Print Posted By Lost in France on 12 May 2011 in Real France - Expat Interviews

A Holiday Home in the Languedoc

Monty M owns a home in the Languedoc and spends as much time as possible living in France.

LanguedocWhat made you move to France and how long have you lived here?
We don't live in France full time but rather spend some 3 months of the year there at the moment. We have had a house there for the past 20 years and recently finished the renovation of another we bought in the same village. We like the climate, the food, the countryside of the area and the sea plus the general ambience and culture of the area, with lots of festivals and music in the summer.

Which part of France do you live in, and what's it like to live there?
Languedoc - it's great - we have almost everything you could wish for, coastal plains, mountains and the sea plus 300 sunny days a year on average, lovely old buildings.

When we bought our first house there, there were relatively few Brits but now they are a relatively sizable part of the community. However unlike a lot of the ex pat "colonies" in Spain the Brits here generally mix and socialise with the indigenous French. It all makes for a laid back easy going life style, though you can do as much or as little as you want.

Open quote. Interviewee gives their moving to France tips 'Priorité a droite' - it is an insane idea... Close quote

What is your age?
I'm 68.

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?
Well loosely - we let our two houses out, the original for medium terms lets and the new one for holiday lets.
No real difficulties with this except for one femme de menage, who different to the others we had, was virtually useless and greedy into the bargain, so we sacked her.

Your best tip or advice to other people considering moving to France?
Learn the language. My French isn't perfect by any means and I still have problems following the French TV but at least I can hold a conversation face to face and make out the gist of many official documents which are exclusively in French. If you do not speak French well, try your best - even though you make mistakes the French will try to help and not judge you to be a fool, so there is nothing to be afraid of.

Did you find it hard to integrate or adjust to your new life in France and do you have any tips to help others?
No, not really - I never had any hang ups about trying to speak French and always felt it was appreciated when I tried. I have had good French friends for over 20 years now.
The only pity is that I have not stayed for much longer, so that I would learn the language so much better. I pense que je parle Français comme un vache Espagnol mais mes amis jamais dissent ça..

What's the best thing about living in France?
The climate, the general ambience, the great countryside, clear roads most of the time, the larger towns and cities like Montpellier which are so chic and the friendliness.
To my mind this so called antipathy between the French and the British is mainly in British minds - I have found very few anti British sentiments expressed by the French, except for one man in a bar in Caen, drunk at the time who said, "Les Anglais sont cochons" probably thinking I wouldn't understand and that he would get a laugh from his mates.

And the worst?
Automated help lines where the French recorded messages are so quick it is impossible for me to understand and there is no option to speak to a human being. lso, "Priorité a droite" - it is an insane idea especially when mixed with more normal junctions.

What do you think?

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