Expat area's in France

Jun 1st, 2013, 12:36 PM
  #1  
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Expat area's in France

Hello, My Husband, 1 1/2 year old and me are looking to move to France at the end of the year. We would like to live somewhere in the bottom half of France and within an hour drive from an airport that services London as my husband will have to travel on a weekly basis for work. We would like somewhere, of course, that is beautiful, and tranquil, but at the same time I would like for their to be an expat community as I will want to have a network of other mums/dads that speak English as my French is currently very basic. I am looking for suggestions on places that may be suitable so if you have any thoughts and/or advice I would love to hear from you.
Many thanks in advance,
Sophie
sophie_henwood1 is offline  
Jun 1st, 2013, 12:59 PM
  #2  
 
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Why are you looking to live in France if your French is so basic? Moving to a new country is very difficult even when your grasp of the language is good and/or you have a partner who is a native speaker (both of which apply to me). Just trying to ascertain what your needs/interests are as you have not given much away in your first post and I wouldn't exactly recommend moving to another country only to hang out in a community of people who speak your language (your French will never improve this way, for one thing).

In short, we need more information.
bdsbeautyblog is offline  
Jun 1st, 2013, 01:12 PM
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I can't help but will follow this thread as I can already predict most of the replies
Geordie is offline  
Jun 1st, 2013, 01:16 PM
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I moved to the Netherlands with no knowledge of Dutch, and with three young sons. Learning the language became a top priority for me since my sons learned it so fast and brought home Dutch friends. I needed to know what they were saying!
We live in an area with few other English and that was a good thing as far as learning the language goes.
Your child will p
need to speak French for school when old enough, and the sooner they learn the easier it will be for them.
I understand your desire for fellow Brits, but that should not be the reason for choosing an area to live.
You need to visit France several times and find an area you love, and where you could be happy regardless of whether the population has lots of ex-pats or not.
Meanwhile start learning French.
hetismij2 is offline  
Jun 1st, 2013, 01:21 PM
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I'm with hetismij2. Total immersion is the fastest way for you to become fluent. The first 2-3 months are going to be rough though. I can understand your desire to be surrounded by expats though.
sparkchaser is offline  
Jun 1st, 2013, 02:01 PM
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Living in a foreign country may sound romantic to some but believe me is not an easy task..First of all you must be very adaptable, you must be able to conquer loneliness, to be able to laugh when things don't go smoothly because of language barrier or others small misunderstandings.

You must always remember that "Home is where your heart is" and as long you are together you will be able to cope with anything.

Most of all you must learn the language of your host country ..you will never learn it if you are surrounded by people that speak your language.

Believe me I know what I am talking about because I married a man from a different country , culture, language and I had to learn at times different cultures also.. because of his AF job that required us to lived in different countries..

It will be also a very exciting experience for you as long you have an open mind and a positive attitude toward a culture that is going to be a little different from your own.

Meanwhile As htms..said on her post, start taking some French lesson..
Buona Fortuna or Bonne Chance..
kismetchimera is offline  
Jun 1st, 2013, 04:52 PM
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I guess I don;t get moving to France if your husband is still working in the UK, you don;t speak French and seem to want to hang around a bunch of other ex-pats and you don;t even know where you want to live.

Agree you need to:

Take some test trips to see what places you will like
Start now in a French immersion course
Start speaking French to your child who will need it sooner rather than later

This might make more sense if you provided some information on why the family wants to make this move.
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 1st, 2013, 07:09 PM
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Wow! This sounds like about the most naïve thing on earth. What on earth is the "bottom half of France?"

You don't speak French, you have no experience, you are looking to integrate with some expat community. You need an EU passport, a long-term visa, or a carte de résidence, all of which are fairly hard to come by.
StCirq is offline  
Jun 1st, 2013, 07:18 PM
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Sophie, I guess you can see most people are rather horrified at the thought that you plan on moving to a country you seem to have almost no idea about ( "the bottom half") and have no language skills and worst of all apparently do not plan on learning any more of the language as you plan to just hang out with other expats.. its seems a bit misguided and a bit sad .

BUT , be that as it is, and I suggest you consider a larger city center since you need an airport and you will likely find a larger population will have more English speakers in it to cater to the tourists, which basically is what you will be .

Nice is nice .
justineparis is offline  
Jun 1st, 2013, 09:11 PM
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Going somewhere with a big expat community is the best way to ensure that you will never learn to speak French or the way the French live.
kerouac is online now  
Jun 1st, 2013, 10:15 PM
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"Going somewhere with a big expat community is the best way to ensure that you will never learn to speak French"

Bollocks.

Americans love mocking the migrant Britons who keep much of rural France from complete social and economic collapse. But having a community you can talk to is as useful an aid to improving a local language if you're British in the Limousin as it is if you're French in the 21st arondissement (for the untravelled Yanks: the area of Kensington monoglot Frogs escape to from their ghastly education system so they can learn a useful language and get one of those jobs their useless President has driven out of France)

There's an expat community around just about every airport south of Tours. The easiest way to identify those places is to look at the "departures" section of the Luton, Gatwick, Stansted and Southampton airport websites (Southampton has a disproportionate number of regular flights to SW France, and there's a direct fast train from the airport to Waterloo which gets you to much of central London faster than you can get from Stansted or Luton).

You do need, though, to be very clear how secure those flights are. It's inconceivable there'll be a time when there are no flights between SE England and Bordeaux: but can you be 100% sure there'll be year round flights to Bergerac or Beziers every day of the week in five years' time? SW France is immense, and your collective lives will be near-devastated if that 30 min drive becomes a four-hour one, twice a weekend, for half the year.

Rent a house near, say, Limoges for a week: the expat monthly newsletter is almost always in the pile of unread magazines. Get a feel for a few areas by driving: get a feel for the reality of the community by going to one of the sessions where their jazz groups liven up a local bar (the one the French would have closed if a Briton hadn't bought it) or one of the Protestant services they run in a church that no longer has Sunday Mass, because there aren't enough priests.

Then spend another week near another airport. Repeat several times. Remember: selling a French property can take forever, so if you choose somewhere you find doesn't suit you after a few months it'll bed a nightmare to get out of. The more time you invest getting a feeling for alternatives, the less likely you are to be stuck miles from anywhere for successive winters.

Read the local expat rag, and the first thing that hits you is the stuff going on in the expat community there isn't in the French one. If, as the poster's style implies, she's British or Australian, she's very likely to find the French reluctance to organise public social events quite stressful compared to the Anglo-Saxon genius for local voluntary activity. Finding an area with stuff going on (in much of rural France, nothing does) is at least as important as the scenery or the handiness of an airport.

I've yet to meet a British shop or restaurant owner in France unable to speak French. But like all but the most anti-social expats everywhere, they find having a local community who speaks their language helpful.

Fatuous dismissals of British expats by Yanks with a Plastic Paddy EU passport tell you more about the dismisser than about life in France.
flanneruk is offline  
Jun 1st, 2013, 11:38 PM
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Flanneruk, There is much about your post that is useful like taking the time explore different towns in France and noting that wanting to have contact with other expats is not a bad thing. But much of your post is either hasty, nasty or offensive. Really, "Frogs." Who says that in the 21st century? And contrary to your belief most Americans spend zero time thinking about Britons who want to live in France and by the way, how do you know that the "fatuous dismissals" were made by Americans?
JAMH is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2013, 02:15 AM
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Mougins - close to Nice airport, has expat community and international schools.
Tulips is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2013, 02:21 AM
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There is a large expat community in Languedoc-Roussillon, especially in Hérault (Montpellier, Beziers, etc.). See : http://www.the-languedoc-page.com/
Pvoyageuse is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2013, 02:46 AM
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There are several expat fora which would probably elicit more useful info for you than a travel one:

Try one of these:

http://www.expatforum.com/expats/fra...living-france/

http://britishexpats.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=76
Nonconformist is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2013, 03:59 AM
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THe necessity of reliable air connections to London does boil down the search to the few big hubs in Southern France. Flanner is spot on that while Ryanair may currently have excellent connections to Carcassonne or Beziers, it is totally unpredictable if those will exist in 2 months time.
I assume that Bordeaux, Marseille, Nice, Lyon or Geneva and maybe Toulouse will be the only safe bets.
A half hour drive will probably equal a 30-40 kms radius around those airports.
Which should give you a rough idea where to start looking.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2013, 08:46 AM
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If a person owns a business they eventually will end up learning the language, in years , and because of course their clients will be French as well as expats.

Going to live somewhere as an expat for only a year or two, and choosing to live in and mostly interact with other expats will in fact pretty well guarantee you will not learn to speak the language well or at all.

I know. I was sent to live with my grandmother for many summers as a youth, she spoke no English, and lived where no one really spoke English( small town outside Paris) . I can barely speak French though you would think I could by now..why, because I made friends with a the French girl across street and her and all her friends wanted to speak English to me..and I happily obligided..I spoke a lot of English, and made little effort to speak French, I understood a lot of what my grandmother would say, and I learned what foods were called etc. but its not the way to learn the language,, speaking English I mean.. if one really wants to learn it , don't live and socialize with expats too much.
justineparis is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2013, 08:46 AM
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If a person owns a business they eventually will end up learning the language, in years , and because of course their clients will be French as well as expats.

Going to live somewhere as an expat for only a year or two, and choosing to live in and mostly interact with other expats will in fact pretty well guarantee you will not learn to speak the language well or at all.

I know. I was sent to live with my grandmother for many summers as a youth, she spoke no English, and lived where no one really spoke English( small town outside Paris) . I can barely speak French though you would think I could by now..why, because I made friends with a the French girl across street and her and all her friends wanted to speak English to me..and I happily obligided..I spoke a lot of English, and made little effort to speak French, I understood a lot of what my grandmother would say, and I learned what foods were called etc. but its not the way to learn the language,, speaking English I mean.. if one really wants to learn it , don't live and socialize with expats too much.
justineparis is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2013, 09:57 AM
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Most immigrants in France learn French from their children once the children start going to school.
kerouac is online now  
Jun 2nd, 2013, 10:18 AM
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>>> she's very likely to find the French reluctance to organise public social events quite stressful compared to the Anglo-Saxon genius for local voluntary activity.

I had missed this gem in flanner's post above.. just imagine.. you found that perfect little farmhouse in Provence, you overlook fields of lavender, maybe grow some produce, enjoy the afternoons in balmy Southern climate -- and then there is no weekly bingo night organized by those nasty French!!! Horreurs, horreurs.. clearly, no one could live under these circumstances..

IMO and IME "ex pat community" usually is the sad congregation of Northerners, crying in their cheap sangria or pastis that the French, Spaniards, xxx can never make a good tea (beer, bread, xxx) and get high in joy when the local Carrefour suddenly carries a brand of jam or juice they know from home.
Cowboy1968 is offline  

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