Been on SFN for a few years, & we're ,thinking of moving to France, need feedback please

Thinking about moving to France, (Dept 07, Ardeche), within 5-7 years. Facts will be put in outline form for easy reading. I'm looking for feedback, and what the Americans miss most about the States.
1. I am an American from L.A., married to a French National, who got his U.S. Citizenship in '86 or so.
2. I lived in Italy in my mid 20's, (1986-89).
3. I am fluent and literate in English, Italian, French, almost fluent in Spanish.
4. My work experience is Restaurant, Retail, and the last 30 years, Hairdressing.
5. I own a salon near the ocean in L.A. County and would sell before moving to France, plus a good 'nest-egg' on top of that to start something over there.
6. Husband is French taught server and has been working in restaurants for almost 40 years, but is also great (amateur) cook, and entrepreneur.
7. Husband's entire family, (siblings, parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews) all live in France, except one in Canada.
8. I have almost no family here, and Mom is 85.
9. I have friends in France, 1 good friend in L.A. and another on east coast of U.S.
10. We will still have a few good years to work and pay into the system before wanting to retire.
11. This is probably the most important point here: I don't want to be an old person with no family in the future U.S. AND We have way more family in France. Would love to connect with them more than just yearly visits. Oh, and Hubby's parents are 80 and 84 respectively. Would be great to help them in their advanced years, and be there when they pass away.

I'm just re-reading these posts, it's been a full 6 months since I started this thread and I'm more determined than ever! This 5-7 years time frame had moved up and now I'm thinking 3-5 years. We did some checking about health care over here, and it is GRIM indeed. We do NOT qualify for the free stuff and would have to pay upwards of $1000.00 p. month. We're leaning toward French health insurance for people living outside Fr.

My hubby seems to be more receptive now than before about moving and we're visiting Fr. in mid October, (for only 2 weeks unfortunately). I am definitely going to sow some seeds while we're there.

I will be responding soon to the note I found taped to my salon door about if I'd like to sell the salon. I think I'd like to do it right after our return. I now have 4 people working there, the website's should be done by Thursday,, and it really is starting to look like something worth selling. Then a couple years here to squirrel some nuts away and make plans.

I'm realizing why there's only 4 pages to this thread, it's a no brainer. We'd be stupid not to move over there!

Fingers crossed.

Hi Lis,

Just re-reading these old posts, thank you again, you sound delightful.

I'm curious, you said you would be moving in February. Did you do it? How did it go? I LOVE Provence. Our area is about an hour from Valance, in Montélimar. Actually outside Montélimar in a village called Rochemaure. It's right on the Rhône river. (This is south of Valance try to click on this for map): ardeche.gif

Please write when you have a minute about how things are now in your life :)![](upload://sg4eiWxVdRj7cZe5w8gp18uhQML.JPG)

View from my in-laws back yard.

Hi, I was just re-reading these posts and you gave great advice! Thank you.

I've heard that saying about regrets, and also:

When you're young you regret some things you HAVE done, when you're older you regret what you did NOT try.

Looks like we would definitely stay with my in-laws, first in the main house, afterward in their rental that's on the property if we want to stay in their area.

I like your response, short 'n' sweet :)

I'm willing to wait, not because I'm not certain, timing is everything. I don't know if you read my whole story, but I need to build up my salon and brand so I can get more money when I sell. If I sell now, I'll be coming from a weak position, for I've only been open 1.5 years and have only 2 others working there, (I have 8 stations, 1 is for me). If I sell after such a short time open they'll think they smell a rat so to speak. Like, something is wrong, no matter what I say.

Then there's my husband who's raking it in, but all in cash, so on paper we're not showing hardly any income, (also because I'm not yet turning a profit at the salon), we can qualify for free health care. In short it's going to be some sort of balancing act thus: If we start making some income with a paper trail we'll have to pay almost $1000. p. month in health insurance, and who knows what in taxes. If we wait a few more years until my salon has tipped the scales into profit and sell then, we will be able to get more for it. I have said a possible time frame might be 5-7 years, but in 3.5 years I will re-negotiate my lease for another 5 years and be able to pass that on to a buyer. Also, wether or not I'm making a profit there at that time, I think I'm going to want to sell. I'll be 56 then, my hubby 59, his parents 83 and 87 respectively. We should get to France before they get any older than that if we're going to do any good. So saying 5-7 years is probably just to not freak out my hubby. I am starting to purge everything though. If it's not going to France it's going out the door now :D

Also there's the political climate here to consider, we have two more years of Obama, I like the chap, but this so called 'Affordable Care Act' is anything but. My hubby needs to see what a true cluster-flip of a debacle it's going to become and after the dust settles maybe he'll get his head out of the sand. Meanwhile we continue to sock it away so if and when we move to France we can contribute to the family instead of being a burden.

God I'm verbose, sorry about that.

Go for it............................... forget the maybe one day.... it will never come, good luck!!!!

Hi, Kirsten,

I am an American, and a permanent resident of France, married to a French national. I live in the Midi-Pyrenees during 6 months of the year and in the US for the other 6 months. I am still working full-time for an American employer although I am beyond retirement age (via Computer when I am in France).

When in France, I miss my daughter and young grandchildren who live in the states.In the summer, I miss eating fresh corn on the cob and Ball Park hot dogs! Other than that, I must say, I don't miss my life in the US. Rather, when I am in the states, I do miss my life in France.

You seem well-positioned to enjoy a good life in France. Be aware, however, that many things can change in 5-7 years; including the value of the euro to the dollar. Currently, that has been a difficult issue for me, as I earn in US dollars when I live in France. So, there's belt-tightening to a degree that I have not had to exercise when in the states.

Good luck in your endeavors.

Bummer isn't it?

Don't know about you Carol but as we had earmarked that extra money to do the immediate necessary work to the house to enable us to do B&B & a gite it's made it impossible for us to do as much as we needed to. That's what my wife would've been doing rather than trying to find a job. We really wanted to put something back into the area (no B&B in our village!) and obviously if I'd been earning more, or there were jobs out there for her to apply for (her french is fairly good) we might have been able to manage it.

Apart from anything else the house is way too big for just two of us!

Ah well. Onwards and upwards!

David this is where we lost most of our money. We bought our house when the pound and euro were almost worth the same amount, so the value has tumbled due to that, and in the drop in value of properties in France the last 5 years and its an impressive amount.

The Stieg Larsson is in Girl with the Dragon Tattoo so unless there's a quote from the book on t'internet it's a case of reading the book (or picking it up in a bookshop or library and reading from mid page 519 to the end of page 520!)

We lost money because the sterling vs euro rate chose the day we had to transfer the bulk of the money to buy the house to plummet from a good rate (on which we'd based all our calculations plus or minus the odd up or down point) to its all time low. Hence my comment about money market speculation!

Re qualifications - I'm a qualified translator but can't make enough from this alone now - I have retraining plans but would have to do this in the UK and at least start my new career in the UK. Believe me if we could win the lottery we'd keep the house - I'd still prob retrain but we'd be able to be more flexible. My wife has many years of experience but the sort of thing she does which is management/administration isn't available to her in the part of France we live in - believe me it's the same round here for french people too! The last thing she'd want to do is take a job from a french person.

Whatever you decide I hope it all goes fantastically!

Hi, I just looked for the Stieg Larsson explanation mentioned above. All I got was his biography compliments of Wikipedia, and things about the 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' trilogy. Can you send a link to something I can read as to his explanation? Thanks

BTW, how did you lose €30,000? Taxes? Fees? Did somebody embezzle it from you? That seems like something gone wrong. And a whole lot of money. I don't want to lose a huge amount like that, or any amount really! How can I avoid the same fate?

I really like what you said Richard! You sound like a cool bloke. Bet your wife is just as cool. Where do you live?

Thats great - I didn't realise you had a sister (sorry if you already said, I didnt have time to read all the following replies). My mum lives in same property as my brother so that does help ease my worry. Good luck! Feel excited for you. Hope you will keep us all posted. :-)

I'm curious what you and your wife do for a living, you said you're both highly qualified in your fields, but the way things are can't make a living in France. It would help if it weren't so nebulous. Are you foreign nationals, one of you French, what field is that you're in, what do you mean 'the way things are'? That's a little broad. Do you mean the unemployment rate? Do you mean some other issue? I don't mean to pry, but I'll need some specifics if I am to be helped by this information. Your situation sounds dire, I'm sorry it's so bad for you. I did mention that Vincent is French, I'm American, but can get my French citizenship if I want next year for we'll be married 5 years then. We've been together for 10. Vincent's not 100% convinced, neither am I for that matter. I don't necessarily want to move to France at all cost. I'm trying to figure it out. My husband and I will decide together what is best for all involved. Him, myself, and our families.

Thank you Rachael. My mom is particularly close to my sister and lives on the same property. She and I are very different and never really bonded, I'm sorry to say. She does the best she can and means well, but I actually think she'd be happy for me over there, (she knows how I love it), and I will be visiting, and sending my support and love her way.

Hi Kirsten, what about your Mum? Will she be able to come with you? I am in deep deep deep regret about not being able to see mine. That is the worst downside. Apart from that I would say definitely go for it, as someone already said if you don't like it you can go back. Happy planning! :-)

Go for it...we moved over here from the UK when I was 40, and now run a busy property management business. Never going to go back!

Still have friends in the UK, but plenty more here in's not a common language that makes us friends but more a shared philosophy, interests, sense of humour etc.

Not always easy with the family issue, but being only an hour by TGV from CDG (not in the initial plan!) does make it easy to see family.

bon courage!

Actually the worst thing is to have no pension, no income, no social services, AND no family in the U.S. It is extremely grim given those parameters. Have your worried French friends watch some documentaries on the subject, one of the best is 'Sicko' by Michael Moore. I have just begun the process of research, and will continue to turn over every stone until the time when we, (possibly), will move. I really appreciate the details of the freezing bursting pipes though, (BTW where do you live?) Appreciated also are the legal details and hoops we might have to jump through, and their names, like the ' les sans habitations'. Did I mention that my husband is a French Citizen, and I will be one too next year? As for work, I have a great many talents, cutting hair expertly is merely one. I know didn't say anything about a 'comfortable', retirement, on the contrary I did say something about it being a great undertaking, (a move like this), not one to be taken lightly or to think that it will be easy by any stretch of the imagination.

About Scotland, I've some Scottish friends here in L.A., and they all tell me there are only two types of weather in Scotland: gray skies, or lots of rain! All they do here is follow the sun when they're not working. And if they've managed to put anything aside for retirement, they follow the sun to where it's really shining and not as expensive to live as L.A. (Scotsdale Arizona, named for the first Scots that retired there). As for the food, Scotland has haggis, or deep fried everything, (although I love fish 'n' chips). All this and other woes, why do you think they invented Scotch? Fun? I think not good fellow, and my husband and I would both be foreign immigrants. We're not just looking for any-ol'-place to spend the rest of our working and retirement life. There are a great many reasons why France MIGHT be an option.

I am looking for realism I've said so more than a few times in this thread, so by all means, please keep the constructive, intelligent warnings a-coming, but don't waste my time with idle negativity, or [silly] suggestions like moving to Scotland because my bloodline is .25% Scottish.

As someone else has said it's up to them and they must be able to decide whether they can make a living here. On the other side - if they do move here they may end up regretting that for the rest of their lives.

Kirsten sounds like a fantastic positive lively person and I'd hate her to have to put up with merde. It could be for them or it couldn't but it their decision - I'm trying to tell it like it's been for us so that they can see two sides of the coin. We have a beautiful house and garden but we're never going to be able to do what the house needs doing to it. We are both highly qualified people in our fields but the way things are we can't make a living in France. That's how it is for us. Not like that for everyone. Bearing in mind that Kirsten & Vincent will be coming from America that's a huge expense, financially and personally - unless they are EU citizens who happen to live in LA it's a completely different ball game. And as Vincent isn't 100% convinced that makes it more difficult.

No Steve - the worst thing that could happen is that you run out of money and any source of income. "It's not for you" is a mere bagatelle!