Hi, we live in Uccle (Brussels) at the moment and like it here. We have a nearly 2y dd. We are considering moving to Wavre because we can get a lot more house for our money and it'd be good to live closer to the Ardennes. I really like a house we've just seen but am having cold feet. Does anyone live in Wavre? Is there much of a UK expat scene there? I speak French fluently but my husband doesn't and I'm worried he'll be lonely. Can you recommend any other areas to live that have a train station and have reasonably priced houses. I need to get to the Brussels Luxembourg station for work. Any opinions welcome!
Hi expat. I have shared this on our Benelux mumsnetters page (which you are welcome to join if you like - just pm me) so hopefully you will get some answers.
Hi expat, I don't know how many expats are in Wavre, but we have met a number of families through school - ds goes to Le Verseau and all his (English speaking) friends seem to live in Wavre, Rixensart or Limal.
Don't forget that GSK is located near Wavre and there are likely to be a number of expats working there.
Anyway, we're moving out to Genval so I'm hoping that there are friendly neighbours out there! Good luck with your decision.
Hi Expat, I've just seen the link that Longtime shared <waves> - I too live near Wavre, about 10/15 mins away. DS also goes to Le Verseau (do we know each other in RL Updating? ) and many of his English speaking friends live in Limal, Rixensart, Chaumont-Gistoux, Overijse and Lasne. I'm afraid I don't know much about train stations, but there's one in Ottignies, which isn't far from Wavre.
Have you thought about schools for your dd yet? If you did move to the Wavre area I would highly recommend Le Verseau - in fact my dd may be starting next September (she's 18 months) so would be in the same year as your dd!
There are a decent amount of expats living out here, and a fair few of them are permanent, which is nice You just have to be prepared to travel a bit more than you would in Brussels as people live a bit further away from each other!
Thanks so much for replying. I'm taking a look at Le Verseau as it will probably be our only option for schools in the area. I don't see a link from Updating. Am I missing something?
Just to add - there are other school options than Le Verseau if you want EN. The Athenee Royale in Rixensart does EN/FR immersion. There's also a school in Wavre which does it and also one near Court St Etienne. I live on Rixensart, both DH and I work in Brussels and our two DSs are in local French speaking schools.
Sorry - also to add that if you need to et to BXL Lux station, you'd be best off looking at places on the line 161- La Hulpe, Genval, Rixensart, Ottignies - as the trains are much more regular than on the Wavre line.
We lived in Waterloo, horrendously expat but in the villages surrounding, you can get much more for your cash . Mac genval is lovely also rixensart
Thanks amyboo and fluffy for answering.
I think I'd prefer my dd to go to a local French speaking school so that she'll have peers in the area. Are there any good local schools that you've heard of? I think she'd have to go to Le Verseau for fondamental as we'll arrive way too late to secure a place anywhere else.
I've seen the consorto bus service which seems to be pretty direct to Brussels and then I guess I'd take the metro. It would probably be quicker to get to Ottignies for the train.
My DS1 (age 5) and DS2 (age 2.5) are at the local commune school in Rixensart. To be honest, pretty much all the local schools - communal or Catholic - have decent reputations. It's nothing like trying to get decent school places in Brussels seems to be. You'll also probably have absolutely no trouble getting school places in local schools - no matter when you arrive.Class sizes in maternelle/primary around here average under 20 per class, so you'd probably find it quite straightforward to get a place. I heard there are waiting lists for Le Verseau, so in fact local schools might be an easier option.
Le Verseau IS a local school and at maternelle level and primaire level, you need to apply very early to secure a place, harder than other local schools, due to the school fees and the attraction that brings.
Other local schools will be much easier to get places at, in fact in Rixensart, numbers are currently falling in the local schools. You could get a place the day after arriving at most of them.
Local schools are one of 4 types. 1) Catholic/muslim 2) communal/provincial 3) directly French Community controlled - always has athenee royal in name and 4) non religious free which Le Verseau is the only one of this type in Brabant Wallon.
So Amy is right. And French will come quicker at a school without a substantial proportion of non French speakers too.
You really need to look at the train times from each station before setting your heart on a house that might not be good for getting into Brussels.
Personally I would either go for Ottignies (as there are more trains and a direct service to the BXL stations) or, as I said, go for La Hulpe, Genval or Rixensart. Trains from all these places ate a) regular, b) quick and c) stop at all BXL stations (so you'll be Ok if you ever change job).you still get much more house for your money in any of them than you'd get in Brussels and you will have plenty of decent schools to pick from. Wavre is a nice town, but speaking as a daily commuter to BXL with small children in school, I'd seriously consider making your trip to work as straightforward as you possibly can...
Also if you ever want to add on English into the curriculum at mother tongue level (AR Rixensart and AR Maurice Careme Wavre do English for French speakers 2nd language immersion), then Le Verseau in Bierges is not far away. For secondary, it's under subscribed too, so you'd be fine for a place, by that time, your child could take themselves there on the bus from Rixensart for example.
Rixensart and Ottignies have the better sports facilities of those train stops too, if that makes a difference.
Parts of Overijse (Maleizen area) is walking distance to La Hulpe station too.
Guys, thanks so much. This is all great insight. I wanted to make Wavre work as I'd fallen in love with a house but the logistics would be a nightmare. My husband works close to Herman Debroux so we need to keep rush hour roads in mind too. I love the green of Genappe but you're right, Rixensart, Ottignie - that area - would be more sensible. Yes, sports, extra curricular activities are to be kept in mind as well.
Boitsfort station is on that same train line, tram 94 takes you from that train station in 5 minutes up to Hermann-Debroux. You can therefore commute with no car from these stations.
I wouldn't wvwn consider commuting by car from anywhere around us on a daily basis. The E411 blocks from about junction 3 (Rixensart is junction 4/5, Wavre is junction 6) during weekday mornings. It can take over an hour to get to Auderghem when outside weekday rush hour times it takes20 minutes!
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