Think you can’t afford to retire in the South of France? Think again. While it’s true that unless you’re fairly wealthy, you should cross places like Cannes, St. Tropez, and most of the pretty medieval villages of Provence off your list, there are still a number of south of France towns, villages and cities, particularly in the Languedoc-Rousillon region (my favorite), that offer a highly enjoyable lifestyle for a reasonable price.
Try Carcassonne. A stunning ancient city surrounded by thick stone walls and topped with a massive fairytale-like castle, it offers a dynamic cultural life, not to mention plenty of cafés, boutiques and artisan shops.
But perhaps because Carcassonne is surrounded by the tranquil gentle slopes of Languedoc’s wine country, it has the feel of a large town rather than a small city. Adding to its appeal is that it’s only an hour’s drive from the sandy white beaches of the Mediterranean and has a thriving Anglophone expat community.
Here you can get a renovated, furnished two-bedroom apartment with enormous French windows, exposed wood beams and a private balcony smack in the center of old Carcassonne on a tree-lined cobblestone street for $1,082 per month. (One-month rental and one-month security deposit required.) The site also offers a few contemporary-styled, one-bedroom apartments in Carcassonne’s center for just $812 per month.
In a nearby village, there’s a sprawling three-bedroom bungalow for rent that comes with a fully-equipped kitchen, swimming pool, barbecue and a large, lovely garden that surrounds the house for $1,015 per month during low season.
The farther away you get from Carcassonne, the more the prices drop. In Puivert, about an hour from Carcassonne, you can get a bright, spacious three-bedroom house with imposing views of a historic chateau and the Pyrenees Mountains, starting from $676 per month. This property is available for a minimum of six months, and a three-month security deposit is required.
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