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More than a holiday, less than a move abroad

(7 Posts)
EmergentWriting Sun 29-May-11 19:37:58

I wasn't sure whether to put this in Short-haul or on this board, so please bear with me if this is the wrong place!

DH and I are considering the possibility of renting a house in France for all of July and August next year, with a view to me taking the children out there for the whole time (improving French, experiencing what it's like to 'live' somewhere else for longer than a fortnight's holiday, that sort of thing). He would come out and join us for a good 2-3 weeks break, but also maybe an odd weekend or so.

I know that finding somewhere to rent for just two months in the summer could be easier said than done, but from a bit of preliminary searching, it looks as though there might be places available. And we're not really bothered if it's not a prime picturesque holiday location, it's more important to us to stay somewhere in a town or village with plenty of other families around and a bit of a central hub to it.

Has anyone done this, or anything similar? Can anyone recommend a good agent or website to help find property? Any monumental pitfalls to avoid?

Thanks in advance.

Othersideofthechannel Sun 29-May-11 20:44:58

Hi

Sorry no experience of what you are planning as we moved here pre-DCs. Would this be a one-off or as a taster for a potential move to France?

You don't say which part of France you are looking at but I am in the Pas-de-Calais which is the closest bit to the UK. There are a fair amount of families where one parent is employed in the UK and does a weekly or part weekly commute. If you have any questions about this area of France I may be able to help.

Lollypolly Mon 30-May-11 11:05:27

Lived in France on and off for years. Be aware that unless you are SW coast, mountains or Cote d'Azur, you are likely to be surrounded by foreigners rather than French for a few weeks as everyone (or at least mums and kids) tend to evacuate to these areas between 14 July and 15 August.

If you intend the kids to learn French, I would try to find some kind of local activity or holiday centre that your DCs can join in...

It's a great idea but unless you want your DCs to progress past "une baguette s'il vous plait", I think you will need to research it carefully. You might google for French language courses for kids, just a couple of hours each morning to help them along...

EmergentWriting Mon 30-May-11 11:40:19

Thanks for your responses. I didn't necessarily have a firm location in mind, although ideally I was thinking Pays-de-la-Loire or Poitou-Charentes. My grandparents (sadly, no longer with us) were French, and lived near Durtal. We used to go and stay for a month each summer and I suppose it's this that I would like to replicate for my own children. They're starting to learn French at school, but it's very much 'la tete, les epaules, les genous, les pieds'.

Othersideofthechannel Tue 31-May-11 05:17:11

LollyPolly, there are a lot of families with two working parents in France who only go away for a couple of weeks. And there are lots of people who can't afford to go anywhere. Certainly in the North of France there are always French monolinguals for my children to play with throughout the school holidays.

I would have thought that SW coast and Cote d'Azur would have be among the worst areas for meeting French speakers during the summer months, seeing as they are such popular tourist areas.

Othersideofthechannel Tue 31-May-11 05:18:49

Sorry, forgot to say that I agree with LollyPolly about the club being a great way for kids to meet other children.

Lollypolly Tue 31-May-11 09:15:49

You might be right channel, I just remember Paris and Lyon being deserted for the 4 weeks between 14/7 and 15/8 when I was working there (not to mention walking bloody miles for a baguette while all the bakeries were shut!). Most of our friends with kids would take a couple of weeks each (mum and then dad) with an overlap if possible to keep the kids outside the city (most of our friends seemed to decamp to SW coast or Cote d'Azur) during the school holidays. We often gave priority to parents to take holiday during that period. Only anecdotal I know and I'm sure you will find plenty of French kids around wherever you are.

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