Sorry for not replying sooner to all of your very reassuring and helpful comments etc. Myself and my wife have just returned from a 10 day holiday to - yes you can guess- Pezenas/Ceret, FRANCE ! And guess what - we are still welcome
I guess everyone is feeling on edge with everything that is going on in Europe and the rest of the world. These are very uncertain and trying times we live in and people are naturally feeling insecure in one way or another! When on holiday in Pezenas and Ceret it was obvious that things were not right. There was a distinct lack of tourists about (the boat from Dover to Calais was not even half-full) In Pezenas some of the shops and restaurants were closed down and the locals looked less than happy! It was sad seeing it like this as we were used to seeing a busy, happy place with lots of tourists. And I anticipate there is even worse to come in the next year or two.
Reading between the lines I can guess what the real gripe is in France and it is not citizens of the UK, Ireland , Germany etc retiring there that worries the French. When we lived in Pezenas a short time ago we noticed a class of people moving in to the town. Soon afterwards we had Graffiti problems all over, drug problems and general anti social behaviour. Yet nothing was done to prevent it!
My philosophy has always been "when in doubt - do nothing!" and that is what we are going to be doing for another year.
We thank all of you for your sound advice and comments and wish you well for the future.