How many British people live in the Dordogne?

Map of France showing concentrations of British

HOW many British people live in the Dordogne? It is 7,198 according to the French statistics authority, INSEE.

Using census figures from 2016, the research body claims that the Dordogne is the second most popular place for British people to live in, behind Paris.

Overall, there are around 148,000 British residents in France, with the majority living along the western side of the country.

How many people live in the Dordogne?

Again using 2020 figures from INSEE there are 412,807 people living in the Dordogne, which is actually down around 3,500 compared to figures from 2014.

In terms of population, the Dordogne is one of the least densely populated departments in France.

The largest city in Dordogne is Périgueux, which has a population of around 29,255 which is down on the 2014 numbers.

Other important towns in the department include Bergerac with 26,360 inhabitants (27,776 in 2014) and Sarlat with 8,788 (from 9,127 in 2014).

Dordogne meal under a halle
Dordogne meal under village halle

Long term British residents

The vast majority of British people in the Dordogne have been living here for more than ten years, with 53% of those retirees, and across Nouvelle-Aquitaine there are just over 39,000 resident British people, making up 26% of the total number of British people in France.

At a Dordogne level the area around Eymet is the most popular destination for British people living the département, with nine per cent of the local population made up of British, with Ribérac the next most popular with around 4.3%.

Increase in British living in Dordogne

The figures show a sharp increase in the number of British people resident in Dordogne between 1999 and 2006, with around 3,000 at the end of the 90s heading upwards to just over 7,000 in 2016.

Whether Brexit will put a break on this remains to be seen, but with many British in France relying on freedom of movement rules to live and work here, it seems likely that the numbers moving to l’hexagone will fall.

Why do Brits move to the Dordogne?

I’m sure the quality of life, the easy pace and the mild Dordogne weather are just some of the reasons the region appeals so strongly.

There are many local village fairs and events that draw on the traditions of the Dordogne, and if you are willing to take part and volunteer your time you will often be welcome.

There is also a great deal of history to explore and learn, going as far back as Cro-magnon man, through the Hundred Years War and wars of religion, to the farming practices and the countryside way of life that appeals.

Flowers with woodland on hillside in distance, in the Dordogne
View over Dordogne hillside

Of course the countryside is also a big draw, with gentle hills, atmospheric woods and meandering rivers offering plenty of spots to explore.

You are also often very close to the natural world, with bird spotting, orchids and other wild flowers found at the road sides and you will often see deer, foxes and occasionally badgers and sanglier.

What are the disadvantages of the Dordogne?

Travel is very much dominated by the car as public transport is either confined to the bigger towns, such as the bus service from Bergerac Airport, or is very difficult to work around due to a reduced timetable.

If you look at a map of the Dordogne you will see that the main autoroutes and train lines go around the département, and these provide easy access to other towns and cities in France.

However, it can take you an hour or more to actually get to the autoroute junction or mainline train station in the first place to begin your journey.

Medical services are usually of the highest quality, but again you might have to travel some distance to get an appointment with the dentist or a physiotherapist.

This is because of the déserts médicaux in the countryside areas of France, it is not just a problem in the Dordogne, so doctors’ surgeries are often short of medical professionals or doctors decide to continue working beyond their retirement age to help ease the backlog.

What is the cost of living in the Dordogne?

You might want to get an idea of the cost of living in the Dordogne so you can plan ahead if you want to visit or are looking to make a permanent move.

Packaged goods from supermarkets can often be expensive, especially more well known names, but to get an idea of prices the bigger supermarkets such as Leclerc over a pick-up service and so you can check prices through their website.

Petrol prices are another cost you can check online with official figures gathered together letting you search via an online map and so get up to date prices.

But if you want to keep an eye on costs fruit and vegetables from local markets are a good option and do as the French do, buy local – buy seasonal, and if you are really keen grow your own vegetables.

By Craig McGinty

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