Print Posted By Lost in France on 11 Jul 2010 in Real France - Expat Interviews

Life in Perigord Vert

After her children left the nest Jude felt that she needed a change and so moved to the Dordogne in south-west France.

Perigord VertWhat made you move to France and how long have you lived here?
I have lived in France for nearly 4 years; my children had left the nest and I needed a change.

Which part of France do you live in, and what's it like to live there?
I live in the Dordogne in the area of Perigord Vert.
It is cold in the Winter and hot in the Summer, but oh, when the sun shines at any time of year, it is gorgeous. The countryside is green and verdant, the trees fantastic and the glimpses of wildlife are wonderful.

My French neighbours have been nothing but polite, generous and helpful; the language barrier has sometimes reduced conversations to much arm waving and miming, but with that comes laughter. My English neighbours and those I have met at local 'dos' are always willing to pass on helpful hints and have made social events fun.

Do you have children, if so how easy was it for them to adjust to a French school?
My youngest had just left home for University when I ran away!
Both boys visit regularly - they love it here.

Open quote. Interviewee gives their moving to France tips Make no mistake - its a whole other country Close quote

What is your age?
I'm 56.

Where were you born?
Lowestoft, Suffolk

Do you work, if so what do you do and how difficult was it to find work or start a business in France?
Not possible to use my chosen profession of teacher, but recent changes to regulations now make it simpler to set up as a private language tutor, should I wish to take up the option.

What was the worst mistake you made when buying in France?
Thinking that I, as a woman, was a person in my own right. Not in rural France!

Your best tip or advice to other people considering moving to France?
If you are a woman alone (widowed, divorced or separated) the French authorities will use your Birth name; this can cause hours of confusion when you want to sort out taxes etc.

Make sure that the French authorities are not sending invoices, bills and the like to your last known English address instead of your new French address; particularly if they are using your birth name (in which case the Post Office post redirection you paid for in UK probably won't work!) Speak to people directly if you have a problem - even if it is in mime. Carry a phrase book and/or dictionary.

Did you find it hard to integrate or adjust to your new life in France and do you have any tips to help others?
Make no mistake - its a whole other country.
I was used to doing business on-line, now I go to an office, pass the time of day, chat about the weather, then conduct business.

Greet your French neighbours, the people in the post office queue, shopkeepers and stall holders and thank them as you leave.

Try not to constantly hanker after things you can't buy here as easily. You are in France - embrace it!

What's the best thing about living in France?
Space, quiet roads, sunshine, fresh food.

And the worst?
 My French is improving, but not quickly enough.

What do you think?

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