Print Posted By Lost in France on 12 Jul 2009 in Real France - Expat Interviews

Life in the Loire Atlantique

After spending many holidays in France Mike made the now or never decision to move to the Loire Atlantique in the Pays de la Loire region of western France.

Nantes-Brest CanalWhat made you move to France and how long have you lived here?
I  have holidayed in France for years, often along the Atlantic coast. The opportunity arose for various personal circumstances and it was a now or never decision. I have only been here a few months.

Which part of France do you live in, and what's it like to live there?
I'm in the Loire Atlantique - the 44. It's a great place to live, behind me inland is the Foret de Gavre and the beginnings of the Loire wine country. I can be on the banks of the Nantes Brest canal in less than 15 minutes. And yet in front of me towards the coast I have the regional parc de la Briere, the marais salants around Guerande. Guerande is a medieval walled town of some magnificence leading to La Baule, 10km of smooth open sandy beaches. A river harbour at one end, a yachting club and fishing harbour the other. Further out the presque Ile Le Croisic with its Ocearium.

Did I mention that I am 15 km from Saint Nazaire the site for Mr Hulots Holiday? And yet only 30 minutes from Nantes. The Magnificent chateau of the Ducs de Bretagne and the fabulous machines De L'Ile.

It's a great place to live, friendly, warm varied with many things to do.

Do you have children, if so how easy was it for them to adjust to a French school?
My son has finished university and lives with his girlfriend so this wasn't an issue for me.

Open quote. Interviewee gives their moving to France tips Find reasons why you should move. But be careful to chose your locations. Close quote

What is your age?

Where were you born?
Balham, London.

Do you work, if so what do you do and how difficult was it to find work or start a business in France?
I moved out here buying a franchise in the property management sector. Some formalities required under French law took a little time, but really it has not been too difficult, provided you accept that as someone who does not exist in their records you have to go through the process of creating an identity.

Chateau Ducs de 
BretagneWhat was the worst mistake you made when buying in France?:
I haven't bought, yet. I wanted to suit my location to my work and balance my capital to my business. for the first year at least I am renting.

Your best tip or advice to other people considering moving to France?
Do it. Find reasons why you should move. But be careful to chose your locations. I have holidayed in this area for some years which is why I was confident of being able to run this sort of business here and that I would enjoy the location as a base.

Did you find it hard to integrate or adjust to your new life in France and do you have any tips to help others?
Get involved in French life. If you can find the AVF early on. It's an association dedicated to helping people settle into the town or village.
Learn the language, attend the town activities. Take the same time over meals the French do. I use my longer lunch times to relax, take some gentle exercise after the meal, read, whatever. You can't change them, so join them instead of fighting them..

What's the best thing about living in France?
I think it's the people. So friendly and welcoming. As an example, when I went into the Mairie to introduce myself and ask about French lessons they couldn't find me local lessons. But the lady behind the desk had a sister with grandchildren living in England. She phoned that sister, who called me, came round and took me to meet a friend. He has pen pals in Wales and enjoys talking about his time there and his beautiful local town. I had made two new friends from nowhere..

And the worst?
Distance, my father is elderly and I see him less than I would like.

What do you think?

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