Print Posted By Lost in France on 10 Oct 2010 in Real France - Expat Interviews

Running a Chambres d'Hotes in the Midi Pyrenees

Carole and Ron spent over 7 years planning their move to France and now live in a picturesque village in the Midi Pyrenees where they run a Chambres d'Hotes.

Chalet-le-Chapeau-BleuWhat made you move to France and how long have you lived here?
We've always taken our family holidays in different regions of France. We have been planning the move for over 7 years - love the culture, the people, the countryside and the space.

We wanted to work together in our own business and opened our Chambres d'Hotes. It is wonderful, we meet such lovely people from all over the world.

Which part of France do you live in, and what's it like to live there?
The Midi Pyrenees - Haute Garonne, Saint Beat - a lovely small traditional Pyrenean village.

We live on the border of Spain in the mountains and it is wonderful. You feel each season, summers are hot, spring is full of life but often wet, winter is snowy but lots of sunshine and crisp and autumns are adorable, warm, sunny and so colourful.

Not an area for anyone who needs a big social life. The bars close early and nightlife tends to be visiting friends or having friends round for meals.

Not many people speak English, Spanish is the second language.

Open quote. Interviewee gives their moving to France tips Sort everything as soon as possible, tax, banks, residency, everything Close quote

What is your age?

Where were you born?
Near Manchester.

Do you work, if so what do you do and how difficult was it to find work or start a business in France?
Chalet-le-Chapeau-Bleu in the winterI still work in the UK and from home for a UK based company. Ron runs the bed and breakfast.

We haven't tried to find work in France but I would imagine it would be very difficult in this region even if you speak fluent French, unless you were prepared to travel to Toulouse each day where there are more opportunities.

Setting up the B&B was not too onerous but was time consuming. You learn more each day.

What was the worst mistake you made when buying in France?
I don't think we made one. I suppose don't always believe what the estate agents tell you or at least check it out.

Your best tip or advice to other people considering moving to France?
Make sure you plan and don't expect it to be perfect. It isn't it is different and wonderful but can be lonely and confusing.

Don't live in France unless you love France and love the people and the culture - don't just come for the weather or to escape - it rarely works.

Did you find it hard to integrate or adjust to your new life in France and do you have any tips to help others?
Get to know the neighbours, try to communicate in French whenever possible.

Respect the French way of life and the culture - don't criticise .

Don't put off until tomorrow - sort everything as soon as possible, tax, banks, residency, everything.

Always have a smile on your face.

What's the best thing about living in France?
France !!! and the people.

And the worst?
Lack of choice in the supermarkets.

Not being able to eat after 2pm and no late bars for a drink now and then after 7pm

No TK Maxx!!!

More Info

Find out more about Carole and Ron's B&B at their website:

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