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Considering a move to France

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Hello All

Having retired early I've finally got the time to indulge in my love of gardening, keeping a few chucks & cooking. Unfortunately I only have a small garden & couldn't afford what I'd like in a property here in the UK......

I've been assessing the potential of a move to France, possibly Brittany because of the ease of travel back & forth & it's an area I've always loved to visit.


I've seen a few posts from forum members living in France, anyone willing to offer some advice?

I'm concerned about access to healthcare & integration/making friends as I'm on my own (I'm an early retiree, aged 55).


Also, how do you think Brexit will effect expats?


I've already started a french speaking refreshers course...

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Well I live P/T in Portugal, but I have lived in France before and I have family living there now. I would encourage anybody to give it a go, its a life enhancing experience in my view, but of course there are drawbacks.


Right now the French healthcare system is excellent, you pay for some parts up front, but are entitled to some refunds (lots depends on your age/problem); its common to have healthcare insurance as well to cover this. But the quality and speed of care is excellent. With Brexit, who knows? Many people suspect even if free access is curtailed there will still be some sort of accessible system available to ex-pats, and I suppose the sensible thing is to budget for full health insurance.


Integration is what you make it, in my experience. In rural areas most people are more likely to be friendly than not. Communities are smaller and stronger in general than in many parts of the UK. A willingness to speak the language at whatever level you can manage goes down well, and we have always stopped and chatted to anybody who will listen. Inevitably you get drawn into shop talk, workman talk, utilities talk, vet talk, neighbours talk and over time some of these people will become friends. In France you will be invited over for an apero, and you return the invitation, which may lead to a dinner invite in time! I'm sure its harder as somebody on their own than for a couple, but I think you just have to grasp the opportunities and put yourself out there. As I say, many friendships start as acquaintanceship, and they start small.


Of course, there are always ex-pats. You will find yourself attuned to a British voice at 100 paces! Join clubs - zumba, bookclub, running, whatever you like. I love Brittany, its wildness, its Celticness and the coast. However, it can be very wet being so far west. And Brest always seemed to be the coldest place in the country! Although around Nantes there is an area of gulf stream. I know its reasonably priced, although the coast is pricier. I would urge you to rent before you buy so you can try out 12 months of life to see if you do like it, and actually where you like, as living isn't the same as visiting.


Do PM me if you want.

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Thankyou Blurkarin I will message Cinnamon.


Daphne, thankyou for responding...

Portugal was also a consideration for me.

Wise advise. I agree, integration is what you make it & I really do want to settle into whatever bit of community I find.

Nothing anyone has said so far has put me off, although some friends have raised issues for consideration, which I'm looking into.

I don't think I can join the French healthcare system as I'm not working or in receipt of state pension yet so it would be private health insurance anyway for 5 years Im told.


Life in finite & it's always been a wish, only now am I in a position to actually pursue it & being b****y stubborn by nature I think I will do it in the next year if I can :pray:


Nothing ventured nothing gained


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Not really the same but I'm currently studying abroad in Slovakia and loving it. Been here just over 2 years and have the same to go.


At first it was a massive culture shock but now it's weird how normal it is living here. I know we are spoiled as we are taught in English in our own little bubble so I have limited Slovak and no Slovak friends but I do try; I can order food, drinks and taxis and most importantly I can talk to the dogs here :lol: We know the staff in the local shops, bars and restaurants and have got used to their way of life.


Renting before you buy is a great advice. I love living out here but I know at the end of it I'll be moving back home and can't see myself here forever.

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I can only speak of my ex-pat friends in Germany, but they have all applied for citizenship just to be sure.


I really like France, particularly the south. I'd love to be down there because in a 5 hour train journey you can be in either Italy or Spain, it's great!


I think if I was going to move abroad then my favourite cities that I have been to so far are Berlin and Budapest. I'd move to either one of those tomorrow. There is a quite nice but somewhat sleepy place in Italy that I love called Montecatini, it's lovely. I could perhaps retire somewhere like that.


In France Mullhouse is quite nice, not that much happens there. Paris is nice - but it's the people that I find thoroughly obnoxious there! In my opinion their reputation for being some of the rudest people in the world is most definitely deserved! Montpellier and Lyon are both lovely. :)

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Not really the same but I'm currently studying abroad in Slovakia and loving it. Been here just over 2 years and have the same to go


My niece studied to be a vet in Budapest, qualified earlier this year - had an amazing time Lewis, so yes I can see where your coming from


& yes Andyroo I'd put Budapest in my top 5 of great city's.


This here move may not be the most rational idea but I'm going to do my best to make it happen - long term financial implication are possibly the most likely to prevent it - but that would rule out most of Europe with Brexit! And I want to live abroad, have land & be green - never afford that in U.K.

My heart says to hell with reason overload, I'm in my latter third of life (if I'm lucky) so why wait till the future is more certain & Im too old to do the spade work :lol:

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My friends moved to France 6 years ago. Whilst houses are fairly cheap, their condition can be very poor and very expensive and time consuming to put right Chooks. They viewed over 40 before taking the best of a bad lot. They still haven't finished it. Estate agents fees, legal fees and tax add 14% to the cost of purchase as all are paid by the buyer.


Healthcare will be available under the new 'Puma' system which gives resident house owners the Government cover. Top-up will cover could be £80 a month and will rise with age. But full cover policies, which you would need while renting, could be £200 a month.


The effect of Brexit is unclear, but it is certain you won't be forced out. However the Brexit vote has prompted an awful lot of animosity towards the British and it is at its worst in the North half of the Country. Too cold and incredibly wet to be worth living up there anyway.


Direct flights booked well in advance are very cheap and available from many airports with Ryanair, Easyjet and Flybe, but outside the tourist season many stop.


Be careful about taking on too much land as stuff grows twice as fast so needs twice the work. You have to allow for heavy rainfall which can flood flat land temporarily and cause subsidence.


Montpellier is incredibly expensive as that's where my friend's mother lives. It can be incredibly hot in Summer and very windy as well.

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Hi :P

Yep, we moved to The Dordogne 4 months ago now. We bought a farm on a hill with 17 acres for very little and are currently living in a caravan on site while it is being made habitable.


Life here is easy but takes a bit of getting used to.

I am not social so the whole Appero thing I have avoided completely....strangers inviting me over is my idea of hell.

Everything shuts from midday until 2pm, everywhere is shut on Sunday and usually Monday morning too. Its like living in the UK 40 years ago!


The red tape is totally horrendous and enough to make you want to give up and go home....we are currently trying to register our vehicle here which had to be done in 3 months or you can no longer insure it. The plus side is no road tax and mot only every 2 years.

Also struggling to get our Carte Verte which will give us access to the French health system.

So long as you have worked and paid NI and taxes then you can get this. You need an A1 form that covers you for 2 years.


We have had lovely chats with neighbours and passers by. We have noticed some not so friendly things too, but a smile and a Bonjour goes a long way.....our French is not great but improving quickly.

We had issue with hunters coming into the front garden to gain accessto the woods (our woods!) to hunt, so put up a polite private property sign. It was stolen within 2 days. We don't mimd them hunting but its not on them careering through the meadow to do it...40 odd men each with dogs. We have been advised to speak to the town Gendarmes but are also putting up a fence!


Still no internet here, which is why my posts have been so sporadic :roll:


I miss my daughters horribly sometimes and if its a wet day and I am bored I can get sad, but the house is going to be beautiful one day, so that spurs me on. The Husband is always busy so ge doesn't get affected by this homesickness as much as me, but because there is little I can do physically in the house at the moment I have time to dwell.


I would say go for it, but choose your area with care. We saw a couple of amazing places but they were in not so great places. Our local town of Le Bugue is brilliant and we are really happy to be here.

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I meant to also say that if you want to pm me then please do, but I may not respond right away.


Brexit....well most Brits are just waiting to see really. The biggest issue at the moment is the poor exchange rate. Most French are as aghast that Brexit has happened as we are.


There is a lot to be said for living in France. It is a more relaxed way of life....or will be once the house is finished. There is a certain charm and quaintness to things. Its November and there is still no sign of Christmas in the shops. It can be frustrating sometimes, but the good certainly outweighs the bad :P

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Hi Cinnamon & thank you for your reply....I was hoping you'd get on line and suggest I get in touch!


It's reassuring to hear that life is good and you're both settling into your new way of life. I suppose some of your difficulties might have happened in what ever place you brought?


I will private message you, not too often I promise.



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