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Give me the pros and cons of FRANCE

(22 Posts)
NurseGladys Tue 07-Dec-10 20:09:23

Dh has job offer in the Loire Valley. He's French, I'm not, but can speak French and have spent time in we are drawing up a list of fors/against...can anyone who lives/has lived in France add a few pros and cons to my list?
so far I have...erm...
Good food
Good wine
Nice climate

I need to give up my job
Moving to a new country is always stressful

Othersideofthechannel Tue 07-Dec-10 20:17:17

roads less congested than UK
health service

public transport almost non existent outside large towns

Have you got children? The school system is very different. I'm not sure whether it is a pro or a con!

kathyb1 Tue 07-Dec-10 20:18:32

can i come?

NurseGladys Tue 07-Dec-10 20:21:32

grin @ kathyb Sure, why not!
otherside-yes two children

porkchops Tue 07-Dec-10 21:14:46

If you speak French and he IS French you will probably know more about the pros can cons than most. Also, given that language and culture can be the biggest hurdle in a move, you sort of have them both wrapped up.

LillianGish Wed 08-Dec-10 16:52:13

Education could be a pro or a con depending on your kids - how old are they? I think if they are well-established in the English system which values imagination and creativity and has lots of outlets for sport and music and art then moving to a French school might prove a bit of a shock to the system. My experience is that there is lots of rote learning and the only thing which is really valued is academic achievement - my dcs have known nothing else and fortunately are quite bright so they don't know any better and are doing ok. Some children can and do struggle. This would be my main consideration in your shoes.

GoAwaySnow Wed 08-Dec-10 16:57:18

I worked in the Loire for 16months (just outside of Angers) and loved it. Nantes, Tours, Saumur and Angers all have fab rail links into Paris and the rest of France. (I could leave Angers at 10am and be in Ashford by 2pm)

For: Roads are good, health fab (as above), our local school was brilliant (semi - private about €50 per term per kid + equipment) school holidays are longer and vary throughout the country (three different patterns, think Loire is in "Catergory A")
Weather in this area is lovely, great climate over summer, cold winter days but large majority with clear blue skies.

Cons: Can't think of too many at the minute. Will add more later.

Also if you will be anywhere near Angers there is a great English language library there. LOADS of activities for young children and also for adults/students.

frenchfancy Wed 08-Dec-10 18:25:48

Why are toilets in your cons list?

Pros - More space for children
- House prices are cheaper
- work life balance generally better

Cons - I know you say you speak french but I would still put a big con against language. Everything is just that bit harder to do in a foreign language. i am completely fluent, on the local council and the school goveners, but I could do it all so much better in English

- Social life diferent and much quieter
- Leaving friends and family behind

Othersideofthechannel Wed 08-Dec-10 19:31:08

Cons: bureaucracy and paperwork

AuldAlliance Wed 08-Dec-10 19:51:27

pros: affordable childcare

cons: N Sarkozy

jamaisjedors Thu 09-Dec-10 15:07:23

psml at AuldAlliance! (do you speak enough French to see the extra joke OP?)

jamaisjedors Thu 09-Dec-10 15:09:12

Cons: What will you do all day? SAHM friends here have found it hard to find people to socialise with - not so many children's/parents' groups and (ime) the French are very family-oriented and don't do a lot of spontaneous invites for a cup of tea/coffee.

flyingcloud Thu 09-Dec-10 16:24:39

GoAwaySnow There is a possibility that I may be moving to that part of France (nearer Tours) next year. Would love to know more about the English library.

Yes, me too, enjoyed AA's joke, although DH would get a bit sniffy about it wink.

FingonTheValiantReindeer Thu 09-Dec-10 16:44:48


Picking up what JJ says, DSIL is an American SAHM in Chantilly and even there, in the midst of a huge expat community, she struggles to find people to socialise with during the day. The only mother and children group she's found is the church one.

Also, while her French is pretty good she's not particularly familiar with current affairs/current topics that people talk about, so when she does meet people she doesn't really have much to say for herself

None of the French mums at the maternelle have invited her for coffee, or said much more than a passing hello really.

(Mind you, she has the added disadvantage of a serious American accent to her French, something the French do not have much time for)

AuldAlliance Thu 09-Dec-10 18:40:12


There was a deafening silence on the thread after my post. I was worried...

IME, French people don't invite you for coffee even if they see you every day at school. I speak fluent French, the other parents don't necessarily know I am foreign, so it's not that.

A fuse blew last Friday and I headed off in the dark and cold, with both kids in two, to knock on neighbours' doors asking for a spare fuse. A couple a few doors down with three kids took us in, looked after the boys while I went home to try and fix things, then fed me wine and nuts in front of a roaring fire for ages. They said they'd been meaning to invite us round for ages, but "you know what life is like, we just never got round to it." If you have to wait for an emergency like that before you get to know people, it is lonely. IME it is quite lonely here. And I am pretty well-integrated, really.

FingonTheValiantReindeer Thu 09-Dec-10 18:45:59

Yes I'm always stunned by how little socialising my PILs do. They've lived in the same place for 20 years, and they only go to friends or have friends over about twice a month. And even then that's their Equipe Notre-Dame. They never socialise with their neighbours.

I'm determined that once we move over there we'll put some serious effort into finding local friends.

scouserabroad Thu 09-Dec-10 18:47:11

Re. the making friends, something I've started doing in the last couple of months is being really friendly and outgoing and proactively starting conversations with everyone at the school gates. They all talk to me now, and seem to like me (well, I hope they do!) whereas last year they would just say Bonjour and that was that.

Of course you have to be careful not to cross the line between "friendly and outgoing" and "random nutter" grin

BriocheDoree Thu 09-Dec-10 20:04:43

I found it a lot easier since the kids started school. And I live in an appartment in one of those residences where all the kids go to the same school and we all know everyone. That said, not all of my friends are French.

NurseGladys Thu 09-Dec-10 22:09:14

Sorry, been away for a couple of days and just got back to all these brilliant pros and cons- thank you! Yes, AuldAlliance, I agree with the Sarkozy comment totally grin French Fancy, I was struggling with my cons and because I am very 'particular' (you might say slightly anal) about public toilets, I thought I would add that to my list!
Excellent that there is also an English library nearby too..with the socialising thing, do you think it depends if you are in the country or in the town? My PIL are in rural South and do seem to socialise a lot, but agree it is definatly focused a lot around
family, too.
Jamais-I'm not sure what I will do all day- erm..mumsnet pottering about?grin
Anymore pros and cons gratefully received!!

tb Fri 10-Dec-10 11:12:15

Toilets have improved, even on the autoroutes - at least there is usually a disabled one that is a 'sit down' one, with paper, rather than the hole in the floor type.

A huge con, is customer service - had we known how bad it is we'd never have bought an Aga.

mulranno Wed 15-Dec-10 20:07:30

A Q I have been dying to ask...when you straddle the hole in the floor type -- do you face the back wall -- or back up and face the door and how low down do you squat?

tb Sat 18-Dec-10 17:55:43

Mulranno - I've never been able to make up my mind either. On balance I think it's better to face the back, otherwise, if you face front you can get splashed with wee. For a poo, definitely facing front, even better if you manage to hit the 'hole' iyswim blush

The best attribute is very long arms - then you can be almost out of the door while being able to reach the tiny bit of tatty string that acts as the 'chain' and be able to get out of the way before the tidal wave of flush covers the floor.

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