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Everything posted by Ac50

  1. This website will give you the information you need http://www.stgeorgesparis.com/cean We've been quite a few times over the last few years, and it's a lovely service, held at the Chapelle de la Miséricorde, rue Elie de Beaumont, Caen. You should be able to get more details from the website. 
  2. Hi Jill there is a fairly new bus service running here at the moment http://www.mobi50.com/horaires_ligne/index.asp?rub_code=6   There is also a good train connection from Cherbourg to Caen, which has a bus link out side the station at Caen to the ferry port at Ouistreham. Cost for that is 3 euro (last time I used it) I know what you mean about the train connections though.  I was looking at going from where we are to Le Havre so I could use LD lines as a foot passenger. Only way I could do it was to go in to Paris and out again.  Would have taken about 8 hours.
  3. Sorry for going slightly off topic, but do you think the ferries will be affected next week Will? I'm due to travel back to UK on Brittany ferries from Caen!
  4. There is a brocante de Noel next weekend (17/18 November) at Molay-Littry, in Caen 2 December, Villiers-sous-Mortagne 9 December.  
  5. I have just been looking at the BF website.  I know they are stopping the Cherbourg-Portsmouth crossing in October but when I looked at Cherbourg-Poole or Caen - Portsmouth, they stop at 15 November.  Does this mean there will be no ferries crossing from Normandy to UK from mid-November or will they be posting a winter timetable soon?  
  6. It's that time of year again, and there are plenty of vide greniers being held here in Normandy this weekend. There is a big one at Briquebec and Coutances tomorrow and we have a big one here in Carentan on Sunday.  If you want to check out where the rest are being held, you can look at www.calendrier-des-brocantes.com Hopefully it will stay nice and sunny so we can get out there and check out some bargains!  
  7. Can anyone recommend a nice hotel in Lyon, preferably close to the centre of town?  Have looked on Trip Advisor but can't find anything posted for this year.  Thanks  
  8. Thanks for the suggestions.  Hadn't come across the bus option when I did a search on google, so it's a big help from you both.
  9. I did post this in the travel section but no replies, so thought I'd try here. I wondered if anyone has done the trip from Normany to Orly airport, and if so, how easy it was, especially if travelling by train?  I know we will have to go to St Lazare and then change, but not sure what it's like getting from train to airport at Orly.  Would it be easier to hire a car?
  10. I never said how unsympathetic people were to my posts in the past - I said I was fed up with only getting negative comments about immigrant teenagers attending school in France. You seem to have missed my point entirely.  I was trying to encourage other parents who are thinking of moving to France with teenagers, not blowing our own trumpet. I'm sorry, but as you say your children are in their thirties, I'm not sure why you are contributing to this forum anyway, as opposed to someone like ourselves who have had children go through the system and are trying to help others in the same boat. In fact, I really am offended by your comments and think they are completely off the mark.   
  11. How easy is it to get to/from Orly airport?  Usually use CDG but need to get to Orly from Normandy the end of the month. Is it possible to use SNCF or better to hire a car as I don't want to leave ours at the airport?
  12. so people don't want to know that it's possible for English speaking teenagers to make it in the french education system? How stupid of me to forget we don't do positive on this forum! Do you have teenagers in France?
  13. Hi Deby, Do you have teenagers?  I am curious as to why would you be nervous of introducing 13/14 year olds into France with no language skills?  There are many people who have done so successfully and given their children opportunities they otherwise wouldn't have been exposed to.  Each child reacts differently and we had a back up plan if ours had found it too difficult.  Perhaps one of the problems with British nationals is we are too scared of taking a chance, especially where another language is concerned.  It's one of the things I love about the French in general - they are so confident and proud of their heritage.  When I compare our 3 to teenagers of friends in UK, I am so glad they had the chance to live here.  It was certainly not easy in the beginning but if ours can do it, then so can others.   My husband had been an academic all his working life, until we moved to France. Where ever you go, that system thinks they are better than any other.  Speak to any UK academic and they will say the system there is still  the best in the world.  One of the reasons our eldest didn't want to go to Canada is because many European universities wont accept north american degrees, yet speak to anyone in Canada and they will say their education system is fantastic.  I am not sure where this survey was conducted regarding the french university system, but my husband is still asked to be part of the jury who decide whether to award a Phd when it is defended by the candidate, here in France.  He was recently in Brest and he will tell you that it is certainly much harder for a french candidate to get a Phd from that respect, than it is for one in UK or Canada, where he is also involved in post graduate research.  Our eldest's first year at Caen was exshausting but paid off when she was accepted into second year.  She certainly had more lectures and was expected to work harder than first year students in UK who are helped much more by lecturers and tutors.  One of the reasons I stopped posting on this forum was because of all the negative comments I used to get every time I posted something positive about the education system in France and how children could cope with it.  You only have to read comments from Val2 and Chris to see we are not alone, although I do find it interesting we are all in Normandy/Brittany!  Whatever you may say, I know  that we have given our 3 a good start in life, and the fact they can now speak other languages fluently is a big bonus.  They wont be scared of taking a chance in the future, or hold themselves back by talking themselves into believing they can't do something before they even try, because they know already that they can do what many say can't be done.
  14. Hi Chris Sylvian is a great guy - as is his dad.  We have bought all our vehicles from him, including Rebecca's first car, a 15 year old Renault 5.  I got a nice Laguna from him last year, first car I'd ever bought without my OH checking it over!  He's certainly nothing like your stereotype car salesman.  Do you live in Carentan or further out?  We are in town now, close to the train station.  Where does your son go to school?  Our youngest 2 were at Notre Dame,in Carentan, before going to Institut St Lo.  They were really helpful, arranging extra french lessons etc.  The English teacher there (sadly he was transferred to Caen) even arranged for our middle child to meet up with his daughter who was the same age, as he was worried she was lonely.  Glad to hear your 2 are happy.  It makes such a difference - to you all!  
  15. Hi Val, what subjects is your son going to study at Brest?  My husband was there recently as once of the judges for a doctoral thesis (he's a marine biologist) He's done lots of work at the university of Brest and we've visited often, it seems a great place to study. None of ours are doing science, think they had enough of it growing up!  The main thing though is they are happy and I agree with you entirely when you say that those who want to do well here will do so. I thought I'd be sad when our "baby" finally left school, but to be honest I feel quite liberated and am really looking forward to this new phase in our lives.  
  16. For all of those who are hesitating taking their teenagers to France, I thought you might be interested in a quick update of how ours are doing.  No doubt the moaning myrtles will all crawl out of the wood work to shout me down but here goes[;-)] We moved to Normandy in 2001, from South Africa, although originally from UK.  Children had never lived in Europe before and none of us spoke French. Children were 16, 14 and 13 years old at the time.  All went back a year and eldest became weekly boarder at school in St Lo, as the school felt it would help her improve her french.  She passed her Bac (a mention assez bien ) and went on to university in Caen.  She has just graduated and is working for the AA (UK) in Lyon for the summer as a translator (she is now trilingual, English, French and Spanish) before starting her masters in September.   Our middle daughter is in second year at university and doing well, and our youngest has just passed his Bac (we can stop holding our breath now!) and starts university in September.  He turned 19 in March but has no hang ups about his age, opposed to friends in UK who seem obsessed if their kids don't have their A levels before they turn 18!  All of them look upon their time at school in France as a positive experience and see it as opening up all sorts of opportunities for them now. They have made incredible friends here, who they are still close to, and as you can probably tell, we are very proud of them. Even though they are all now looking at moving away, they still think of our house in Normandy as home - my OH is based in Canada at the moment but he also feels the same way! They are not exceptional kids but we did all want to live in France, which I think makes a big difference. So, for all of you hesitating about making your move because you have teenagers, take the plunge, it can be done and you might find you all come out of the experience closer and happier than you ever thought possible.
  17. Hi RH feel as if I've fallen into the twilight zone reading some of these posts - have things really changed so much here?? No, my OH is still working in Canada.  He is travelling so much though, we probably see more of each other now I'm back in France as he tries to connect through Paris on all his trips. He's in Spain next week so will drive down to spend the week with him there.  Our eldest has just graduated from university and is working in Lyon for the summer, the other 2 are here with me.  Can't tell you how happy I am to be back.[:D]
  18. Not quite true.  Originally posted under another user name but something happened that meant we had to re-register and change user name.  Have posted quite frequently over the years, especially in the education forum, as we arrived with 3 teenagers, none of whom spoke French when we arrived.  Glad to say they all did well, despite the frequent moans and groans from others on that forum about bringing teenagers to live in France.  Was quiet for a time when OH accepted a job in Canada - posted on that too!  Now thankfully back in France and loving every minute.  Just glad we had the foresight to keep a house here when we went to Canada, so moving back was no problem.      [quote user="powerdesal"]Ac50, An active forum needs active posters, perhaps your 51 posts in approx 3 years is a contributory factor in the lack of activity. [/quote]
  19. I was thinking the same thing myself.  The thread used to be so active when we first started  using it 6 years ago, but now it seems to go for days without anyone posting.  I wonder if it has anything to do with the demise of P&O and the high fares Brittany Ferries charge. We don't seem to be getting many newcomers to the area, and I guess those of us who have been here for a while have ironed out all the wrinkles! Even though I don't post much now, I still log on and check to see what is happening, helping out if I can.  Maybe the weather has contributed to things lately as well.  Never known a summer like it here - usually toasting myself on Utah Beach this time of year.  Not much fun going to vide greniers or brocantes either in the pouring rain.   
  20. I know how you feel.  I posted on the NW forum a few weeks ago about the problems we now have getting to Cherbourg.  I travelled with Brittany Ferries yesterday as a foot passenger from Portsmouth to Caen - cost 42 GBP return. Stayed at Travelodge by ferry port in Portsmouth.  Left Portsmouth at 7 am, had a great journey over and got to Ouistrehem at 11h15 local time.  Bought a ticket from lady at tourist desk for 3.52 euro for bus that left at 12h00 outside ferry port entrance, which went to train station. Took about 30 mins.  Caught train to Carentan (10 euros) and was home by 14h00 local time.  Was really nervous about doing it as a foot passenger as I usually catch Portsmouth to Cherbourg ferry, but it was great and would do it again.  Worked out the cheapest and quickest route but appreciate it wont be easy for you to get from Cambridge to Portsmouth. Also, have you looked at National Express coach service, as they also do a route to France from UK.  Details on their website.
  21. We found our move to France easier than some of the English speaking countries we've lived in.  We've lived in 8 now and I can honestly say we wouldn't want to live anywhere else but France.  We found everyone here in Normandy really friendly and helpful We have had no problems with  the bank, notaire, tax office etc. Our local mayor is great and been a big help. I honestly believe attitude plays a big part.  If you are happy and content you cope so much better. Are you really sure you want to make the move and the above isn't an excuse not to.?
  22. Heading back to Normandy but looking at ferry options has bought home how isolated our part of the country has become, compared to how it was a couple of years ago.  Was hoping Flybe would be using the airport at Cherbourg again but see they are not.  Brittany ferries seem to be charging ridiculous fares, even for 3 day crossings, and if you go to Le Havre it is a trek into Paris if you are a foot passenger and need to use the train.  Just wondered how much this is affecting people in Manche, especially around our area Carentan? House prices don't seem to have dropped, looking at what's for sale on the notaires website and local estate agents, but wondered how much it has affected tourism?
  23. Don't know about Brittany, but here in Normandy we have a baker and butcher who come around twice a week in their vans.  The baker will pick up anything else you want too if you ask him.  It's a great service, and we always use them.  Would be a shame to see them dissapear. They both cover a large radius, and apart from their annual holiday, never fail to appear.  In fact, our baker was a great help in getting me used to counting in French.  The first few times he appeared I used to hand over a 10 euro note!  After a few weeks, he used to put the total up on his calculator and make me count out the change.  Also a good way of trying something you are not sure of.  He often gives me a free loaf, cake etc. to try, knowing full well I will probably buy the item from him next time he calls. 
  24. Hi Will, thanks for that.  I did look at Portsmouth-Le Havre, but I will be going to Carentan.   By train it is only about 35 minutes from Caen, and there is a connection on a Sunday.  If I get into Le Havre I would have to go into Paris and then out again.  It has just made me realise how little choice we now have getting to Cherbourg.  18 months ago I worked in Portsmouth and commuted from Cherbourg every week - I just wouldn't be able to do it now.  I am flying into Heathrow from Canada, but will be in Portsmouth for a friends 60th birthday party on the Friday.  After that, I just want to get back to France as quickly as possible.  As a foot passenger though, I am finding it really difficult.  If I get the fast boat on Sunday from Portsmouth to Cherbourg it arrives after the last train leaves! 
  25. Thanks for the prompt replies.  Still just not sure how feasible it is.  I have done the crossing many times by car, and dropped friends off at the ferry terminal.  I am sure nothing will be open at 7.30 am on a Sunday morning, especially the tourist office, and not sure how many taxi's will be there either. It is so frustrating now that there is so little choice of ferries and crossings from Portsmouth to Cherbourg.  Can't believe I still miss P&O!!!
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