Print Posted By Lost in France on 15 Apr 2012 in Real France - Expat Interviews

Living in Carcassonne

Louise Elsom moved to France with her Mum four years ago and lives near Carcassonne in the Languedoc region.

Chateau ComtalWhat made you move to France and how long have you lived here?
I have lived here for 4 years. I moved here with my Mum after I had finished University in the UK. We had always holidayed in Southern France throughout my childhood. My late Dad had always dreamed of retiring here and sadly he never got to live out that wish, but we decided to grab the bull by the horns and move out here.

Which part of France do you live in, and what's it like to live there?
We live just 15 minutes outside of Carcassonne in the Languedoc Roussillon. It's a lovely area with so many villages to visit including Montolieu, Saissac, Revel, the list is endless...

Carcassonne is a great town to live near. Whether you want to go for a relaxing drink or meal in the main square or go for a walk around the medieval city, there is something for everyone!

Plus the beaches of Narbonne are just 45 minutes away. What more could we ask for?

Do you have children, if so how easy was it for them to adjust to a French school?
No, I don't have children but when I do I think they will love life here and it will be great for them to be bilingual.

Open quote. Interviewee gives their moving to France tips The countryside here is amazing and there are always new villages to explore... Close quote

What is your age?
I'm 24.

Where were you born?
I was born in East Yorkshire, England.

Do you work, if so what do you do and how difficult was it to find work or start a business in France?
I have had various jobs whilst living here, including a shop owner, waitress, pet sitter and now i manage the holiday rental of our property.

It was initially very challenging when we first moved here, as my French is passable but by no means perfect. I was lucky to have the opportunity to buy an English shop in the centre of Carcassonne. I ran it successfully for 2 years before selling it to move onto my next challenge. During that time i made a lot of great contacts which really helped me to find future work.

What was the worst mistake you made when buying in France?
Luckily we got to live with a friend before we bought our property, so we had a fair few months to take the time to research where we wanted to live.

The property we chose was a big renovation project but we have never regretted that. I always like a challenge!

Your best tip or advice to other people considering moving to France?
If at all possible, I would suggest renting a place first. So many people rush into buying a place when they first get here and they then regret not taking the time to chose the right location for them.

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, fortunately we live in a very friendly village. We find that it helps to own dogs because we met so many people from walking our 4 dogs around the village. The dogs sometime receive more attention from the locals than we do!

Even though our French isn't perfect, we made the effort to speak as much as possible when we first moved here and the locals have really appreciated that.

I have started a local social group for expats so have met a lot of new people through that and we have regular meet ups.

What's the best thing about living in France?
I think that it's such a different lifestyle here. I love to spend weekends wandering around the local markets or vide-greniers and I really love the local restaurants.

The countryside here is amazing and there are always new villages to explore. I think that being near Carcassonne is great as we have the airport just 15minutes away and I seem to have become a very popular holiday destination for friends!

And the worst?
The paperwork here drives me mad! They seem to enjoy dishing out more and more forms to fill out, so that was certainly a shock when we first moved here, but you get used to it after a while.

What do you think?

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