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Living in Paris but commuting to UK

(16 Posts)
hellolou Thu 14-May-09 19:07:14

Hello lovely Parisiens,

We have a dilemma and I would really really welcome your thoughts on it from a cultural / social / bedding in POV.

My family and I (three DD and DH) were due to relocate to Paris from UK this summer with DH work. We have organised great schooling from Sept 09, (almost) organised accommodation and were totally and 100% revved up and excited about the move. As far as we were concerned there was no time limit on our stay and we would stay for as many years as possible.

However, DH evil company (boo hiss) have just about pulled the plug on it and are now saying that they would prefer him to be in London for 2-3 days per week meaning 2 nights away from us if we go ahead with the move. When I say prefer him to be I don't really think he has a choice in the matter.

So we are now completely thrown and not sure what to do. Mentally, we have moved in and as I see it we have these options:

1. come anyway accepting that DH will be away for say mon-wed.
2. leave it a year and then come back when he has hopefully reconvinced employers of the benefit.
3. scrap the idea

In theory 1. is workable. In practice , who knows. Certainly it would be ok for our family life because he is away a fair bit anyway but in practice would it be tough to integrate into the community living like this?

2. could work but I would just need to get my head around it. Am complete instant gratification type and as said am already moved in mentally. Has already been suggested by fellow MNer that Sept 2010 could be better for kids who will by then be in MS, CP (adaptation) and CE2 (adaptation) rather than PS, GS and CE1 (adaptation)

3. would just be gutting. let's not go there wink

If you managed to get through all that waffle (I really am confused and distressed or would be more articulate) then I really really look forward to hearing your thoughts. thank you.

BriocheDoree Fri 15-May-09 08:42:28

Hi Hellolou, I'm not in Paris but just outside, but I can give you my twopennorth.
I would say that if you came here you already have a head start because your kids will be at school. I came here when my eldest was a toddler and since she's started school it has been much easier to get to know people.
There's also lots of support around for expats - as much as you want, really. There's a really good association for English parents in Paris called Message, and it's very easy to get to meet people through that, even if it's just when you first get here (I was a member but won't renew next year as I don't feel I need it any more, but found it very helpful when I first arrived). You will also find that with three kids you qualify as "famille nombreuse" which gives you access to reduced travel, reduced price entry to museums and attractions, the right to have your kids at maternelle in for more than one lunch per week (assuming they are at public school).
Would your DH's company give you any sort of financial support? Would you be able to get someone in to babysit / clean / help you out?
Can't see why leaving it a year would make a big difference to the kids...? The ones in maternelle (PS and GS) might find it a bit hard to be thrown in at the deep end but maternelle is "fun", it's not hard work yet and it's organised around young kids routines and rhythms quite well, I find. For the older one there is an adaptation class either way.
Must admit, I wouldn't like it much if my DH was away 2 or 3 nights at a time, but if you are very keen to move I can't see why that would prevent you fitting in here.
Hope this helps...

letswiggle Fri 15-May-09 09:33:56

I'd say if you're going to go at all then go now, as the earlier the kids change schools the less of a big deal it will be for them, language-wise especially. Apart from that, Paris is really lovely smile.

hellolou Fri 15-May-09 12:26:36

Thank you for your thoughts

DH company will give limited financial support as it was really our initiave not theirs to make the move. I guess this is one of the reasons why they are now having a wobble ...

Yes we will definitely look for aupair or similar to help out if we make the move.

School wise they are down for EaB. At their ages we would be able to get DH1 into adaptation if we come this year and DH1 and DH2 into adaptation if we come next year. I think DH2 will be fine with GS but appreciate she will be thrown in at the deep end.
Thanks again.

Weta Fri 15-May-09 13:20:41

I think if you really want to go now then I'd be inclined to go with it, especially if you will have an au pair to help while DH is away.

I agree with the others that once kids are at school it's a million times easier to get to know people.

Don't know what EaB is as I don't live in Paris, but I also agree that changing the kids earlier rather than later will probably be easier language-wise. I also gather there is quite a big jump up between GS and CP (which is when they officially learn to read) so it might be good for DD2 to do the settling-in and language acquisition while still at maternelle. Maybe you could get her some language classes etc over the summer?

letswiggle Fri 15-May-09 13:28:50

My DS1 started French school in GS and was completely fine. Spoke French fluently by Xmas and was one of only 2 children who could read properly going into CP [proud emoticon]. but he was already bilingual in 2 other languages and is clearly shaping up as a language whizzkid anyway. DS2 is not so obviously comfortable, but basically fine. DS3 is more like DS1. You have 3 DDs? Hmmmm. Maybe we should get together sometime grin.

You could get a Francophone au pair now to get started (we did).

LilianGish Fri 15-May-09 16:13:13

Do it! Lived there for five years and will move back eventually. It's a great place and you've done the hardest part which is organising school places. My dh is away all the time for work so that aspect wouldn't bother me (only you know whether it will bother you). If you really hate it you can always come back - but my guess is you won't. Very jealous in fact!

hellolou Fri 15-May-09 17:04:42

just noticed my teensy little error blush ... by referring to DH1 and DH2 - now there's a thought wink
clearly I meant DD1 and DD2, just so there's no confusion about my family setup!

usedtoreadbooks Fri 15-May-09 17:17:10

Hello! DH, DD and I just moved to a suburb outside Paris, but for the 18 months before that I lived in London with DD, while DH worked in France full-time. He took the last Eurostar back on a Friday and the first one out on a Monday (getting up at 4am). The commute is doable, as is being away from DH for a couple of nights - I only have 1 DD, so can't comment on looking after 3 by myself, but I was also working FT. I say go for it. Paris is a great place and you may not get the chance again. And how brilliant for your children to experience this while they're young enough to adapt easily and pick up the language.

frAKKINPannikin Fri 15-May-09 17:28:42

Do it. My employers commute quite a lot to London doe 2/3 days at a time - there are v. good flights from Orly to City and also the Eurostar. Besides, 2/3 days in London whilst living in France grin beats 2/3 days in Paris whilst living in England. It's a fantastic experience for your children to have.

When would you be moving if you went ahead?

frAKKINPannikin Fri 15-May-09 17:29:30

doe = for blush

hellolou Sun 17-May-09 21:32:32

Hopefully July. Decisions decisions ...

Solferino Sun 17-May-09 23:16:42

Had to chime in here as I was in that exact situation -- albeit back in fall of 2001. We moved from California to Paris for DH's job in summer 2001 -- I was pregnant with DS. The day we were due to move from the hotel into our apartment, one of the American VPs showed up and fired about 75% of the French office. Horrifying and awkward since everyone was aware that we'd just been relocated into a lovely apt at great expense to the company etc., and DH was not fired. However the HQ then put him on a project in Nottingham so he left Mondays and returned Fridays.

Flights are not bad and it is feasible, particularly if this is a 2 or 3 days/week sort of thing. You can meet lots of other parents via school and Message (I found it really helpful when we were there, was actually the membership chair for 6 months or so). There are loads of meet-ups all around the city and suburbs.

We're contemplating another assignment, same timeframe as yours. Just started looking at EAB last night. Perhaps (if there are even spaces at rentree, this late in the year) we shall meet one day... LOL.

Good luck -- even though I was alone all week I still look back on the time in Paris and sigh... such a nice place to live.

teafortwo Thu 21-May-09 10:22:03

Solferino - actually there are a few mners with children at/soon going to EaB. It is a lovely school. smile

hellolou - I am sorry for this latest hiccup. Wow! What a pain! I want to suggest something practical like having a family meeting and making two lists - weighing up the positive and negative aspects of moving....

but actually I think this is a decision of the heart and not the head at all.

What does your and your only wink (ha ha ha) dh's hearts say?

Is your heart saying you should stay or you should you go?

hellolou Sun 31-May-09 12:10:05

teafortwo - we have lists, lists and more lists but none conclusive. Sooooo many advantages to coming now but one big disadvantage of the job location being split.

Our hearts say:


but then our heads say:

"...wait until job situation is clearer so we have a better idea of how things will develop." hmm

tedious hey??? This heart versus head debate becomes much more complicated when you have children to worry about and are uprooting more than just yourselves ...

soferino - any luck with the school?

bunjies Fri 02-Oct-09 16:30:53

Would be really interested to hear how this turned out for you hellolou. Did you make the move?

And I'd like to know what the EaB is too!

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