What is it like to live and work in Dordogne?
- Credit: Archant
Brit Amanda Pattinson and her husband moved to a small village near Eymet in Dordogne in October 2016 from where she runs her online business selling handmade chocolates
What were you doing before you moved to France and what prompted you to make the move?
When I lived in the UK I had a food business making savoury goods, which I sold through farmers’ markets, events and fairs. After a few years of making pies I decided to train as a chocolatier. My move to France was prompted by my husband who had holidayed in France for several years before we met and, because he obviously enjoyed being in France, like so many people, he decided to buy a holiday home here which is where we now live.
What attracted you to Dordogne?
My husband decided the general location as he was more familiar with the area than me. That said, I do like the ‘Englishness’ of the local area but also the ability to be able to travel to completely different parts in only a few hours.
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What led you to set up the online shop?
I’ve had my online shop, Chocoterie, for about five years now. It came about because once I became a chocolatier I wanted to reach a wider audience, and in fact it’s allowed me to reach a worldwide audience, which has helped my business grow considerably. Setting up online was much more practical and cost-effective than having a bricks-and-mortar shop. It would be nice, however, to have a ‘real’ shop one day, but that at the moment is only something I can dream about.
Tell us about the business...
The aim of the business is to bring high quality handmade chocolates, biscuits and other sweet products to our customers. We specialise in gift baskets which are popular all year round and as we can ship almost anywhere, we are able to offer a great gift solution for those who have friends and family in different countries. These days we tend to have a steady work flow throughout the year, however, as we make chocolate it’s natural that our business is seasonal, so Christmas through to Easter is our busiest time. When the temperature rises in the height of summer it isn’t always practical to make chocolate, which means we just have to take time off to enjoy the sun! Don’t miss 15% off online orders at La Chocoterie! Ends 31 December, just quote the code: Laviefrance 15
Dordogne is very popular with tourists and expats alike – where’s your favourite spot?
I have to admit I still haven’t travelled extensively throughout Dordogne, however I do like the Sarlat area – it is very different from where we live. I love the differences in architecture and landscape throughout these parts. More locally, though, Duras is popular with expats and tourists – there are some very good restaurants there which we like to eat at.
What do you most enjoy about living in Dordogne?
For me, life here is especially good because I love being outside and enjoying the countryside. In our little bit of Dordogne we have wide-open spaces and big skies. Because we are in a rural area, at night there is little or no light pollution so we have a spectacular view of the stars and can quite easily see the Milky Way.
What is it like throughout the seasons?
Obviously summer can be very hot but usually the extreme 40ºC plus only lasts for a few days. For me the best time is May and October. Winters can be very cold; it’s not unusual to have several weeks with night-time temperatures around -8 to -10ºC and daytime at freezing. The coldest I’ve experienced so far is -17 ºC but only for one night. There’s not a great deal to do in the winter so we have to make our own entertainment.
Where is your favourite market in Dordogne, and why?
Issigeac is about 25 minutes from us and the market takes place in the narrow streets of the medieval village. It’s particularly good for local produce.
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