Print Posted By Lost in France on 24 Jul 2011 in Real France - Expat Interviews

Living in the Pyrenees Orientales

Deborah Concannon has been living in France since 2003, she lives in the Pyrenees Orientales with her family and runs a property management company.

Port Collioure in the Pyrenees-OrientalesWhat made you move to France and how long have you lived here?
Taking holidays in France in various accommodation types from tents, apartments and eventually our own caravan prompted a search for a holiday home. That done we decided that should we wish to move to France permanently, then it should be done while the children were young.

We have been permanent residents now since 2003.

Which part of France do you live in, and what's it like to live there?
We are in the Pyrenees Orientales. The contrasts of scenery is fantastic. We can be in the mountains hiking or skiing or be on the coast in about an hour.

We also have the border town of La Jonquera also under an hours drive away.

Do you have children, if so how easy was it for them to adjust to a French school?
Two girls, the youngest only spent one year in UK school . She cried on her first day at school here and so did I! I worried about her all morning. When she came out of the school gate at lunchtime she was holding hands with identical boy/girl twins and smiling her head off. They have been firm friends ever since.

Our elder daughter was 9 when we arrived in France. She found the work hard but had a wonderful teacher who helped her after school twice a week. She was also asked to redouble a year, which we happily accepted and it helped her leaps and bounds. She has just qualified as a hairdresser and is now hoping to do a BP in a Salon.

Open quote. Interviewee gives their moving to France tips make the effort with a little French... Close quote

What is your age?
I'm 49.

Where were you born?
I was born in the UK.

Do you work, if so what do you do and how difficult was it to find work or start a business in France?
As the only Brit in the village word soon gets round. I was asked to help in school with the English lessons. Then I was approached to teach English to a little French girl on a one to one basis. I have done that now for over 4 years, she is in my opinion fluent.

I have now set up a property management company, Debeneur, under the Auto Entrepreneur system.

What was the worst mistake you made when buying in France?
Not buying a bigger house!

Your best tip or advice to other people considering moving to France?
Think long term.

Did you find it hard to integrate or adjust to your new life in France and do you have any tips to help others?
Not really, if you make the effort with a little French, then the French obviously appreciate that.

What's the best thing about living in France?
For me it is definitely the climate due to our location.

And the worst?
The French lack of sense of humour! And definitely the paperwork in triplicate and a stamp for everything

What do you think?

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