Living in Alsace

Faiz and his family live in the Alsace region and he commutes across the border to Switzerland to work.

AlsaceWhat made you move to France and how long have you lived here?
My wife is French and I'm British. We had often talked about living in France one day. Previously we were living in the US but I got a job transfer to Basel, Switzerland and heard that it might be possible to live on the French side of the border. We made the move and it's been a year now.

Which part of France do you live in, and what's it like to live there?
We love living in Alsace and have found people to be very friendly and welcoming. Our location is quite superb - we have a beautiful, historic region of France to explore, and both Switzerland and Germany on our doorstep. Thanks to the local airport I can easily see family back home in the UK too.

Do you have children, if so how easy was it for them to adjust to a French school?
Having previously been in the UK and the US, at first our young daughter was a bit confused when she started school to suddenly find French becoming the dominant language outside the home. However, she eventually figured out what was going on and quite happily switches between English and French. She's even been known to correct my French!

Open quote. Interviewee gives their moving to France tips The French seek to achieve a better work-life balance Close quote

What is your age?
I'm 42.

Where were you born?

Do you work, if so what do you do and how difficult was it to find work or start a business in France?
I transferred with my company from the US to Basel in Switzerland, but received help to base myself in Alsace. Quite a few of my neighbours work across the border in Switzerland, so I don't feel too strange about being in two countries during the day!

What was the worst mistake you made when buying in France?
We decided to rent first, but have been suitably impressed to start looking for a place to buy.

Your best tip or advice to other people considering moving to France?
Try to plan ahead and be realistic. Of course France does have its exotic side, but you'll need to sort out a lot of administrative items before you can start to enjoy yourself on that front. Go and visit the region you're interested in beforehand and actually explore the place in depth. Talk to people and get some practical advice for living there. It's also a huge benefit to speak French, so the better your language skills, the easier the transition will be.

Did you find it hard to integrate or adjust to your new life in France and do you have any tips to help others?
Thankfully I already spoke French so it helped with integrating. Also, as my wife is French she was able to make the administrative side a little less painful! If you are open-minded and willing to speak, even if your French isn't great, I think you will be successful and make friends - don't be shy!

What's the best thing about living in France?
Quality of life, the festivals and the amazing food. I like the way the French seek to achieve a better work-life balance. It's prompted me to devote more time to hobbies which I had been neglecting, such as writing children's books and learning languages.

And the worst?
There does seem to be a lot of administration standing in the way of getting set up, but it is surmountable.

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Living in Alsace
Faiz and his family live in the Alsace region and he commutes across the border to Switzerland to work. What made you move to France and how long have you lived here? My...

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