Print Posted By Lost in France on 23 Apr 2013 in Real France - Expat Interviews

Living in Brittany

Marion Gibbins moved to France 21 years ago and lives with her husband in the Finistere region of Brittany.

La pointe du raz in FinistereWhat made you move to France and how long have you lived here?
We, my husband and I moved 21 years ago as the economic climate and high mortgage rate was making life impossible in England. As a fully registered builder he was faced with a dwindling client base but we still had are own mortgage.

Which part of France do you live in, and what's it like to live there?
We chose Finistere as we had French friends who lived there so we knew the region and it was quite and still is easy to use the ferries to visit southern England where we still have family and friends.

We both worked when we first came here my husband as a builder, granite is and was his speciality and old stone renovations his passion, he is now winding down to retirement I worked as a teacher for a number of years but am now retired.

Open quote. Interviewee gives their moving to France tips Learn the language, don't burn your bridges and do research... Close quote

What is your age?
We're 65 and 63.

Where were you born?
Ilfracombe and Liverpool.

Do you work, if so what do you do and how difficult was it to find work or start a business in France?
Because of our previous visits we knew there was a demand for stonemasons and English teachers. It wasn't too difficult to start up a business then and we had friends to help us with the piles of paperwork, even then .Of course we THOUGHT we spoke good French !! Little did we know.

What was the worst mistake you made when buying in France?
Leaving my husband on his own was not a good idea as we have different styles and tastes in renovations.

Your best tip or advice to other people considering moving to France?
Learn the language, don't burn your bridges and do research, there is no excuse nowadays with the internet benefit from all the advice out there. Do not make comparisons it is not a southern county of England.

Did you find it hard to integrate or adjust to your new life in France and do you have any tips to help others?
We were lucky as we knew people before we came to France so could converse after a fashion. If you have a hobby or passion try to continue it here it is a platform for making friends. I trained my dogs in England and have continued to do so from puppies at the local dog club to competing in trials.

What's the best thing about living in France?
Empty roads except in August, free car parking and despite being impatient the laid back life style.

And the worst?
I am not a patient person so I find the standing in line for bread whist they chat away with the clients annoying

What do you think?

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