Life in France, what does it mean for you?

Despite all the ups and downs that life, in any country, can throw our way, finances, health, housing etc; Despite the problems of dealing with loads of paperwork in another language . Despite (recently) all the anxieties over Brexit, I have to say, hand on heart that my years living here in France have been amongst the happiest I have known.
Having so much space around, opening the curtains and seeing trees, fields, animals and yet more trees. Breathing fresh air, watching the amazing sunrises and sunsets, the incredible skies at night unsullied by any light pollution, makes me realise that I am indeed fortunate.
I love this country, I do moan, like we all do from time to time, about the complexites, but it’s my home, I can’t imagine living elsewhere.
How do other SF’s feel about France and their lives here ?


I never think about it as life in France, it’s just life. I lived and worked in various parts of southern England before moving abroad and working in several places in Germany for 26 years. Over 20 years ago I bought a holiday home in France and soon realised that that was where I wanted to live. I was lucky, I was able to move here with an income ten years earlier than I might have expected and my only regret is that the years pass too quickly. The pace of life and the opportunities living here provide suit me to a tee and when I read about the trials and tribulations that so many people seem to go through fitting their jigsaw piece of expectations and requirements into the French countryside, I feel sorry for them and hope they find peace and happiness before it’s too late because my piece fits perfectly.
I’ve only lived in one foreign place in my whole life, a place where I found my neighbours and their ways difficult to understand; that was in Worthing, in West Sussex.


Like you, this is our life. We live in a really beautiful part of Southern Burgundy.
We have been made so welcome, much more than anywhere we have ever lived before.
We are looking to become French citizens, so that we can show that this is our home.

I lived in Worthing for a few years before moving to France…
A strange town with strange people…the strangest being my, then, in-laws…

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It’s a very simple and very personal thing for me, I just feel at home here. I identify with the mindset, the values, the customs, the language, the priorities, the way of life, and that’s the reason I chose to live here, if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have. I recognise that France has plenty of faults but I haven’t found any that I can’t live with. I love the fact that there are so many regions, all with their own landscape and culture, with different foods, different traditions, different styles of houses, different crops in the fields, a different smell in the air. I love my area but I also love touring other parts of France, I spend about equal time at home and in the motorhome.
I suppose I’m a low-key, insular sort of person in my private life (or should that be self-centred/arrogant) in that I don’t feel the need for anyone’s endorsement or approval or praise or citicism. As it happens I get on well enough with my neighbours locally and they seem to accept me for what I am, I enjoy our occasional get togethers and hopefully it’s mutual but I wouldn’t say we’re important parts of each other’s lives. I certainly don’t feel any pressure to somehow prove my commitment to France to the world, I know how I feel, and that’s all that matters to me. If one day I fall out of love with France for whatever reason, which I don’t anticipate but who knows what the future holds, I suppose I’ll go somewhere else (Brexit permitting) possibly Belgium because I feel very at home there too. The way I explain it to folk here who sometimes don’t understand where I’m coming from is, “J’aime beaucoup mais je ne m’engage pas”, and they often seem to get that. I guess I apply the UK countryside code to the whole of my life - “leave nothing but footprints, and take nothing but memories”. It works for me.


We live at the bottom of dept 71 and totally agree with your comments. Have been here over 14 years and can’t imagine living anywhere else.

Maybe another interesting aspect to the question would be, how much of France do you feel actually constitutes your “home territory”, the bit that you feel is yours? Is the concept of “my life in France” limited to your own four walls or boundary fence? Your commune? Your department? Your region? Northern France, the south of France, the Grand Ouest, the East? Or mainland France as a whole?

There are several parts of France I think I could happily live in, there are parts I love visiting but have no desire to live in, and there are parts that having visited I didn’t particularly connect with and probably won’t visit again. But overall I would say I identify with the whole of France as the background to my life. I think having that overall awareness helps me see my own locality/commune/department in context rather than in isolation, and also helps with understanding the bigger picture when it comes to national issues. I don’t regard my commune and my department as “France” - in some ways where I live is typical, in other ways it isn’t.

Moving to Colombiers sur Orb has been the second best decision that I have made in my life.

Its like living in the Highlands, with warmth, among friendly, helpful, people.

Coming from an area in SE England which is becoming more and more polluted and overcrowded its just wonderful - clean air, no light pollution, hardly any noise and no (close) neighbours.

We live here too and it is wonderful.
Kind friends and neighbours, wonderful countryside.