Anyone else find france is crap when you've got a baby??!!

(122 Posts)
Nancy54 Tue 08-Jan-13 10:47:58

I've lived in france (lorraine) for the past 8 years and have enjoyed living here despite missing family from home.

I've got three month old bg twins who are absolutely wonderful! However, i am finding that there's really limited things to do with babies here and it's quite isolating. When my sister had her baby in the uk a couple of years ago, she went to loads of mum-baby groups, sing alongs etc and so got to meet lots of new mums who then became friends.

It seems that french people don't do this!! new mums seem to stay at home alone or with family for their 10 weeks of maternity leave, then they go back to work full time.

I have finally found a baby massage class which i'm going to this week so hopefully may be able to meet a couple of mums but this is the only activity i've found in the whole city!!

there's baby swimming too but you have to enroll in september to get a place....

Has anyone else has a similar experience in france? Am imagining there's lots more stuff in paris and the bigger cities.

I do think it's cultural too though, ime french people (or those in lorraine) don't go out of their way to meet new people, etc whereas in england we seem to use it as an opportunity to make new friends and share the difficult baby period with others going through the same! i know i'm genralising....

PetiteRaleuse Tue 08-Jan-13 10:56:39

Hi. Are you surprised it's me answering this? France is shite with babies. Paris is better due to the expat communities but out here also in Lorraine as you know other than baby swimming there's nothing. And I agree, the people don't go out of their way to meet new people. Most children's activities start at 3. Then we will be spoilt for choice on Wednesdays.

On this side of Lorraine it's a tiny bit easier because of the cross border commuters, and Luxembourg does have things going on, but based round the expat community.

I'm not near Metz or Nancy so feel a little isolated sometimes. My new neighbours don't talk to me. Am hoping things will be easier in spring.

PetiteRaleuse Tue 08-Jan-13 10:58:42

I was expecting there to be some kind of mum and baby group but when I asked at the mairie the bloke looked at me as if I was bonkers.

Nancy54 Tue 08-Jan-13 11:08:49

haha not surprised at all!!

it is bloody crap, isn't it!! what do french mums do???? they must all just be sat at home counting down the days til they go back to work!

PetiteRaleuse Tue 08-Jan-13 11:16:38

I don't know. The one next door seems to spend all her time ordering stuff off zalando. Everyone seemsto have grown up with each other.

Occasionally we socialise with DH's colleaguesand we do have a cople we are friendly with from our old village but when we moved here from Paris we were surprised how hard it is to meet people generally.

PetiteRaleuse Tue 08-Jan-13 11:19:14

I do find restaurants are very child friendly though, as long as we go when it's quiet.

We're trying to find a baby and dog friendly gite auberge to escape to in the northern vosges - we really need to get away more. I'll let you know if I find anything.

Weta Tue 08-Jan-13 14:05:16

Hello from Luxembourg!

You're right, it really is very different! We had DS1 in NZ and DS2 in the south of France and I was amazed how little there was to do with him, although having an older child of school age made life much easier.

Just a thought - in Montpellier and even in the small town we lived in for a while in Provence they did have a kind of play session you could go along to and play there with your child, and in fact I did make a close (not French!) friend through this. It might be worth asking at the PMI if there is anything like that in Lorraine?

This is the link for the one in Montpellier, just to give you an idea:
pause.gouter.free.fr/
and in the small town: lescreches.fr/nyons-26110/lieu-d-accueil-enfants-parents-batobul-1mo.html
(obviously no use to you, but just to prove that such things do exist in some places!)

Good luck with it all...

PetiteRaleuse Tue 08-Jan-13 14:17:56

Hello Weta. I believe things are slightly better in Lux. Am on 20 mins from Lux city and hate driving there so have so far avoided the expat groups.

ng1412 Tue 08-Jan-13 14:38:57

Hi there, totally agree with you, we moved over with our 6 week old DD about 18 months ago and have found nothing, I am trying to get her in the local crèche but that in itself is a paperwork nightmare and we have not yet got her in despite waiting two months! I am pregnant again and desperate to get out and have a social life with other mums but there is absolutely nothing.

It is getting so bad that we are seriously thinking of going back to the UK and that wasn't in our long term plan at all before!

PetiteRaleuse Tue 08-Jan-13 14:41:16

My local creche has a year waiting list hmm

i think it gets much easier from age 3. Don't give up yet ng

ng1412 Tue 08-Jan-13 14:45:18

I think we cocked up and bought in a rural small village thinking it would be nice and quiet. Thing is it is just too quiet! But it is a mystery where all the mums with toddlers go.

We are giving it another two years purely because we can't afford to go back yet and my DH's salary is so much better over here, not because we want to be here, oh dear!

PetiteRaleuse Tue 08-Jan-13 14:48:49

Where are you?

ng1412 Tue 08-Jan-13 14:51:07

Alsace, Haut Rhin. Near Basel, but probably not near enough!

Spoiltexpatbrat Tue 08-Jan-13 14:55:29

Having moved from the UAE to France last may, I'm still missing my old life and moan daily to my dh how hard it is here blush I have two dc's. One approaching one and the other soon to be three. There is nothing to do, especially in this cold weather. Not speaking a word of French isolates us further. sad

PetiteRaleuse Tue 08-Jan-13 15:00:21

ng another one out here in the east smile

expatbrat learning French will help. They love our accents when we speak French. I think there is a tendancy, apart from the mountain areas which come to life, for France to hibernate in winter.

Once the children get to maternelle age there are much more activities for them.

ng1412 Tue 08-Jan-13 15:03:20

I keep watching Escape to the Country and getting really homesick.

Spoilt I don't speak the lingo either, not through want of trying though but we can't find anyone willing to teach us at home which we need.....

And yes winter in very depressing, we get bad fog so sometimes you can't see anything!

PetiteRaleuse Tue 08-Jan-13 15:18:21

Ha I'm watching that now smile

I think anglo-info have an alsace site.

TheAccidentalExhibitionist Tue 08-Jan-13 15:21:11

I'm down south, still nothing to do. My son isn't a baby, he has special needs though so doesn't take part in the relentless sporting activities on Wednesdays. So basically he does nothing. There is so much choice and variation in the UK.

Things are getting better though. There is a soft play and baby gym opening in our small town.

ng1412 Tue 08-Jan-13 15:22:19

Me too Petite. They make it look so lovely, makes me wonder why we left!

Anglo Info has a Strasbourg site which is not really near us unfortunately. We don't have any active local websites apart from those in Basel sad

bunnyfrance Tue 08-Jan-13 15:23:03

Hi all,
I'm in Alsace, near Strasbourg, with two DCs age 1 and 3. We also bought in a small village thinking it would be nice and calm. It's deathly. I take the DCs out for walks in the village (there's nothing else to do) and want to scream "what have you people done with the children? Where are they??!" There is really nothing to do here and it drives me bonkers. It's not as though I don't speak French...I've been here for 16 years...

VariousBartimaeus Tue 08-Jan-13 15:25:30

I'm in Paris and I was looking forward to meeting other mums and making friends...but as you say, it's rubbish!

At my ante-natal classes no-one spoke to each other hmm, and when I started conversations it just didn't take.

I asked at my local PMI for baby groups etc. but they didn't know of any, except the drop-in centre they held once a week but that was more if you had concerns rather than wanting to socialise!

Fortunately there is Message which is an English-speaking community in Paris and a few other groups, but mainly run by foreigners.

i think there's baby yoga and baby massage but I work FT so didn't bother trying too hard to find anything. There is also a baby-café for BF advice (run by the LL) but I didn't ever get round to going.

spoilt where are you?

VariousBartimaeus Tue 08-Jan-13 15:29:27

Also, Message is mainly Paris based but there are members not in Paris and it's nice to have a forum with other women in exactly the same situation as you (English-speakers living in France) - so you could at least chat on the net?

PetiteRaleuse Tue 08-Jan-13 15:39:38

All that said I wouldn't move back to the UK. I love it here.

ng1412 Tue 08-Jan-13 15:46:34

I am just not feeling the love here. I love the space and peace but I think we came out at the wrong time, maybe we should have come here when our DD was a little older. At this rate she won't have any benefit to us living here as she will be 4 when we go home. The main reason for coming was to give our DD a better start in life!

ClairesTravellingCircus Italy Tue 08-Jan-13 15:53:17

Not in France, but having exactly the same problem in Italy. I think its a similar set up as most mums go back to work ft.
Soo miss the uk at the moment!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now