In a couple years I am eligible for a 1-year study leave from the college where I teach. My wife and I are keen to spend at least part of the year (6-8 months minimum) in Europe with our kids (who will be about 9-10 years old when we would be there). I've not been to Europe, but I know many of you have and many live and ride in Europe. I'm looking for some advice on places we should consider living to try and get an idea of what is going to be involved both logistically and financially to make it happen.
Thus far we have been thinking about southern France, eastern Spain or north western Italy, but don't know of any specific cities/towns that would serve our needs. Here are the criteria (in order of my priority, not necessarily reflective of how my wife or kids would rank things...):
1. Great riding and nice weather. We live in Canada (admittedly the only desert region of Canada), and would like to spend the winter in a place that is a bit warmer and with close to year-round road riding.
2. Easy train/bus access to see professional bike racing (spring classics, maybe a bit of the Giro and/or Vuelta)
3. Easy travel access for exploring Europe with the family.
4. Preferably in a wine growing region (my wife is a viticulture researcher and would be interested in possibly being able to work or develop some collaboration options).
5. English language schools. If my wife ends up working, we'll probably need to register the kids in school rather than home school them for the year. We are planning to do French Immersion at home when they are 11, so possibly a French public school would work.
So far I have a contact at a University in Cordoba Spain that would satisfy the good biking throughout the winter, but it seems a bit far from where most of the bike racing is going to be happening, but otherwise sounds like an amazing place.
Any thoughts or comments would be greatly appreciated. I hope my priorities or request aren't too ignorant. I'm just trying to get some ideas on where to start looking.
Thanks in advance.