Retirement Community in Charente, France

A recent article in France’s Le Figaro newspaper highlights how that country is experiencing an “explosion” in the development of special housing for the elderly. According to the article, French “property developers are riding this wave, filling the gap in the market by supplying what they think these sophisticated consumers are looking for.”  However, while these developers have admitted to borrowing heavily from the “American model,” in which retirement communities are custom-built to allow for the maximum comfort of their residents, they have needed to make an important adjustment.  France’s retirees do not want to move into just another building, rather they “have a taste for atmospheric and historic settings.”

Of course, converting 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th century buildings into modern retirement communities can be a challenging task.  In fact, “these sites often become nightmares for the architects, who must reconcile the need to adapt the site for its elderly residents – and the invariable installation of countless mobility ramps and elevators –with the heritage imperatives of these conversion projects.”  However, François Georges, managing director of company called Les Jardins d’Arcadie, explains that “because [these buildings] are often located right in the center of town, [they] are particularly suitable location-wise for conversion into seniors’ accommodation.”  He adds: “These people want to escape the solitude of their lives, while enjoying customized services and a security-conscious environment.”

According to the article, communities like this are currently being developed throughout France.   Nantes‘ Convent of the Visitation, “a vast 17th century building with a cloister, garden and great dining hall” is set to become a retirement community, as is an former 17th Century clinic in Colmar.

Take a few minutes to read the article and share your thoughts with IAHSA.

Le Figaro’s original article (In French Only)

English Translation by WorldCrunch