Ean Vassort, dressed comfortably in jeans and blue cotton shirt, stands on the terrace of his whitewashed house, taking in the view of long golden beaches and a broad estuary snaking eastward into a hot, rocky valley. Retired since selling his restaurant near Avignon, France in 2002, Vassort, 74, now lives year-round in this sun-washed setting where he once took his
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holidays. But unlike earlier generations of French pensioners, Vassort's retirement idyll isn't tucked away along the villa-studded expanses of the Côte d'Azur, or in one of the popular resort towns of Spain's Costa Brava. Instead, Vassort is one...