to the would-be expat or retiree in France…to create our all-new Live and Invest in France Kit.

Kathleen Peddicord

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About Author

Kathleen Peddicord

Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With 30 years of experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring and investing overseas in her daily e-letter. Her newest book, "How To Buy Real Estate Overseas," published by Wiley & Sons, is the culmination of decades of personal experience living and investing around the world.