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

A Musician in the Midi Pyrenees

Jimmy Gallagher moved to France in 2005 to marry his girlfriend, they now live in the Haute Garonne region.

Haute GaronneWhat made you move to France and how long have you lived here?
I moved to France to marry my girlfriend in 2005.

Which part of France do you live in, and what's it like to live there?
We live in a small village called Villeneuve de Riviere in the Haute Garonne. It's 80 km from Toulouse direction Pau.

We live in a small village which is mostly French, and are on pretty good terms with all the neighbours, I think though that the French tend to be a bit more private than the Anglo Saxons. The area is not really touristic which suits us as we prefer peace and quite. Over the last few years our social circle has expanded and we now have many friends from back home.

Open quote. Interviewee gives their moving to France tips Start learning the language as soon as you can... Close quote

What is your age?
I'm 45.

Where were you born?
I was born in Norwich.

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 a professional musician and for the last 25 years having been working and living all over the world.

I tend not to work in France because the French as far as I can see are more interested in food than music and out side of the big cities (Paris, Lyon) there is not much really happening. So my work tends to be in Germany, Russia, Spain and the odd gig back home.

What was the worst mistake you made when buying in France?
None that I can think of. A lot of these houses need work, but surely that's part of the charm?

Your best tip or advice to other people considering moving to France?
Start learning the language as soon as you can, it is the most important thing to make your life easier here.

Did you find it hard to integrate or adjust to your new life in France and do you have any tips to help others?
I have lived in Germany, Spain and now France and I think one has to absorb the local culture especially the food. What's the point of moving to a new country if you don't enjoy all it has to offer. You have to expect a certain change on how you think and behave and that will help you adjust.

What's the best thing about living in France?
Apart from my wife, I have to say the food. I was a chef in London for a few years and I am in food heaven. The range of produce at the marche here is fantastic, I'm also a great believer in seasonal food which in France is a must!

And the worst?
The way the French park!!

What do you think?

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