Print Posted By Lost in France on 28 Jun 2009 in Real France - Expat Interviews

Living in Pays de la Loire

Born in Bradford on Avon, Adrian is a retired teacher who now lives in Breil near the Loire Valley he tells us his experiences of moving to France plus some useful tips.

Pays de la LoireWhat made you move to France and how long have you lived here?
Frequent summer holidays there and above all the chance to buy a property in countryside with lots of space, something unaffordable in the UK. We have lived here for six happy years.

Which part of France do you live in, and what's it like to live there?
We live at Breil, near the Loire Valley.  The countryside is very forested but there are few hills and open farmland tends to be open and extensive.  Prices in general are good, and there are excellent restaurants.  On a visit to the south of France we were unable to find any restaurant that began to match what we have here. The Loire Valley and the Loir Valley are beautiful. Winters can be very cold.

Do you have children, if so how easy was it for them to adjust to a French school?
No children, but friends with young children have adapted well and become fluent in French within a couple of years.

Open quote. Interviewee gives their moving to France tips Don't be in a hurry and don't fall in love with the first property you see. Close quote

What is your age?
25 going on 63.

Where were you born?
Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, UK.

Do you work, if so what do you do and how difficult was it to find work or start a business in France?
Retired teacher though still doing some teaching with French students learning English.  Get the impression I could get many more students if I wanted to, but don't have the time.

What was the worst mistake you made when buying in France?
Not checking up on the costs of restoration and taking advice from estate agent on plumbers etc. Roofer was superb, the plumber useless, and we found our own mason who was incredibly good.

We really should have been in dire trouble with the property as we made no checks, but everything worked out perfectly through sheer luck. Wouldn't recommend it though, especially now when things have become more commercialised and more people are out to rip you off.

Your best tip or advice to other people considering moving to France?
Sell your UK property first.  Then hire a 'gite' in your chosen area and visit every local estate agent in a 50 km radius.  Don't be in a hurry and don't fall in love with the first property you see.... they are almost all beautiful and wonderful!  Be prepared to push a hard bargain. DON'T deal with English agents and definitely not those who offer 'all in ' deals including Notaire's fees etc etc.

Did you find it hard to integrate or adjust to your new life in France and do you have any tips to help others?
Try hard and make friends with the locals before you arrive. Invite them round and make every effort to be friendly and talk French.
BUT don't expect life in France to be anything like in the UK.  And how ever good your French is or becomes, it will never be like 'having a chat' with friends.  There isn't the same extensive choice of clubs and societies. Be prepared to be lonely sometimes.  Don't believe all your old friends will ever come to visit, or perhaps only once if they do.

What's the best thing about living in France?
Tranquillity, climate, food and drink, friendly people and a fabulous countryside.  Escape from crowds.

And the worst?
Appalling customer service in most big shops and institutions.  Just go with the crowd and stop worrying.  Apologise first even when it's not your fault and ask them grovellingly to help you. Getting angry and arguing will get you NOWHERE. (Apart from feeling righteous and that you spoke your mind.)  I speak from bitter experience!

What do you think?

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