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Retire in Dordogne Guide

If Dordogne is on your retirement radar, our detailed Retire in Dordogne Guide is your go-to resource. Delve into the crucial aspects of life here, including living costs, climate, housing options, healthcare services, and residency procedures. We also explore the city's social dynamics, volunteering scenes, transportation, and how walkable its neighborhoods are.
|-Retire in Dordogne Guide

Retiring in Dordogne is a dream for many international retirees. The region offers a unique blend of picturesque landscapes, rich history, and a relaxed lifestyle. The best things about retiring in Dordogne include the affordable cost of living, the mild climate, and the excellent healthcare system. However, challenges such as learning the French language and adapting to a new culture can also be part of the experience. Let’s delve into what it’s like to retire in this charming part of France.

Cost of Living

One of the main attractions for retirees in Dordogne is the affordable cost of living. Compared to many other parts of France and Europe, Dordogne offers a high quality of life at a lower cost. Housing, groceries, and dining out are all reasonably priced, making it possible to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without breaking the bank.


Dordogne boasts a temperate climate, with warm summers and mild winters. The region is known for its beautiful spring and autumn seasons, making it an ideal place for outdoor activities throughout the year. However, it’s worth noting that the region can experience heavy rainfall, particularly in the winter months.


France is renowned for its excellent healthcare system, and Dordogne is no exception. The region has several well-equipped hospitals and clinics, and retirees will find no shortage of highly qualified doctors and specialists. Many healthcare professionals in the area also speak English, which can be a relief for those who are still learning French.

Public Healthcare System

International retirees in France have the option to enroll in the country’s public healthcare system, which provides high-quality medical care at a subsidized cost. However, it’s important to note that eligibility for this system depends on residency status and other factors. Many retirees also choose to supplement this with private health insurance.

Residency Options for Retirees

France offers several options for retirees looking to establish residency. The most common is the long-stay visa, which allows retirees to live in France for up to a year. After five years of living in France, retirees can apply for permanent residency.

Parks and Recreational Activities

Dordogne is a paradise for nature lovers, with numerous parks, rivers, and hiking trails. The region is also home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the prehistoric caves of Lascaux. For those who enjoy golf, there are several well-maintained courses in the area.


Dordogne is known for its gastronomy, and retirees will find a plethora of restaurants serving local and international cuisine. Some popular options include Le Petit Lion, a charming bistro in the town of Bergerac, and La Table du Marché, a market-fresh restaurant in the heart of Sarlat.

Learning the Language

While many locals in Dordogne speak English, learning French can greatly enhance the retirement experience. There are several language schools in the region, including the French Institute in Bergerac, which offers intensive courses for all levels.

Local Culture

The locals in Dordogne are known for their warm hospitality and relaxed lifestyle. The region has a strong sense of community, with weekly markets and local festivals being a central part of life. However, it’s worth noting that the pace of life in Dordogne is slower than in larger cities, which can take some getting used to.

Housing Options

Retirees in Dordogne typically live in detached houses or apartments, either in the central towns or in the surrounding countryside. The region is known for its beautiful stone houses, many of which have been converted into comfortable modern homes.


While having a car can be convenient for exploring the region, it’s not essential for daily life in Dordogne. The region has a reliable public transportation system, and many towns are walkable. However, those living in more rural areas may find a car useful.

Joshua WoodJoshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Additional Information:

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