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French Mumsnetters- Anyone in the Brive area? Moving there in 6 months-ish.

(7 Posts)
CookieMonstersCousin Mon 05-Sep-11 14:40:30

Hello All,

We're planning to move to France in February time, renting initially while our house is being built in the Collognes La Rouge area (19). I'm wondering if anyone else lives around there and what they do with their children, activities wise such as soft play or even any good playgrounds, etc. We have a DD aged 2.5, so hopefully she would be starting maternelle this time next year.

Also as a general question regarding moving to France, is there any words of advice/wisdom/reality checks that you could pass on? I feel there is so much to do, I don't want to overlook anything!!

many thanks in advance!

CookieMonstersCousin Tue 06-Sep-11 22:18:21


frenchfancy Wed 07-Sep-11 18:03:01

I don't know the area (we are in the Vendée - 85) but in general, particularly in the more rural areas, playgrounds are rare and soft play non-existant.

Main piece of wisdom is learn the language. It is by far and away the most important thing you can do. And once you move try not to get UK TV (we lasted 5 years without) as being forced to watch French TV is one of the best ways to learn the language.

My girls all started Maternelle at 2.5 (actually DD3 was just 2). They can start mornings only, and it is the best way to get them speaking the language - the earlier they start the better.

tb Sun 09-Oct-11 11:17:36


I'm about 20 mins up the A20 from Brive. My dd is 14 today, and we've been here nearly 5 years. So, sorry, don't know much about arriving with a little one. She's a chatterbox, so after just a few months was talking in her sleep in French, and now is bilingual.

Some of the forums like and can be helpful, although sometimes it's as if you've posted in aibu, from the tone of some of the replies.

Although dd was older - just 9 when we came, the holiday club that runs in the school holiday was really useful for her for learning French. They were very kind, and bought an English/French dictionary in case they needed help.

If you sign on with pole emploi, you can get free French lessons, too.

Good luck with the move.

disparatehousemice Sun 09-Oct-11 12:19:14

Hi....i'm in Indre (36) about 2 hours from Brive. Can you speak French? Where i am (very rural) reasonable French is essential. I've been here 15 years and am married to a Frenchman which helped me to find my feet. 15 years later in our small village there are now 10 Brits whereas i was "toute seule" when i arrived.
If you need any info please message me. I've been through most admin proceedures (social security, health care, school etc).
You're moving to a beautiful area and i'm sure like many of us ex pats you'll find France to be a welcoming country that provides a healthier environment for kids than most areas of the UK.
Good luck xx

Romilly70 Sat 15-Oct-11 11:32:15

Hi I'm in the Dordogne (24) about and hour away from Brive
is a useful group to join for specific questions about france
If you are quite rural, you will find that you will have to travel to find facilities for your DD such as playgroups, as there are not as many as in the uk; although Brive is a large town so should be better catered for.

Where i live, lots of mums go back to work early as childcare is very cheap, so i have quite often met childminders at the places i have gone to with DS.

However the weather is so good and your daughter will probably spend lots of time exploring outdoors!

PetiteRaleuse Sat 15-Oct-11 11:46:09

Hi, I'm in Moselle (57) which is about as far from Brive as you can get, but I've lived in France for 13 years now and as others have said the single most important thing you should do is learn the language if you haven't already.

Secondly, make every effort to go to everything you can - all the local events. Make sure the non expat locals know you are open to friendship and are not just going to mix with expats. I am lucky as have been able to socialise with French people since the beginning but those who don't never feel at home and as if they fit in.

Those two points are the main reason people give up and go home.

Thirdly the expat forums are useful for explanations of some things, but your local mairie and local people in general will be more useful. A lot of the products (insurance etc) marketed at expats is far more expensive than it need be.

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