Living in France

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Mags52, Aug 30, 2015.

  1. Mags52

    Mags52 Funster

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    I have a couple of questions for Funsters who have moved to Europe permanently. Do you miss being able to have effortless conversations with neighbours? Is it possible to really fit into the local community? I know these are huge questions but these thoughts have prevented us considering a move for a few years now.
     
  2. appydaze

    appydaze Funster Life Member

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    I found people in the bigger towns or cities tend to keep themselves to themselves. But local people in small communes like the chance to practice their English on you, as you do with them with your French. Listening to you situation I'm sure you will fit in fine. Good luck whatever you decide to do. (y)
     
  3. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Good questions .. the same thoughts have crossed our minds and we decided that while we love travelling abroad, and have lived in France while full time, moving there, or any other EU country permanently, wouldn't be for us..

    Nice to visit.. but nice to get back to your 'ain folks '
     
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  4. Bacchus

    Bacchus

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    Just a thought, but why nt try a long term rental in the area you want to live in?

    Life is far too short, if you've got an itch, scratch it, as Confucius would have said if he'd thought about long enough
     
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  5. laneside

    laneside Funster

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    I know three months is not very long but that is how long we have been here and both wish we had done it years ago. We are in a rural area so that may be the difference but everyone is just so friendly, yes not speaking very much French can be frustrating but we have had many laughs with the locals whilst attempting to practise on each other and Google translate is often our friend. Would we consider returning to overcrowded Blighty; not until hell freezes over.

    I know the novely is still with us but we have had far more visitors, local and from England than we ever used to have, being within a half hour drive from Limoges airport helps on that score and also having space to park an additional motorhome seems to attract visitors.

    One word of caution and that is if you do consider it then location is very important as France is a huge country and very variable. If you come with rose tinted glasses it is possible to live in extremely isolated areas.

    Good Luch with your decision

    Alan and Lynda
     
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  6. Bacchus

    Bacchus

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    BTW also, Lady Bacchus is Romanian, she came to the UK as an au pair years ago speaking pretty much no English, then came back five years ago. She doesn't know now whether she is speaking English or her mother tongue; she has to stop and think!
     
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  7. NickNic

    NickNic Funster Life Member

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    The best way to improve your French is to speak it as much as you can. It soon comes back and I've always found (from visits, not living there) that French people are pretty patient if you make the effort.
     
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  8. Mags52

    Mags52 Funster

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    Thanks Folks. It's interesting that the replies from people who've thought about it and yet stayed here express the feelings / reservations that we have but those who've done it are much more positive. Life is short it's true. We're off to France mid September so we'll maybe look at specific towns / villages we like and think in a more concrete way about it.
    We've had some French lessons at the local French Institute to top up our school French and it was great fun but fairly stressful when we realised that we were expected to speak French all the time when in the building.
    Long term renting for a few months is a good idea.
     
  9. Scattycat

    Scattycat Funster

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    We've been over here 13 years this October and would only move back kicking and screaming. I know you can never say never but life here is good.
    We live out in the sticks and until recently our nearest neighbour was half a kilometer away.
    I must admit we socialise a lot move with other Brits than we do the locals, having said that we also socialise with a lot of the French.
    For example today we are off to a BBQ in aid of the Blood Doners Association, there will be around 200 folks there with only a handfull of Brits. We will be sat with the folks from our village, all French who despite the fact that we still only have a smattering of the language make us very welcome and ensure we join in all the festivities
    Despite what some folks say the French, in general, are a friendly lot
     
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  10. Hollyberry

    Hollyberry Funster

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    I found neighbours in the rural areas I lived in were lovely--patient with my French and made the effort to talk to me. You have to make the effort to speak French though, no matter how bad you think it might be! There are always local lessons, sometimes bilingual groups that meet. First place I lived in ( Midi Pyreneees---beautiful, best place ever) a group of Brits met every week in a local cafe and spoke only French. Second place ( Dordogne---ok but nothing on the Pyrenees) there was a local group of French and English who helped each other along with both languages.
    Formal lessons can always be found quite reasonably too.

    Shopping in the markets, listening to the local greetings and little nuances also helps. In a rural post office queue, for example, it's your duty as the last in the queue to greet a newcomer who joins the queue. Glares and loud " Bonjour, Monsieur / Madame" if you don't!

    The obscure, specialist areas of language are the most challenging---visiting the tax office or maybe trying to understand what a garage is telling you.

    Try before you buy. Either a long spell full timing in your motorhome or rent a house ( rents are lower than the UK and all protection is on the tenants side)

    It can be stressful at times--trying to sort out Internet, electricity, water etc...but not insurmountable. I managed 5 years on my own, and although it was easier and much, much nicer when there were two of us, I survived.
     
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  11. LAM

    LAM Funster

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    If finances allow, keep a property here, then should you want to return you will still have a foothold on the UK market. Good advice to rent at first
     
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  12. Momo

    Momo Funster

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    I came to Valencia, Spain, in 1968 with the British Council as an "English as a Foreign Language" Teacher for a maternity leave cover of six weeks! I had no Spanish skills (which was obligatory!) but found that after extending my stay by three months I was able to converse quite well with the locals. From the beginning I only mixed with Spaniards and we used to speak in English but eventually I found that more Spanish was being used! One tip I was given was that when indoors to always have the Spanish TV on in the background, even if you didn't understand it, as without realising it you were learning phrases and how to reply in certain circumstances. By 9 months I can say that I was fluent!

    The language is the main barrier breaker. The locals love to hear you try to speak to them. I know I am considered "Spanish" by all my neighbours!

    My father used to come over in October and stay until March and he too became fluent at 72 years of age as he also made Spanish friends who he used to meet up with during the day for lunch, sailing, etc. When back in UK he used to listen to Radio Nacional de España and found it very educational. Everyone used to tell me how good his Spanish was but he was also fluent in French so he reckoned that was a help. They say the first foreign language is the hardest to learn but from then on it becomes easy to learn a second or a third language.

    You have to want to fit in and make an effort not to be different so that the locals consider you one of them. The worst thing is to live in a Little Britain ghetto. People who do this are generally rejected the same as happens in UK where you have Indian, Pakistani etc ghettos where the wives especially do not speak English and therefore do not integrate.

    So yes you can eventually have effortless conversations with neighbours and also really fit in to the local community!

    I would say "Go for it!" but also make sure you really do learn the language as without it there is no way you can really fit in! (y)
     
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  13. MikeandCarolyn

    MikeandCarolyn

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    Friends of ours moved to France (Vars region) some 12 yrs ago.They love it there and for most purposes speak 'fluent' French,but,it's when they join local groups (walking group) (model plane group) that they find difficulty with the sort of informal chat amongst other members.
    Shortened words and phrases,Les Phrases Idiomatique,local dialects etc
     
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  14. laneside

    laneside Funster

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    Hey Mike have you ever been with born and bred Todmorden folk, now that can be difficult for some but not me thankfully Now Geordies and Liverpuddlians are as difficult for me as some of these rural French that we meet

    Suprising enough in general chit chat with the locals it is often facial expressions that help more than picking up on every word.
     
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  15. maison

    maison Funster

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    We find that the locals, in our rural community, are very friendly and laid back.

    Our attempts at French are met with delight that we try to speak their language and friendly corrections at our request.

    When conducting business we always explain that we are British and are still learning their language. They are even more patient and obliging because they now understand our predicament.

    Constant use improves our language skills. We are still not always grammatically correct but are understood and have more friends in France now than we do in UK.(y)
     
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  16. Eve

    Eve

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    My husband could speak French, I don,t,I love France but we made a decision that France was not for us,to live there,lots of red tape,price wise housing,if we changed after so many years,we would never be able to get on the British market .

    I know lots of people who love there way of life,and a few who want to come home!!!

    I can only think of my situation right now! And to people who have lost a partner, it would be harder if I was alone abroad.!!

    I am luck in that I live 20 miles from France,cheap ferry tickets,and love Motorhoming ,best of both worlds.
     
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  17. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    like yourself i have thought about living in france . almost did twenty years ago.
    i also live not far from a ferry port and have slipped over to brittany many times .
    have many friends over in brittany . but now find i like being in uk . not in winter so venture south .
    i dont think france would be warm enough in winter. well i know it wont be.
    i think i could get away with asturia or cantarbria in northern spain , but only just.
    really the more i see abroad the more i enjoy coming back to uk . like you best of both worlds .
     
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  18. Eve

    Eve

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    At a push it is warm enough to stay on airs,around Mimizan ,all have electric,cold at night but by 10 am ok,new one German lady who spent months there feeding the cats.even when there was a bit of a hurricane round the bay of Bissau .
    It can be just as cold in Portugal,we were 5k in from the Algarve and had a bad frost,so weather can be unpredictable .even Morroco in the north is not great.
    20 years under my belt as well,but in the early days,less vans,now they bring the back kitchen sink!!! Generators !!! To iron!!!.
    We use to tape bottles with black tape,warmish water ????
     
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  19. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    we found larachelle to nante ok just in winter . preferred around la baule , or pornic .
    we used tizer bottles they were black plastic back then .
    but if you were lucky there used to be some showers open to the public . very often round the back of a post office or gov building . hot water for free . ssshhh shouldnt tell everyone .
    there were no aires just nice village park ups .
    as for morocco when you get to the big hill between essaouira and cap rhir you know you have arrived in the warm . throw off the jumpers put on the shorts etc , yes you have to get along way down to feel really warm .
    but you never know ,i remember the bridge at banana village being washed away . you couldnt get to agadir . untill the army made a bridge . must have been 96 or 97.
     
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  20. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    we stayed there in March 2008 when full time and met the German lady.. if it's the same one, she had an old white Merc camper.. doubt she goes there now since they have installed the automatic barrier with the pay to exit machine.. ... we were there this summer, it's now 14.50 euro per night
     
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