Moving to Bourgogne/Burgandy

So the time has come it would seem.. My husband and I are leaving our kids with my mother for a week (something that has never happened before - so god knows how long it will be before I get a call requesting we return home) and we are going to Troyes to stay with my husband's family; using it as a base to explore the northern part of Bourgogne in the hope that we can find somewhere that ticks the boxes to put down our roots.

As usual, I want far too much for our money (land/at least four bedrooms/old style house/rural but not TOO rural/near good schools/good transport links/close to employment/a fairy in the loft and a unicorn in the garden etc etc and all for £70,000).

Whether or not we will find anything close to that (in all honesty the unicorn in the garden would be enough) is another story! I realise compromises are going to have to be made but after such a long time umming and ahhing about the whole thing it has come to the time when we are ready to make the leap.

Employment for my husband shouldn't be too tough; he is French and a trained chef and wants to learn carpentry. For me, another issue. I am (as some of you may remember) a trained therapist (massage/reflexology/reiki etc) and so will have to be very careful about the wording in advertising and god knows how easy it will be set up a room at home to work from as apparently I am not allowed to practice more than one therapy at a time in one building (maybe I could have a set of log cabins in the garden and move from one to the other depending on what treatment I am giving :-) ) - the other thing I have started doing despite not being qualified, is proof reading and copy-editing for a company here.. so I am thinking that maybe if I get a bit better at it or do a short course, then I could also do that. However, my French (whilst passable for getting about and making myself understood) is not good enough to work with, so I would have to stick to English speaking employers.. hopefully something I could correct in a few year's time.

Anyhoo.. if there are any fellow Bourgognees.. then do give me a shout.. or just anyone else who fancies saying hello!

Hi Tracy,

Hope you are well and that your website is finished.. We are aiming to move to Thoires at the end of June with Chatillon sur Seine as our nearest town, 9 km away. My husband is aiming to find work either there or in Troyes or Montbard.. so far website searches have shown a few jobs available but he said the best way is to just visit with his CV because many of the restaurants etc won't have websites or use job agencies to find employees. He is all too aware of the high unemployment in France at the moment but still seems quite positive that he will find work.

We are moving into a house that does need quite a lot of work but it won't take too much to be habitable and luckily Dav's family will be helping out in terms of labour and knowing artisans that are offering their trades for incredibly little (good food in some cases!). I am very excited but the feelings are tempered with moments of pure anxiety and terror... Really looking forward to improving my French and trying to do some work on it here.. house is currently filled with little post-its all over the furniture of French words to try and help the kids.. this move has been a long time coming and I just hope that the economic climate and French bureaucracy don't tarnish the experience too much in the beginning!

No doubt I shall update you soon on the reality of the experience :-)

Hi Brian I have sent you a friend request so that I can quizz you about the Dordogne.. if that's ok..

Hi thanks Tracy.. we are slightly all over the place at the moment and are wondering if we should consider the SW - there may be a lot of driving involved over the week we are out there!

Hi Chloe, Just a quick 'hi' as I am supposed to be working on my website! Feel free to message me with any specific questions and I'll try and help, have sent you a friend request. A good friend of mine is a reflexologist/masseuse near Antibes so can try and help with that too though initial thoughts are that it works better in areas with rich expats.

Would say the most important thing is for one of you to have employment before you arrive, Burgundy has very high unemployment, especially where they have houses in your budget range, be very careful. Perhaps rent for a while before committing yourself to buying as it could be an expensive mistake if you buy in the wrong area then have to move for work. Good luck and have fun without the kids.

Whoops, typing error, Andrew gave it right though, DPE. Termites in Bourgogne for sure, know from somebody there ages ago. They will reach Paris very soon and that could be (in a perverse way) fun when the government finally acts properly - probably when their well and truly termite eaten seats collapse during a debate on extracting more taxes from us...

the diagnostics which are obligatory when you put your house on the market - termites (depends where you are in France), lead, asbestos, electricity, level of insulation - DPE diagnostic de performance énergétique. Agree that renovation is often far more expensive than buying a new house ;-)

What's a DPU?

Renovation is expensive in France. Import materials up to French standards and conforming with norms as far as possible. When buying make sure you get the DPU and other diagnostics very quickly because they give you an idea of what you will need to do. Bad partings mean you get a higher EDF tariff, as an example of what to think about. People will advise you, look in the groups here on SFN, the 'construction' one may already give you lots of answers and ideas.

Well, we are looking around the Chatillon sur Seine area - and the villages we are looking at aren't far from a town with a hospital.. I think our main thing is to find a house that is habitable (at least in part) and then we can do up the rest slowly. However, have never done any form of largish scale building and renovating (although French family have) so we need to gauge what costs are. One place we would like to view in Feb needs rewiring and heating installed..

Look at schools and medical provision as well, with children you want good ones and villages can be weak providers - to say the least.

agree on proximity to family, Chloé, my OH's family are close by (well, in French terms that is 45 minutes away) and as we work 6.5 days a week (tabac) we need them for the kids during school holidays etc. plus they get to see their cousins a lot which is nice. Just a shame they only see their english cousins once every couple of years but that's another story!

Thanks Andrew. The fact that life is tough for everyone is also why we want to stick close-ish to the family and to Troyes where it is more likely that my husband can find work. If we stick within our budget we won't need a mortgage which should hopefully lessen the load somewhat.

Bonne chance ! A chat with Tracy Thurling could help you enormously ;-) Life's tough here too for everyone, French or foreign, don't go too rural, and bear in mind that property prices are lowest where there are no services, you're miles from anywhere and there's no work...