Print Posted By Lost in France on 19 Jun 2011 in Real France - Expat Interviews

Living near Carcassonne

carcassonneLinda and Chris decided the time was right to move to France when Chris was made redundant and their daughter had left home.

What made you move to France and how long have you lived here?
What made you move to France and how long have you lived here?: My husband was made redundant, our daughter left home and our cat died, time to go as we had always loved visiting France.

Which part of France do you live in, and what's it like to live there?
We live near Carcassonne in the south west outside the village. Its rural and quiet and the neighbours are wonderful.

Do you have children, if so how easy was it for them to adjust to a French school?
Our daughter is an adult living with her own family in England. This is our only regret but Skype helps.

Open quote. Interviewee gives their moving to France tips Learn the language and don't worry about making mistakes... Close quote

What is your age?
I am 62.

Where were you born?
I was born in London, England.

Do you work, if so what do you do and how difficult was it to find work or start a business in France?
Luckily we are both retired.

What was the worst mistake you made when buying in France?
We rented a flat and searched for a house for one year seeing many types of houses and settling on a fairly new one as we didn't want to spend double the sale price doing up a wreck. Because of this we got to know all the areas and what sort of house we needed to suit the seasons, i.e., a house we could move around in the summer to find shade so we found a house with a garden on four sides. Most important, it's a villa on one level as we are looking to the future.

Your best tip or advice to other people considering moving to France?
Learn the language and don't worry about making mistakes, the French people appreciate you having a go. Do plenty of research about the area and be prepared to register your car here, quite a hassle. The health thing is important. If you are receiving a pension and are 60 plus you will get 70% of your health paid by Britain and you must pay 30% insurance top up. Under this age it is tricky with private health insurance.

Did you find it hard to integrate or adjust to your new life in France and do you have any tips to help others?
If you can see the French as people and not as French people you will realise they are just the same as us with all our problems etc. They are incredibly non judgemental on meeting you unlike being judged by ones accent in England. Mix in with village or town life and join groups, it will really help your French. Invite your neighbours round for an English meal. I have taught my neighbour to make Fish pie and Dundee Cake, a firm favourite now with her friends and family.

What's the best thing about living in France?
The climate, the French people, the food, the empty roads, the easy and free parking outside the doctors, dentists, wherever. The lack of stress. The fact that we can get in the car and be in another country (Spain) in one hour and then be back for dinner instead of having to catch a plane.

And the worst?
Men parking by the side of the road near a tree and going to the loo in front of the tree for all to see. Shops shutting at 11.45 in time for 12.00 lunch. From a country of wonderful artists, people doing jigsaws, getting them framed and putting them on their living room wall as 'art'.

What do you think?

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