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Moving near Montguyon - Charente Maritime - Help!


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Hi all,

Hope you can help - we have been toying with the idea of moving for a long time now and have fallen for an unconverted barn about 10 mins drive from Montguyon.  My other half is a builder so we can make it into a fantastic family home - the likes of which we could NEVER afford here!  However, my main concern is the impact on the children (ages 4 and 2).  My 4 year old is very lively and very sociable - I still work fulltime for the time being so he goes to nursery full time which he loves.  At weekends we quite often go to soft play centres for a run around.  He is due to start reception class in Sept at an infant school here which is very good.  However we want to move for all sorts of reasons; property prices, climate, quality of life, safety, better healthcare and hopefully better education.  I would really love to find out if there are any other families in this sort of area and would love to hear anyone's feelings on schools in the area.  From what I have read the school system in France is very good but rigid, and there is a distinct lack of after school activities.  I am worried how my son will adjust to having lots of friends and activities to go to (e.g. soft play, little kickers football club etc) to being in the remote countryside attending a tiny local school with no friends. 

Any advice/tips etc would be much appreciated.



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that would be great, thank you very much.  I would love to hear from others in the area.  We have talked about moving for so long but now that are at the point of being able to do it nerves and worries are hitting home and I would love to hear (good and bad) stories from others.  thanks again Fi
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Hi Fi, I live in Pons, a little way from you, but still in Charente Maritime.


I have a four year old daughter who is at maternelle, she loves it, but when we 1st moved here when she was 2, it was a big culture shock as there was no playgroup, or tumbletots etc, we both missed it more than I realised we would as we too had been used to activities 3 times a week.  But we did adjust and theres normally some fete or other happening at weekends with a hook a duck game to keep them happy.


There isn't any after school activities at our maternellle, but Ella does plenty of sport and exercise in the school week, and has been on lots of school trips, to puppets shows etc.  The school is lovely and she's made loads of friends, as we live in a small town I would imagine the school is slightly larger than perhaps some of the countryside ones, she has about 28 children in her class.  However she seems to get plenty of one on one with her maitresse.


I'm sure your little boy will settle in quite quickly, it's been said lots of times on here but it's a great age to intergrate them into the french system as they don't really have any knowledge to compare english schools.  I think if I was starting Ella at school now the two things I would have differently was to have enrolled her in the school canteen rather than bought her home for dinner everyday and I would have made sure she knew how to say a few more key phrases.


Good luck with everything.

Please feel free to pm me if you want to.











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  • 2 months later...

Hi Fi,

We live near Montguyon. Close to Le Fouilloux .What a good choice you have made. Though we have no young children our neighbours daughter went to the school in Montguyon and is now at the college at the top of the hill. Believe it to be good. Have on the odd occasion needed to pick her up from school and noticed other English children being picked up by their parents.

Plenty going on in the area. You need to check out the sports complex etc. I've joined the tennis club and am the only Brit member. Good for my French.

PM me if you want some extra info.

Best wishes



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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello Fi

I live about 20 mins from Montguyon on the Dordogne/Charete border. I have been here for 2 years and have 3 daughters 12,10,8. I can't speak for Montguyon but from my experience you have to come here prepared to travel that bit further to entertain your children. I travel the 20 mins to Montguyon for riding with my girls every week and it' s no problem. The distance is probably 15km but the drive is pleasant and when I lived in England it could take an hour to cross my town for a swimming lesson.

My girls have settled in well, they miss somethings from UK but not many

Your children are young enough to adapt it is you who needs to be certain that you can cope with a new culture and not working full-time.

I do have days when I question did we do the right thing but they are getting fewer and fewer and when I see the freedom that my kids have I'm glad we did it.

In short not an east transition with kids but stick with it and it's worth it.


PS my kids love school!



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