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British Nationals Living in Aquitaine

Tuesday 04 December 2012

Nearly 9,000 Brits have relocated to the Aquitaine region in South West France in recent years.

They form the largest recent group of immigrants to the region, according to the French national statistical office INSEE, who analysed the data for the 10 year period to 2009.

The region of Aquitaine comprises the department of Dordogne, Gironde, Lot-et-Garonne, Landes and Pyrénées-Atlantiques, whose regional capital is the city of Bordeaux.

In total, over 50,000 people immigrated to the region over this period, bringing to 197,000 the total number of immigrants who have settled there, equivalent to 6.1% of the population.

That is an increase of 38,000 since 1999.

Between 2006 and 2009 the number of British nationals living in Aquitaine more than doubled, rising from 6,000 to 15,000.

Not unexpectedly, it is the department of Dordogne that attracts the vast majority of British immigrants.

The department is home to 7,200 British nationals, the highest number outside of Paris, where 8,200 British are permanently resident.

INSEE consider that Brits are drawn to the Dordogne by the attractiveness of the countryside, the affordability of property and by the climate.

One of the other attractions is the proximity of the airport at Bergerac, which, since 2001, has been a become a major base for low-cost flights to and from the UK.

Last year 78% of the nearly 300,000 passengers who used the airport were of British nationality. The airport now has four major low-cost airlines that use it, with direct flights to many British towns and cities.

No recent figures are available for the number of second home owners in Dordogne, but the department has historically been a popular holiday home location for British nationals.

According to INSEE, the other department in Aquitaine that is a favourite with British buyers is the Lot-et-Garonne, which contains around half the number who live in the Dordogne. It is followed in decending order by Gironde, Pyrénées-Atlantiques and Landes.

As for other foreign immigrants in Aquitaine, INSEE state that six out of ten in the region come from Europe, primarily Portugal, Italy, Belgium and the United Kingdom.

The largest group of European immigrants are from Portugal, Spain, and Italy, accounting 49% of the total immigrant population. Many from the Spain and Italy arrived in different waves of immigration between the two World Wars. Immigration from Portugal was more of a 1960s phenomenon.

British immigrants account for 8% of the total number of immigrants in the region and, along with the Belgium and Dutch, form the large body of immigrants over the past decade.

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