Running to or running from?

Following up on Dick Smith's discussion and our "raisons d'être".

What was your motivation for moving to France?

Were you actively moving to something better or did you see it as escaping from something?

Both sound the same, but they are actually quite different. What was your motivational force?

Mine perso was that I just seemed to end up here.

She must have been....she married me!

Mauritius is one of the most over-populated places on earth(1.3million in 720 square miles). Beurocracy is horrendous. Corruption, pollution and the "manhana" attitude to life. All having to be done in meltdown temperatures. We've had our house there for 10 years and enjoyed 3 months a year there annually, but now we're gonna flog it. Been a special experience, but, think we'll do a month per year, all inclusive, once we've sold it. No more having to tax and MOT the car, clean up 9 month's gecko-shit, change all the curtains so they don't fade whilst we're away,no more pruning the mango tree and the coconut, and the bougainvillea etc., even before we can relax. Even my inflatable boat melted at the seams and fell apart!

Plenty of stuff to like also, but the French country life tops it all.

I moved here partly because I was tired of working and commuting in London,and I was married to a frenchman.However I'd always loved all things french,holidays here,cooked french food, had a little 4L,and listened to RTL.So we decided to leave England for a tiny village in Dordogne,with our 3 yr old son.It was a beautiful place but I was very depressed,going from a working life in London to doing nothing in a village was too much for me.After 10 months I was asked if I wanted to go back to London to work and as our money had run out I went back and commuted back and forth for the school holidays.This couldnt last so we moved up to Paris.The first year here was very hard,I should add I'm a freelance advertising artist,but gradually I became known.After 2 years in Paris my ex left.I decided life was easier here alone with a child than London so I stayed.I might add I was always the breadwinner,my ex could never hold down a job.For the next 10years I always felt I would move back to England,but when I visited I never felt at home there. So 28 yrs after moving I'm still here. Voila mon histoire

pop into Le Jean Guillaume (place Gambetta) and say hello next time you're in town, Carolyn ;-)

thought you were moving back to London Nico ?

Strange question. I just had lunch with my second ex-mrs. She visits every couple of years, this time she is on her way Den Hague for a conference, having had a few other ones in the UK and Switzerland. My present OH is a friend so how to 'classify' that bit of life???? She lives in Malaysia, more or less retired but just doing bits and pieces to keep active, so normally half way round the world. From as far back as she knows me we were in difference places as often as not. It is simply the life and profession we have chosen. In my case that goes back to my infancy because my parent's jobs were outside the UK. In a way we have now 'injected' two children with a similar way of being. Unlike Andrew and Nick's kids because these started off elsewhere they have the other language and now we are trying to get the one who is certainly up to it to take on our other languages as a matter of course, accept the fact that she is not French and thus that the world is bigger. However the notion of moving to the UK at any stage seems rather alien. The bottom line is that we chose France as a fairly easy country to live in, one where we had language and did not feel out of place culturally. There again, after a year in Portugal we felt similar and would love to have found ourselves there. Whatever we did, it was never running away and we certainly do not see the raison d'être in ever doing that.

I would have thought that Ile Maurice would have been idyllic. In what way was it stressful?

Coming over here for my husband to do some work on his Boss's house..... we fell in love with the area over the next 2 years.... asked a friend to find us a bit of land with electric and water access............... and he found us that plus an old house........................... that was 11 years ago the rest is history..................... just love it here been here permanently for the past 9 years.......................................

I married a Mauritian. We bought land in Mauritius years ago with the intention of retiring there. Built a super house there, but then realised we just couldn't live there full time. Too stressful, believe it or not. We'd always had a holiday home in France, so, upsized, and retired 5 years ago to our quiet little haven of tranquility. No regrets!


it's a lifestyle eldorado if you come over here with a pension or other income. Earning a living here is a whole different ball game. Being in business here is even worse :-O But I'm still here and running business, must be mad!

Thanks Louise, that'd be good, problème is that our shop is open 6.5 days a week :-O We have friends in Castres - they have the coutellerie in the centre of town - but you're not too far away. Our kids spend a lot of time with papi and mamie and their cousins back in the Aveyron (again a 100% french environment) so it'd be great to introduce them to an anglophone situation (only twice so far back in England but that's a bit limited to say the least!!!)

I came because I married a Frenchman but think the difference for me is more between living in a city (London) and the country, being single and being married, not having children and having children. However, the French feel they have a very stressed lifestyle and are surprised that people think it is laid back here. However, I don't think it is like being in sixties UK at all (I was alive at that time!). When I go back to London I am really impressed and would like to go back at some point, but still appreciate the fact the country is not so full of people as it is in the UK.

I actually agree with you - but I stay. Think I'm just happy here.

If I was setting up a business though, I'd go elsewhere. Easy to see though how the influence of a summer (not this one) French holiday could sell the country to you for life

We were looking for a way in which 4 generations of our family could live near each other but not with each other and offer the extended family support we all wanted, this option was beyond any of our budgets in the UK. As it turns out we moved with 3 generations, we bought an old farm and have renovated some of the farm buildings into houses. My parents who have been living in a small village near us for the last few years will move in this Christmas and become our neighbours. My eldest son who was just 7 when we made the move, will move to another renovated farm building next year and enjoy his independence without the cost! By the time our 12 year old becomes of the same age we hope to be able to offer her another renovated building. This is something we couldn't have done in the UK and we have worked really hard to achieve it here. We speak English at home but all the children are bilingual from 5 years to 18 years. My husband has his own business dealing with French clients so speaks French all day and again English at home. I work in English and I work from home so it's probably me who is the least proficient! We came with no languague skills or any idea of how things worked. We will have been here 10 years this July, we work and have a sucessful business and a lovely family life but it's has been hard graft! Andrew - a few of us did get together in the last 12 months or so, we are now all good friends and all of our anglophone kids have played together and with other French kids too - you are welcome to join us!

Frankly became disillusioned with running a business in the UK where I was on call 24/7 (PR - crisis and reputation management) and with all the new laws applying to a SME that came with employing people (not the fault of our staff but the then government!). Really looked at Italy first, but practically that was a no, no due to ageing parents - at least from France we can get back to visit folk relatively quickly and by a number of transport routes. Went backwards and forwards for a few years, then on one journey home, having come out of the Chunnel, by the time we got back to the Northeast we had hatched a plan to move over full-time - that was 2 years' ago. Living here is like being in the UK in the Sixties and I would not change it for the world, warts and all. Still go back to the UK now and then for work (internet business and marketing consutancy) and usually cannot wait to get back home to France! At least now our life is more manageable and am sure the weather will recover!!

I married a Frenchman and I was working contract in Australia and my husband had a good perm job with perks in France, so it was a logical choice. I learnt the language, eventually got employed. If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t. I’m baffled as to why so many people think France is a lifestyle eldorado…so is my husband…I personally look forward to the day I can close the door on my French experience.

That's what I'm hoping will happen with mine, Nick. I studied a case of a japanese girl who moved to the US and spoke no English for months, everyone started getting very worried and then exactly the same thing happened; the switch flicked and she started talking in complete sentences. Chomsky (and his LAD - Language Acquisition Device) put it down to a perfect example of the LAD quietly working away with a new language (the girl was 5) and once it had decripted it and worked out the structure etc. it started working and producing the fluent language. Mine only ever hear a one way conversation - me moaning at them! We hope to get them to meet some anglophone kids in the area one day...!

I get it in the neck daily for not speaking English at home. Funnily enough though. Out of the blue, my younger boy Alistair has suddenly taken to speaking English fluently where before he would never speak a word. It's as though a switch has been flicked and he can now speak English.