Live in France? Join us for a gentil thread

(645 Posts)
TheAccidentalExhibitionist Tue 01-Oct-13 19:39:59

So how about a lovely supportive, information sharing thread for us mumsnetters living in France?
I've been here for two years, this is my second time living here so 4 years in total.
I have my moans about France, the paperwork, the driving but other than that I love it smile

GreatAuntDinah Mon 18-May-15 20:19:40

good luck isit!

isitjustme75 Mon 18-May-15 12:38:05

Hello All,

Longtime lurker, eastern suburbs, been here 11 years, French DH, no DCs yet, about to embark on fertility treatment eeek!

castlesintheair Mon 04-May-15 19:00:55

I'm back in London at the moment and keep having to remind myself to drive on the left. I really have to think about it. Quite worrying!

Schnapps00 Mon 04-May-15 10:54:55

Hi goodnessgracious, I would second calling the Newcastle overseas healthcare team on +44191 218 1999 to confirm you no longer have cover. I'm slightly different in that we both had S1 forms, but since the CPAM managed to lose mine, I now am ayant droit on DH's instead, after trying the French way with some hand-waving and loud declarations of how they'd lost my form (--it was fun--). No need to show (UK) marriage certificate either, despite not having changed my name yet. Maybe try for more info?

On a separate note, I watched a good programme the other day on racial/religious divisions in France with reference to Charlie Hebdo, worth a watch (if you're naughty & use a VPN like us..):

Oh & riverboat, I wouldn't worry, just back from a trip to the UK where DH ending up driving on the right for a wee while until we both realised what was wrong with the picture grin

riverboat1 Sat 02-May-15 19:52:22

I know nothing about ayant droit, sorry.

I recently got back from a week long trip back home to England, where I rented a car. Today, back in my town in France, I was driving around trying to find the dentists where I had made an appointment...and turned into the wrong, ie left hand, lane of a divided road! I actually turned into the left hand lanes instead of the right...I still can't believe I did it, thank god there were no cars oncoming except one stopped at a light a little way down (though probably if there had have been I'd have realised I wasn't meant to be turning down there) and I was able to reverse backwards and get onto the right side of the road. It really gave me a fright though - this was a road I drive on every day...what was I thinking?

Anyway, just had to get that off my chest...the perils of switching from left hand to right hand driving I suppose, though I've been doing that for years and NEVER made such a stupid mistake as this before.

EmilyAlice Sat 02-May-15 14:52:54

We are both Brits. I think that bit of the process was quite quick. Other bits were slow, especially with RSI. As I remember it with CPAM DH had to fill in a form swearing he had no other cover. With RSI I had to write a letter asking to be my husband's chattel have ayant droit status.
I don't know, but does the radiation bit mean you have to ask the DWP to say you have no rights to UK cover via an S1? I would ring Newcastle, they are pretty helpful.

goodnessgraciousgouda Sat 02-May-15 14:36:38

Emily - Thank you! Can I ask how long it took each time?

Are you both brits, or is one of you french? I think because DH is french, the administration get pissy if the marriage isn't registered? I'm not sure!

My DH has said a few times that I need an "attestation de radiation" (or something) which is basically a form saying the NHS no longer cover me. I have looked online but found absolutely NOTHING even resembling this. I never had cover on S1 forms - do you have any idea what this could be???

EmilyAlice Sat 02-May-15 13:56:04

Sorry garbled sentence "of each other at various times". Once was with the regime general / CPAM and once with RSI.

EmilyAlice Sat 02-May-15 13:52:44

We have been ayant droit at of each other various times and only needed to show our marriage certificate (and have it photocopied innumerable times). We never needed an official translation either.
We have been married 46 years, but I don't think that made a difference!

goodnessgraciousgouda Sat 02-May-15 13:46:33

Hello all,

Apologies for stormong your thread, but I was wondering if anyone here had any experience of "ayant droit" status?

Basically I am recently married to my french husband (wedding was in UK), and have just found out that I am pregnant (tentatively - it's very very early days).

Before our honeymoon we did some calling about, and were told that we needed to register our marriage in france before we could proceed adding me as ayant droit. I thought this was a bit weird considering marriages are recognised between EU countries.

I am not covered by the NHS (My coverage expired about six months ago). I am on a sabbatical from work in the UK and do not work in france, so ayant droit status is the only way forwards for us.

I've been trawling online, but I haven't been able to find anything that helps very much. I am particularly worried that considering the speed of the french system, I could well be fucking retired by the time this gets sorted.

This is my first ever pregnancy, so obviously I am at a bit of a loss.

Booboostoo Wed 29-Apr-15 09:47:15

GreatAunt but it is the French themselves who are most reluctant to accept different types of Frenchness, not the way foreigners perceive them. France does not have the acceptance of multiculturalism, or at least the effort to accept multiculturalism, you find in other countries. In France the most important thing is to assimilate, to be first and foremost French, rather than an immigrant or someone defined by another culture or by a religion. The fact that the French refuse to acknowledge any aspect of immigrant culture in France is a big complaint amongst the, large, immigrant populations.

Schnapps00 Tue 28-Apr-15 16:18:31

Greatauntdinah I don't think anyone is suggesting that your colleagues aren't authentic French people! As said, we're all tempted by an occasional let off of steam about some of the frustrations we encounter in everyday life..after all some people in the UK make a habit of it daily, it just wouldn't go down too well as an immigrant smile Out of interest, what aspects of your colleagues 'Frenchness' do you think aren't accepted?

GreatAuntDinah Tue 28-Apr-15 15:28:20

Sorry you feel that way finding. It's just that I live and work quite a way off the expat grid among French people who most certainly don't fit the stripy-shirt-and-onions stereotype (80% of them are Muslims, for a start) and I find it kind of frustrating that theirs doesn't seem to be seen as an equally valid type of "French"ness.

findingmyfeet12 Tue 28-Apr-15 13:59:24

Interesting points of view

Gfplux - I would hazard a guess that most of us are aware of that. For my part, I was just having a moan with fellow expats. Of course there are pros and cons. Not every country will suit every person though so there's an element of trial and error involved too.

It can feel a bit like there's a need to add a caveat to each comment that the poster is not an unreasonable person trying to tar absolutely everyone with the same brush confused

Bonsoir Tue 28-Apr-15 12:58:54

It is nevertheless fully endorsed by taxation and family policy, GreatAuntDinah, and has been for absolutely ages with no signs at all of change.

Gfplux Tue 28-Apr-15 12:57:39

Every country is different. If in one country there is enlightened opinion about a particular subject then in another you will find the opposite. That is why when we move from our birth country we find wonderful positive things in our adopted new home. For every plus there is a minus.
No one country is perfect. What we have to find is that balance that suites us and our family.
The country will not change, only we can either adapt or leave.
That is how life works, it may not be fair but that is how it is.

GreatAuntDinah Tue 28-Apr-15 11:18:41

Becoming a mother (several times!) is still seen as central to a woman's identity and self-development in France

Sorry to be so argumentative, but again, I see no evidence for this in my daily dealings with my French friends and colleagues. It might be the case in some social groups but I don't think it can be valid for all.

Bonsoir Tue 28-Apr-15 10:56:17

A lot of my Paris friends have had fertility treatment and, anecdotally, it appears straightforward to access. Becoming a mother (several times!) is still seen as central to a woman's identity and self-development in France.

findingmyfeet12 Tue 28-Apr-15 10:21:45

So far I've only had a need for fertility treatment since I've been here. I've Been able to get appointments with minimal delay and have no complaints with either the facilities or treatment I've had.

Bonsoir Tue 28-Apr-15 09:45:56

Autism is a notorious ongoing problem in France. All those psychoanalysts desperately clinging to dangerous and wildly outdated beliefs in order to ensure their incomesad

However, I love the dermatologists here! Cheap as chips compared to UK/US and very savvy.

MerdeAlor Tue 28-Apr-15 09:19:40

Yes yes, cetain sectors of medicine are stuck in a time warp here. It has been an enormous challenge for DS with Autism and ADHD to get treatment here.
I had a severe neurological episode while over here and the doctors were all terrible. It has driven me to despair to see such inept and out of date consultants. I have lost faith in them.

These are our realities of living in France, it can be wonderful but it is also hard. It's good to air them occasionally!
I have never felt so many conflicting emotions about a country before grin

Bonsoir Tue 28-Apr-15 09:08:59

I think that the dentist/orthodontist example encapsulates the frustrations of France: there are great, modern, up to date things and there are loads of people/things in a complete time warp, living as if globalisation/competition were some kind of choice you could opt out of. And you never know who or what you will encounter next!

Bonsoir Tue 28-Apr-15 08:58:28

Medical progress is a difficult one. I have seen several dentists and orthodontists for the DC and now have a dentist and an orthodontist for DD that we are both wildly happy with - super modern, young, friendly, efficient and using the latest techniques (dentist is only partially reimbursed by SS and mutuelle however as some treatments are unknown to SS). We saw several - all with recommendations - that were stuck in a time warp before getting lucky. But friends and family in the UK and other EU countries have similar stories to tell.

Schnapps00 Tue 28-Apr-15 07:06:25

Our town is moving with the times, a video club opened last year :-D
To be fair, a few things are open here on a Sunday: (some) boulangeries, the N African-run food mart, the Indian takeaway..and of course, McDo! Queues around the block on a Sunday eve sad No idea why obesity rates might be climbing in France..

Booboostoo Tue 28-Apr-15 06:45:11

The situation must, to an extent, be better in Paris or near big industry hubs like Toulouse, but that doesn't necessarily capture a culture's attitude.

Here are some examples:
- one of our local bakeries started being open on Sunday's using family members (as using salaried employers would have been illegal). It was wildly popular with queues round the block. The other bakers got together and petitioned the mairie to close them as it was creating expectations in customers that they could shop on a Sunday.

- I knew of the harmony test during my 2011 pregnancy because I read about initial studies while reading around pregnancy. In my 2014 pregnancy my gynecologist still didn't know about the harmony test. She doesn't speak English, does not know about pubmed, Google scholar or similar french databases (do they exist?) and gets informed through government circulars.

- our town has a video club.

- our town had two food manufacturing factories. One closed. The other, run by a foreign company, offered the 170 former employees a chance at interviewing for jobs. They were concerned because they could not absorb all o them but not a single one turned up for a job.

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