Move to France & Become a Wine Producer – Surely Just a Dream?
Meet the British couple living the dream in Provence……….
Family swapped the London rat race for the south of France – and a career making award-winning rosé
All Thanks to The telegraph for taking the time to write this and post the images…. Plus special thanks to Stephen Cronk and his family for this excellent story
It’s the fragrance of a Provençal village that hits you first: heady waves of lavender and pine that saturate the warm air. Then it’s the light, intense and clear, bringing a rich glow to the terracotta roofs and orange walls. “We used to wake up to the roars of the jets landing at Heathrow and the sense that we were polluted by the smells and sounds of London,” says Stephen Cronk, 51, leaning back in his chair on a sun-drenched terrace, glass of rosé in hand.
“The contrast to our life now couldn’t be more different. Sometimes I’m almost aghast by how stunning this place is and by the feeling that, if we had accepted the status quo of career and school fees and property prices, we might have missed this. You don’t know how good it feels until you’ve been here and just breathed.”
Stephen is living the French dream, after swapping his life in London for a new start in Provence in the south of France. And it’s a dream that many people will be sharing at this time of year. Returning from a relaxing holiday in France (Channel Tunnel permitting), you vow to quit your dreary day job, sell the house and restore a ruin deep in the Normandy bocage.
And over a glass of wine that already doesn’t taste quite as good as it did on holiday, you tell yourselves that there has never been a better time to make that move. The pound is strong against the euro, French property prices are at their lowest since 2008, and there are rural property bargains galore as villagers relocate to Paris. Earlier this year, the Mayor of Champ-du-Boult, a village in Normandy, even invited young British families to build a new life there for €1 per square metre of land, so keen was he to repopulate his community.
A note of caution here: Stephen, who became an internet sensation last year when he showed how to open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew, is one of the lucky ones. For many of the British expats who currently live in France (400,000, according to the French government), the lure of the good life has ended in financial ruin. The British Charitable Fund, set up in Paris in 1823 to come to “the relief of distressed British subjects” (migrant workers trying their luck post-Waterloo), now helps a different sort of British expat, for whom the French dream has turned sour.
“We’ve seen an increase in the number of cases in recent years, particularly people living alone in isolated homes, some in appalling conditions,” says Julia Kett, chairman of the BCF, which is set to distribute a record €250,000 this year. “Most of our beneficiaries are elderly, more than two thirds are women, and they have been in France for many years. People come to us in times of financial crisis and, more often than not, there will be a precipitating factor – pensions no longer sufficient to cover essential living costs, or loss of a job. They are at home, often trapped in a house they cannot sell, and just about managing to scrape enough together to buy food but little else.
Click Here to read the full article, again all thanks and credit goes to The Telegraph who wrote the story, also thanks to the Cronk family for sharing their personal story.