For anyone watching a certain programme on British television currently about life in France, you can completely understand how the Dordogne gets its nickname “Dordogneshire”. Thousands of Brits have migrated to the region and instead of integrating fully with their new neighbours and enjoying the French joie de vivre, have instead opened fish and chip shops, market stalls serving curry and formed English schools.
While watching this programme, I found it so frustrating that a sizeable number of Brits have hopped across the channel for cheaper property and better weather but are steadfastly refusing to embrace the French way of life. This was highlighted even further whilst I was reading a local magazine recently, and to my surprise I saw advertisements for Tesco, Asda and Waitrose food deliveries!
Thankfully some areas of the Dordogne remain unaffected by these Francophobes and where Brits have settled there, they try to fit in with their French counterparts culturally and socially.
One of these areas is Montignac, a charming town on the banks of the Vezere river. Here the rural French lifestyle has rubbed off on its British inhabitants who make a living running gites or as tradesmen in the community (but enjoying an international client base) and eating French produce. The local specialities include foie gras and walnuts and in the past I have spent many an hour at a walnut farm, yes run by a Brit, foraging in the undergrowth for walnuts to fill my wooden trug.
There are many other parts of the Dordogne that have these Francophiles living there, so if you are looking for a traditional French experience in this region, it is advisable to research in advance, because otherwise you may as well save the effort of travelling abroad and opt for a “staycation” in the UK!