Print Posted By Lost in France on 13 Feb 2011 in Real France - Expat Interviews

Living in Central Brittany

Deeanna moved to France in 1998, she now has French nationality and lives and works in central Brittany.

Breton houseWhat made you move to France and how long have you lived here?
I've been here since 1998 after moving here with my husband and son aged 10. Why did I move? I saw what multicultural Britain was turning into well before the PM decided it wasn't working and wanted my son to grow up free, to ride his bike in the country, climb trees and have a childhood unavailable in UK.

Which part of France do you live in, and what's it like to live there?
I live in central Brittany. It's very quiet in my tiny village but at least there's not litter everywhere and I can drive my car without traffic jams (except if I visit the city). Villagers are friendly and helpful and I have no problems because I speak French and have assimilated fully. I have French nationality now and threw my UK passport in the bin!

Do you have children, if so how easy was it for them to adjust to a French school?
My son was 10 when we came and spoke no French. Right away I enrolled him in local school and I must say, I did worry but within 3 months he was dreaming and talking in his sleep in French. After that no problems.

Open quote. Interviewee gives their moving to France tipsForget UK TV and beans. If that's what you want, stop at home! Close quote

What is your age?
I'm 50.

Where were you born?
Warrington 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?
I am now an agent hospitalier in a maison de retraite with a CDI. I wrote my CV out in French and sent it to every maison de retraite in Brittany without reply. I forgot all about it and then one day totally out of the blue a telephone call came to ask if I was available and could I start right away. It was for 14 days. Six years later I'm still there... I took my son to local factory and asked for an application form. He started work the following Monday. I have a degree in social policy and admin but its not worth the paper its written on. You have to be prepared to do ANYTHING and to work hard. After all, YOU are the foreigner here.....!

What was the worst mistake you made when buying in France?
Being robbed by estate agent and notaire...

Your best tip or advice to other people considering moving to France?
You have to be committed to staying and wholeheartedly embracing the French cultural life. Forget UK TV and beans. If that's what you want, stop at home!

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 at all, Bretons are quite childlike in their curiosity about newcomers (in the villages) and if you make an effort then they will too. My son and I would have starved had it not been for help and support of our neighbours who adopted us into their family when my hubby had nervous breakdown, lost his job and we were left without support.

What's the best thing about living in France?
I've forgotten what it was like in England now so hard to make a comparison.

And the worst?
Automatic cars are more expensive.

What do you think?

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