Gascony, France

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Gascony, France: Everything You Need To Know

Reviewed by Kathleen Peddicord

Kathleen is the Live and Invest Overseas Founding Publisher. She has more than 30 years of hands-on experience traveling, living, and buying property around the world.

Panoramic of historical buildings Labastide-d'Armagnac. Gascony France

Gascony is a place where you can truly get away from it all… These days, it sounds like a tall order.

But the world is full of out-of-the-way havens and hamlets at once tranquil and bursting with opportunity…

One such place is Gascony. Nestled in the sedate southwestern corner ofFrance, between Bordeaux and the Pyrenees, this peaceful region is one of the least-known destinations in the country.

With a mild year-round climate ranging from 49°F to 66°F on average, Gascony is a pleasant place to spend the year.

Gascony is the epitome of La France Profonde, “deep France.”

The completely rural, agricultural lifestyles on offer here are unmoved by trends of any kind—global or national—and resist the influence of the greater world.

Pastoral Living

Expat Community In Gascony

While expats here are spread out among the many towns, villages, and countryside in between, they do exist.

Made up of mostly Brits and Northern Europeans, Americans and Canadians are just starting to find their way to this quiet little corner of France.

You won’t find clubs or organizations to join here, but social media and just being out and about will help you connect with fellow foreigners in Gascony.

Quaint villages make up Gascony, many of which are known as Les Plus Belles Villes de France (the prettiest towns of France) or Villes d’Art et d’Histoire (towns of art and history), make up a rustic network of sorts.

Nérac, Lot-et-Garonne. Gascony France

The Villages Of Southwest France

Each town has its claim to fame, but only the capital of the region, Auch, could be said to offer every amenity one might need in one place…

Unless you choose to settle in this small city, life here is lived hopping within the system of villages, which, between them, will provide you with all life’s necessities.

To do your shopping, you might need to hit a few towns—one for a bakery, another for a produce market, another for its modern supermarket, and another for its hardware store… and don’t expect that they’ll all be open on the same day.

Once you’ve become accustomed to the opening times of all your various stops, this style of errand-running will become second nature.

Having to travel a bit—say 15 to 25 minutes in between villages—comes with a hidden benefit. It allows you to become intimately acquainted with your entire region, make friends in each town, and affords you a kind of socializing that you wouldn’t have if you lived a more modern lifestyle.

By village hopping every few days in Gascony, you’ll soon become a recognizable fixture in your new region.

Another aspect of life in gascony that draws foreigners—more of whom live here than you might expect for such an off-grid location—is the quality of fresh, organic food available as well as the local importance of sustainable farming.

From the local breed of cow (the muscular Blonde d’Aquitaine) raised for its famously high-quality and tender beef to the duck and geese that dominate local cuisine… and from the tasty melons, stone fruit, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, and eggplant to the abundant wheat and corn… this is a foodie’s paradise.

With a long growing season and strong tradition of wine and Armagnac production, a gourmand couldn’t do better than setting up here.

Life In Gascony, France

When it comes to cost of living, you aren’t likely to find many regions of France more affordable than Gascony.

Thanks to locally produced goods and a lack of tourism that keep rents low, your cost of living could reasonably be kept under $2,000 a month here.

One of the most affordable French lifestyles available… Life in Gascony reflect agricultural, rural, and village lifestyles that dominate this
regio. So, no big-city concerns.

And, when it comes to making a home here, you’ll need to make a few adjustments to adapt to the local culture…

First, you’ll need to make a serious effort at learning French, as few people here speak English.

Most homes here are entered via a long driveway, bordered by Cypress on both sides. If not an allée, there are at least those two token trees planted on either side of the driveway.

In short, living in Gascony is 59% cheaper than the cost of living in the United States…

To get to Gascony, you’ll likely fly into Paris, which has a plethora of direct flights to the States and Canada, and catch the four-hour train or drive to Gascony.

Real Estate Restrictions

You can buy real estate in France without any foreigner-specific restrictions.

Also, France imposes a net wealth or worth tax on real estate assets, as well as inheritance or estate tax.

Tax rates in France depend on the relationship between the benefactor and beneficiary.

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Monthly Budget For A Couple In Gascony, France

ExpenseMonthly CostsNotes
RentUS$713Two-bedroom apartment.
TransportationUS$329Car ownership.
UtilitiesUS$110Electricity (US$88) and water (US$22). Gas is not commonly used here.
InternetUS$55High-speed internet at home, plus mobile phone plan.
EntertainmentUS$384Including eating out twice a week, going for drinks twice a week, and going to the movies twice a month.
GroceriesUS$400Basic items for a couple.
Extras- Medical AppointmentUS$28Basic consultation at a private clinic.
Extras - Household HelpUS$438Two five-hour cleanings per week.

Business In Gascony

In 2019, French president Emmanuel Macron launched several initiatives to encourage investment and employment through reduction in taxes, promoting professional mobility, supporting corporate growth and innovation, and overhauling administrative systems.

And it worked!

The system is so simple now. The visa and work permit are easy to qualify for and acquire.

Also, the systems are all automated and taxes done entirely online, and there are even centers that help foreigners to navigate the process.

Plus, in these small towns, it’s easy to make things happen with the powers that be. They’re just people you can have a conversation with—maybe even meet them at the café after business hours.

Over the last few years, Gascony has been increasingly discovered by Brits and Northern Europeans who come here to get back to nature.

And thanks to France’s new business-friendly policies, people who came to visit Gascony are deciding to stay in ever-larger numbers, bringing their businesses or their ideas with them.

Health Care In Gascony, France

Health care in France is arguably the best in the world. It is among the many reasons Americans choose to move to France.

The World Health Organization (WHO) publishes an index rating and ranking the quality of health care in every country in the world. Year after year France came out on top.

And, being a member of French Social Security (that is, you’re paying into the system), most of the cost of this extraordinary health care is covered.

Generally, non-EU residents will not be able to access the public health care system and will need to seek private care.

The Ministry of Health coordinates all matters related to health care in France.

It is a fully integrated system meaning that public and private hospitals, as well as doctors and other medical professionals, recognize and accept the plan.

The French government asks for proof of insurance when applying for a long-stay visa—and keep this insurance for the first five years of living in France.

Health care in Gascony means that for minor concerns, you’ll head to a doctor in your village, likely just a few minutes’ walk away if you’re living in town.

For specialists or serious concerns, head to one of the larger hospitals on the outskirts of Gascony.

Mont-de-Marsan’s inter-communal hospital is to the west, Agen’s is to the north, Tarbe’s is to the south, and in big-city Toulouse’s several large-scale hospitals to the east, any need can be met.

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France: Visa And Residency

U.S. and Canadian citizens are automatically granted a 90-day tourist visa when entering the country for business or personal travel.

This is referred to as a “short-stay” visa (type C). Officially it’s called aVisa de court séjour Schengen,a short-stay Schengen visa, as it allows you 90 days within the Schengen Zone at large, not just France.

Long-Stay Visas (Visas De Long Séjour)

To apply for a long-stay visa (type D), make an appointment at the French consulate nearest you in your home country—generally you are required to submit the application in person, but some accept applications via mail. You can request stays of four months up to a year.

The approval process can take anywhere from a couple weeks to several months.

Types Of Long-Stay Visas

Visa De Long Séjour Temporaire: Valable 4 À 6 Mois(Temporary Long-Stay Visa: Valid for four to six months). This visa allows for a stay of four to six months and you do not need to apply for a residency permit once you’re in France under this visa.

VLS-TS (Visa De Long Séjour Valant Titre De Séjour)

This visa allows you to enter and stay in the country for four months to a year. But, you’ll need to register with the French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII) to validate it within three months of arrival.

Carte De Séjour À Solliciter Dans Les 2 Mois Suivant L’arrivée

This visa allows you to enter France and request a residency permit at thepréfecturewithin two months of arriving. You can request a stay of a year, multiple years, or 10 years once you’re in country.

Most importantly, France immigration recommends getting in touch with your consulate before applying to verify the list of documents you should provide.

For instance, all documents must be translated by a certified translator and must be presented in original, together with one copy.

After living in France for five years on a Long-Stay Residency Card, you can apply for a Permanent Residency Card.

Weather In Gascony

Gascony gets four distinct seasons, including cool, wet winters and warm, relatively wet summers. Mild Atlantic winds have a nullifying effect on the temperature, so extremes are rare.

In short, you may see a bit of snow in Gascony during winter—about three or four days per year.

Average temperatures in Gacony reach highs of 66°F (19°C), and lows of 49°F (10°C).

Gascony, France - FAQs

What Is Gascony Known For?

Gascony is known for its archeological sites where the Romans made their mark and their associated museums offer the most cultural entertainment in this French region.

Is There An Expat Community In Gascony, France?

Gascony is slowly becoming a place of interest for expats. The community of foreigners in Gascony is made up of mostly Brits and Northern Europeans, Americans and Canadians.

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