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Will we be welcome?


ali-cat
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Speaking the language is the most important thing. I live in the country, run gites and work in a city. I have made friends in both places, but I spoke French well before moving out here. If you don't speak French, watching French TV is a good way to learn, but if you do, it is nice to have the choice of watching either UK or French TV (UK is slightly more interesting). In the winter, get used to seeing people (even your neighbours) infrequently, the summer is much more sociable! Try and attend as many local events as possible and never complain about anyone to anyone else if you live in the the country as chances are they are related in some (albeit distant) way.
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Sounds like he was the idiot. They obviously didn't want other brits moving into the village by the sound of it and were trying to frighten you away from reading your posting by telling you how unfriendly people were, perhaps it was them the locals couldn't stand.
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Hi,

There's an old Northern saying "There's nowt so queer as folk" which  fits the bill perfectly. In the Lot we haven't met an unfriendly person yet. We have been staying in a small hotel in Martel whilst looking for a terrain and last October when we came to sign the Acte the Patron said "vous etes Lotoise maintainent" which I thought was nice.The Estate agent and builder have bent over backwards to help with all the snags that arise on a project like this, we will have a big party when it's all finished as a big thankyou.

 

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[quote user="DebraA64"]Oh - and I must add that I'm fairly safe telling this tale because when we mentioned some info gleaned from this forum, the guy said to ignore it.  He said only idiots look on or post on forums and most of the people who used forums knew nothing about real life in France![/quote]

Nah, he's only in denial, covering up an addiction - bet everything he knows comes from AngloInfo and the like!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Coming to a small town in the Loire, we have found people to be friendly but reserved, on the whole. We are lucky in that the (English) Estate Agent and his (French) wife were our friends before we moved out, & through them we have met their friends. I also made friends through finding a very welcoming church.

But I would agree with the "learn French, and speak it " advice given. I could get by and am gradually improving, with help from my French friends. We use the local shops as much as possible too - yes, slightly more expensive than the big hypermarkets, but it gets your face noticed.

Also, advice of use the local artisans has been good - of course get quotations, but if at all possible supporting the locals means you are appreciated.

I also went to the local College repas-dansant (yes, it was with my friends) and joined in the dancing & eating with gusto. It was apparently noticed and appreciated by the College staff (we live next door, but do not have children)

I like to think I'm fitting in...But of course, I may be VERY much mistaken!!!

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in my personal opinion the book you read was not written by someone living in the real world...you know the one where you don't have nannies to look after your kids 24/7...your friends aren't wine connoisseurs(sorry about the spelling)...you have to take a bath in your swimming pool!  this book had my husband spitting feathers!! we don't seem to come from the same class of people as her family...and have a different outlook on life.  We came here to live and work...are trying very hard to be prepared for all eventualities, make a real effort to learn the language and to use it.  So far, in our 9 months of life in france we have been welcomed by our neighbours, administration has been challenging but fun..for both sides! and work is starting to drift in.......so far so good...you just have to make the effort
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  • 3 weeks later...
    Hi

Although I do not live in France, yet! I have lived in three countries outside of the UK and like yourself I have read the books before hand, culture shook etc.  I started out submerging myself in the culture and language in those countries, but there are times when the reality hits you that is now your home that you will yearn for somethings English.  I don't think it is a bad thing to have some English friends as they will probably have some French friends that you will get to know, you can also share experiences good and bad with some Brits.   Why not watch some English telly, having English telly has not stopped me from learning languages. You will obviously come across the sterotype French person your book refers to, but that's the same everywhere.  You will surely make some mistakes on route, as I have done, but you will learn from them.  Enjoy the experience and find out for yourself.

Good luck[:)]

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Our experience has been extremly positive for the 6 months we've lived here. Think the key for us was laughter. If you can laugh at yourself and your French you should be fine. We've made many French friends and in fact it was only yesterday that we met some other English people in our village for the first time (there was a big fete on). We have gotten very friendly with the owners of the local bar and have taken their children (13 and 20) out on day trips with us. This has helped us in learning the language more and also having some help in getting around places like Paris too as the children obviously speak French. We have almost become part of their family and tonight we've been invited to dinner with their family and their two other sons and their wives who have come down from Normndie (we're in the Loire).

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Hi

We've not yet bought our home in France and have been avidly having French Lessons, I found it hard at school and even harder now ! But we keep trying ! I think learning the language is key but more importantly is understanding a different cultures, I lived in Florida (due to work) for 6 monthes spoke the same language but  felt Like a creature from another planet ! so there is more to it than language. Just be yourself, there is no law that says everyone has to like you and if they don't it doesn't matter, but by being yourself you'll find true friends.[;-)]

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Body language is more important than oral ability. You will find that if you try to speak a few words with a bit of humility you will find that most French are OK and will even try to speak a bit of English.

Always remember to smile.

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I agree entirely about the speaking French thing, but it's even better if you say no to speaking English. [:D]

However, I find French body language very different to UK body language.

In fact all the non-verbal behaviour is different, and this may be a Charentaise thing, but people don't smile here as much. I'm a smiler, and I've learned to tone it down a bit, as it seems out of place.

 

 

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[quote user="Tresco"]

I agree entirely about the speaking French thing, but it's even better if you say no to speaking English. [:D]

However, I find French body language very different to UK body language.

In fact all the non-verbal behaviour is different, and this may be a Charentaise thing, but people don't smile here as much. I'm a smiler, and I've learned to tone it down a bit, as it seems out of place.

[/quote]

Oh dear Tresco, I think I might be in trouble!!  I smile at everyone!!  Mark's convinced I was put on this earth to make people smile - even the grumpy checkout girl in Asda's!!  Bt the time I have all my bags packed - I know her name, where she's going on holiday & her boyfriends name!!  I think you & I should get together if we get an overwhelming urge to smile, uncontrollably!!  [:)][:D]

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  • 2 weeks later...

[quote user="tetley"]in my personal opinion the book you read was not written by someone living in the real world...you know the one where you don't have nannies to look after your kids 24/7...your friends aren't wine connoisseurs(sorry about the spelling)...you have to take a bath in your swimming pool!  this book had my husband spitting feathers!! we don't seem to come from the same class of people as her family...and have a different outlook on life.  We came here to live and work...are trying very hard to be prepared for all eventualities, make a real effort to learn the language and to use it.  So far, in our 9 months of life in france we have been welcomed by our neighbours, administration has been challenging but fun..for both sides! and work is starting to drift in.......so far so good...you just have to make the effort[/quote]

 

Just found this thread and .. I have to agree totally with your comments on that book [:D] I started reading it but couldn't finish it because  I was choking on the feathers [;-)]

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Has anyone read this book, from the other point of view: "Au secours, les Anglais nous envahissent" by José-Alain Fralon.  A french friend described it as very funny.

The blurb according to Amazon

Ils sont partout. Lentement mais sûrement les Anglais envahissent la France. Ici, c'est un village du Limousin, là une station des Alpes, ailleurs un bourg de Mayenne qui sont "tombés". Aujourd'hui, ils ont leurs aéroports, leurs journaux, leur pub, leur gazon, leur épicier, parfois leur épouse française. Et bien sûr leur cottage, acheté, rénové, bichonné. Phénomène nouveau, ils viennent aussi travailler et inscrivent leurs enfants dans nos écoles. José-Alain Fralon est allé sur place, en particulier dans le Périgord - la plus british de nos régions - voir comment se passe cette cohabitation entre Gaulois et sujets de Sa Gracieuse Majesté. Qui sont-ils et que viennent-ils faire chez nous ? Comment vivent-ils ? Qu'en est-il de l'amour entre insulaires et continentaux ? Les autochtones leur en veulent-ils de rafler maisons et terrains et de faire monter les prix ? Bref, comment se décline l'Entente Cordiale dans nos belles provinces. Des anecdotes, des portraits et forcément de l'humour pour raconter la vie quotidienne en "Françangleterre".

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hello

I have also just read that book, I must say it has taken me down a peg or two, we are in the middle of bying our house at the moment and get the keys in august(cant wait) but at the end of the day it will be down to us how they take us. I have always found smiling at every one even if they dont understand you works. So here,s to hoping ( I say with glass of wine in hand, just pratasing of coarse!!!!!) good luck with your move pads[:D]   

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Hi Pads,

Just wanted to wish you all the best with your move!!  Where abouts are you moving to?  Hope all goes well & you are sitting in your new home, glass in hand, very soon!!  [:D]

edit - not sure how this appeared twice - but nothing wrong with sending best wishes, twice!!

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Many thanks for your good wishes [email protected], we are moving to the montage noir area to a small village called pradelles cabardes its miles fom anywhere and is in a stunning location, its taken me 20years to talk my husband into this, so no book is going to get me down, you should keep reading living france the stories are much more cheerful.  
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