In early August, an article appeared on the CNBC website which caused quite a stir in Saint-Chinian – thank you Julian for forwarding it to me! The article listed the world’s top 10 retirement destinations for 2017. I posted a link to the article on the midihideaways facebook page, so, if you’ve already seen the article you’ll know why it would have caused a stir – Saint-Chinian was listed in fifth position!! You can read the article via this link.
It was a little while before the local press found out about it, but eventually the story was picked up by Midi Libre, and it made the front page of the Sunday edition on August 20, 2017! Here’s a link to the Midi Libre article.
After that, things went a little crazy!! Some locals started to get concerned that the village would be overrun by Americans. Others welcomed the news in the hope that it would bring new people to the village. On August 22, a TV crew from France 3 appeared in Saint-Chinian, looking to interview locals and foreign retirees. Their video was broadcast later in the week, and can be found here.
The following morning, a TV crew from TF1 turned up, looking for people to interview! Their video aired the same day, at lunchtime, and you can watch it here. Please be patient, the adverts don’t take too long…
On Friday, August 25th, yet another TV crew turned up, this one from M6 – their video was aired on the following day, and can be watched via this link. Again, please be patient with the adverts!
Several articles have since appeared in the French media – BFMTV, RTL and Le Parisien. The radio station for the region, France Bleu Herault, added its own take on the CNBC article, interviewing the mayor and Jeremy at Cafe Vernazobre.
The link from the CNBC article leads to a website called Live and Invest Overseas. The full article on this website goes into a lot of detail as to how the best places to retire to in 2017 were chosen.
Ever since reading the article I’ve been intrigued as to how they came to pick Saint-Chinian, out of all the villages in France or even Europe!! I decided that there was only one way to find out: I wrote to Kathleen Peddicord, the author of the CNBC article, and founder & publisher of Live and Invest Overseas. Here’s what Kathleen replied:
Thanks for your interest and for getting in touch. We were all surprised and delighted to hear about the far-reaching impressions our English-language Index has made across the pond.
Our annual Overseas Retirement Index has featured the Occitanie region (under former name Languedoc) in previous years, because we feel it offers an excellent quality of life at a great value—and, more generally, that the south of France is a must on any list of the best living or retiring destinations in Europe.
This year we approached our methodology differently, dividing the Index into categories of lifestyle. Under this new organization, we included Small Towns as a lifestyle option, and thought that a small town within Occitanie would be an ideal addition to epitomize small town living for France and generally for Europe.
We’ve known many retirees to villages and towns throughout Occitanie and have a particular concentration of contributors (or family members of contributors) who happen to live in Saint-Chinian. Based on their testimonials, it sounded like the quintessential small, southern French town—a perfect representation of small town living in Europe.
Within France for this category, we only considered a couple other towns in Occitanie and towns in Morbihan in the north. The south beat out the north based on weather and access to the Med. Saint-Chinian came out among our other southern towns as a particularly good value for cost of living, while being at what we felt were ideal distances from nearby larger towns, transport hubs, and the Med. But we only allowed for a winner and a runner up for each region in each category, so the other small towns we considered before narrowing one of the slots down to France took the entire Continent into consideration (Portugal, Spain, Italy, Slovenia, and Greece in particular).
Please let us know if you’d like to know anything else about Saint-Chinian’s inclusion or the Index and how we do our rankings and gradings. “
So there we have it – Saint-Chinian beat off stiff competition and it is definitely the place to be!!