Brits of France’s ‘Dordogneshire’ fret over Brexit

On market day in the southern French town of Eymet, English voices float over the stalls bursting with fruit and vegetables, charcuterie and duck confits.

Some are tourists, but most are British expatriates, many of whom have enjoyed the warm weather and easy pace of life in the Dordogne region for decades and are now more than a little jittery over a possible Brexit.

“People here are genuinely concerned and a bit bewildered by the whole situation, the campaign, the uncertainty,” said Roger Haigh, who represents the Dordogne region at the French-British Chamber of Commerce.

“Especially the older people (who) have no influence on what’s maybe going to happen to them,” he said. “It’s not necessarily the best time of your life to be put in that situation.”

Dordogne has long been a magnet for British pensioners, and the 13th-century bastide town of Eymet is host to some 200 families from across the Channel.

Overall, between 6,000 and 8,000 Britons live in the area, giving it the nickname “Dordogneshire”.

“I’ve chosen to live here because I love it here. There are things that drive me crazy, but on balance I love it,” said Brian Hinchcliffe, a retired teacher who has lived in Dordogne since 2000. “This is where we want to be, and I think that goes for all expats.”