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Tell me about moving to France (or somewhere else in Europe)

(21 Posts)
Kendodd Sat 25-Jan-14 09:40:56

Could holiday gites work?

Have three dcs age 5, 7 and 8. We don't speak French but obviously would learn. Don't have a lot of money though and would need an income. We have (hopefully) about 500k but this would mean selling everything we own in the UK. Could we borrow more from a French bank if we needed?

Ideas and advice please!

lalamumto3 Sat 25-Jan-14 09:45:25

Hi, do you own your home in the UK? If you do I would remortgage it as a buy to let -don't sell, then you have a foothold in the UK property Market and can come back easily.

There is a bank called Britline, it is part of credit agricole, you could ring them and ask about mortgages etc, I am sure that would give some good info.

Good luck

Kendodd Sat 25-Jan-14 10:01:43

We do own our own home but I think if we remortgaged as a BTL I don't think it would release enough money. Maybe we could sell and buy a smaller BTL in the UK though?

clearsommespace Sat 25-Jan-14 10:09:04

French banks won't lend to someone who isn't employed or isn't already running a profitable business. You have to provide proof of income (eg last 3 months pay slips). You can then be endebted up to max 1/3 of your income. If you already have a another loan, they would take this into account. They ask to see your last 3 months bank statements so they can see your regular outgoings and ensure you aren't taking on too much debt.

PortofinoRevisited Sat 25-Jan-14 10:20:58

I would think long and hard about it, especially re: gites. France is very, very bureacratic and you will find things very, very difficult if you don't speak the language. And it is very hard to make money from Gites. We are expats and rent gites most years always leading to a conversation with the owners about the experience of living abroad. The family last year had had the complex up for sale for ages - they had done 10 years and desperately wanted to move back to UK. Others mentioned about how lonely and isolating it can be during the winter and how hard it was to get the business up and running. I have a friend in Brittany who has had nightmares with the town hall and utility suppliers and she speaks French well.

magimedi Sat 25-Jan-14 10:38:45

Can I ask why you want to do this? That's quite important.

Have you ever spent any length of time in France & do you know what area you want to live in?

I think you will struggle to make enough income from gites - it's very seasonal & a lot of work & there are many regulations about standards etc. If there is a pool it has to be fenced or alaramed, for instance.

I also think that not speaking French will be a vast disadvantage. I know you say you will learn but to get enough French to be able to cope with banks, town hall, schools etc is going to be quite a task & probably only achieveable if you spend at least 6 months totally immersed in the language without hearing or using English at all.

I know I am coming over as very negative, but I have lived in France, have family & friends who do so & there are far more pitfalls than you realise.

PortofinoRevisited Sat 25-Jan-14 11:08:05

Also - if you live in rural France - there is a chance your kids might have to board for secondary.

castlesintheair Sat 25-Jan-14 20:04:46

How well do you know France? Have you spent time here other than on holiday? Without wishing to sound negative, it is easy to be seduced into thinking that a holiday in rural France in the height of glorious summer is anything like living here full-time. It is hard work. Also 're the language: DH is fluent and mine is good but I still find it a struggle in a daily basis: homework (lots), making friends, dealing with daily beauracracy. Sorry know nothing about loans or gites.

FramboiseCoulis Sat 25-Jan-14 21:45:51

The French adminstration is a nightmare - and it's all in French.
Coming with no French and giving everything up, I'd say is a massive risk. I've been here 13 years, wouldn't do it again!

PortofinoRevisited Sun 26-Jan-14 01:19:00

Not sure if I would do it again. I live in Brussels - lots of advantages, lots of disadvantages. It took AGES to settle and that is in a place packed with expats. I have friends now and dd is Belgian to all intents and purposes. I would NOT move to rural France. Fine for a holiday, nice sunflowers and all. If I would move anywhere at all it (other than back to the UK) if would be the Netherlands. Clean, most people speak English if you need it. Dutch is relatively easy to understand/learn when you get the hang of it. It's clean, good healthcare, nice shops.

Kendodd Mon 27-Jan-14 09:51:16

Thanks for all the replies, lots to think about.

Can anyone recommend a website for expats who have made the move so that I can chat about how they got on.

One thing I thought, lots of properties seem to come with massive great barns. Do they have soft play in France? I don't think I've seen it, maybe I could open one. I know this would mean I'd have to be in/very close to a largeish town/city but that would be ok.

In the Netherlands is there a good chance we could both get jobs only speaking English? DH is a solicitor I'm a social worker, we would like to do something else though.

magimedi Mon 27-Jan-14 11:18:57

services.completefrance.com/FORUMS/completefrance/CS/forums/

is one of the sites used by expats.

I am just warning you that, as well as help & advice, you may get a rough ride from some of the posters!! Not quite as bad as AIBU grin

Indith Mon 27-Jan-14 11:23:32

If you are going to move anywhere then you need to have a focus in mind! Work, income, business. You need to know what you want to do and have the money to do it! You don't sound like you really know why you want to go or what you would do when you get there at the moment.

Kendodd Mon 27-Jan-14 11:25:44

You don't sound like you really know why you want to go or what you would do when you get there at the moment.

Yes, you're right. I do need a change and some excitement in my life though.

Indith Mon 27-Jan-14 11:34:07

Of course, and I admire anyone who has the guts to make that change. Just be careful that you have a direction to go in. Setting up a business in the UK is hard enough, it takes time for things to work, to gather a client base, to start seeing money coming in rather than going out. Transfer that to a country where you don't speak the language and that specialises in red tape and if you don't have the saving behind you or some sort of back up plan and you have a problem.

What do you do now? Is there the possibility of job hunting abroad and setting up a business over time with the security of an income?

Teaching English is a bit of an old chestnut really but I have done it in a few places and it can keep you ticking over if you manage fairly regular hours in a language school. If you could finance buying a property abraod using your UK property then you could perhaps keep enough trickling in to cover bills etc while you consider a business move.

People don't generally take kindly, especially in rural areas, to the Brits (or indeed anyone from outside the village!) wading in and starting a business when they don't know the area and the way of life.

I have known some people manage. For example in a small village I know well an outsider family bought the local shop and bar. Eyes rolled. However, they turned the bar into a fab little restaurant that is very popular and they offered to work with the school and another local business doing the meals for the children and the canteen in the factory. It was that which got them the acceptance, working together with the village bringing something that the locals could see was truely beneficial for them and their families.

fussychica Tue 28-Jan-14 14:28:34

We lived in Spain for 8 years - sold up in UK but didn't need to work. DS did his secondary education in a state school and is fluent (now working at a French boarding school in rural France as part of a modern languages degree). My DH speaks fair Spanish but admit I just get by.

If I was doing it again I would really try to keep a base in UK. We are now back in UK for various reasons but had to downsize due to the property price crash in Spain. I agree with the others re starting a business, we considered it but the red tape was such a nightmare we backed off, even being fluent would not have made it straightforwardgrin. On the plus side your DCs are young enough to make a successful transition. It can be a great adventure but it needs careful planning and total focus. Good luck!

tb Wed 05-Feb-14 13:15:37

There's also this site that has a forum and useful articles.

rafa Wed 05-Feb-14 22:59:31

Hello , I would not choose France with young children. DH family french and from what I see parents have very little involvement in childrens education. No opportunity to make friends with other parents, play dates etc don't seem to happen. Personally I would not move there as I think it would be very lonely .

jenpetronus Thu 06-Feb-14 13:30:09

As with all things, it depends what you want, where you go & the personalities of you & your DC's (stating the obvious)
We've been here ten years, DS1 was 2 when we arrived, DS2 born here in 2008. I run a gite - average about 35-40 booked weeks a year, which is in no way enough to live on, but it is good fun & allows me to be at home for DS's.
For me, I wouldn't want to be any more rural - we're in a village (700-ish inhabitants) near a large-ish town (Vannes) and near the coast. I still feel isolated sometimes. I think the children have had loads of advantages - their primary education has been 2nd to none, DS1 started college this year and it seems to be going well so far too. They are both bi-lingual in every way - though again this needs work, otherwise French tends to dominate.
You need to think (imho) about what you want and if you can really see yourself living "this" life, or if you're just a bit bored!
fwiw we found the banks ridiculously accommodating when we needed a little mortgage to finish the house off!
Welcome to cat me or ask any other quesitons if you need to.

dreamingbohemian Sat 08-Feb-14 21:24:09

We moved to France a couple years ago (not far from jen actually smile ) It went fairly easy as my DH is French and we had family there, but personally I think it would be a nightmare if neither of you speak French quite well and want to set up your own business, etc. There is a lot of bureaucracy attached to everything and they really don't care if you have problems with the language.

I knew quite a few Anglo expats where I lived and nearly all of them had French partners, or some longstanding connection to France plus language skills. Even then, many of them struggled to work.

If you could set yourselves up with online work, then it might work. You would only need to sort out what you need for living there, not employment. And it can be really cheap to live there, depending where you go.

But otherwise I'd suggest going somewhere more expat and English language friendly. We've just moved to Berlin and so far I've had very few problems not speaking German. Although the bureaucracy here is pretty impressive too!

Shakshuka Fri 14-Feb-14 17:17:57

If your DH is a solicitor, any way he can find a job overseas in his profession? Might not be Europe per se. Lots of opportunities for British trained lawyers in Asia, Middle East and part of Africa, maybe even the Caribbean. I think, throughout Europe, the opportunities for professionals who only speak English are limited. Is there a reason why you're tied to Europe?

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