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Live in France? Join us for a gentil thread

(657 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

Bonsoir Sat 09-Nov-13 15:09:36

Free Wednesday gives DC the option of participating in significant activities and/or ones that require quite a lot of logistics. DD has always done at least one "big" (= long and tiring and sometimes faraway) activity on Wednesday, that always has a lot of educational content (acting, sculpture...) and isn't possible after a long day at school. Lots of DC are used to spending a large part of Wednesday at the conservatoire.

AuldAlliance Sat 09-Nov-13 15:15:27

Oh, I misunderstood, Bonsoir, I thought you were suggesting earlier that schools should do 8:30-15:00 Mon-Fri, without the Wed off.
My mistake.

Bonsoir Sat 09-Nov-13 15:55:31

I don't know what I want particularly! I know I don't want the current Parisian state school situation which is:

Mon: 8:30-11:30 and 13:30-16:30
Tues: 8:30-11:30 and 13:30-15:00. Optional activites from 15:00-16:30
Wednesday: 8:30-11.30
Thursday: 8:30-11:30 and 13:30-16:30
Friday: 8:30-11:30 and 13:30-15:00. Optional activities from 15:00-16:30

All my friends with DC at state school say that the teachers cannot manage the shortened afternoon on Tuesday and Friday at all - they are all used to teaching in three-hour chunks.

hattymattie Sat 09-Nov-13 15:58:50

Yikes Bonsoir - when you put it like that - I'm glad my DC's are now all at college and lycee.

Bonsoir Sat 09-Nov-13 17:06:03

Yes! I'm glad that DD will only have one more year of primary from September 2014 - if her (private) school is forced into the 5-day week, we will at least only have one year of it and she is old enough to be able to cope, providing I am in the background to pick up the pieces.

I am not at all sure that private schools will have to conform, however.

Bonsoir Sat 09-Nov-13 17:08:06

Has your DD heard from any of her university choices, hattymattie? DSS1 is home this weekend (first time back since he left) and seems very happy with his course. This is his first proper taste of education outside the French system and he is quickly identifying the advantages. He is slightly in awe of the amazing A-levels, IB marks, French bac marks of his cohort - also the first time he has been in truly selective education...

hattymattie Sat 09-Nov-13 17:36:04

Thanks for asking Bonsoir - she's had an offer for law at Bristol -(14). We are delighted as this is her first offer, it's lower than expected and essentially means that unless she really messes up her bac she has somewhere to go next year. She's also got a few friends there so won't be entirely alone. It's great to hear that your DSS is enjoying himself.

Bonsoir Sat 09-Nov-13 17:45:16

That's fabulous news, hattymattie! Well done your DD (and well done you!).

Funnily enough DSS1's offer last year from Bristol was lower than expected too. He got the grades for the higher offer we were expecting, and he has now found that all the ex-French bac students also got very high marks (higher than his). It makes me think that Bristol may currently be in the business of trying to actively recruit ex-French bac students...

hattymattie Sat 09-Nov-13 19:11:44

It's good to know that the bac is well thought of and that all that slaving away will finally be (we hope) worthwhile.

Bonsoir Sat 09-Nov-13 21:05:22

Slaving away is indeed the operative term for their lifestyle in Premiere and Terminale. DSS1 is already realizing that life is far less "all work and no play" at university than itcws at lycée.

hattymattie Sat 09-Nov-13 21:43:43

I think they get an opportunity to blossom in the UK and I know at my DD's school the objective seems to be to get out of France and avoid the prepa at any price. grin

Bonsoir Sun 10-Nov-13 08:48:42

Indeed. DSS1 tells us that if ever he feels a bit homesick, he does Face Time with a former school friend who is at prepa. It instantly makes him feel good about his choice of the UK for HE.

hattymattie Sun 10-Nov-13 09:18:28


Madamfrog Tue 12-Nov-13 07:37:11

May I join you? I live in south 24 and am loving the lovely SW French weather we're having at the moment ;-)

clearsommespace Tue 12-Nov-13 19:42:48

Please can I lower the tone and gripe that crumble is a dish served warm in a bowl, ideally with custard or ice-cream, and the fruit part is supposed to be deeper than the topping.
Aaah, I feel calmer now!

auntierozzi Wed 13-Nov-13 10:07:57

Hello there! Wow I didn't know there were so many of us in France that's lovely. I recognize AuldAlliance and NomDeClavier - hope all is well for you two :-)
We are still in Normandy after faffing about nearly going to La Réunion a couple of years ago, you were really helpful AuldA at that time. Thanks!

I've spent all my adult life in France, lived in Lyon, Lille, Orléans and for the last 12 years here in Normandy near to Caen. DH is French and we have been together for 22 years!!! (I was a child bride of course!!!! - not really).

We adopted our 2 daughters from China. They are now aged 10 and 11 and they never mix up their le-s and their la-s like their Mamma!! I do have French nationality. They are both in 6ème studying languages. They are definitely what they call pre-ado everything is MDR and LOL!!!!! Or Gore!!!
Bisous to everybody. Look forward to chatting with you.

FauxFroggie Wed 27-Nov-13 17:07:55

Hello. I just stumbled across this thread. I've been here for about fourteen years with my French husband and our two children. We live in Brittany and it always surprises me how few Brits we meet. Sometimes it's nice to just chat in English without making too much effort! I've read some really interesting stuff on here, especially regarding bilingual children and work. Looking forward to reading more!

PetiteRaleuse Wed 27-Nov-13 17:14:24

Has winter arrived for any of you? We had a little snow last week but this week is sunny but very cold. My favourite weather. Nice change from the rain.

AuldAlliance Wed 27-Nov-13 17:42:17

Definitely chilly in Provence (I am in 84, though, not on the coast). Very frosty mornings, a few flakes this morning, but lovely sunny, crisp weather forecast for tomorrow and the next day or 2.

We are in the process of buying a house, so I am drowning in estimates, legal and banking jargon and getting worried about how serious it all seems. And how much scope there is for taking advantage of a foreign woman, however fluent my French may be!

Nice to see you auntierozzi, I did wonder whether you ever went to Réunion.

Schnapps00 Wed 27-Nov-13 18:15:38

Hi all! New on the site, just moved to Mont de Marsan (40) to be with DP who is on exchange with the Fr military for another 2yrs here. Thanks for all great info, especially about work - am wondering what the options will be in a small town as someone ex-Army..has anyone on here set up their own business? I would love to gather the gumption to seize the opportunity, but not sure if it's worth it for 2yrs here..? Must confess am a bit of a fraud with no DC, but if work will be tricky maybe it's the perfect opportunity to 'bash out a couple of b***ards' as we put it the other night smile Found myself here after reading about penisbeakergate the other day and had to check it out..

eslteacher Wed 27-Nov-13 22:16:18

It's cold here in the region parisienne! Christmas markets are opening now, and I've started to come over all Christmasy...

Will people be staying in France for Xmas or going back to the UK? Will you be mixing UK family and French family?

After a mixed Christmas for the last couple of years (ie with both DP's French parents and my English parents, plus DP's French DS) I am looking forward to two separate Christmases this year. I'll celebrate here with the French contingent on the 23rd, then I'll be flying back to the UK to spend the 25th with my parents and grandmother. Really looking forward to a Christmas day where I can unapologetically watch British telly, drink all day long and not have to worry about everyone getting along and translating stuff for all and sundry!

Schnapps - welcome to Mumsnet! I don't have children either, so you're not the only one, though I do have a DSS. I work in English teaching, but in the Paris area where there are tons of opportunities. Your best bet for teaching out in Les Landes might be univerisites as a vacataire, but I don't know if teaching English appeals to you? By all acounts setting up a small business is HARD in France, but maybe there are others better placed to advise than me. I am jealous by the way, I adore Les Landes and have been on holiday there practically every summer since I was a child - that hasn't changed since I've actually come to live in France proper, it's still our holiday destination of choice. I hope you enjoy your 2 years there.

PetiteRaleuse Thu 28-Nov-13 11:05:10

I used to teach in Paris smile

Went to the Metz Christmas market this weekend. St Nicholas is a big deal here and he will be popping into nursery next week smile

Schnapps00 Thu 28-Nov-13 12:48:34

Thanks Riverboat smile I love the fact we've got the Bordeaux-beach-Pyrenees triangle around us, but also slightly jealous of you in Paris with all it's delights! I am definitely considering English teaching, not sure good I'd be, but did the basic TEFL course before I came - there does seem to be a lot of demand in businesses etc, we'll see. People have mentioned the 'autoentrepreneur' scheme, but I've no doubt if it's hard setting up in UK, doubly so in a foreign language..Fr is currently fair to middling smile Your Christmas plan sounds like a good one!

space21 Fri 29-Nov-13 09:07:59

I'm in 33 Gironde but actually live on the edge of the Landes. I love bordeaux and the coast but I'm lucky to live 10mins walk from a swimming lake and beach.

I've been here for 4.5 years and have had both mt kids out here. I did the Tefl and work at the chambre de commerce and give private lessons.

Setting up a business in France is expensive with regards to paying cotisations. Alternatives are the cheque emploi (for private lessons) or setting up an association. I'm planning group adult lessons for next year and may work at the local school.

What's everyone doing for Christmas - I'm back to the UK for a month! It will be weird as not been back for a couple of years...

Schnapps00 Fri 29-Nov-13 13:13:47

Hi Space21, you're not far from me! It's reassuring to hear you've found work, I'm hoping I will as 2 years twiddling my thumbs would not be great..Might just have to travel for it though, people here seem to commute a long way. Have you found it easy to make French friends etc?
Btw auntierozzi, what's 'gore' when it's at home? MDR & lol are in the argot repertoire which I'm trying to feed regularly smile

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