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Moving to France


goulash

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Hi,

     My wife ( 53 yrs ) and myself ( 66 yrs ) live in Devon -  both of us receiving work pensions. We are seriously thinking of selling our bungalow and moving to France ( around La Rochelle ) We have a family of daughter, partner ,two lovely grand children and the normal extended  family.

 

Although I am enthusiastic for this move ( and have started night school for beginners French ) I have the occasional doubts. I reline that it will, ultimately have to be our decision - BUT if you can advise on the good and bad of such a move - please let us know.

by the way - night school is difficult, although i can speak fluent German I am struggling with the French Language.

Thank you for your time.

 

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We met a couple recently, perhaps a little older than you, who came to live in a little hamlet in Brittany 12 months ago. It was clear that they could not speak french and we asked how they got on. Absolutely no problem, if we get an officlal looking letter we put it on one side, then if we get a second that looks the same we ask someone (they have a neighbour who is an English teacher) to help us translate. If they have any official business (eg health matters) they go to the office concerned and 'get by' with waving, pointing and the good will of the staff. Not my way of doing things but they are very happy with their new lives.

To help you decide on a move I would suggest you read all you can on the subject, there are many books and magazines these days, and also look through topics on this and other Forums. I would also suggest you should make an extended stay in the area you fancy before comitting yourselves, particularly in the winter when places that look lovely on summer holidays are completely different from September to March. Many of the lively resorts on the Atlantic coast are more or less closed down for 9 months in winter.

One problem for people that have moved away from family is that they miss seeing their grandchildren grow up.

Liz (29)
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[quote]Hi, My wife ( 53 yrs ) and myself ( 66 yrs ) live in Devon - both of us receiving work pensions. We are seriously thinking of selling our bungalow and moving to France ( around La Rochelle ) ...[/quote]

My advice to you would be to sell up and rent long term first (pref in Winter as already suggested). We did just this for 5 months not far from La Rochelle. Taking our time enabled us to find the house we really wanted without rushing into buying a property during a weeks holiday. Of all of our Xpat freinds it seems those that took their time and rented for at least 3 months before buying are the happiest with their new lives. Some people we know baught houses very hastily and now find it's not what they want/where they want/too much needs doing to the house.

We miss our family but with cheap flight from Poitiers to Stansted we see friends and family regularly. Also when family and friends visit we have a longer much greater quality time together. House prices are rising rapidly on the SW coast of France so don't be surprised if houses you see on the internet are sold (or have been for months).

Good luck with whatever you decide.

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Bonjour, my wife and I are signing for our house in Haute-Vienne, Limousin on 15th November.  Although I can struggle by, we started French lessons at the local college.  The grammar is the hardest part and we are finding it a struggle.  HOWEVER, last week, a friend lent me the Michel Thomas language CD's.  What a revelation!  He insists that you DON'T write anything and you DON'T try to memorise anything.  I have seen this course in most bookshops.

 

The reality is that to understand forms and written information you will need the college course - but the CD's have increased our confidence already. The ISBN for the 2 hour introduction is 0 340 78064 9 or the 8 hour is 0 340 78063 0

Good luck!

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My husband 57 and myself 55 moved permenantly to France in May after owning the house for nearly two years. We are in a small hamlet in the Cote D'Or department of Burgundy and no one speaks English in the vilalge and very few a small amount of English in the nearby town. To be able to visit the doctor, the hospital, dentist, tax office, Mairie or to do anything official you need at least a small amount of French. We took evening classes in England and are now taking classes here. Everyone I have spoken to who is not French feel the same way. dealing with electricians, plumbers, central heating engineers, ordering the oil for the central heating, banks, dealing with a missing packet at the post office all requires French.

Make sure you choose the right place for you to live and consider your needs very carefully. My husband and I are happy in our village at present but we realise that in a few years we will want to be nearer a town with facilities as we have nothing but delivery vans visiting this village. Will you be able to drive for very much longer, do you require doctors nearby, hospitals, need to walk to shops etc. all needs careful consideration.

Given all that good luck.

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We finally moved over to the Aude 3 months, almost, ago and we also have a long rent, 2 years in our case. We are now looking around for a house and taking our time doing so. We made 4 trips between last November and early July and settled on this area because of the climate and the close proximity of both Toulouse, about an hour, and Carcassonne, about 10 minutes. The French learning, well we have been coming over on holiday for best part of 18 years. We also did a course at the local college in Stroud for a couple of years and we have several audio courses which include all of Michel Thomas's. A fair investment, but worth it in the long run. We still struggle to speak. I don't learn easily and Frances, my wife, is good but lacks confidence to do it. We get by at the moment and we learn every day.

By the way we are both early retired and when I work out how to ask for it I am going to go into Carcassonne and get my bus-pass!

We also subscribed to France, Living France and French Property News and they gave us cart loads of info and interest. The inrony is that now we are here they have become too expensive to carry on!! If I had to make the decision to move over again then I would not have any hesitation. But as you say only you can decide

Good luck, if you do decide then look at where you think you would like out of season. It's been said before, but if you like it when it's precipitating it down then you won't go far wrong. Even if you don't speak much French, try, the local people will help you all the way then.

John.

P.S. I'm glad I copied this lot. This wonderful thing timed me out and I nearly lost the lot (it wouldn't be the first time!!!!!!!)

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[quote]Hi, My wife ( 53 yrs ) and myself ( 66 yrs ) live in Devon - both of us receiving work pensions. We are seriously thinking of selling our bungalow and moving to France ( around La Rochelle ) ...[/quote]

Hi,

thanks for all the very helpful replies. brian& pat ( goulash )

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