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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....

Bonsoir Wed 09-Jan-13 11:54:42

Bronchiolitis is almost the exclusive preserve of children who go to crèche (80% of cases). Those who get it and who are not at crèche are mostly their siblings.

PetiteRaleuse Wed 09-Jan-13 12:01:43

It's also pretty much for under two year olds. So if I hadn't put her in creche part time She probably wouldn't have got it ever. Good old creche.

PetiteRaleuse Wed 09-Jan-13 12:02:56

And Nancy there is a regional outbreak at the moment so it might be for the best that you'e not mixing with other babies. The baby kiné they make them have is scary to watch.

Bonsoir Wed 09-Jan-13 13:52:28

The French keep very quiet about the health & hygiene failings of crèche, if you ask me! It's a bit like the school canteen - all the teachers know that children do better at school if they go home at lunch time and relax, but they aren't allowed to publicise that fact. Nothing must be allowed to divert women from their duty to pay tax professional fulfillment.

PetiteRaleuse Wed 09-Jan-13 15:00:03

I don't see it as a failing of creche - just a situational hazard smile

Hope to be surviving on freelance by the time school comes around. I would have loved to have been able to go home for lunch every day as a child.

Thing is most women aren't professionally fulfilled here, even in Paris. After 14 years here I am still regularly staggered at the everyday sexism. I think it is getting better, but it's slooooow.

Nancy54 Wed 09-Jan-13 15:41:28

raleuse i'll keep it in mind but it's not gonna stop me going to my baby massage class tgomorrow - it's the only thing o've found to do with the babies in the whole of Nancy and it's only once a month! grin
i hope your little ones are all better now?

various what is meet up?

re the creche, mine are on a waiting list for september but i have also got them down for a 'creche familiaile' which is just a n association of assistant maternelles at home who meet up occasionally. you're making me think that might be the better option!

Bonsoir Wed 09-Jan-13 15:56:45

It's a negative externality and there is room for improvement, only those improvements would cost money.

Spoiltexpatbrat Wed 09-Jan-13 18:39:36

I'm just outside if paris in st germain en laye, although its beautiful its still very tough. I'm the youngest expat and the youngest parent at the international school where I take dd for 3 days a week. The other mothers exclude me owing to the fact I wear makeup shock or some such other lame excuse told to me by the only nice mother in the entire school hmm
Part of the problem is my fault. We are only here a year before relocating to korea. I thought I could get through it be focusing on the children. However a year is too long without friends sad

mummyonvalium Wed 09-Jan-13 18:47:18

I feel terrible. I was really judgemental of SIL in Paris when she had her DS, about the fact she never took him anywhere. Now I know why.

BriocheDoree Wed 09-Jan-13 18:57:07

Spoiltexpatbrat I am very close to you and will happily meet you in Saint G for coffee some time if you like. I'm there fairly often. I only work part-time.

Spoiltexpatbrat Wed 09-Jan-13 20:21:15

Thanks smile I shall pm you tomorrow. Dd attends nursery mon, we and fri so I can come with ds on any of these days. If I time it right he might even sleep so we can drink in peace wink

Bonsoir Wed 09-Jan-13 20:45:39

"I feel terrible. I was really judgemental of SIL in Paris when she had her DS, about the fact she never took him anywhere. Now I know why."


I spent a lot of time in England when DD was a baby. The mother-and-baby group near my parents was just so much nicer than horrible competitive Message. In fact, I gave up on Message fairly quickly! Luckily DD had her two half-brothers to entertain her but for mothers of one child it must be pretty dire.

VariousBartimaeus Thu 10-Jan-13 08:36:05

Meetup is a worldwide website where people create communities and anyone can join. So, for example, if you like hillwalking you can create a group and meetup with people to go hillwalking.

Have looked for Nancy and Metz though and there isn't anthing unfortunately.

Nancy54 Thu 10-Jan-13 09:15:24

Oh that's a shame! Thanks for the suggestion anyway!

VariousBartimaeus Thu 10-Jan-13 09:32:47

Try googling English speaking mums in france - there serms to be a few options

Nancy54 Thu 10-Jan-13 09:38:48

I'll give it a go, but the prob is that Lorraine isn't v popular with expats!

PetiteRaleuse Thu 10-Jan-13 09:44:13

Expats don't know what they're missing out on. Fabulous climate, friendly people and all the pork you can eat grin

I actially do love Lorraine. It's beautiful once you get past the areas of abandoned factories.

Nancy54 Thu 10-Jan-13 09:49:12

Haha yeah raleuse I actually like living here too! Well I suppose I would say that liked it until I had babies, but I suppose it will get better once they're a bit older. As I said in op, I just think France is shite when you've got a baby, but there are of course lots of great things otherwise I wouldn't have stayed here for 8 yrs.

So great to have a moan though!

VariousBartimaeus Thu 10-Jan-13 10:56:54

Moaning is always good!

BriocheDoree Thu 10-Jan-13 11:03:15

Nancy54 are you actually IN Nancy? According to the maison verte list there are several "lieu d'accueil enfants/parents" in Nancy, and one in Metz. (the Maison Verte are an asso and you can take your baby along to play: there are using auxiliaire de puer there who you can ask if you have any questions); They might be friendly, they might not, but might at least give you something to do: look for "lieux d'accueil parents/enfants"

There might also be a ludothèque? I found that was a good place to go when the kiddies were tiny.

Bonsoir, am intrigued by "competitive" message? Don't think I ever went to Message baby groups (had my second here but my first was already at school so was pretty easy to make friends). I mainly use it as a useful resource for finding my way round French admin (DH isn't French either so most of the admin falls to me as I only work part-time) and I got two of my last 4 work contracts through message contacts. However, there is certainly a kind of "earth-mother" lentil-weaving type in message, I suppose!

PetiteRaleuse Thu 10-Jan-13 11:04:08

Very therapeutic !

I saw there are some meet up groups in Luxembourg so once I have vetted the lists to be sure there's no-one scary on there I might pluck up the courage to go smile

Once the weather improves nancy we could meet up too. Somewhere mid way, though I would like to visit Nancy one weekend as have never been. Might plan myself a city break and we could meet for coffee.

Bonsoir Thu 10-Jan-13 11:33:38

BriocheDorée - I thought Message baby groups were frightful. There were hierarchies going on - long-term residents with native-speaker level of French married to a Frenchman were fantastically patronising to new arrivals and deeply wary of anyone who might "outdo" them in the Frenchness stakes), people were excluded because their faces didn't fit, mothers sending their non-Anglophone nannies along to mother-and-baby group, snobbiness about whether parents were intending to use local state or bilingual schools... Grrrrrr. The very opposite of supportive and inclusive - it was all about finding yourself in the pecking order of Anglophone society in Paris.

frozentree Thu 10-Jan-13 12:02:17

I found Message invaluable when I first arrived in France, and everyone was extremely welcoming and friendly. This was out in the wilds of Yvelines tho', so maybe Paris/St Germain is different?

Bonsoir Thu 10-Jan-13 12:05:39

I'm entirely able to believe that different Message local groups have different personalities!

PetiteRaleuse Thu 10-Jan-13 12:49:13

Frizen I used to live in Yvelines and found the expat community much more down to earth than certain expat sectors in Paris.

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