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Moving to France (Northern)

(29 Posts)
Dorasmum Thu 10-Aug-06 13:56:02

Hello all, looking for any comments/advice that you can give.
We are moving to Northern France in the not to distant future (Lummox, would be lovely to hear from you, I see that you are in that neck of the woods). Initially my H will be commuting back to the UK although once his French is up to it we will make the transfer complete.
I have a 3 year old daughter and have just found out that I am expecting baby no. 2. My main question really is can I use the French health system and education system if neither my H or myself are working in the country? I had intended to work but now obviously that is going to be rather difficult.
Also, DD is in full time nursery at the moment as I work - I believe that the education system in France is compulsory at 3 so I assume she will start school immediately.
Last question, how do you cope with the education system if you speak very little French? Obviously will sort this out but initially it will be a struggle.
Lummox - if you are reading this, I see you commute back to the UK - can you tell me what the suggested best route is? DH may at points be doing this daily.

Thanks for reading and look forward to seeing your answers.

Marina Thu 10-Aug-06 14:00:01

Was going to click on this and say you need lummox
Am envious of your plans and wish you luck but can't offer any specific advice. Hope someone better informed comes along.
I would have thought though that if you do whatever it takes paperwork wise for France to be clearly your country of main residence you should be able to access healthcare and education, healthcare via a valid EHIC initially.

Dorasmum Thu 10-Aug-06 14:05:08

Thanks for response and thanks for the luck

Am willing Lummox to respond now - sounds like she knows her stuff. Nothing like someone on the ground

Marina Thu 10-Aug-06 14:07:58

Rhubarb and her dh initially had no work when they went to France and were able to enrol their dd in maternelle with no problems, come to think of it. She is not online much at the mo because they have moved back to the UK now and are with relatives temporarily but she might be worth a shout too Love the Pas de Calais and the Audomarois!

nowanearlyNicemum Thu 10-Aug-06 14:19:52

hi Dorasmum,
I'm in the sunny south so can't help you much with local knowledge
As far as the health system is concerned, it will be trickier if neither of you are working in France but as long as you have valid E111s for each member of your family then you should be able to be reimbursed in the UK for anything you have to spend on healthcare in France. At least, I think that's how it works if you're not working. For schooling, I'm fairly sure it's just a question of proving your residency in order to enroll your dd. So that shouldn't be an issue. Where exactly are you going to be? [very nosy emoticon]
Good luck with all the preparations - and congratulations on your pregnancy!!

Dorasmum Thu 10-Aug-06 14:26:47

God I hope they have not moved back for any bad reason. Am so hoping that it is going to work out. This baby has come right out of left field though, although, nothing better to integrate you into the community than a baby
What's Audomarois?

Marina Thu 10-Aug-06 14:28:44

Region de St Omer!
It didn't work out for them actually Dorasmum, sadly, but everyone's situation is different so don't let that deter you.

Dorasmum Thu 10-Aug-06 14:33:01

Hello nowanearlyNicemum - thanks for the congrats, still reeling!! I'm excited, as I said, what better way to start a new life than with a new life!! H is still wondering how it all happened
We are hoping to move near St Pol, also looking at Hesdin. Viewing on 27th which we think is the one so fingers crossed

Dorasmum Thu 10-Aug-06 15:04:44

Marina,
Well you never know until you try these things, do you. I hope things improve for them and hats off for giving it a go.
N

Silvermoomin Thu 10-Aug-06 20:57:02

I lived in a Paris suburb for 3 years and had dd1 out there. I'm sure you must have access to the health system out there somehow, even if you're not working, but brace yourself for some paperwork! I don't think the education system is mandatory at 3 (I think its actually 7) but a lot of people do send their children then.

There's a really good english-speaking expat organisation in Paris called Message (they have a website you should be able to find - sorry can't remember the address off-hand). They produce all sorts of info about bringing up children in France and have a forum like this where you can ask for help from other members.

Bon courage!

Silvermoomin Thu 10-Aug-06 21:04:24

The website I mentioned is www.messageparis.org

Dorasmum Fri 11-Aug-06 09:44:48

Silvermoomin, thanks so much for your suggestion, I will go over to that site and have a look.

lummox Sun 13-Aug-06 11:01:26

only just seen this, sorry!

DM - how exciting. Yup - we live in the pas de calais and work in London. We both work part time and dh can work mostly from home, so it works quite well.

You can commute daily, but it would be a slog. I've done it a couple of times for just a day but it is tiring. We are about forth minutes drive from Calais Frethun which is the Eurostar station. At the moment it is 1 hour 15 mins to Waterloo, but when the high speed link comes in (which should be next year) it should be an hour toKings Cross. The downside of Frethun is that there are only a limited number of trains per day (three I think) so you have to be careful with timing. You can also drive to the tunnel and then park at Ashford station, which takes longer but is a bit cheaper.

Schools/health wise, I believe that you can go to school and get the carte vital which entitles you to health care here without being in the French tax system, but I would have thought that you would be better off becoming French tax resident (if you are here all the time you should really do that anyway). You get very generous child benefit (much more than the UK) and if you are not earning for the moment it might be well worth it. That said, I would recommend that you speak to someone about your best bet in terms of tax and stuff. I can recommend someone if you would like. There are various people out here who will help you access the French system who are bi-lingual or speak excellent English. They will charge, but it is quite likely to be worth it.

Also, school isn't compulsory here until 6, but there is free, state nursery provision from the age of 2 if you want it. You can send for as much or as little of the week as you wish. Our ds is only 14 months (although we, too, have another on the way) so we haven't experienced it ousrselves, but there is an English family in the village who speak no French and sent their three year old mornings only. After eight weeks he was apparently speaking French and crying to be allowed to stay after lunch with the other children.

Anyway, as you can see, I've got too much to say on the topic. If you would like to email me, my address is the name of this website with the letters ter at the end @gmail.com.

lotussister Sun 13-Aug-06 13:44:00

Hi, I live in the South so again can't help with local knowledge, but having been through the whole health registration thing can help a bit on that.

Basically, if you are not working in France but have worked in the UK for the last two years you can get free coverage on the health system for two years. You have to call the DWP and get an E106 form which you then take to you local CPAM (Caisse primaire). They will provide you with an attestation (and eventually a carte vitale - or so they promise) which you can present to health providers. That allows them to claim directly from the state insurance system. Until you have that, you will have to pay and get a feuille de soins which you can send in to your CPAM for a refund. You and all your family will get covered under your E106, so if you get one now and your dh gets one when he stops working in the UK you should be able to get covered for more than two years.

HTH

lummox Sun 13-Aug-06 16:40:59

sorry to highjack the thread,. but wanted to say hi to lotussister and thank you for all the info on the having a baby in France thread. Hope you are keeping well.

Dorasmum Mon 14-Aug-06 11:44:32

Hello Lummox, Many thanks for that and yes, I will email you seperately if that is OK.

A million thanks in anticipation!!

Nicky

fistfullofbanners Mon 14-Aug-06 12:14:42

hi dorasmum,
I registered my children in school despite never having worked in France.
Also, I had a baby there, using a form that I got from the office in Newcastle. It is similar to E111, but entitles you to non-emergency medical care.
A word of warning though, sort out where you are going to claim child benefit. You should be able to get it in France, because you are resident there.

lotussister Mon 14-Aug-06 16:32:18

Hi Lummox - doing great

alicerose Mon 14-Aug-06 17:20:02

I lived in paris when my daughters were 3 and 10 years old. We enjoyed ourselves totally and still talk about as a good experience. I am an american so my health care was private health care. I found english speaking doctors.

Both girls went to school. Yes my 3 year old went to public school even tho she didn't speak french. She went to school all day 9-4.

she was lucky because in her class there was one child had a english speaking mother. but in general she just got on with it and the end of the year her french was better than anyone else's in the family. She loved her french school.

it was lovely not to have to pay nursery fees for her. her school had little cots for naptime. Little trikes for play time. The food offered for lunch and snacks was very high quality.

I was a single mom at the time and was blessed to be offered a brilliant job opportunity in Paris. Initially my 10 yearold daughter was not keen on going. I would not have gone if I could not persuade her. But I explain how much this opportunity meant to me.

One learns a lot from living in new environments.

alicerose Mon 14-Aug-06 17:20:02

I lived in paris when my daughters were 3 and 10 years old. We enjoyed ourselves totally and still talk about as a good experience. I am an american so my health care was private health care. I found english speaking doctors.

Both girls went to school. Yes my 3 year old went to public school even tho she didn't speak french. She went to school all day 9-4.

she was lucky because in her class there was one child had a english speaking mother. but in general she just got on with it and the end of the year her french was better than anyone else's in the family. She loved her french school.

it was lovely not to have to pay nursery fees for her. her school had little cots for naptime. Little trikes for play time. The food offered for lunch and snacks was very high quality.

I was a single mom at the time and was blessed to be offered a brilliant job opportunity in Paris. Initially my 10 yearold daughter was not keen on going. I would not have gone if I could not persuade her. But I explain how much this opportunity meant to me.

One learns a lot from living in new environments.

sachasmum Wed 20-Sep-06 20:48:42

Sorry to gatecrash this thread but I would really appreciate it if lummox or anyone else in the Calais area got in touch.

We are thinking of moving to the Calais area next year after spending too long working in Coquelles/Calais and commuting from Dover.

We have 4 kids aged 10, 8, 4, and 1 and we are most interested in information regarding schools and clubs.

Thanks in advance.

Bernadette

lummox Thu 21-Sep-06 20:17:30

hiya sachasmum,

happy to help as much as i can, but i'm not sure that i'm going to be able to be much help about schools and clubs. i've got a 15 month old and another on the way, so know a reasonable amount about the ecole maternelle bit (kids from 2 - 6) as I've been trying to get prepared for next year, but I don't know much about older children.

in terms of mum/toddler things, there isn't a great deal about - i'm trying to set one up at the moment, with mostly French mums and a couple of other brits. for older kids there is loads and loads of stuff - after school, holidays and so on.

let me know if there is anything more specific i could help on. we are a little way from Calais (about 45 mins drive), as we didn't really fancy any of the areas very close by.

jemoosmum Wed 24-Jun-09 11:33:03

I am tearing my hair out! I am hoping to move to France-Incourt, a little village near to Hesdin in pas de Calais. I am bringing my five children-husband staying at home as he is a G.P. and cannot move!!
the children are aged 3,5,7,10 and 11, and I have tried to find school places for them-local private catholic schools- but no one seems to want them-C'est trop complique apparently. Any advice out there???????
Thank you.

Othersideofthechannel Wed 24-Jun-09 20:51:53

Are they refusing them because they don't speak French?

Do you really want to them to go to a Catholic school?

I don't think the local state primary would be able to refuse them. You can can enrol them at the mairie of the village.

But they would have no religious education and so if this was important you would have to do catéchisme in free time.

HaventSleptForAYear Wed 24-Jun-09 21:00:21

Just wanted to say hello because we are in Normandy (not a million miles away) and have a 2yr old and 4 yr old.

You have had most of the advice you needed but ask away if you need to know any more.

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