Can women really Survive France alone?

Some months ago this newspaper feature was sent to me via a French friend. He was shocked by the write-up. I’m not quite sure if he was concerned, disbelieving or both. But he was definitely surprised.

In my own experience, single life in France can be very difficult. I know these challenges are not restricted to women, but I’ve had my share of ‘the only way is back to Blighty' moments - sometimes being alone and female has been really tough.

Evidently my French friend wasn’t the only one to take note of this article (above) about the “pauvres petites anglaises”.

A journalist for French TV is now compiling a documentary about British women that have chosen to live in France, but would like to hear some more positive stories from those that embrace their new life here – even if they have perhaps endured some less-than-brilliant circumstances. (Or if it's really as bad as described - he asks why do people stay?)

Of course this is a personal and sensitive subject and not everyone would want to share their experiences, but it’s certainly uplifting to hear some positive news for a change.

If you are currently single and reading this post and if you are happy to talk about your experience or decision to stay living in France, please email Frédéric Couderc.

A slightly different group of women are those who have a partner working in the UK or elsewhere.
Yes, the men do return to the fold when they can, but it still leaves us girls to get things done when they are away.
Some of the physical demands can be difficult - chopping wood, heavy lifting etc and often favours are asked of other men to help out - my nephews very often help out with things I find difficult ( have a problematic back ) so this gets around the interim problem, and saves on a stack of horrible chores when the lads come home.
Very often we will attend to chores like this before my husband goes back to work - getting enough firewood into a nearby shelter, mass visits to the recycling centre, stocking up on heavy shopping items in the supermarket etc.
Just needs a bit of planning. It can be a bit lonely in the darker months, without male company, but our lifestyle in the UK was exactly the same - me and the children based in South Wales and OH in London during the week.
As we have done this for 16 years, it has become second nature now.

  • yawns again*
    Not bored - just too shattered to think coherently!!

@Annette - yes, I will be going to Sandie’s, with my dearly beloved (normalement). Looking forward to meeting you too. :slight_smile:

@Catharine, is that yawns long day and exhausted? or yawns boring blog?! Still envious of those crumpets :wink:

@Sarah Hello :slight_smile: I don’t think I will ever describe you as a ‘pauvre petite anglaise’! Really looking forward to meeting you at the SFN meet-up at Sandie’s next Friday - you are going yes?

@Stephen - good for you (and now paranoid about my punctuation …)

@Anna - Your experience makes my dark days feel very very small. Good for you for sticking with the lifestyle you really appreciate. I also agree that French village communities can be wonderful - I can’t comment about larger towns or cities but the “locals” in my village are a generally wonderful bunch. Never a dull moment …!

My husband died here nearly five years ago and friends and family waited for me to return to London. I did not. I have a wonderful circle of friends, both French and English, who encircled me with love and protection at the worst of times. The village shared my grief and I was helped.

I love it here, the countryside, the animals the people. Where else could I go on a road and call it a traffic jam if I see more than two cars. Where else would I feel quite relaxed whilst the woman in front of me in the supermarket tells the cashier of her menopausal symptoms whilst the queue builds up behind me. Where else would the farmer offer to cultivate my land with his tractor. No here I stay.

Not sure it’s any different from anywhere else if you’re already established. I got divorced but have a job so I just had to get used to doing everything myself. Actually, this didn’t change much from when I was married so the adjustment wasn’t that great… :slight_smile:

I downgraded from the marital home, which was sold, to a little rental and am still there. Actually my life is less stressful now that it was à deux. The boys and I have been through some tricky moments, especially at the beginning (no surprise there wherever you are) but all in all, it’s gone well. Friends were very supportive.

I now have a dearly beloved in a nearby village so I can’t say I’m one of those ‘pauvres petites anglaises’ at all. :slight_smile:


Women can survive anything…

Hi Fiona - In the first year I had a rough time creating a new life for myself on my own. Everything I hoped or planned to do went wrong. I had a succession of good old fashioned "bad luck" and it wasn't very easy to keep smiling! But time changes many things and life is very different now several years on.

And you're quite right - it could be like that wherever you live! I suppose it's just how people respond to it or talk about it.