Family Life in France – Is it Really Any Better?

I’ve been thinking about what it means to me to be a Family in France, what makes it different from being a Family in the UK. What’s changed – is it better, worse or the same?

Some things haven’t changed – Gary and I still both work relentlessly to make ends meet! But then, we have a huge property, several businesses and 5 kids! What do we expect?

So, if nothings changed there, what’s the deal? Why did we bother to make the move in the first place. Why don’t we just pack it all in and go back to England? After stopping and thinking for a while, it didn’t take me long to figure why.

We have a healthier diet

No matter how busy our days are, we always sit down at the table and have a meal together in the evenings. That’s much the same as the UK too, but here we definately have a healthier diet. For a start there are not so many convenience foods available and take-aways are virtually non-existant. I used to find cooking from scratch every day a pain, but now I have a repetoire of quick meals when I’m really short of time. Also we grow our own vegetables and consequently eat much more veg.

We spend more time outdoors

The weather is better here and we have lots of land, a pool, a lake and river for the children to play outside and explore. In the summer we are rarely indoors at all so the kids actually play more imaginatively rather than sat in front of the computer or TV,

Summer guests keep us all entertained

We have 3 gites and the guests we attract in the summer are usually families with kids. Our children have a constant stream of different playmates with whom they spend their time outside playing, swimming and enjoying barbecues. Guests find it hard to drag their kids away on day trips!

It’s fun for us too to have different people to chat to, share a glass or two of wine and enjoy the warm evenings.

More events to visit as a family

There are many events going on in the summer and throughout the year – village fetes (much like a street party), festivals (music, country fairs and those specifically aimed at children), Lotos (a sort of village bingo), firework displays etc. We seem to do much more as a family here than we ever did in the UK.

Organised Holiday Clubs when we have to work

When we have to work during the long school holidays, there are plenty of organised holiday clubs for the children which are very reasonably priced and well subsidised if you’re working. They have loads of activities and day trips and our children really enjoy going.

Day trips are simpler, cheaper and more fun

Day trips are not so sophisticated – no big amusement parks or fancy leisure centres. Instead we can go canoeing, mushrooming, swimming in the local lakes with beaches. We can have a day trip to the mountains, Spain, the Mediterranean or Atlantic coast. In the winter we can go sleighing or skiing for the day.

There are so many possibilities to enjoy life as a family and it doesn’t have to cost much either.

Is our family life better here than it was in the UK – you bet it is!

Hi Tracy, yes family outings are much more expensive in the UK. It’s true clothes, shoes and food on the whole are much cheaper - we’re going over for a family party in August and are looking forward to topping up on clothes for the kids, but on balance I’d say we have a much better life here.

We’ve just come back from a quick duty trip back to the UK and we have taken advantage of the cheap toiletries and kids clothes/shoes etc. It made us quite envious - then we added up how much we’ve spent on ‘doing things’ ie coffees out, visits to National Trust places etc and wow, so expensive.
At first glance it appears that material stuff is cheaper in the UK but doing stuff together as a family is unbelievable expensive. Is this my imagination or is it how it really is?
I’m curious as having left the UK at the age of 23, I have never really lived there as an adult so am not fully aware of the costs of living.

Thanks for your comments. Yes bilingual children is another enormous benefit :slight_smile: After 7 years living here I find it’s sometimes easy to get bogged down with the negatives and forget the reasons we came here in the first place. On the whole, we have a great life and it’s good to remind ourselves sometimes.

It certainly is slowly and surely, I have no problem speaking it and reading it my problem is with understanding it, this is why I wish I could find a conversational English/French meeting in my area but they all seem to be somewhere else, Classes are not what I need at all - if only as there is an abundance of them :-))

better slowly and surely Roz :slight_smile: Its great though when they help and laugh with you when you make mistakes :slight_smile: I still make loads after 20 years lol :slight_smile:

I totally agree with all of the above Nikki, we also love our lives in France and consider ourselves very blessed to be here, we too still have to work but we work from home and after nearly 3 years it still feels like we are on holiday, we have a far better social life here because it is much more affordable plus we are learning a new language (slowly I might add)
Here is to our continued good life.

And of course the children speak both english and french :slight_smile: Good to hear someone really happy :slight_smile: