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  • Anyone researched or moved to France?
  • Premier Icon flanagaj
    Free Member

    With the youngest now 14 the wife and I are starting to think about leaving the UK. Main motivation for doing so are.

    1) Housing prices are a joke and would like to be able to be mortgage free. We have ~ 120k equity in current house.

    2) Over crowded and weather you never know what it is going to do.

    A search on Rightmove reveals so many detached properties < 100k that are in quiet locations.

    Keen to hear from anyone who has done it, thought about it or is in the process of making the move.

    Thanks

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Full Member

    currently chewing through the idea for 2yrs time when Jr#1 is going into Yr6 and Jr#2 will be going into Yr3. But would probably only go for a year or so in the first instance.

    Stopped by in Macon last week to check it out as being the right kind of place. Same pop as Malvern, bottom of Burgundy. Close to Lyon & GVA for flights to blighty. Good working market town. Direct trains to London from Lyon in 6hrs for <€100 each way. 3hrs from our flat in Morzine.

    I could get back to London once or twice a month with little pain. Mrs S would be taking a break from work having wrapped up a big project.

    I would aim to do some courses like these while there to improve my French

    University of Bourgogne (Dijon)

    Premier Icon STATO
    Free Member

    You realise there are parts of the UK that are neither expensive or overcrowded? weather i cant really help with, tho I generally find it pretty reliable watching the weather reports.

    Premier Icon flanagaj
    Free Member

    Agree that taking an language course before doing the move would be a good idea. I also think that being down in southern France gives you better weather than Northern France.

    weather i cant really help with, tho I generally find it pretty reliable watching the weather reports.

    It’s not so much the weather forecast, it’s the fact that when summer is supposed to be here, eg August this year you have no guarantee that you will get sunny warm weather. That is what sucks about the UK.

    Premier Icon beanum
    Full Member

    I can’t help you with the logistics of moving to France but on the weather front I can confirm that it is consistently sunnier (and warmer when it is sunny) here in the Lake Geneva area than anywhere in the UK. We would find the weather the hardest part about moving back to the UK.

    Will you be working or retiring when you get to France? If you don’t speak French then you will be pretty much excluded from daily life unless you are joining an ex-pat community. When I moved here I was coming to work in an English speaking company with friends from the UK who had already moved and I knew there was a small network of English speaking colleagues.
    I wouldn’t underestimate the importance of daily conversational banter with people you meet, not to mention the ability to deal with local bureaucracy, insurance, banking, hospitals etc…

    hth

    Premier Icon Trimix
    Full Member

    If you will need to work for a living when your there I would urge caution.

    If you don’t need work, then it does sound tempting. But with any move you gain in some areas and lose in others.

    Its not just you and your wife moving (assuming you will be taking your kid).

    I’ve spent a lot of time in France (Corsica) and my wife is from there. A holiday is not a good representation of what the country is actually like to live/work in. I’ve family and friends in France who would jump at the chance of leaving to somewhere like the UK – Due to a range of things, but including; employment opportunities, non socialist government, lack of red tape, better opportunities to run your own business, more choice of work.

    I could retire there, but even then Id still need an escape back to the UK for various reasons.

    I’ve lived/worked in a few places for a year or more and in the end found the UK not too bad on reflection. Its odd what you miss after a year abroad.

    Don’t forget the south of France is way too hot in the summer for riding your bike, and pretty over crowded near the coast.

    Premier Icon DaveRambo
    Full Member

    We have friends who did this 7 years ago when the kids were 5 and 7 and we go and visit them every year or so and have the same discussion about moving out there.

    Our daughter is 15 and this years annual chat about us moving out there go more serious, to the point of doing research to but somewhere in the next year or so. The plan would be to rent it out for a while with a view to moving there when daughter has left home.

    They live in the Midi-Pyrenees and we would probably move there as the weather is less UK like and properties are relatively cheap. There are cheap flights to many airports that are up to a 3 hr drive.

    Mortgage requirements are a lot stricter (IMO a good thing) and you need to understand that it’s a different way of life. There are quite a lot of brits living over there and lots of people who can help with such a move as the buying process is different.

    Our cunning plan would be (if we get around to it) is to get a bit of a wreck and get our friends involved in the doing up over a 2 yr period (the wife does this for a living) gives us more scope to buy somewhere, cheaper to get what we want and might not lose us any money if we decide to sell.

    Things we’ve worked out
    – Don’t do it as an investment/ to make money unless you really know what you’re doing.
    – Learn french
    – life is too short to not have a go (this bit we’re working on)

    Premier Icon flanagaj
    Free Member

    I wouldn’t underestimate the importance of daily conversational banter with people you meet, not to mention the ability to deal with local bureaucracy, insurance, banking, hospitals etc..

    I totally agree with you there. In all honesty, I would not feel at all comfortable about moving to France without being able to speak enough basic french to get you by.

    I am an IT programmer by trade and before that a furniture maker. Was looking at a web site for digital nomads. Basically, jobs that are totally remote.

    Thinking here, is that if you have no mortgage and had a good off grid setup your living expenses should be small.

    Don’t forget the south of France is way too hot in the summer for riding your bike

    I love riding the bike in the heat. My wife reckons I am cold blooded!

    Premier Icon br
    Free Member

    A search on Rightmove reveals so many detached properties < 100k that are in quiet locations.

    You’ll find those in the UK, and probably no jobs around either – same as France.

    Premier Icon DaveyBoyWonder
    Free Member

    We semi researched it a few years ago and often talk about it still.

    When we were last in France we stayed in a gite owned by a Brit family who moved there about 10 years ago, bought an abandoned hamlet (yes, hamlet!) and converted slowly over the years into gites. This is something we were interested in doing as well as wanting to find out about the integration into French life etc so we had an afternoon drinking wine and eating cheese (really) with them and asking them loads of questions.

    In terms of the integration into French life, you need to learn the language. It sounds blatantly obvious but you really do. She hadn’t picked up as much as he had (he was basically fluent) and he’d integrated into the local community much more by the sound of it. Language is a BIG one…
    In terms of everything else though, it sounds amazing. The schools, the health system (as I understand it, you pay ‘insurance’ but when you need a doctor etc there aren’t waiting times – things just get done), food, drink, housing – everything else sounds absolutely amazing but the big thing and I can’t stress how much they stressed it to us, is that if you can’t or aren’t willing to integrate then don’t bother. They’d been there for 10ish years and in that time seen many Brits move to the area, not settle and move back to Britain purely because buying a cheap house in rural France to sit and gulp cheap wine isn’t quite as simple as just doing that!

    Premier Icon ericemel
    Free Member

    This: “If you will need to work for a living when your there I would urge caution.”

    Your french needs to be spot on – I know 2 sets of people who moved there and struggled despite speaking basically fluent french. One guy was actually french, but grew up in america and spoke perfect grammar with an american accent and he struggled there….

    Premier Icon MrWoppit
    Free Member

    Despite it not being the greatest film ever made, this makes me wish I could:

    Premier Icon BillMC
    Full Member

    The couple of people I know who bought properties there and sold them after 7-8 years saw no capital growth, even though they had both installed pools at some considerable expense (Dordogne and Pyrenees). My mate’s daughter is fluent but her parents (both writers with PhDs) felt that their French never got to the level they desired for academic debate, even though they were quite integrated. Rural France can be very cold, wet and quiet pretty quickly after August. I would rent somewhere and rent out your English address before diving in and potentially making a big dent in your capital. Rutland, incidentally, has properties in your bracket and keeps being voted top place to live etc.

    Premier Icon flanagaj
    Free Member

    Rutland, incidentally, has properties in your bracket and keeps being voted top place to live etc.

    Are we talking about the same Rutland?

    Rightmove Rutland Properties < 100k

    Premier Icon mugsys_m8
    Full Member

    Hello!

    Moved in 2009 with Mrs French Mugsy who had been in the UK for over 15 years and never professionally worked in France. Moved with our 6 month old son who was born in Sheffield. Now we also have a 5 year old french born daughter. We live in every day countryside, non picture postcard France. Although some people have visited and likened it to Wiltshire. (I don’t think we invited them back 😉 ) We do not have an expat life. I’m the odd one out really and sometimes struggle. I work freelance all over the world but for UK etc based companies.

    Ultimately, it’s just another country. What happens and if you enjoy it depends more on what you do, how you live, your outlook, your aspirations etc, more so than one what country the pice of land under your feet belongs to. Of course moving to another country CAN be a catalyst to end up being who and doing what you think you want to do at any particular second in your life.

    Premier Icon beanum
    Full Member

    If you can follow Jamel Debbouze in this film without subtitles, your French is fine… 😉

    Premier Icon Edukator
    Free Member

    If property prices, unpredictable weather and overcrowding are your main reasons for the move, don’t. You need positive reasons:

    An inspiring job or business venture if you need an income, which if you are worried about property prices I assume you do. Many expats are living in France on British pensions, remote working or commuting.

    An interest in French culture. If there are a few French radio stations, TV channels, films, writers and bands you like it’s a good sign.

    A firm belief in the welfare state. The attitude that the tax you pay benefits society in general and in a roundabout way yourself – if not you’ll leave the day you work out how much tax you pay as a proportion of your income.

    You want your kids to have a French education and excel in philosophical debate as well as making things.

    A desire to contribute to your local community, make friends and make your funny accent something people are happy to hear.

    And never forget, when in Rome… .

    I was brought up in the UK, have spent most of my life in France, and also worked in Barcelona (I hesitate to say Spain) and Germany. It doesn’t matter where you live as long as it’s home.

    Premier Icon poolman
    Free Member

    I moved to Spain 13 years ago & at the same time a mate at work moved to France.

    We both had similar ideas – some holiday rental/keep a base in UK, similar ages, savings etc.

    Thinking back we kept in touch a fair bit, v similar problems (language, bureaucracy).

    They lasted 5 years – basically cold winters, damp house, isolation, outsiders.

    I’m still in Spain, spending more time in UK though, I think the optimum would be to come & go – but it comes at a price.

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