Print Posted By Lost in France on 20 Jun 2010 in Real France - Expat Interviews

Living and working in the Berry region

Maz Ironside moved to France in 2002 with two young children. Her children soon settled in to French schools and Maz now works as an interpreter and teaches English..

Berry RegionWhat made you move to France and how long have you lived here?
I moved here in 2002, my children were young and I felt it was a great time to make the transition.

Which part of France do you live in, and what's it like to live there?
I live in the centre of France in the Berry Region, my department is Indre (36). Its very rural and we are the only English family in our commune. The people are very welcoming and we have been very well accepted into the local community here.

Do you have children, if so how easy was it for them to adjust to a French school?
My children were 4 and 3 months when we arrived, My eldest Danil had not been to school in the UK, so his first experience was here. he found it a bit overwhelming to start with, but soon settled in well. He is now 11 and came 2nd in his class this year in French and maths.

Jack was just 3 months when we arrived here, so he has had an easier time with it all, he is happy to be here.

Open quote. Interviewee gives their moving to France tips Make the effort to learn French and speak to your neighbours Close quote

What is your age?
I am 37.

Where were you born?
Canterbury in Kent.

Do you work, if so what do you do and how difficult was it to find work or start a business in France?
It was easy to start the business in France, it was harder finding regular clients. the first cotisations were a huge shock!!

I am self employed as an interpreter, I also subcontract to a training centre and teach English to around 50 adults per week in term time.

What was the worst mistake you made when buying in France?
Not negotiating the price better for my house, and having to pay cash to a 'negotiator' which was just a con really..

Your best tip or advice to other people considering moving to France?
When the agents tell you not to negotiate as its not done here... its a lie!! Negotiate just like you would in the UK.

Accept the advice of the local mayor he knows everything pretty much, take a bottle of whiskey for him and some chocolates for the secretary when you go the first time, to introduce yourself.

Make the effort to learn French and speak to your neighbours.

Did you find it hard to integrate or adjust to your new life in France and do you have any tips to help others?
I found it easy to integrate here, the locals were very friendly and welcoming, so speak as much as you can to as many people as you can and you will soon have friends and dinner invites !!

If you are invited for aperitifs... go about 7pm and stay for about an hour , take a little something for your host like a plant or flowers.

What's the best thing about living in France?
I think its the general atmosphere, laid back, little crime and freedom for my children to learn another language..

And the worst?
The cotisations (the social contributions that you make when you are self employed) they can be crippling.

What do you think?

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