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Anyone in Normandy?

(31 Posts)
Meggymoose Sun 01-Jul-07 09:11:26

Are there any Mumsnetters in Normandy?

Moving there in September with DD's 1 and 3 (oh and DH of course).

Love to hear from you - i have some general child-related questions that you may be able to help me with! Thanks!

castille Sun 01-Jul-07 09:14:55

Not Normandy, but Brittany which is near enough! Might be able to help with non-local questions.

lummox Sun 01-Jul-07 16:36:22

We're on the other side - Pas de Calais. So you should be near enough one of us!

Meggymoose Sun 01-Jul-07 20:42:26

Hi castille and lummox thanks for responding!

We have found a place to live in a nice village. What is the best way to find out if the village school has an ecole maternelle or where the nearest one is? Have tried googling and various French education websites without much joy.

Don't think you'll be able to help me with the other thing - I was hoping to make contact with anyone local with young kids just from a social perspective. Possibly sounds a bit sad but I'm giving up my full-time job to be a SAHM when we go to France and I am feeling like I may need some adult contact at some point during the week! But maybe you know if there are such things as parent/toddler groups and how to locate them. Thanks

castille Mon 02-Jul-07 10:50:22

This website should be of some help to get you started with local questions. There's a forum if you can't find the answers to all your queries in the info pages, and to meet other Brits locally.

To find a school, try typing école maternelle and/or école primaire (most have both under the same roof and headteacher, though in some places the maternelle and élémentaire are separate entities so you might need to try both) and the name of your village into the French Yellow Pages to see what there is locally. Make sure you select both publique and privée as French private schools are almost identical to state ones, except that they charge very small fees and as they are usually catholic they provide some religious education, much like UK CofE and RC schools.

Hope that helps for starters!

Othersideofthechannel Tue 03-Jul-07 05:00:27

Go to the mairie for info about your local school.
If your first child is in school, you will meet local SAHM outside the school gates.
The PMI might have info about activities/clubs for tots although they are rarer here than in UK.

Good luck!

ggglimpopo Tue 03-Jul-07 07:40:22

Do you speak Ffrench? If not, would strongly advise that you have a look for lessons or put up a note in your village tabac offering two hours of English conversation per week in exchange for French. Most formal lessons run from Sept/October to June/July.

France and village life in particular can be very isolating if you cannot talk to your neighbours and other mothers.

Whereabouts in Normandy are you going to go? I looked at Normandy years ago and found some lovely houses (changed my mind due to the weather and one particlar expat I met!!). Is your dh going to work locally or commute?

Meggymoose Tue 03-Jul-07 10:08:22

Othersideofthechannel - what is PMI?! (sorry!)

ggglimpopo - I did A-level French so whilst I would not call myself fluent by any means I know a bit. Going to France will be a great opportunity to improve my French and I would love to have lessons/conversation practice although I'm not sure how practical it will be with the kids. I'm hoping just the exposure will help. We are trying to secure a house about 20 mins south of Caen. Dh will be working in Caen.

Thanks both for your advice.

Ellbell Tue 03-Jul-07 10:13:20

Just have to pop in to say how I am! Love Normandy. We'll be on the Cotentin in August (and probably the next August and the one after that too...!).

Hope it all goes well.

Othersideofthechannel Tue 03-Jul-07 11:59:29

Sorry for the jargon, I did mean to explain but DD woke up. PMI is the baby/child clinic. It stands for Protection Maternelle et Infantile (I think). They have them in towns and they visit villages on certain days of the week. If the local GP or mairie can't put you in touch, then the social security will be able to.

I second what GGGlimpopo says. I speak French fluently but it takes time to get to know people in villages because French people are less mobile and certainly in this area everyone already knows everyone so there isn't much in place to help new people integrate.

Meggymoose Tue 03-Jul-07 14:19:01

Othersideofthe channel - thank you - I hadn't thought of the marie or clinics so those are two good ways that I can help my self a bit.

Ellbell - I am really excited in one way think it will be a great adventure and we don't know France or Normandy well so lots to discover. Having always been a working mum as sad as I am to give up work, I'm very much seeing this year as an opporunity to spend special time with DD's the eldest of whom will start school on our return to the UK in Sept 2008.

I'm really grateful to all of you for your (much needed) advice!

Brushetta Tue 03-Jul-07 14:22:19

Please can I just sneakily ask...whats the weather in fousnant/benodat (sp)usually like in May???


Good luck meggymoose.

Enid Tue 03-Jul-07 14:29:59


it always bloody rains in brittany

Brushetta Tue 03-Jul-07 14:36:29


Meggymoose Tue 03-Jul-07 14:42:31

Of the weather in Normandy I have been told it rains just twice a year - once for 6 months and once for 3 months, so if Brittany is anything like - good luck!

castille Tue 03-Jul-07 18:20:09

Not true! The weather is much the same as the UK, but usually a couple of degrees warmer. In Normandy that'll be just the one degree warmer

That said, it has rained almost every day for the past 2 months... but that's exceptional. Last summer it was boiling for all of June and July.

So there

Enid Tue 03-Jul-07 20:16:21

theres a reason why they call it the piss pot of france you know

KrustyTheClown Tue 03-Jul-07 20:19:07

(enid - I've made a limerick in your honour on the simpson's thread)

princessmel Tue 03-Jul-07 21:16:49

Thanks guys (its brushetta- I've gone back to princessmel)

princessmel Tue 03-Jul-07 21:16:56

Thanks guys (its brushetta- I've gone back to princessmel)

princessmel Tue 03-Jul-07 21:17:38

oops. going to bed. I'm tired.

castille Tue 03-Jul-07 21:31:19

Enid - It might be wetter than the rest of France but it's no wetter than the UK, honestly!

Othersideofthechannel Tue 03-Jul-07 21:40:31

I'm curious Meggymoose, why are you just going for one year?

Ellbell Tue 03-Jul-07 22:13:08

And if it rains, there's always the Bayeux Tapestry!

Meggymoose Wed 04-Jul-07 16:58:59

Othersideofthe channel - DH has got a one year secondment to CHU starting in September!

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