Print Posted By Lost in France on 23 May 2010 in Real France - Expat Interviews

Life in La Creuse

Mike Gray has lived in France for 20 years, he now lives in la Creuse in the Limousin region and runs his own business installing satellite TV systems.

La CreuseWhat made you move to France and how long have you lived here?
We have lived in France for 20 years, I came to France when I was 25 and I bought a house when I was 27, this is how the story began. I met a French man at a party in 1988 in London (we lived in the Midlands) and he asked me if he could come and stay with us for a week or two, 6 months later he was still there!

After that he invited us, me, my wife, my mother and father to visit his parents home in Brittany, so off we went and loved every minute of the holiday. We all made lots of friends and were made welcome where ever we went, so when ever we could we came back which was often. My wife and I decided to buy a house in France (Brittany). The week before we came to put the deposit on the house, we were invited by a friend of my wife's to visit La Creuse Dept 23, so we came to France again this time to visit La Creuse and then back to Brittany to buy the house there!

We arrived in Creuse (late evening) and it was dark. Our new friends fed us and gave us an old farm house to sleep in. The next morning I went out on to the garden to find the toilet and I was blown away (shocked) at the view, all I could see was trees and valleys. The valleys were filled with a good fog and it made the hills look like islands full of trees! I could not see a single house, I fell in Love with La Creuse.

Which part of France do you live in, and what's it like to live there?
I love La Creuse because of the lovely vibration of the place, all the green hills and valleys full of rivers and lakes and not to mention all the forests and animals and of course the people of La Creuse.

Do you have children, if so how easy was it for them to adjust to a French school?
We came with one child a boy, aged 7 years old, I think he adapted to the way of life like a duck to water and within several months he was fluent in French he even had the little gestures of the French children.

Open quote. Interviewee gives their moving to France tips Please don't expect rural France to be as fast as England you will save yourselves a lot of stress, stress kills! Close quote

What is your age?
48 years old now!

Where were you born?
The north east of England.

Do you work, if so what do you do and how difficult was it to find work or start a business in France?
After seeing the French houses with no cement that were built differently, I wanted to learn how they built them and what they used, I was a builder in England, but not at all in the Creuseour League! They are the best in France or so the French say! I agree, so I started to look for a job in battiment (building), I was not able to speak French at the time. Yes it was hard! In lots of ways!

Now I work for myself, my friend set up a company up in 2004, Sky TV installations, he had to work hard to build up his business, I bought it of him just over three years ago. I was self employed for about 12 years before that, of course in the building trade, my friend trained me as a Sky TV installer.

What was the worst mistake you made when buying in France?
I had a chance to buy a big field for a cow and I didn't.

Your best tip or advice to other people considering moving to France?
Its going to be difficult to slow down to the French way (pace) of life and their habits BUT please try and accept the French as having different customs and beliefs.

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 problem integrating, French people are lovely and want to help! Adjusting to the slow pace took time, in England we are used to every thing now the same day but its not like that here and we must not try and change that! Please don't expect rural France to be as fast as England you will save yourselves a lot of stress, stress kills!

What's the best thing about living in France?
The best thing about La Creuse is of cause the splendid countryside and all the wildlife. I love their houses, they are built to last for ever in oak and granite and the people of Creuse are helpful.

And the worst?
The paper work and Administration!!

What do you think?

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