Print Posted By Lost in France on 17 Oct 2009 in Real France - Expat Interviews

Life in the Heart of Cathar Country

Dave moved to France in the 90's after living in Spain for a short while, he now lives in the heart of Cathar country in the village of Rennes les Bains in southern France.

DaveWhat made you move to France and how long have you lived here?
The Thatcher Regime of the '80's lead to my voluntary exile starting in Spain in 1989 and then after discovering the horrors of the Costas my permanent move to France in 1991.

Which part of France do you live in, and what's it like to live there?
I came to the Thermal Village of Rennes les Bains, situated 50 kms to the South of Carcassonne in the Aude, after reading the ' Holy Blood and the Holy Grail' in Feb 1990. It was a very remote region then that has dragged itself towards the present in the intervening years, albeit this was delayed a bit by the 1992 Flood which tore out the heart of the village and killed 3 of the villages old ladies.

It is a pleasant shady village in a narrow valley, with Hot Springs (dating back to a time before the Romans) and a short but vibrant 'Tourist Season'. the rest of the year the village gets back to the usual rural French life of eating drinking and arguing amongst themselves!

Do you have children, if so how easy was it for them to adjust to a French school?
The Kids are doing fine in School.

Open quote. Interviewee gives their moving to France tips Come with your own means of support, be very wary of thinking a Gite or 2 will be your personal Goldmine. Close quote

What is your age?

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?
There was little work available for incomers in our area until the influx of 'Expats from around Europe started buying around 10 years ago. it was a pain to set up a small business when I started but now is much easier with the Auto Entrepreneur scheme, and once all my (expat) future clients had arrived my Business could be successful.

What was the worst mistake you made when buying in France?
Not buying a 100 properties when they were giving them away 15 years ago for a pittance!

Your best tip or advice to other people considering moving to France?
Come with your own means of support. Be very wary of thinking a Gite or 2 will be your personal Goldmine! ... if thinking Gites ...the TOP END with Swimming pool and privacy etc is probably the best idea.

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.... just take your time and get to know the neighbours first. the French are quite ' formal' and seem to take there time. there can be resentment if a village gets too many incomers... watch out for 'Village Politics'!

What's the best thing about living in France?
The Weather above all!!! In this region being only 2 hours from the Sea, a major City, The Mountains for Skiing etc, A different Country ( Spain) Tax Free Shopping, Clean Air, clean Water, lovely local markets, unspoilt Countryside, Forests, History, Mystery, good wine, reasonable Health Care etc etc etc. the List could Go ON!!!!.

And the worst?
NO CURRY!! ( I do make my own!!)
some 'Poor Choice' in the Shops and Restaurants. the opening hours. French Bureaucracy, French 'Service'.

What do you think?

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