Print Posted By Lost in France on 9 Apr 2008 in Real France - Expat Interviews

Living in the Limousin

Linda tells us her story of living in rural Creuse in the Limousin region of France including waking up to find one and half metres of snow had fallen overnight!

Living in CreuseWhat made you move to France?
Having visited France before in the Charente and Brittany area, fell in love with the real rural France. I have been nursing for 30 years and was desperate to leave the hard work and the busy life behind.

Which part of France do you live in?
We live in the Creuse, as rural as you can get yet with all amenities in the local town or at Gueret. Last year was a baptism by fire when all the years' snow arrived in one night, a metre and a half!! We were cut off from civilisation for a week and found that no trouble at all. Though we had some English friends we found it was our French friends that rallied around and offered help. During the spring the forest comes alive and I can spend hours walking the dog searching for wild mushrooms and berries.

Do you have children?
We have only grown up children who reside in the UK, but our dog an English Pointer, thinks he is in second heaven and hunts all day.

Open quote. Interviewee gives their moving to France tips To live in the Creuse you have to be a hardened country-phile and preferably have plenty of income.Close quote

What is your age?
I am 55yrs and my husband is 45yrs. A good combination as when I am tired after doing the garden he takes over.

Where were you born?
I was born in Dorset and my husband in Somerset so the Creuse is very similar to both areas without the hassle of the roads in the summer.

Do you work, if so what do you do and how difficult was it to find work or start a business in France?
My husband is a painter and decorator by trade and I was a nurse. He found work with a French firm on a permanent contract but after 4 months was made redundant. He was paid only minimal wages and once out of work we gradually went through all our savings. The French we found were reluctant to employ because they have had bad experiences with the English previously and my diploma has not been recognised in France so I am unable to work as a nurse. However we have now found employment and though the pay is minimal we can just get by. Living and working in France is just as hard as it is in England but driving to work and then back home again is the time that you can appreciate the wonderful countryside.

What was the worst mistake you made when buying in France?
I think the worst mistake we made was in fact the employment issue. The house sale, a private one from English people, went through without a hitch and in 6 weeks.

Your best advice for people considering moving to France?
Ensure that if you want employment to have it before you arrive and if you are self-employed ensure that the work is there. There are a lot of English builders here and not all are reputable, so the reputation of the English has not helped.

Did you find it hard to integrate or adjust to your new life in France and do you have any tips to help others?
When we had the snow last year, one metre and a half overnight, we found that our so called English friends didn't want to know but our French friends all rallied round. A local plumber, Walter by name, brought us a generator and came often to help us. Other French friends took us to their homes for meals and the community spirit was phenomenal!

What's the best thing about living in France?
The roads are the best thing, no traffic and surrounded by stunning countryside. What a joy it is to drive here, each corner bringing a new picture and each dip and twist a breathtaking view.

And the worst?
The worst is the employment and the low wages. To live in the Creuse you have to be a hardened country-phile and preferably have plenty of income.

What do you think?

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