New in France

Gil, you need to take your time... Just be here without rattling after every estate agent who want to pull you on a hook! Take it easy!!! You can save one years rent when looking slowly. And bargain as you can, the market for sales is down. So all is on your side, just don't be fooled and rush into anything. Ce la vie

Thanks Alan - I've been to Polygone many times, but while on holiday, so not looking for food shops. I did manage to buy semi-skimmed milk today and Porridge (Hoorah!). So, I'm beginning to find things easier. I believe there is also a Carrefour within walking distance of St Roch station, so shall have a look there when I can get into Montpellier later this week. I also suspect there will be more, small independent delis in a big city, whereas Sete is a lovely place, but quite basic or food shopping, I think. Just viewed my first property today, so feel I'm getting on with things. Hope soon to be settled.

hi Norman

The really low sugar beer is Gueuze but it is probably an acquired taste. Would you be able to give me the name of your beer (by PM if necessary) please?

Hello Gillian,

Are you settling in alright? With regards to your query on where to buy bio items in Montpellier. I haven't read the full list of replies so someone may have provided them for you. There are bio supermarkets and shops dotted around but a couple that would be straightforward for you to find in the centre and in easy walking distance are below.

La Vie Saine - Rue Caizergues de Pradines. This one is a 10 minute walk from the station, or take tram line 3 or 4 from the station to Observatoire (one stop).

There's another one beside the Polygone shopping centre called Rayon Vert. Again, not far from the station so no problem to walk. For the tram, take line 1 either to Du Guesclin (one stop) and you'll see it straight ahead in the direction the tram continues. Alternately take line 1 to Place de Comedie (one stop). Pass the tourist office on your left and follow the crowds. Just at the entrance to the shopping centre there's a passage on the right beside a sports shop and a mobile phone shop. The Bio market is at the end of the passage and is on your right hand side.

Good luck with your new life.

We have SFR with the unlimited phone calls, and also find it great. I have tried to get the TV running on my PC but not able to. It doesn't seem to be able to find anything. Did you have to take an additional option with your 'abonnement'??

We've just back home from shopping in a Carrefour Market store -- in a relatively small town too. I noticed in the refrigerated sector, they have a good variety of fresh milk - full cream, semi-skimmed and completely skimmed. They also had 'lait cru', which is unpasteurised, and fermented milk. This is used by some as a replacement for buttermilk, which I have NEVER found here to make rusks, scones and suchlike. My Austrian husband also enjoys having polenta with this for breakfast. This concoction apparently has a name - stertz?? - and he assures me it's good for you.

Like :)

Thanks everybody: it's quite likely I was wrong about the colours because I only ever get the semi from my local Leader Price. I suppose I should have not mentioned the colours; just said that different colours mean different amounts of cream left in the milk...

One of our local Casino stores has a chilled raw milk dispenser out in the car park. It is coin operated, also dispenses bottles, and regularly topped up by the local dairy.

M&S had shops, but only in Paris, I believe - in the 80's/90's/ and they were very popular.Believe it or not, the French loved M&S sandwiches for lunch - my Sister in law bought all her silky, slinky, sexy "French" lingerie at M&S in Paris.....! Made in UK!

They closed down in the 90's, but I heard something about them reopening - whether they make it really to the South, apart from Marseilles, Nice, St. Tropez etc., remains to be seen! Might be closer to go to Barcelona - at least they take Euros.....! Long way for a sandwich though!

It's known as "The Venise de France" because of all the canals and the boat traffic.

Yes - people say to me that it is strange to hear the Languedoc accent spoken with a touch of Scots thrown in.

I'm happy to be German as a pensioner - it's more money in the Bank - no transfer or up's and down's of the GBP (they are Euro zone) which can make a difference of anything up to 15% in any particular month!

The infamous CAF (Caisse d'Allocations Familiale) is the first thing you'll have to deal with. In France the Social Security exists but has other responsibilities. The CAF is where you'll have to go to apply for your Rent help (there are various types you will be entitled to) - to apply for your "Green Card" which you must present to your Doctor or any other health institute (Blood analysis etc) get your medicaments free of charge, and a thousand other things - particularly Health Mutuelle Insurance (back up health insurances) even cures, rehabilitation courses after surgery.

There are numerous things they don't tell you about - the Soc Sec can, for example, help with high Electricity bills you can't pay, and you MUST be insured in France for your accommodation. It's called "Assurance Habitation" - and it's the law to be assured. You have to shop around - Banks and Insurance Companies are there in their thousands! I would recommend also taking an Assurance called "Assurance Juridique" - it's not expensive (I pay 60euros a year with my bank) and it covers you for just about everything legal in France in your own home, but also if you damage things in somebody else's home. It also will cover any struggles/fights with the Administration! (ie - the CAF!)

You'll find your way around eventually, but it will take quite some time - Any problems, I may be able to help you with. I had a Site to do just that up until 2006, particularly for Tourists, British and German (re the languages) but I stopped it because too many people took financial advantage of me (driving them around, postage and much more). I'll help on an individual basis now, and the first thing I would absolutely recommend is Internet/Telephone.....I have SFR because it includes a couple of hundred TV channels, plus my various Satellite things for German and British programs, and for 2 Euros more per month I can call unlimited all French mobile telephones.! The basic price includes unlimited World wide telephony, with no time limits. Great for my wife/concubine who is originally American and whose family all live in New York!

I'd be bankrupt without SFR!

All the best and good luck - don't hesitate to call or mail.

Hi Gillian,

It varies from region to region, but I can always get fresh semi skimmed and full fat milk in L'Eclerc and Carrefour, including Carrefour Market. For the ProActivia range, it can sometimes be found in our local LIDL so if you have one where you are, maybe check them out. Again, things seem to vary from region to region. I live in the 65 but when I spent 10 months in 44, what I could find was different in each region.

Also LIDL varies on what is available regularly.

Best of luck with the move and the best advice I can give you, is if you get stuck with a discussion on here...I have never not found the answer to my questions and everyone is always really helpful :)

Hi Ian - I think France is big enough to cope with the influx of Scots. For some reason my accent seems to sound Swiss or German and people cheer up when I say I'm from Scotland. What is the infamous "CAF" by the way? Sounds like something I should be prepared for? Thanks for offer of help.

Hi Suzanne - fear is a wonderful incentive! We had a real Prophet of Doom as a Doctor who frightened the proverbial out of me when I was diagnosed with Diabetes 2. I'm sure he was hitting me with Diabetes 1, but it was enough. Never thought of myself as fat, but do we ever? At 6'1" and 16st. 4lb (in old money) I thought I was moderately large, and as this was my old Rugby playing weight (50-odd years ago!) it never bothered me too much. Conveniently forgetting the old avoirdupois had shifted South over the intervening years!

I have only ever done two good health things in my life, which were 1) giving up cigarettes when I was 39 ( a 40-50 a day man). Instantly and never went back and never had any of the withdrawals people talk about. 2) Was losing the initial 25kg, which was about 5kg too much for me to feel comfortable in myself and I looked like a strung turkey around the neck. Suddenly I saw this old man in the mirror, and didn't like it at all!

That was three years ago, and I have easily changed my lifestyle. Mainly vegetarian but not a fanatic about it, a lot more exercise and a change of address to the Correze 7 month ago has made that a whole lot more interesting, and that seriously is about all I did apart from avoiding just about anything that comes in a box or pack. Beer went until I found a really cheap brand (French with German sounding name) which did not add sugar, so that is always in the frig. Told the doc to do the proverbial when he said to avoid cheese, and wine (one small glass a day!), and have now created with lady wife a contented and good diet which suits me very well.

Yes probably imbibe a bit too much wine, and still enjoy the cheese, but it doesn't affect my bi-annual blood tests and now the new doctor has told me to stop taking the anti-cholesterol pills as well. Hey this IS France!

I will be 73 in about 6 weeks and now I am told I have all the readouts of a healthy 40-year old. If I fall off my twig in the next few months, I will be the most surprised corpse of all time!

look out for that truck!!!!!! yipes!!!!

Oh Susan, I love Sorde L’Abbaye!
I have visited the church, abbey and mosaics several times. It’s very beautiful and so interesting.
If its ok by you I’ll send you a friend request and then we can make contact.

Hi Gillian and everybody else!

After reading the mails, I got quite frightened about how many Scottish were coming to the South of France, but since I'm Scottish myself (Paisley) I shouldn't be too scared!

After many years in the B Army, stationed in W Germany, I and my wife, now deceased, took local release in Germany and stayed for 30 years all over Germany! I'm now a German Pensioner and I'm doing the same thing in France! Since I had been stationed in the S of France in the 60's, I came here after the death of my wife in 1990, and had the various problems EVERYBODY (French included) has with the infamous "CAF".They were finally sorted out but you can expect a letter once a year just to make sure you know they are still there!

I lived in Meze - Pezenas - Beziers and went to Sete often, but that was over 20 years ago! I now live in Vauvert in the Gard and if you have managed to get Internet installed, you can see about me or contact to ask for help or any questions by typing in Ian Mitchell or "iwmpop" with Google search

If I can help you, let me know.

Google search-"iwmpop" - "mrlemarquis"
Facebook: Ian Mitchell -Twitter: Mr le Marquis
( Tel: (+ 0033 4 3008 5056
(en France: 0430085056)

Elaine - we are in Sorde l'Abbaye. I haven't been to Salies in a little while, but once summer comes I will venture out of hibernation. We have just returned from a lovely time in Florida, where our kids are working. In winter this is the ideal place to go as it is warm and sunny but for unbearable in the height of summer.

Can give you my phone nos if you like.

No shops at all in my village at all, I’m afraid, but I’m only a 5 minute drive from a small town where you can buy most things. We have a very good independent Bio shop but I tend to browse Carrouf, Intermarche and Aldi. Need to watch the pennies now I’m on a pension so tend to shop where I can find the best deals. My alternative shopping is the local market on Friday which I rely on for fresh fish.

Hi Susan
Where are you actually based?
I know Salies reasonably well as we’ve actually owned the house for 7 years. We spent some time renovating and of course as we were doing it from a distance it took ages. Since then we have used Garris for most of our holidays, even in winter.
I have an English friend who runs an art club on Tuesday afternoons so will be in Salies regularly. Maybe we could meet up for coffee?

Are you sure about the colours? Here in Cantal, Entier is red and Ècrémé is green