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what do you really think of france?


kd
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Well, kd sorry it went wrong for you and hope you have a better time in Spain or whereever.

We've been here in very rural France for 3 years and bought the place before seeing any of the TV programmes. But, we did no research and couldn't speak much French. We'd spent several holidays in different areas of France, had lived, been students and worked all over the UK taking pakage holidays in all the usual European hotspots. Then got fed up, I was ill, partner (in FE) really stressed out and we decided, what the hell, let's move to holiday cottage (ruin) in France. No research, only the usual Live and Work in France and Doing up a Ruin on Tuppence type books and Michel Thomas CDs. Luckily first week spent in said cottage after signing the Acte convinced us that central heating plus large woodburner were must haves and, together with bathroom, that was where our little lump of money went.

We knew we would have to work so did our research in the first six months of living here, registered the micro with the skills brought from the UK, had six customers in the following 4 months (MSA laughed at us and didn't charge cotisations for that period). We also made friends with lots of people, Brits and French, and built up jobs through word of mouth.

We had learnt how to live on £30 a week whilst being students and how to entertain on next to nothing - so people eat here and we eat at their homes thus we have learnt how to spend long, winter evenings. At times we have been skint, knackered or (by the end of March) quite bored with the long, dark evenings.

However, I can't say we won't ever move on or move back. Who knows where a whim will take us next and we will probably have done about two weeks "research" into living in that place!!

Good luck with your move kd, don't ever look back on your time in France as a failure. I hated our year's stay in Huddersfield (whilst partner was doing PGCE) but never regarded that as a failure, just an experience.

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No matter how much research is done when moving abroad, it is still a risky business. But, as Opas points out, what is life without risk? Bloody boring.

The unexpected can always stuff you, no matter how much research you've done. I certainly didn't plan to end up facing a serious illness in a country where I was still in the painful process of learning the language. Over the last eight months there have been frequent occasions when I've dissolved into tears wailing, "I want to go home!" On others I have been enormously bouyed by the kind supportiveness of my neighbours here, the fact that everyone in the immediate neighbourhood knows about me and enquires after my health, and the way our friends on both sides of the channel have rallied round.

I hope the original poster will one day come to regard their experience as having its good side, and I wish them well for the future.
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I bought my first Cow (Angela) in Huddersfield, I think it's great! I would recommend anyone looking for their first Cow, to go there!

While I was waiting for my chosen Cow to be prepared for me, I went to the delightful Holmfirth, to see Norah Batty and Compo, can you imagine how dissapointed I was when I found they were out? I managed to smuggle out one of Norah's wrinkled stockings though! I had hours of pleasure with it during the long winter nights in Wyre Piddle. The chips and gravy are the best in the whole wild world too!

 

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Hegs I might be rather more hopeful for the couple concerned if I didn't know that they were on holiday at the moment.

Knowing about their 'embryonic plans' I inquired which part of France they were perusing?

The answer was not France but Jamaica

Good on them - nothing wrong with enjoying a great holiday, but it does slightly make me wonder if they really looked into this project at all, or if they are just going to get off the boat, drive until they see an estate agents and buy a house. Then worry...........
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Hi again,

Commenting on a couple of posts.

I agree that "nothing ventured nothing gained" is a truism, and like all such, there's even some truth in it. But there ARE limits. Before setting out on a venture, it's nevertheless prudent to have SOME vague idea of the winter temperatures, if the house isn't centrally heated, and heating costs if it is, and to have some idea what you're going to live on.

Boghound and others have contested the value of research. Well, that's OK - perhaps - if you're young, without kids and don't mind having to start from scratch with nothing. But I'm sorry, Jacquie & I worked damned hard to get enough money together to be able to move out here. I wasn't prepared at age >50 to find that our income wasn't adequate, and that we would have to sell up here, and then find we didn't have enough capital to buy back in the UK. So we spent a year finding out. Tax levels, health insurance costs, electricity and gas prices, and so on, every damn thing we could think of, to have a good idea as to what we wouldn't be able to avoid spending. We could then work out whether we could live on what was left.

If we'd been younger, and intending to find work here, I'd have tried to find out just how marketable our skills were (Jacquie was a French teacher - going deaf, so she couldn't work anymore in a classroom environment, and I was a freelance chef). You simply can't move anywhere, in the pious hope that it'll all work out OK, UNLESS you're prepared to find out that your dream was a chimera, and that the reality is as hard in France as it was in the UK. And that means unless you're prepared to live in penury and go home broke.

Despite what others have said, there's an order difference in moving abroad over moving within the country of your birth/childhood. WE know in the UK who to go to if your neighbour is deliberately letting his dogs foul your garden, or if the water supply is undrinkable - we may not be able to do anything about it, but we are brought up knowing how to interreact with the world around us. "Abroad" is wildly different and we will frequently misunderstand and misread the situation. What is meticulously polite in the UK could be taken to be a gratuitous insult here.

There's a ton of potential traps even if you do speak the language fluently. If you don't.... you are going have to be VERY lucky and have some VERY nice and tolerant neighbours.

I stand 100% by the need to do your homework before making a major life change move, especially if you've got kids, and even more especially if you're moving abroad.
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Think I can sit back and sup tea forever and leave Ian to post for me in future, again agree with everything he says.  I'm afraid my heckles rise when I read of young families selling up in the UK and moving off to the darkest depths of rural France with almost zero chance of parents ever finding full time employment or the children achieving much by way of education in the long term.  For singles or couples, especially those with a bit of spare cash, it can be viewed as bit of an adventure.  But otherwise?  Foolhardy is a word that comes to mind.

By the way, this is not aimed at anyone here, I'm just quoting something a very long term British expat in the Middle East once said to me, "Those who can't hack it at home, won't be able to hack it anywhere."  (I'm now ducking in anticipation of incoming flack...)

Gay:  in my relatively small group of acquaintances I know of two couples who would appear to head direct for the estate agents whenever they go on holiday.  Over the years couple one have planned on moving to Cyprus, Kenya and even Sri Lanka.  Couple two, the US, Portugal and somewhere in the Balkans!   I shall suggest they try Jamaica next.

M

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[quote]Think I can sit back and sup tea forever and leave Ian to post for me in future, again agree with everything he says. I'm afraid my heckles rise when I read of young families selling up in the UK and...[/quote]

**"Those who can't hack it at home, won't be able to hack it anywhere."**

Sad but true, M!! Another way of saying it is: 'No matter where you go, there you are.' Change of location does not change anything but geography. The best way to suceed in life, as well as business, is to do so where you are. Then, and only then, can you do so elsewhere. Even then, it takes some modification, versatility and committment. While fully aware that I am not the norm,I have always 'burned bridges behind me'. That allows for total focus and incentive to 'make it work'. I guess that could be called selfconfidence. I am unconcerned about what others call it since it has always worked for me. It has provided for some interesting times!!

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I haven't lived in France (yet), but I did live and work in the Netherlands for about 8 months when I was younger.

Having been there on holiday before, it was still the same place. *However*, once the initial shine wears off, much of the time you do what you do at home ; you go to work, you go shopping etc etc etc.

It's not that different. It was more pleasant than living in England, but it's not the same as being there on an extended Holiday.

If you are going to "get away from something" you have to be honest with yourself about what it is you are trying to get away from.

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[quote]>A recipe for disaster ? Or not ?Only a fool would try to decide in advance without knowing the people. Here is just one scenario where in retrospect this would actually be a shrewd move, I can think ...[/quote]

Well, yes it might work like that. It's a property ladder scenario though, where you are basically relying on economic movements to make it work.

A more realistic option is that you sell now in a falling market, buy in France on an overheated market, spend much of the balance restoring the house, and find that you have a house which is worth much less than you think (the French don't value restorations that much) and the market in the UK has skewed further stopping you from getting back in.

A "shrewd move" is not IMO defined solely by the outcome. It is possible to act incompetently and get away with it simply because of House Price moves (see TV), similarly it is possible to get caught.

I still think the French tourism/gite/B&B/live the dream thing is in a boom caused by TV and House Prices in the UK and France. There are too many Gites etc. and not enough tourists, and individuals may be doing well but I doubt the industry as a unit is. IMO, those who are relying on their B&B/Gite income to live on (or even worse, pay a mortgage) are likely to get seriously screwed.
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[quote]**"Those who can't hack it at home, won't be able to hack it anywhere."**Sad but true, M!! Another way of saying it is: 'No matter where you go, there you are.' Change of location does not change a...[/quote]

Have to agree with just about everything Ian and Ray have said.

The only thing is that some people do so much research but never actually get to just "suck it and see",  for them the thrill is just to have a dream of doing it, sometimes you just have to have a go. It all depends on your confidence in your own ability.

I can only speak as a retiree but I do think that some young families get caught up in the must have it now culture and want to have a better life now without realising that the "lucky" ones who have made the move and enjoy it only got lucky after the hard grind of a working life.

Its not being critical of the originator of this thread but I did think when I first read it, After Spain where next?

weedon

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[quote]Hi again,Commenting on a couple of posts. I agree that "nothing ventured nothing gained" is a truism, and like all such, there's even some truth in it. But there ARE limits. Before setting out on a ve...[/quote]

So you still hold on to your safety blanket mummy gave you!

 Life's full of risks but unfortunately...nowadays...not full of people willing to take them without having their hands held all the way.

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And what sort of attitude do you have Boghound, to those people who follow their ill considered dreams and leave the rest of us to pick up the cost in benefits etc, when they go wrong ? In the past people have been pretty scathing about Brits moving to France and within a short time needing to claim some sort of state benefit and we all have heard comments about the same situation and people moving to the UK.

It may not be politically correct and of course there are lots of situations where frankly its a case of 'there but the grace of god go I' but there is no need to add to situation through our own pig headed insistence that its an 'adventure'.

Of course you have the right to follow your dream, but also the responsibility to ensure you do your absolute utmost to not make other people, be it your children or tax payers, pay the price.

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Annoyed,

I can think of many other scenarios in which moving to France for this couple is a better idea than staying put in the UK. It makes my blood boil when other suppose they know how to run someones life better than they do, without personal knowledge of the people or of all the facts.

As to what is more realistic, The Economists analysis from last month suggests you would, on average, be financially much worse off holding property in the UK than in France over the next few years. Whether that is enough to cover the costs associated with moving etc is unknowable and of course doesn't cover the individual case.

As for the other posts about this "recipe for disaster", maybe I read it wrong, but there was no mention of running gites or of a young family to be educated so those comments add nothing of value in this case.

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[quote]And what sort of attitude do you have Boghound, to those people who follow their ill considered dreams and leave the rest of us to pick up the cost in benefits etc, when they go wrong ? In the past pe...[/quote]

>And what sort of attitude do you have Boghound, to those people who follow their ill considered dreams and leave the rest of us to pick up the >cost in benefits etc, when they go wrong ?

That would be the same attitude that mastered fire, that discovered America, that made the first flight, that discovered Penicillin and vacination, that got ME to university from working in a shop, that allowed me to afford my first wreck of a house in the UK and then got it renovated, that developed the very computers and software with which you wrote that.

Russethouse, I find myself asking, who gave you the right to determine whether peoples dreams are ill considered or not?

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[quote]>And what sort of attitude do you have Boghound, to those people who follow their ill considered dreams and leave the rest of us to pick up the >cost in benefits etc, when they go wrong ?That would be...[/quote]

** who gave you the right to determine whether peoples dreams are ill considered or not?**

It appears to me that this topic is completely exhausted. On a more serious note . . . . Do you ever wear your hair pulled back in a ponytail?

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[quote]>And what sort of attitude do you have Boghound, to those people who follow their ill considered dreams and leave the rest of us to pick up the >cost in benefits etc, when they go wrong ?That would be...[/quote]

Go for it Hegs! How nicely put....I still would like to know...how the Hell the British who came here years ago...managed to survive without sites like this and DIY books about living here.

Hegs...you've still not answered my question about royalties from "Stargate Atlantis"

Gay...how do you pick up the pieces from failed adventures to France? If it's in your tax...as you will no doubt claim...try paying the top rate in three counties and no offspring to claim for but plenty of others to pay out for.

Ray. Hegs ties it back like I do or just lets it dangle....if in the "missionary position"

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I'm have never said I have the right - its my opinion thats all, just like what you are saying is yours. And if you have experience of this board I'm afraid you will have seen many of the comments I refer to, over a time.

Frankly I can think of three situations right now, where we or I have had to pick up the pieces for other peoples lack of thought. In one I ended up with my father in law living here for 6 years (it was hell) while the person who had caused the situation walked away - you can understand why I try not to make others pay for my actions.

The other examples you sight simply are not in the same sphere.

Not looking before you leap is something you can afford to do when you are either well enough off for it not matter or very young - or have no responsibilities.

Things often go wrong through no fault of our own, do we really need to meet disaster halfway simply through a lack of a little research. ??? (Isn't that what they did with Penicillin before they put it on the market - research, research, research ?)

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Boggy, I don't get the Stargate Atlantis reference at all :-(

Russethouse, the perils of doing stupid things are well known. The definition of stupid isn't.

"A ship in harbor is safe - but that is not what ships are for. ~John A. Shedd, Salt from My Attic"

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