<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
5 ISSUES FOR £5 Subscribe to France Magazines today click here

Why I love living in Bouches-du-Rhône

PUBLISHED: 11:22 22 November 2017 | UPDATED: 12:39 22 November 2017

A pool is a must for hot summer days in Bouches-du-Rhône...

A pool is a must for hot summer days in Bouches-du-Rhône...

Archant

Charmaine Raubenheimer left her native South Africa for a new life running a gîtes business in Bouches-du-Rhône in 2011. She explains what she loves about living in Provence

What were you doing before you moved to France and what prompted you to make the move?

Before moving to France I was running my own business in South Africa providing services to professionals such as personal shopper, administrative assistant, chauffeur and secretarial services. This was a niche market and very few people were providing these types of services. I have loved France for many years. I lived in London for two years when I was younger and used to enjoy trips over whenever I could. We moved to France in 2011.

What attracted you to Bouches-du-Rhône?

My husband is French and was born in Bouches-du-Rhône, so we came here for holidays about once a year to see family. I fell in love with Provence from the start and dreamed of one day living in Bouches-du-Rhône. I found that the weather suited me, the people are friendly, and the hours of daylight in the summer. My husband was happy to stay in South Africa but we both wanted a French education for our daughter and a safer environment for all of us.

South African Charmaine Raubenheimer moved to France in 2011 South African Charmaine Raubenheimer moved to France in 2011

Did you find it easy to find a suitable property?

We didn’t find our property that easily. Since my French was not yet good enough, we knew I’d struggle to find work, so we had to find something with outbuildings so I could start a gîte business. After two years of searching we eventually settled on a property with a separate two-bedroom cottage and its own private garden, and a very large barn which is attached to the house and could be converted into two studio apartments. The renovations took one year.

A pool is a must for hot summer days... A pool is a must for hot summer days...

How easy has it been to get the business established?

I was very lucky that I had a French husband to help set up my business. Once everything was set up, I registered with the mairie and the tourist office, then on Airbnb and HolidayLettings. Most of my reservations come from Airbnb. In our area, the seasons very much dictate how busy I am. In winter I have absolutely no guests, in autumn they start dwindling. On spring and summer I am very busy – everyone comes here to seek peace and quiet and sunny days!

____________________________________________________________________

Don’t miss:

This is why France is a good choice for expats

What is it like to move to France on your own?

5 ways to make a living in France

____________________________________________________________

What do you most enjoy about living in Bouches-du-Rhône?

I love the sunshine and blue skies here, the ability to eat outdoors, very often from breakfast through to dinner. I adore rosé wine and some of our local vineyards are organic, which is important to me. I love that I can go walking and cycling all over the place, down to the Durance river and up to the Luberon mountains.

Enjoying a rural lifestyle in Bouches-du-Rhône Enjoying a rural lifestyle in Bouches-du-Rhône

Where is your favourite market in Bouches-du-Rhône?

This depends on what I’m looking for. For fruit and vegetable we like the Saturday morning market in Sénas, and our local one in Mallemort on Friday mornings. For a commercial-style market for our guests we recommend the market in Lourmarin, where one can find boho chic clothing, handmade decorative items, lavender oil, olives, saucisson, etc. Another one is in St- Rémy-de-Provence.

Are there any good restaurants you can recommend?

There are so many! For lunches in our village there is the popular Le Jardin that I always recommend for the close proximity and lovely fresh salads. We also recommend a restaurant called L’Auberge du Vieux Village that serves mostly meat dishes – the meat is aged onsite by the owner.

See Charmaine’s gîtes here



Other articles you might like:

How to make money from your holiday let in France

How did these expats turn their hobby into a business?

My advice for people moving to France is...

How to quickly integerate into French life

Living the good life in Normandy

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Complete France visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Complete France staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Complete France account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Article by Living France Living France

More from Living in France

Friday, February 16, 2018

Peter and Natalie Quaife found their niche in France by running vegan and vegetarian cookery workshops and cycling holidays in the picturesque town of St-Antonin-Noble-Val. They tell us what it’s like

Read more
Friday, February 9, 2018

When Dutch couple Jan and José bought Château les Merles in Dordogne in 2003 it was a ruin but they have transformed it into this chic home and hotel

Read more
Dordogne
Sunday, February 4, 2018

Make a note of these French emergency numbers and what to say when you ring them in case you need help while in France

Read more
Friday, January 12, 2018

Researching energy deals and making small adjustments will ensure your utility bills in France are as low as possible, here are six ways to save money

Read more

Taking the leap and renting your French holiday home to guests for the first time can be a confusing experience, but some of Holiday France Direct’s property owners have provided us with the top tips they would give to someone just starting out with their letting

Read more
Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Running a campsite in France can be hard work but offers a decent income and a rewarding lifestyle. Make sure you carefully consider the location, regulations and costs before you invest in a campsite

Read more
Camping in France
Yesterday, 10:18

With its unbeatable wine and cheese and laissez-faire attitude, there’s nowhere better to retire than France. But which cities are best for growing old in? Here’s the top 10

Read more
Pays de la Loire
Thursday, January 25, 2018

If you are buying in or moving to France you will need a French bank account but before you open one make sure you read these 11 things you need to know to avoid making a costly mistake

Read more
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The French pharmacy is so much more tham a place to pick up your prescriptions. Here are 11 things you might not know about pharmacies in France.

Read more
Healthcare in France
Tuesday, June 20, 2017

It seems unlikely that, after Brexit, British expats living in France will enjoy the same healthcare rights as they currently do, so what will change?

Read more
Brexit
Subscribe today

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

France Forum

Questions about France? Visit our free France forum to get help and advice from thousands of other Francophiles and expats. Topics include: property, tax, law, travelling, pets, education, healthcare and much more.

Join the forum

Most Read

Join us on social media

France magazine
Living France magazine
French Property News magazine

Enter our competitions

Win books, DVDs, travel and even holidays in France in our great competitions! Take a look at our latest competitions…

Enter now