The victim, named in the French press as David Daniels, 72, was fatally shot outside his home at around 7pm in the village of Edon, in Charente, a small village of just 270 residents.
Two men have been arrested on suspicion of murder.
Daniels, who spoke fluent French, had been living in the rural village with his wife since 1997 and owned a farm there.
They spent half their time in France and half in London where they owned a flat, according to reports in the British press.
Daniels, who according to reports had been a successful businessman before moving to France, was described as a respected member of the community, with villagers in Edon speaking of their shock after his murder.
“It's a tragedy,” Marie Lacellerie, owner of Au Petit Creux, a restaurant in Edon told The Local. “He'd been here a long time and was known by everyone.”
“He was a straightforward, good guy,” she added.
(The farm near the villageof Edon where David Daniels and his wife lived. Google)
Mayor Patrice Petit said the “he was a big loss to the village.”
“He was a man I knew very well, a man much appreciated in the commune where he had lived for a long time,” Petit told Charente Libre newspaper. “It's unacceptable, unacceptable.”
He told how Daniels was had generously donated money for the upkeep of the heritage of the commune, a gesture he wanted to keep low key.
Mr Daniels collected classic cars and regularly took part in the classic car races known as the “circuit des Remparts”.
The picture below, was shared on a Facebook page of Legendary Circuits Series. It was taken by the newspaper Charente Libre and shows David Daniels racing in a classic Austin Healey in Angouleme last September.
“He loved vintage cars and competed in the Circuit des Remparts,” said Petit and was at an event in Pau in the Pyrenees the weekend before his death.
According to those who knew him, Daniels went to several classic car events a year.
“I'd known him for about a year and he was one of my best clients,” Eric Perou, Daniels' car dealer who was with him at an event two weeks ago told The Local.
“He was very kind and polite,” Perou said, adding that he spoke perfect French.
Daniels had been excited about a car that Perou had updated for him which he planned on using in races, Perou said.