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One month in one town in France

Old Oct 4th, 2018, 11:41 AM
  #21  
 
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I live 20 kms from Sarlat. There's no question it is an absolutely beautiful town, but there is virtually NO public transportation, and having a car is a huge PITA (if you live there, maybe not as a brief tourist). It's also getting to the shoulder-to-shoulder nonsense, at least on market days, in June, and by July is almost unbearable. I think it would be a terrible choice for this poster's stated purposes. And I, obviously, "love that part of the country" too, or I wouldn't live here.
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Old Oct 4th, 2018, 11:44 AM
  #22  
 
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Aix seems a good choice. Lively city, small, full of students. I was unaware that my taxes could be used to teach one month a foreigner, but good if it works for you (no sarcasm here).
Weather will be better in Aix (not always so sure in Paris or the north or Brittany). Aix has good train connections. I could live there - more than a month.
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Old Oct 4th, 2018, 12:09 PM
  #23  
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Thank you thibaut for replying
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Old Oct 4th, 2018, 12:19 PM
  #24  
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@thibaut: votre perspective en tant que Français(e) est importante, surtout sur un site comme celui-ci.
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Old Oct 4th, 2018, 01:29 PM
  #25  
 
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Originally Posted by StCirq View Post
I live 20 kms from Sarlat. There's no question it is an absolutely beautiful town, but there is virtually NO public transportation, and having a car is a huge PITA (if you live there, maybe not as a brief tourist). It's also getting to the shoulder-to-shoulder nonsense, at least on market days, in June, and by July is almost unbearable. I think it would be a terrible choice for this poster's stated purposes. And I, obviously, "love that part of the country" too, or I wouldn't live here.

Ah, StCirq, that makes me sad, but not surprised. Seems like everyplace is overloaded with tourists and I fully recognize that I am one of them. Lucky you to live in such a beautiful place.
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Old Oct 4th, 2018, 02:29 PM
  #26  
 
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It's inevitable, Rocket79. Fortunately, we know where to hide when summer comes around. And yes, lucky we are!
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Old Oct 4th, 2018, 11:31 PM
  #27  
 
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I can't speak to the French side--but as to the child development, it doesn't feel like your older child has the right temperment for an immersion into a full school.

But are there any other opportunities to interact with French students? Aren't French students also on vacation at some point, and could you travel at that time instead? What do their kids do for fun? Are there summer day-camps, sports, crafts or music/art classes?

Finally, I do think you should look at expat chat boards for ideas. You might find some ideas there.
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Old Oct 5th, 2018, 06:01 AM
  #28  
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Yes, 5alive we did consider putting her in a day camp instead during the summer. Everyone is new and it might be more fun for her. Your suggestion is very helpful.
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Old Oct 5th, 2018, 10:01 AM
  #29  
 
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It’s strange how people come away with different impressions.

We did indeed love the most of the small towns of the Dordogne but found Sarlat to be fairly diabolical. Just a total tourist trap with below average shopping and below average food offerings.

My suggestion for a month long stay would be Bordeaux which admittedly is busy but had a vibrant feel, world class wine, world class food but with the snotty attitude of Paris.
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Old Oct 5th, 2018, 11:46 AM
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Tell us more about the snotty attitude of Paris and Bordeaux.
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Old Oct 5th, 2018, 12:29 PM
  #31  
 
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Originally Posted by BritishCaicos View Post
It’s strange how people come away with different impressions.

We did indeed love the most of the small towns of the Dordogne but found Sarlat to be fairly diabolical. Just a total tourist trap with below average shopping and below average food offerings.
Well, that may be the case today, or just your experience, I don't know. I explored Sarlat in the late 1990s, on market day, and found it utterly enchanting. I bought the most delicious sugared walnuts there, and wanted to stay and cook everything I found in the market. But that was then.

Sorry, OP - threads have a tendency to go off topic...

Last edited by Rocket79; Oct 5th, 2018 at 12:37 PM.
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Old Oct 5th, 2018, 02:18 PM
  #32  
 
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I'd love to know more about the snotty attitudes of Paris and Bordeaux, too. Bordeaux could arguably be called the snottiest food/wine town in all of France. How much time do you actually spend in France, dude, that you have these all-encompassing attitudes toward places? I absolutely love Bordeaux - it has become one of France's most fabulous cisites over the past 7 years or so, but it is hardly lacking a snotty attitude. In fact it probably has the snottiest attitude in all of France with regard to food and
wine.
You can disdain the food offerings in Sarlat, and I'll give you that, but is it not the slightest bit apparent that André Malraux turned an absolute ruin into a gorgeous town replete with the ancient gas lamps and salamander plaques and a gorgeous interior pedestrian area?

No matter what time of year, Sarlat has a gorgeousness that is unparalled except by the superbly jaded.
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Old Oct 6th, 2018, 04:05 AM
  #33  
 
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Congrats on pursuing this life and career change and seeking this special experience for you and your children.

I'm the Kathy you referred to, who lived in Bonnieux for 6-1/2 months and put our daughter in school there. We now have a second home in Bonnieux and continue to spend a few months there every year. Bonnieux and the Luberon are very special to us, but a small village in the countryside isn't for everyone. We like to hike, enjoy exploring smaller villages, and shopping at the weekly markets, and the Luberon was perfect for us. And the social life is surprisingly active with many ways to connect with locals and expats. Now, 14 years later, we have so many good friends there... it's home. It seems you do need to decide what size place you want to target for your month (big city, small city, town, village) and what area most draws you in terms of your interests and what you'd like to see and do during your free time.

Beyond the question of whether this would be right for the child, I think it would be difficult to enroll a non-resident child in a public school for just one month, especially at the very end of the school year. It might be at the discretion of the director of the school, I don't know. Maybe a private school... don't know about that either. I really liked the idea of a summer camp suggested by one of the other posters, though this would shift your stay into the warmer summer months. That should influence where you'd decide to base to avoid summer crowds.

One last thought... I enjoy Strasbourg, but it's also a big city and distinctly different in terms of its culture. Again, I'd think about what part of France really draws you in terms of natural surroundings, architecture, history, cuisine... your young children will likely adapt wherever you base, but think about what would be right to you.

Kathy
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Old Oct 6th, 2018, 06:17 AM
  #34  
 
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Could be my limited purview on these things, but I've never noticed that "summer camp" was even a remotely popular idea in France. Maybe now with more women working, but seems to me I would have heard of at least a few kids who were "going to camp" but no, never once heard of such a thing.
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Old Oct 6th, 2018, 06:33 AM
  #35  
 
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Les colonies de vacances are a major French classic and have in fact an entire movie genre to themselves. All major French corporations have summer camps for the children of the employees, as do most municipalities of any size. However, it's true that they are slightly less popular than 20 years ago, since more and more families are flying off to Vietnam, Canada, Brazil, Cuba or whatever these days during the summer holiday season..
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Old Oct 6th, 2018, 06:40 AM
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Well, I guess I don't know any families who work for major French corporations. And yes, what families with kids do here when it's holiday season is tear off to Ibiza or Sicily or Sardegne or Greece or Bali or Vietnam...
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Old Oct 6th, 2018, 09:14 AM
  #37  
 
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Well I work in a major french corporation and I don't know of any colleague (or relative) who sends their kids to summer camps. Yet I suppose they do still exist. The camps I hear aout are scout camps or language immersion camps. I guess I meet with rich people.
I also would like to know more about the snotty attitude of the French, be it in Paris, Bordeaux or why not Lille. My personal experience are encounters with arrogant or fearing US tourists who would run away from me, but I don't see the snotty attitude in Paris, I guess I must be either blind, immune to this attitude or so snotty myself that I am merging into it. Or maybe it is the same as the rude waiters : a difference of culture. And thus of appreciation of one's behavior ?
Anyway, there was a kid not so long ago at school who spent some time at school. She was Vietnamese and the star of the school whilst she was there, and the teachers intelligently incoroportaed her in the lessons (geography about Vietnam, histroy etc) so that everybody benefited from her stay. I found it smart.
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Old Oct 7th, 2018, 03:30 PM
  #38  
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@KathyWood: Wow! I am so happy to hear from you! I followed your adventures on slow travel and you were a great source of inspiration! I probably won't, in the end, enroll my daughters for a month. But I was curious if your daughter had a good time during her 6 months in a French school, if making friends was easy, and if her perspective as an adult is different than when she was a child.

Last edited by ToujoursVoyager; Oct 7th, 2018 at 03:33 PM.
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Old Oct 7th, 2018, 03:49 PM
  #39  
 
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would there not be local groups for kids that age- after school places where she could mix with French kids but it seems you want also the school experience - IME with a son growing up in France there were many such groups - for kids of all ages. Or just be in a warm-weather place where there are lots of kids games like parks - I took my then young son during summer school vacation to many and it wa great - for him (a French native and me too - where I learned some of my rudimentary French talking with other parents and kids - weekends would be great for that - activities where parents have to pay outside of school and maybe would take a short-termer. Good luck for what seems a quixotic search at times!
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Old Oct 8th, 2018, 03:57 AM
  #40  
 
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Hi ToujoursVoyager... I'm glad you enjoyed my blog from way-back-when. It's been 14 years ago now, but a life-changing experience for all three of us.

Our daughter-- then 11-- had a very positive experience at the Bonnieux school. She knew just a little French going in and was terrified at first, but she was a bit of a novelty as a tall, blonde, American girl with braces. The other children were very welcoming. Soon she knew enough French to converse, though it took quite a while for her to become an active participant in her classroom. A big turning point was a week-long "classe de neige" (a skiing field-trip), the ultimate immersion experience. I wish she had carried forward a French friend through the years, but I think since she was a bit older than any other girls, that didn't happen.

At one time we had planned to home-school, which would have meant 24/7 together. Having her in school was good for all three of us. It brought my husband and me into the village on a regular basis, and we made friends too. We would have been much more isolated at our farmhouse if we had homeschooled.

You asked about our daughter as an adult. These early experiences definitely influenced the course of her life and her interests. She continued to study French back home in the USA, all though middle school and high school... and our family continued to spend summers in France and other parts of Europe. She received a BA in International Studies from a top university, two masters degrees in International History in a dual program with a British university, and is now a PhD student in History and French Studies. She continues to spend a lot of time in France-- mostly Paris but also Bonnieux.

By the way, I like PalenQ's ideas for other ways to connect your children with French kids.
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