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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

eslteacher Tue 01-Oct-13 22:04:02

Hi all.

Have been here for four years, in eastern suburbs of Paris. Originally came for a year out type thing, then met French DP who also has a French son! So I am here for the foreseeable future, getting to grips with having a DSS and generally adapting to a long term life in France.

I say 'here', actually as I type I am in the UK. Came back for a regular weekend visit, during which my dad had a heart attack and was rushed to hospital. He's OK but no sign when he will be out, and I hate to leave my mum all alone dealing with it all, especially as we are not in our home town (long story) and she can't drive. I am starting to realise the wrench of being an only child living overseas with parents getting ever-older...anyone got any words of wisdom or had a similar experience?

SquidgyMummy Tue 01-Oct-13 22:11:24

Hello from the Dordogne 24!
Been here 5 years and we're staying.
As i can now get my ASDA shopping and Amazon & Ebay guilty pleasures delivered. Thank you Sterling Shopping and my Sky box i see no reason to go back to the UK!! <shallow>

PetiteRaleuse Wed 02-Oct-13 00:28:13

Oh, have been in France for 15 years give or take. In Paris til 6 years ago ish. Am dealing with creche for my 2.6 yo and 11mo. 6 weeks in have only been summoned by La Directrice twice grin Dreading maternelle <whistles>

PetiteRaleuse Wed 02-Oct-13 00:31:16

My English family regularly accuse me of having gone over to the 'dark side' ie French. But for some reason I am having trouble motivating myself to get French nationality..

PetiteRaleuse Wed 02-Oct-13 00:32:52

river sorry about your dad

MagzFarqharson Wed 02-Oct-13 01:07:22

Yes river echoing PR 's sentiments about your dad.

What a lovely thread. My story is long and complicated, but I hope to be living in Paris in less than 2 years' time. Bit of a daunting prospect getting work etc. (Hope to be self-employed).

Bet there's some lovely Francophiles willing to share their tips and advice!

frozentree Wed 02-Oct-13 07:26:15

Outer edges of Yvelines here, nearer to Normandy than Paris but still in the Ile de France. Been in France for 10 years which seems slightly crazy as I have now lived here longer than anywhere else in my entire life. 3 daughters - 5eme, 6eme, and CM1, a husband who travels a lot and I work from home.

river - sorry to hear about your dad, I went through the exact same thing this time 2 years ago - my dad had a heart attack followed by quadruple bypass, he's still alive and has no heart issues now at all - unfortunately no words of wisdom on the coping front, it's very tough, but thank god for the Eurostar and cheap phone calls is all I can say.

SquidgyMummy Wed 02-Oct-13 08:13:50

hi riverboat sorry to hear about your Dad, (I didn't see your post last night).
Perhaps there may be some advice on the Elderly Parents board

Perhaps you could gently encourage your mum to take some driving lessons. My MIL didn't start till she was in her late 50's and now she happily drives around France

ImpOfDarkness Wed 02-Oct-13 08:17:51

I hear you on the eldery parents issue riverboat. I tell myself that with the eurostar I'm closer to home than I would be if my job had taken me to Aberdeen or Aberystwyth rather than here.

fanny75 Wed 02-Oct-13 08:29:31

I'm in sunny Les Landes (40) - beautiful when the weather is, but very harsh when the winter storms hit. Its a popular tourist destination, so in the summer its super busy and full of hectic townies, and in the winter its pretty dead as all the locals are on holiday or keeping warm and dry inside. DS has just begun maternelle (altho is temporarily on leave), so I hope we can integrate a bit more soon. I do like it here, I love the food and the pace of life, but I hate not understanding how things are done, and sometimes all I want is a huge bar of cadburys and a curry. Not together, that would be weird.

monal Wed 02-Oct-13 08:37:03

Oh, riverboat, how awful for you all. I have elderly parents in the UK too and I mostly try to block it out but when there's a crisis it is just heartwrenching. Are you going to be able to stay a bit longer? Or arrange to go back soon? Do you have any other family that can visit?

Also checking in: I have been in France since 1999, first in Moselle and now in the Yvelines. I've just had a baby, just, it feels like forever (she's 15wo) and so I am just dealing with the CAF and trying to get a crèche place, no school woes for me yet.

Lavenderhoney Wed 02-Oct-13 08:49:32

I'm going to watch this thread as dh is French and always threatening to move back to Provence!

I stay there lots and it always worries me how the dc would cope with school and homework as dh wouldn't be about and I don't fancy spending the best part of my afternoon weekends at my mils whilst she does it for the next 10 years. My French is ok, not brilliant but I woulld make more effort if there.

And the family thing- dh family are very close and they all know each others business and spend all their free time together, mil has the final say on everything! cars to drive, holidays... Is that usual in France? How easy is it to have your own life?

PetiteRaleuse Wed 02-Oct-13 10:12:16

Lavender my French ILs live on the other side of the country. That suits everyone. Some families are very close and like yours. It's not usual but not particularly rare, especially down in the south with the Latin influence.

monal a couple of the years that I counted above as being living in Paris I was in fact living in Versailles. How come you were in Moselle? We'd like to move to a new area in the next five years. I like it here but miss the sea and mountains.

Bonsoir Wed 02-Oct-13 10:34:32

I've been in France for 22 years, mostly in Paris. I have DD in CM1, DSS2 in Premiere and DSS1 got his bac this summer and has gone to university in England. I don't suffer from cultural issues these days as I live in a plurilingual multicultural sort of place. School is fine at the moment too though it has and has had its moments!

Weta Wed 02-Oct-13 10:48:10

I'm in Luxembourg now but previously lived in Alsace and Languedoc (with French DH).

I had to laugh about the comments about split personalities - I had a French friend back home in NZ and she was amazed the first time she heard me speak English: 'But you sound so elegant in French, and so much more rustic in English...'!! Given the relative value placed on elegance in each country, I guess I must fit in in both smile

DoudousDoor Wed 02-Oct-13 10:56:16

I'm in Paris <waves> and have been in France 9 years now. bloody hell

Became more French than English for a long time I think, until DS was born 2 years ago and I'm now making a big effort to bring English language/culture into our home.

I'm a lifer - DH is French and we have no intention of leaving France, although kinda dream of leaving Paris but it's hard to find the jobs to suit us!

DoudousDoor Wed 02-Oct-13 10:59:24

Oh and I have gone over to the dark side and gotten French nationality, which I use to tease from French people about when they ask for my nationality grin

I did it for various reasons (voting etc.) but mainly cos I wanted the same nationalities as DS, just in case.

TheAccidentalExhibitionist Wed 02-Oct-13 11:22:11

Bloody hell, there's loads of us! Isn't that brilliant? Welcome all.

purplepuppet Wed 02-Oct-13 12:36:41

Hi, I've been living in Cher since 1994. All my kids have been schooled in France, youngest now in terminale. I'm 45.

Superspudable Wed 02-Oct-13 13:21:14

I'm in Paris - been here 2 yrs (Brussels before that) - with 2 boys 7&5 in CP & CE1 in a bilingual school. My boys seem very French to me, but very British to some of our friends! Love France - am very francophile (but studied French long ago so not a huge surprise!)...

AuldAlliance Wed 02-Oct-13 13:35:06

Lots of people on here!
No one around my way, though.

I was going to get French nationality after DS1 was born but just as I'd got all the paperwork ready, Sarkozy's gvmt shifted the goalposts so I'd have had to wait another year.
French people don't know I'm foreign unless I tell them, I've been a fonctionnaire for 15 years, paid countless taxes into the coffers and work pretty damn hard in crappy, only-in-France conditions for far less pay than I'd get in the UK, and so when that happened I went in a big (possibly, admittedly, rather post-natal) strop, deciding that if they didn't want me as I was I'd just forget the idea.
Sometimes I think it'd be safer for the kids if I became French, as who knows what tensions and conflicts lie in the future. The streets here are placarded with Marine's grinning mug.
But I've not taken the leap yet.

DoudousDoor Wed 02-Oct-13 13:53:09

I found it dead easy to get nationality. My friend had got it before me and had an interview in which she had to outline all her reasons.

So I listed loads down and when it was my turn I was about to say it all but the woman interviewing me just said "ok so your DH is French and your DS is French, ok I get why you want the nationality" and that was that! Didn't have to present any arguments at all! grin

I do feel "safer" ironically having the nationality, but again only because of DS. Don't need it for work or anything (right now - who knows what will change in the next 30 odd years?!)

ImpOfDarkness Wed 02-Oct-13 15:01:53

I've been toying with the idea of getting nationality so that I can vote. It's just the thought of putting the paperwork together that puts me off blush

castlesintheair Wed 02-Oct-13 15:16:59

I live in the Centre (45). Very rural. No expats. Very different to my old life. DCs are in 6eme, CM1 and CE1. Not been here long and still coming to terms with it all.

Frenchfemme Wed 02-Oct-13 15:40:18

Hi Sqidge also (just) in 24 - right in the SE corner, nr to 46/47. Just over a year here (+ 2 dogs & 1 cat acquired here). No desire to go anywhere else!

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