Print Posted By Lost in France on 24 Jul 2012 in Real France - Expat Interviews

Life in Pornic in the Loire Atlantique

Sylvia Edwards has been living in France since 2006, she lives near the Pornic near the rocky coastline of the Loire Atlantique.

PornicWhat made you move to France and how long have you lived here?
We have lived here in France since 2006 after buying our home here in 2003. We liked the better weather, food and more laid back way of life.

Things are more formal but more respectful too and we feel much safer here than back in England, even though we lived in a village there too.

Which part of France do you live in, and what's it like to live there?
We live near Pornic in the Loire Atlantique. The coast line is varied and within a 5 minute walk of our house we have many small beaches and coves with a rocky coastline much like Cornwall. If we travel a bit further we have access to many long, flat beaches so we have the best of both worlds really.

During July and August the population swells enormously as the tourists, (mainly French) arrive and the shops and roads get busier which can be a pain but we then have the benefits of lots of free concerts and events and lots of firework displays.

Everyone has been very friendly and helpful to us and we have made many really good and kind friends here too.

Do you have children, if so how easy was it for them to adjust to a French school?
Our two boys are grown up and still live in the UK.

Open quote. Interviewee gives their moving to France tips Visit the area as many times as you can and in different seasons... Close quote

What is your age?
I am 59.

Where were you born?
I was born in Kidderminster.

Do you work, if so what do you do and how difficult was it to find work or start a business in France?
We have a family internet based business selling gifts based in the UK (Prezzybox.com) so it is easy to work here if we wish to.

What was the worst mistake you made when buying in France?
Can't think of any off the top of my head.

Your best tip or advice to other people considering moving to France?
Visit the area as many times as you can and in different seasons. Places which are lively with many resources in the summer months can become ghost towns in the winter. Check out the local shops and restaurants etc to see if most of them are open all year round. What can seem like a fun journey to get bread on holiday can soon become tedious in the winter months.

Check to see if the houses around you are holiday homes as, if they are you might find it a bit lonely being the only ones living in your close during the winter.

Check out the location of dentists; doctors; hospitals and clinics as well as schools if needed as no-one really wants to drive miles for a regular check up.

Did you find it hard to integrate or adjust to your new life in France and do you have any tips to help others?
It is easy to integrate if you are prepared to learn the language and make friends with the locals. Joining a club or starting an activity might seem daunting but it is an excellent way to meet people and learn the language.

There is an association which you can join for a few euros which enables you as a newcomer to attend a whole host of daytime courses, run by volunteers, it used to be called AVF but is now Bienvenue I think.

NEVER ask anyone if they speak English before you have attempted to speak to them in French as they will often clam up even if they can. They are very forgiving if you just try to speak to them in French and will then be extremely cordial and helpful.

What's the best thing about living in France?
The way of life definitely as people here work to live and not the other way round. They actually enjoy life instead of living a life full of stress. Things are more formal but more respectful.

The weather is usually kinder here and it is lovely to live near the sea.

The food is fantastic.
The wine is MUCH cheaper.
The healthcare is wonderful.
Need I say more?

And the worst?
Missing family and friends obviously, but travelling back is easy and everyone loves visiting us here.

The paperwork is awful and much patience is needed to sort things out.

Service is good but no-one ever says "sorry" if something goes wrong, even though it will be put right.

The French can appear very aloof but it is just their way.

They are terrible at roundabouts and do not always signal and will often stop the car in front of you to have a chat with someone, but there appears to be little real road rage.

Dogs in restaurants and dog mess everywhere! Although, the dogs are usually very well behaved and people are starting to use pooper scoopers!
 

What do you think?

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