We are often asked the same question by both English and French friends "Did we make the right decision moving to France"? only yesterday a French friend enquired "What is it you like about France"? and it is very hard to put it into words but the way we answered him was, it is like being transported back in time to when we were children (this is Rural France you understand) I am sure in the big cities it is just as chaotic here as in the UK...
It had got to the point back in the UK where it wasn't a pleasure to go into our city centre in broad daylight let alone after dark, the streets had become a minefield of beggars and drunks with even the odd drug deal happening in broad daylight, people say you must move with the times but it wasn't something we wanted to become accustomed to.
We had been coming to Northern France for holidays for many years and had fallen in love with the whole way of life, so slow and relaxed, we bought our house here in Pays de la loire in 2001 and had spent every holiday coming over and slowly turning it into a comfortable home (with the help of good friends). when we look back we realise that during those times we didn't even see much of France as it was head down and get the job done, I am pretty sure we even worked on Sundays but when you have limited time to do something it is all hands to the pumps.
There have been many times since our total move over to France 4 years ago when we have asked ourselves the same question, usually when something has gone wrong and there have been many of those, although the life here is good you will still have life's rotten eggs thrown at you as you would anywhere else, even more so when you are in another country and don't have a good command of the language, we have had our fair share of problems but we are lucky enough to have built up a very good network of friends some of whom speak French fluently and are more than happy to help out..
Both John and I are on regular medication and need to visit our Doctor every 3 months, we don't need to make an appointment ever, we just turn up at his house/surgery, admittedly we have to take our turn in the queue unless we are lucky enough to get there first but sitting in the waiting room with the wallpaper hanging off the wall listening to his piped classical music and trying to have a conversation with the others (usually french) is an adventure every time, plus we are extra lucky that Dr Fred as we call him - his name is Frederic Lerich - speaks perfect English as he lived in the UK for 7 years, this helps immensely when it comes to medical things...
When we first moved over we thought for a very long time, had we made the right decision, would we have enough money to survive but all in all we find the cost of living to be very reasonable considering our quality of life is 100% better and if we didn't have enough money to live here then we certainly wouldn't have enough back in the UK, we have integrated into our village very well and have always been made very welcome, we grow our own veg, sadly we don't have any animals as we don't have a lot of land but as we get older I wonder how we would look after animals so probably for the best. with the help of our French neighbours ( who don't speak any English) and some french lessons we are becoming more able to have a conversation and I would advise anyone thinking of moving here to try and learn the language.
It is not just one thing that brought us here but a whole load of small but equally as important things that make up our lives, I am pretty sure we have added 10 years onto our lives by doing it.
- Did we make the right decision - most definitely
- Do we regret anything - Yes, that we didn't do it sooner.
- We miss our family and friends back in the UK but we are not a million miles away.
- We are retired so don't have to find an income but if you are thinking of coming to France to work I advise you to sort work out first as it is not easy to find here.