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La Dépêche , January 2009

The Englishmen who live year round in the west of the Aveyron stay ... and the rest leave

At the market in Villefranche, Klaus, a Scot, sells English books every Thursday. He is rooted in Ségala (a reagion in the Aveyron Dordogne) since he and his wife decided to live in Peyralès. He doesn´t expect to move. From now on his life takes place out here. In Rouergue. And nowhere else.

Klaus, like the vast majority of the group that crossed the channel hunting for an Eldorado in the form of a haven of peace and tranquility in the west of the Aveyron is formed by people who live here permanently. Perhaps because this part of the Quercy Rouergue borders, to the Périgord area in which the pioneers of this way of life gather for decades.

But the great invasion from England - peaceful and not unpleasant - started about ten years ago. At the end of the 90s, supported by a strong pound, buying all that the earth had to offer: barns, farms and ruins. Some agencies specialized in this equally specific as promising niche.

End of the second home

Ten years later, everything has changed. For the professional brokers, the business takes the shape of a requim. Under the influence of a declining pound - this is now almost at the level of the Euro - the incomes of the English reaches a worrying downward trend. "As a result of their currency and the poor state of their banks, the British are more ill than we are," says Emmanuelle Schlumberger of the Villeneuve agency. It noticeable that they are also disappointed about the weather in recent years, with cold winters and bad summers. "Those who begin to sell are those who do not live perminently." it shows. A view that is shared almost unanimously by her colleagues. Between 2007 and 2008 some have encountered a decline up to 50% in transactions.

A new migration at this time takes place to North Africa and Morocco in particular, which is reflected in polls of the agencies of Villefranche. In addition, in the Dordogne the effect of the crusade against fake English RMI’s (RMI is an abbreviation of Revenu Minimum d'Insertion, or assistance) and dubious beneficiaries of the CMU (Couverture Maladie Universelle, a health insurance for the lowest income) that reverberates to the gorges of the Aveyron. In Villefranche one can see that the Americans replace the British within the city walls.

The example of La Fouillade

An example like many others: La Fouillade, 1,180 souls and a few English that are permanent residents. Here the children take part in primary and secondary education and parents are in some organizations. One of them, David Hart, even candidates for the municipal elections last March and speaks only French. And then there is Paul Poker, former international and physical caretaker of the Irish rugby team. Some have gîtes and chambres d'hôtes, others are professionals or work in telecommunications.

i'm going back to my country ... uhm ... France!

posted by Maartje Heymans at 12:00  |  send a comment

 

 

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