I almost feel unwanted in France

Having tried all my life to get here, creating a small miracle for myself to even get in the immigration door (my nationality as a Kiwi is unwelcome) it does get a bit demoralising coming smack up against French systems that shoot first and ask questions later. I'm trying to find an appartment. Aha, I hear you nodding.

I'm currently renting a tiny studio in Rambouillet (outside Paris) from my boss who is the actual locataire. I'm doing this because it would have been impossible for me to get loggings without this arrangement but there comes a time when i want to get out of my dark, damp box full of broken castoffs from my boss. I want to put down a few roots in this lovely country. I'd like to have an environment of my choice around me, after all I'm 57 years old, alas, with no resources at all.

It's been a bit of a shock to discover the prices for an F2. It's been a shock to discover that a kitchen consists of a sink and nothing, nothing else. It's been a shock to discover that anything green cannot be found near an appartment. Forget a terrasse or a jardinet. No car parking. But the thing that's reducing me to tears at the moment is the attitude to anyone who is not French or speaking like a native. Real estate agencies will have nothing to do with me, they ignore my phone calls and visits. They never get back to me.

I have learnt that in France the proprietaire has no rights and tenants can simply stop paying and sponge off the landlord for years, untouchable. Consequently I am seen as a risk. I don't get a chance. Too bad I have an impeccable life record, and always leave lodgings better than I find them. They don't care. I'm discovering systems I find beyond ridiculous from my perspective but there's nothing I can do. I really hope I don't have to give up on the dream I've sacrificed everything for in my life for just because the systems here won't recognise me as a valuable potential citizen.


Frances, what about trying to find a decent share until you’re in a stronger position? It would bring your French on a treat and you might be able to get something less claustrophobic with a bit of greenery thrown in. It would also bring your French on a treat.

Totally sympathise with the paperwork: I’m autoentrepreneur + seasonal salarié and it was a real pain trying to rent.

You never know, there might be more you can do than you think in terms of changing jobs. The French do have very linear CVs (and they’re ageist!) but that doesn’t mean that foreigners are expected to fit the same mould. I don’t know what you do, but if there’s any chance two heads are better than one, do get in touch. Anyway, take it one step at a time, and you will get there.

Btw, can I put the record straight on the “unfriendly” Paris and Franciliens? It’s way off beam! I felt totally anonymous in my last London suburb. I don’t here, and there’s no doubt the accent is an advantage.

Well at first I was interested in this post and even sympathetic to the problems that people have living in France as foreigners. I've been living here for over twenty years. What I can't understand is how this subject turn into America bashing once again? I have nothing against the English or Kiwis or any other nationality. That's one thing that being an American has taught me Frances.

Guess all countries have their likes and dislikes and reasons, good or otherwise for not being too keen on a nationality. Interesting Christine your comment about still being treated like a Brit because you lived in the UK for a while. Here...by that I mean England, I think the English always think of other English, as English, even if they have spent their entire lives abroad. The French and the English have always had their troubles and have never been close...that isnt going to change anytime soon, especially with the present stance David Cameron is taking in Europe....though I have to say, this time Im on his side!

Haha, Actually, in France it's an advantage, of sorts, to say I'm from New Zealand. A large percentage of people I come into contact with for the first time immediately apologise for the Rainbow Warrior French act of terrorism. Radiologists, doctors, people in the train say sorry but it was the govt, not us. It's the first thing out of their mouths- amazing. They don't know much about NZ except the All Blacks, maybe Sir Peter Blake before he was murdered by Pirates and the RW affair. Tourism NZ spends very little in France.

Though I like to visit the US.I will never wish to be identified as an American as I'm not in favour of so much of their culture and never approve of their govt's bullying tactics against my former country, which continue unabated to this day. Fancy welcoming the Japanese navy to Pearl Harbour for combined manoeuvres but denying berth to one little frigate from NZ because we don't admit nuclear warships from any country. So much for so-called friendship for so many years. It's a sore point. Odd I suppose I've still ended up in France but the RW affair was an abberation of Mitterand and the secret service. The French have always liked Kiwis- a lot of us died in wars in France and Africa and Europe.

Although English by birth and raising to 19, I've lived on the Isle of Man for 36 years, having been at University in Scotland for 6 years before that. My wife is Scottish as well, so it quite confused our French neighbours when we bought our house in Pepieux.

Isle of Man seems to translate to Allemagne when spoken with my Manx/Lancashire/Schoolboy French accent.

Thank goodness for Google maps - although trying then to explain that the Isle of Man is not part of the UK is the next adventure!!

Certainly an ice breaker!!

-Hi Carol - I have had 10 yrs experience back in my own country and still considered as a Brit... odd. Yes, the Americans are considered as "cool" in France... The "English" - still a generic term to describe anything to do with the Brits - well, not so... The Entente Cordiale is like an old joke... Strange, considering GB was mostly populated with... Normans ! Anyway, I'm glad you still have a pied à terre here. The Dordogne is beautiful, they say. BFN

Christine....love your comments! from now on...whenever I return to my home in France....I am gonna be a good ole girl from the South.....Vir-gin-i-ay! Yahoo....

Seriously...I can see why this is correct thinking...having spent a lot of time on the Greek Islands..where still there is a long memory of the war....at Brits...we were made hugely welcome......because of the second world war...funny the way the UK....has such a different attitude and now has no problems with Germany... this is obviously not true for the rest of Europe....

Sorry about the spelling mistakes.. it's getting late...

Hi again -

Not easy indeed...

"Paris" is a "generic" term the French use for "in and around the capital "! ;)

I know the feelingof not feeling "welcome" : Left France at 20, came back at 33 and felt exacteley what foreigners must feel coming in France for the first time. Was considered a foreigner in my own country just because I am married to an Englishman and I spoke French with an accent that isn't Vendéen ! It was no joke, quite depressing. A culture shock too. France is at least 20 years behind the UK. My word of advise : Say you are American. to the "general public". For some strange reason, if you mention you're English, you can get a hard time. If you say you are American, it's like saying " We (only) freed you from the Germans during the War... and you will be warmly welcome. Stupid that, ain't it ? If you say I'm from New-Zealand, I'm not sure you'll be considered human (where's that on the map ?) ! :D

In the meantime, just soldier on...

Hi Christine, thanks but I never lived in Paris. I started out in Rambouillet, now I have a place in Epernon, even further away from Paris. I have to stay with my job or I have to leave France (not an EU citizen) so a nice spot by the ocean is out of the question until I can hang in long enough to get a French passport. Even then, with all the tax laws and grab (theft) by the govt, I'm not sure if buying a house would be the answer. On verra.

Hi Frances

Paris is not "France". If you want a garden, you need to move out of this place. Try and find a job in the countryside, by the sea... It could be during the summmer (staring in April - September in big campsites, etc). OK, not easy, but I don't know your CV. Then ask an assistant(e)sociale (ask the mairie for their whereabouts -to help you with findiing a place (HLM house, flat...).

Bonne chance !

Actually...should take this over to the food section of SFN.....but the one thing I really missed in France was smoked Cod's roe...I dont make my own Tarama...but I love eating slices of smoked Cods roe...even soft Herring roe is almost impossible to find.

haha! I do make hummus...my daughter when staying thought she would provide lunch as she invited over a couple of friends, and as she doesnt cook she bought a selection of dips for lunch....hummus, tarama, salmon and mackerel pate's and some yoghurts and buns....all the sell by dates were out within 2 - 3 days....whereas Sainsburys sell by's usually give you a week at least.

You make all those lovely things Carol and buy hummus -its so easy to make!

Brian....course we were posh..... not! My granddad was living with his sister in Leek, Staffs and they had a huge old Victorian terrace on 4 floors. All my granddads brothers and sisters (14) were laid out....as a kid I seemed to spend most of my time attending funerals and kissing dead relatives....am sure thats why I became a nurse!

I use Griffins...the butcher on the bridge...had a brace of pheasant last week and some pork ribs that were fabulous and they supplied my Christmas Capon...best Ive ever eaten. I am not a great Waitrose lover...I find their veg all a bit over...they go off within a day or so...ditto things like hummus...never a long best before date...I like Sainsburys, M & S, Tesco...we have an Aldi being built at the top of town and I use Lidl on the A4. But we have a superb new cheese shop...sells cheese from around the UK and the world. I love the market for fresh fruit/veg...there is a Greek stall with lovely breads, oils and olives...and now a bread stall..with 40 different breads, a Romanian and Polish stall....lots of new stuff...mainly foods...even a Portuguese Cafe!I am back and forth to France...am over in March for a couple of weeks...and to have a party for our 35th!


Pity you have left France Carol! Do you do your food shopping at Waitrose in Newbury or that butcher if he is still there on the bridge? We used the market a little too- often buying meat of the lorry!

My lovely daughter has a state of the art apartment in Dubai...her kitchen is all marble floors and worktops and top of the range cooker, fridge, hob. In her fridge you will find water, milk, wine and vodka.....in her cooker, the instructions on how to use it....! she eats out or eats cereals. The last 3 Christmas days Ive catered for 7 or 8 people in a kitchen where the floor (cupboard to cupboard) measures 6ft x 5ft...2 food cupboards, a sink a hob and oven and 3 cupboards for equipment. But have managed to turn out meals the same quality as those cooked on my previous all singing all dancing kitchen....but given the choice? I would like my smart kitchen back...I cook daily, cook all my bread, jams, cordials, pickles etc....just started making my own cheeses and sausages....so feel I deserve a decent kitchen!

It never ceases to amaze me what magnificent meals can be produced here in France in the tiniest and most simple kitchens! We lived in the USA for a couple of years where most homes had very fancy kitchens with everything that opens and shuts. No Ikea by all means, but Bulthaup and the likes. And yet hardly any woman ever cooked - all just for the image and prestige!