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Joining the Exodus from France?

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Maybe, finally, now new movers over here may have to find a bit more cash to support themselves, and buy their own healthcare, they'll think more seriously about the other issues as well.  It's the same old story really, and the same bit of advice that many on here have given a lot - don't move here to get away from anything; move because you want to live in France warts and all.  Chief, I believe this is one of the big problems if you have little or no French into the bargain - French TV is probably pretty meaningless in that case, so pretty easy to ignore the undoubted social and other problems in this country.

It's been very interesting reading  the "What's missing in your life?" thread because a significant few have sited their lack of close friends and the resulting feeling of isolation this can bring.  Many who think they are going to enjoy a perfect life here would do well to read those posts.  They are quite telling.

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[quote user="Chief"]

what they should be asking themselves is this.... If i end up alone and with no friends, no job, no real social life, pretty much isolated on my own with just my family around me, could i survive here and be happy? 


No friends, no job, no social life ... and still be happy is a big ask for any geographical location.  Paradise/heaven/nirvana itself would be pretty grim in those circumstances.

The question could be phrased "Have I got the capability to make friends, find a job/start a business and develop a social life in France - if that's what makes me happy?"  and I would guess that the challenges of doing those things are much the same wherever you are: France, Frankfurt, Fulham or Falkirk.

What are the profoundly compelling factors that make many of us want to return to our roots - I feel it has to be more than practical things?

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I wonder if this is not a more pertinent question for those who cannot afford to go home much.  I don't miss living in the UK but a four-hour drive and my Eurotunnel season ticket (5 trips a year at a good rate) mean that I can nip back and see anybody I miss whenever I wish.  I enjoy it when I go but don't want to go back to my old life - or, more importantly, to work!  I do wonder, though, whether my attitude woud change if my o/h weren't here and more importantly, if I no longer felt fit to travel.  At the moment, I say, no, there is no way I would go back, but if circumstances were to change, I would be a fool to think it would definately not occur to me.
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For those like me who plan to continue working for a while (perhaps a bit longer than expected with the CMU situation [:(]) it'a bit of a surreal situation, especially so in my case working offshore.

Although I'm travelling to and from UK on a very regular basis I'm nowhere near my old home so removed from friends and family.

I transit through Aberdeen airport on the way in and out, long enough to be able to have a pint and chew the fat in the bar and read the magazines etc. but not long enough to go to the city for a spot of shopping or some such. When offshore I've got workmates to talk to, Sky TV and a regular supply of newspapers so for me then so far there is hardly any feeling of "missing" anything and when I am in France it's sometimes hard not to think of being on holiday which of course I am, but I'm not, if you see what I mean !

On the other hand the OH, in France full time now, will perhaps be feeling the difference more keenly but she's a busy sort and has got herself booked up with formal French lessons and also planning to get involved with some other things in the area so for the moment anyway, happy as larry [:D]

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' pretty much isolated on my own with just my family around me, could i survive here and be happy? '

I think you need to look to your relationship with your partner first of all because if you are together more than you are in the UK would this be a good thing? You need to be best friends with your partner, sounds a silly thing to say but hope you know what I mean!
Do not count on being able to very quickly set up a group of friends as you could in the UK with the English language in common. It all depends where you buy and what social opportunities there is in the area.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Dear Athene:

I read your post with great joy, realism, and enthusiasm. I too am planning to move to France, it is something I've wanted to do all of my life. My daughter has just entered college and lives in New York. She plans to study abroad in London next year, and I figure I can see her easily when she is studying abroad. All of my concerns about being away from family you really put into perspective to me, but I love your line about not "living in someone's pocket". Everyone has their own lives, and all of my family would love to spend a holiday in France, they all talk about it, and with me being there, they can. I am have been a single parent for 18 years, and now it's my turn to explore the world again, who knows maybe I won't be single forever after the move! OOh lalal! Thank you for being so honest in your assessment of moving, even though you are a lot closer to your original home in the UK than I would be from the US. I still look at this as an adventure that I've waited my whole life to take. Thanks agaiin!

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[quote user="Ian"][quote user="Chief"]

what they should be asking themselves is this.... If i end up alone and with no friends, no job, no real social life, pretty much isolated on my own with just my family around me, could i survive here and be happy? 


No friends, no job, no social life ... and still be happy -You bet, absolute heaven (and I am NOT joking)

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Dear Monaco:

I've been reviewing several postings on this site, as I am planning to move to France also. I have been applying for employment with US companies that have offices there, and we'll see what happens with that. I love the idea of retiring there, as I am tired of this fast paced life here in the US. I live just outside of Washington DC, and have wanted to move to France all of my life. I do speak the language, although not fluently, but having studied it all of my life, I am sure fluency will come in short order once I move. My daughter just entered college and I am single, so I have nothing but "things - house, car, rat race to make more $$$, etc" keeping me here. I read with great interest your observation about how difficult it is to be self employed or employed in France. I have come across a few good internet based supported business in France, but don't know how successful they are. I've inquired and hopefully the owners will share some of the highlights of their success. Perhaps my move will have to be part of a retirement plan who knows, but I still would like to become immersed in the culture with something to do, thus the employment approach. Thanks for sharing, I shall keep my progress posted here.

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Thank you, powerdesal, you have voiced something that perhaps I would not have had the guts to say.  Recently, my OH went back to the Uk, my neighbours, likewise.  My French neighbours did not come near me and, apart from the dog, I was completely alone.

It was wonderful, even though I had an intruder (whom I challenged) and subsequently had to keep a gardening tool by my main door.

The dog got a bit clingy near the end of my 11 days and I found that hard but, yes, I too am happy to be all on my tod.  Went to bed when I wanted, got up when I wanted (subject to dog wanting to go out), ate what I felt like, when I felt like.  Played my piano, looked in on this forum, rang my friends, went to the hairdresser, saw my doctor, jogged in the garden, didn't feel in need of going out, social life or anything else.

Not saying how long I would have enjoyed it but, whilst it was going on, it felt pretty damn good!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just in case anyone is deciding to move back, a update from the TV series

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: BEST & WORST LIVE at http://www.channel4.com/4homes/ontv/best&worst/index.html was shown last night. This was quite an eyeopener, just look at part of the entry for where I live in London.

The borough has suffered from a rise in gang crime over the last five years, which has blighted the area with its inherent drug culture and violence.
Subsequently, the borough was voted the second worst place to raise a family by Reader’s Digest,

I'll not bore you with  the rest, but it sums up some of the facts for moving away. This cover most of the UK so anyone who lives in the best areas

Smug mode!

1 Edinburgh
38Epsom & Ewell
4 Waverley
5 Mole Valley
6 Surrey Heath
75South Cambridgeshire
8 Chelmsford
10 Elmbridge
11 East Dunbartonshire
12 Guildford
13 St. Albans
14 Rushcliffe
15 Bath & NE Somerset
16 Mid Sussex
17 Suffolk Coastal
18 South Northamptonshire
19 Reigate & Banstead
20 Wokingham

Twenty Worst Places to Live

2 Kingston upon Hull
53Merthyr Tydfil
6 North East Lincolnshire
89Blaenau Gwent
9 Mansfield
10 Knowsley
11 Blackpool
13 Stoke-on-trent
14 Barking & Dagenham
15 Doncaster
16 Cannock Chase
18 Haringey
19 Burnley
20 Hartlepool

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Being in the Top Ten does not mean I want to stay here alas, so being smug does not enter the equation.   However, I'd guess that if you live in one of the lower graded places its more of a reason to get out if you able to of coure

Unfortunately living where we do, the sad thing is that our kids have very little chance of ever buying their own homes with a pokey 2 bedroom slum requiring a complete overhaul fetching an exorbitant price because it has the right postcode.   We are moving to France so that our son will have a chance to stay where he wants to live, in the place where he has grown up,  whereas many of his pals have been forced out of their home area if they want to buy their own abode because they simply cannot afford it here.  It's no wonder that families are being torn apart is it?

Talk on the radio today suggests that the house buying boom is over, so please feel for those who have purchased at the top of the market and now see it all come tumbling around their ears as they struggle to pay a mortgage on a house thats not worth what they paid for it less than a year ago.   Whilst this might be good for people thinking of buying somewhere soon its certainly not good for those with an immense millstone of a mortgage hanging over them for the next 25 years.   [:(]

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We used to live near Colchester so know Chelmsford quite well, indeed our friends daughter attended New Hall and I have the highest regard for that particular institution however, if Chelmsford is really now the 8th best place to live in UK, then by G*d I'm not sorry to be out of it....[8-|]

Also have more than a passing acquaintance with Saarfend having worked out of Rayleigh for a number of years [;-)]


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Well we're towards the bottom of the bottom list but I don't think I'll be moving to France permanently any time soon.  France is nice in short bursts (to recharge batteries) but I couldn't cope with long periods there: I would die of boredom!

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Regarding the 'best and worst in Britain' -

Apparently l'Express did something similar for France, the richest and poorest 20 places to live, based on average household income. I can't find any record of that, but applying some figures quoted on another forum our commune in France has to be well into the bottom 20. Whereas our English home is in the top 10 this year (the town having been No 2 in 2006). So that's my excuse for liking Britain just as much as France and spending time in each. A concept that some British in France find very hard to accept.

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