3. The weather.
In our travels through France over many years of holidaying, mostly camping, we have experienced all kinds of weather and we decided we like the climate in the Loire best of all.
Perfect weather means different things to different people but for us the Loire comes closest to our ideal. The summers are warmer and longer than in the UK but it rains often enough to keep things growing.
We decided to live somewhere south of Tours because north of Tours there is often a lot more rain. We also chose not to go further south because we didn’t want to live somewhere where there is relentless baking heat for months on end.
Mind you, the weather has been rather strange in France as well as England lately. But, generally speaking, the weather in the Loire is much better than in the UK. Mostly, whether it is perfect or not, it will be at least several degrees warmer, brighter and drier than it is in Derbyshire, whatever the time of year.
Knowing that we will be able to sit out and enjoy the warm evenings, that we can plan to go to events that will probably not be rained off, that the spring flowers will arrive sooner and the summer flowers will still be flowering for longer, makes us very happy.
There will always be nasty surprises of course. We had burst pipes in our little house last winter because it was unusually cold for a prolonged period. In summer 2011 there was a drought causing huge problems for farmers and gardeners as a result.
But we know we will probably be able to enjoy meals outdoors on our little terrace in France, while the crickets chirp away, for several months of the year. So different to the very brief and often disappointing Derbyshire summers where, if it’s nice weather, we reorganise whole weekends to take advantage of it, because the chance of fine weather lasting from one weekend to the next is very slim. Our garden furniture in Derbyshire spends more time under covers to keep it dry than actually being used and then we finally give up and stuff it back in the shed until next summer !!