Calling expats in France

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  • Calling expats in France
  • Premier Icon StuF

    Fed up with this country and we’ve had an idea of moving to France in the future, probably have to wait until the kids have left school – so not to mess up their GCSEs etc and wouldn’t need such a big house.

    In the meantime we’re wondering about getting a holiday home (southern France / Pyrenees / Carcassonne area). MrsF likes the idea of disappearing out there for 6 weeks in the summer, and also getting used to living out there.

    What advice / pitfalls have you lot got? I know there are a few expats on here.

    How did you finance it (big pot of cash / mortgage / remortgage current home)?



    Depends why you’re fed up in the UK really.  I’m in the Basque Country (but spend a lot of time in France too), and have basically got the same day to day crap you have wherever you live (except maybe Brexit) – moving wouldn’t make it go away!

    Premier Icon jerseychaz

    ^ this! We moved a couple of years ago and still have loads of daily carp to deal with. Also, since BREXIT the £ has gone south against the Euro and day to day living is becoming eyewateringly expensive! Our weekly supermarket bill is about 50% more than it was in the UK, there’s no appreciable difference in the price of fuel. Couple that with a housing market that, unless you are buying a modern, up to date spec house means that shifting it in future years will result in a significant “loss”. My advice would be, if you really want holidays out here is to rent somewhere for 2 months each summer – no maintenance, bills or worries. Having said that, we love it and don’t regret the move we are just having to make some significant adjustments to our life that we didn’t anticipate….we did anticipate plenty


    I lived in France for two years and although I still love France and the French I wouldn’t do it again; it was the loneliest two years of my life and life is just as stressful as in Britain. On top of that I missed the culture, the pubs, the music, just the good old gentle joshing humour that the British do so well.


    On a cold Monday morning in November when you’ve got to get up to take the kids to school and go to work, it doesn’t really matter where you live…

    What’s wrong with where you are now?


    I always toyed with doing the same, either France or New Zealand, but after speaking to so many people and having had stretches of being there for 5-6 weeks at a time, as much as I love France, i don’t think we could live there now.

    But I married a Norfolk girl and having moved to North Norfolk, at 43 years of age and having lived and worked in a number of countries, i finally feel “settled”, in that whilst i am in the UK and have the same problems as many and hate the Tories, BUT I no longer have to drive the M25 to work, we have brilliant beaches at Wells and Holkham, 10 minutes down the road, i live in a small village where i know everyone and have a circle of friends in the surrounding villages where we all go round each others houses nearly every weekend and look after each others kids, i can genuinely leave car unlocked and i can simply stroll round the village and put money in honesty box or bang on door if i want eggs/ veg/ sloe gin etc. So as someone who has never lived in one spot for more than a few years and was always “unsettled”, it has ticked a lot of the boxes for me, more importantly it feels like a nice place to raise my daughter, the whole of her school is 85 pupils and our 3 bed house, cost the same as our 2 bed flat in Surrey before

    So i think you need to ask what it is you are really looking for from a certain area, you may be surprised that there are still quiet, friendly spots in the UK (and they speak funny here too…)

    Premier Icon rugbydick

    Calling expats in France

    If you move to France you’ll be a migrant, not an “expat”

    The company I work for has a broad spread of people from other countries working here, not just the EU but outside of the Europe too. It’s a pretty multicultural company…..funny how a lot of the French / Italians / Spanish / Germans and some others too are living here to escape their own countries for much the same reasons the OP has stated as to why he wants to leave the UK. One of my French colleagues resigned as they wanted to send him to work in one of our suppliers offices near Paris, he was so desperate not to return to France.

    The grass isn’t always greener.

    I think sometimes you have to make an effort to look out for the upsides and bright side of things. It is easy to keep getting drawn into everything that is bad….especially with our media. Watch less TV, read less newspapers, steer clear of ‘fake news’ on the internet, steer clear of echo chamber threads on internet forums, get out in to the country, meet real people, see more of the country. It’s actually not a bad place at all really. the more I travel the world the more I appreciate the UK. It’s far from perfect and we’re in for a rocky ride over the coming years, but most countries are also…we’re all suffering the same fundamental issues. But things really are not that bad. Be more glass is half full.


    The grass isn’t always greener.

    From what you have said it would seem it does tend to be greener. For your French friends the grass is greener away from France same as we see the grass as greener in France (or NZ or one of the other favourites). Part of it is being somewhere different.

    The main danger is that when you decide France (or wherever) isn’t the promised land and you’ve rosied up your memories of Blighty you then go back home and find out that not only is it as irritating as ever but it has now added some new irritations which aren’t even your irritations. The solution? Keep moving and don’t look back.

    Premier Icon on and on

    I live on the Swiss French boarder and im jacking it in after 2 years. I’ve never liked it here so moving to Dublin for a bit until I figure out the brexit situation.

    initially once the newness has worn off I think most of Europe is qually shit/ challenging/ expensive etc

    Premier Icon mattbee

    Doesn’t really matter which side of the fence the grass is greener on, it still needs mowing.

    Premier Icon wallop

    I’d love to live in France. Not because I hate the UK, but just because I love being in the mountains.

    initially once the newness has worn off I think most of Europe is qually shit/ challenging/ expensive etc

    Steady on, wouldn’t go that far! I seriously doubt I could move back to the UK though I do miss aspects of it from time to time. Quality of life, on balance, Is better than wherever I’ve lived in the UK. Maybe I just got lucky with where I ended up. But problem free it is not. Tax return still hurts. Neighbours are still noisy idiots. The weather’s been crap for three months straight. Etc.

    Scud seems to have it sorted.


    Why France?

    We looked all over the usual countries in Europe and nowhere looked as though it would give us the life we were looking for for a price that wasn’t crippling.

    We looked further afield, to the more unknown areas and ended up finding a home in rural mainland Croatia. It was cheap as chips, the weather is great (if you like proper seasons), it is safe with little crime to speak of, truly beautiful and most importantly somewhere we were happy to start a family (the UK wasn’t).

    It is not without it’s frustrations and far from perfect but is home and we love it….. A million miles away from life in the UK. We live a cheap and healthy life, have some of the best of ‘new’ Europe on our doorstep and, most importantly, my little uns (both born in Zagreb) have room to grow and flourish in a safe, healthy and wholesome environment.

    Depending on your circumstances you could also keep your place in the UK and live off the rent…. Places here can be had from as little as 5k euro. Then you have the option to try without having to sell up in the UK to fund your new life……


    I’ve spent over half my life in SW France so it’s home. It’s a bit too hot and busy for six weeks  in the  Summer but the rest of the year is fine. Every season has it’s attractions, there’s always something to do and the years with long periods of poor weather are few and far between. Carcassonne is cold and windy in Winter and hot and windy in Summer.

    Then there’s turning on Europe 1 in the morning and being entertained as you’re being informed, always something to smile at. Walk somewhere and you’ll exist for other people, drive and there’ll be interaction too. 🙂 The TV will be reassuringly French or dubbed septic stuff kids and bored people watch. The presenters will become family members.

    Your kids are unlikely to get bullied at school and will be turned into pocket revolutionaries who will philsophically argue black is white. Should you somehow wind up in bed with a member of the opposite sex (or the same if that’s your preference) you are unlikely to regret it. If you work you’ll probably work hard and moan about it a lot while secretly being quite happy in your job.

    Do you like things French? Do you like French values? Do you like the French? Answer yes three times and you’ll be fine.

    Edit: finance. I was skint so worked untill I wasn’t skint.

    I’ve been living in Limousin  for 3 years and absolutely love it. It feels like home, though I do still have a house in the UK.

    We bought a small house that needed tidying rather than a sprawling project. You asked of pitfalls, and this does appear to be one that many Brits make and go on to regret. It is so easy to buy a huge house to rebuild with several acres of land for next to nothing in comparison to UK prices. But unless you have pots of cash behind you it may always be that millstone rather than your grand design dream.

    There is also the issue of health care. I am just about in the French health system now but with Brexit terms still very much up in the air how people will get on in the future is anyone’s guess.

    if you have any specific questions please do mail me.

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