Voting and integration

Anna Watson, if I’d thought you might leave the forum on account of my post, I wouldn’t have made it. Your contributions are worth much more than mine: concise, to-the-point, relevant and extremely well-informed. And easily capable of making others smile, Anna.

Although I can’t take blame for your decision, and I know you don’t attribute it either, I very much regret your out-of-it decision, a feeling I think will be widely shared.

Voicing disagreement and dissent doesn’t necessarily stem from ‘being upset’. Ideas are not remote from feeings, facts aren’t separable from values. But you have to do, it seems, as your temperament requires you to do, to feel safe. Enough navel-gazing, go well and stay well.

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Thank you everyone for all your replies.

We are not clones (thank goodness) so all have different ideas,opinions, experiences and comments to make whether others agree with them or not.

That’s what I like about this forum that we can all express ourselves in the way that we feel comfortable with.

Life is too short to be upset about trivial things, be upset that there are people starving in the world, that sex slavery still exists, that so many children in other less privileged countries don’t have acess to an education, that wars are still taking place …

Live life to the full and enjoy this beautiful country that we live in, be happy and well, above all keep on contributing to this forum :slight_smile:

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Just out of interest with the exception of the registering to vote , these are all questions posed during the interview for obtaining French Nationality.

French nationality? Or should that be citizenship.
My daughter is working with a French woman over in the UK, the French woman inquired about British citizenship, but worried if it would affect her French citizenship, contacted the French authorities, who told her it was one or the other and she couldn’t be both.

As one who is not yet living in France, but about to embark upon another (4th) long-term house-sit opportunity in France, I enjoy more than anything, the greetings we get wherever we are, in France. The past two years we had long-term house sits in Bretagne, and loved being part of the scenery…and yes, we are those funny kiwis who took a while to understand what the Supermarket Cashier was telling us…re; bring your own bags!..which of course made everyone in line laugh. We pack our sense of humour, are self-deprecating, meet people with an outstretched hand, whether this is always accepted or not, and return greetings or initiate them. Because we are in the location for 3 months at a time, we make sure to use ‘local’ help with anything required, return to the same Tabac for our favored Grand crème each day, and build relationships wherever possible. With limited language, and certainly no ear for it, my husband manages to endear himself to anyone and everyone, which invites a certain protectiveness from those locals we deal with, interestingly. I am an extraverted introvert, who will happily introduce myself to anyone and everyone, and I seem to get a wonderful warm response in return. I doubt this will be any different when we eventually settle in France for the long-term. As we will never be 'native speaker’s, we will never totally integrate, which is how I interpret this. However, I see this more in terms of contributing to the community you choose to be a part of, and as you give, hopefully you will get!

Oups! that’s wrong - you can have both French and British nationality (but you can only be resident in one or the other!) that is made quite clear when applying for French nationality (you don’t have to renounce your British nationality) :wink:

Misty 36410
I Find it amusing that you hear people who want to integrate with the “locals” and move to rural areas when they have no knowledge of farming, rural life or artisans
.These same people would not dream of integrating with the farming folk if they moved to the country in the UK.
Nere in our part of the Clunysois we have a very mixed community, farming, artisans and a large percentage of retirees.

We visited the Mairie before we bought our house, to test the water about our plans, the vendor having had permission refused to turn the house into flats. We already knew the Maire and staff after over 20 years connection with the village. The Maire came to us to advise his daughter about spending a year in England to improve her English. We are friends. We also know the sous-prefect quite well.

We participate in a village society - I was Treasurer for four years - and help organise the meal for the village Fete, buy the wine for the AGM, look after the projector and technology at events and generally help out whenever we can. We know all the local kids, who make a point of trying out their English on us. We sparked off and helped with a research project into the WWI poilus from our village, and visited the graves of all the men on the War Memorial, culminating in an expo in the village hall on 11-11-2014.

We are registered to vote in local elections, which also involved voting in a local referendum about a planned quarry at the edge of the village, against which we campaigned with our neighbours. Phil has been on a political march with the Maire and Councillors in the main town supporting a new commercial venture.

Over the last ten years we have used local masons, a contractor who does excavation, carpenters, plumber, electrician and forester. Our firewood comes from the village forest. During our current absence in the UK a father and son carpentry team have replaced the beams of our balcony and sent us photos of the work.

We have two bars in the village and eat and drink at both, likewise the pizza establishment at the village camping. We buy meat from the butcher less often than we should, cheese from the next village where it is made, and shop for top-up stocks at Vival in the village, next to my hairdresser. We visit the baker rarely as we are on low-carb diets, so when we do go there he asks who we are entertaining!

We co-hosted a summer luncheon in the back garden for our quarter of the village in August and regularly eat with our neighbours. We have adopted the French habit of saying “bonjour” to anyone who passes, and know full well that a visit to the bakers may involve half an hour chatting and catching up with local news and gossip. We feel comfortable in our adopted village, everyone knows us and we are always, without exception, welcomed.

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Yes you are correct, didn’t bother to check, and absolutely no idea why the woman told my daughter she couldn’t hold dual citizenship as apparently its been allowed in France for years.

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Hello Jane
Having been born, and lived in rural communities in the UK I have some experience of farming, agriculture, not livestock so feel ‘right at home’ here in the depths of rural France :slight_smile:
I always wonder though whether folk who seek ‘isolated properties with no neighbours’ know what they are taking on !

Ask the Dutch the more remote the better for them, proberly because they are moving from a very crowded country.

I’ve been here 10 years and have been warmly welcomed by the lovely people in the Lot.
I hope you’re just looking for a kind of survey, otherwise my reply is a bit, er, odd …

  1. 'm on the local council (elected at the last elections,
  2. Treasurer of the comité des fêtes
  3. Treasurer of Cahors dog rescue
  4. Organising committee of the Trail running event
  5. I make websites for several clubs and small businesses.

I’d say there’s always something to get involved with, regardless of good or bad your French is. And you’ll make friends quickly if you do (even if they have 4 legs and a wagging tail).
I couldn’t have imagined that France would be so accessible.

This is how I see it, I have never been and sort out the mayor to say hello.The reason very simple ,to me,when you live in a commune of more then 5000 people what is the point.,no need to say its polite because I see any visit to an elected official as a certain image of bringing beads to the chief. As for the going to the events. in the communes yes if it interests me,Joining a committee or other I really don’t have time,working full time takes up enough of my time as it is

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Ann Coe, if you are not concerned about unjustice in this world, then no one will be concerned when it knocks upon your door.
I cannot live in a bubble and look at the world through rose tinted glasses, because that is not living.

Florian Green, your point about taking beads to the chief made me chuckle, and I can see what you mean. It could seem like trying to suck up and curry favour: I expect the Maire gets a fair amount of that. On the other hand, we had lots of advice from other British people, and of course from reading around we did before we came, not out-dated stuff from the library, but what we thought seemed reasonably relevant to north-western France in 2015. It all said that a visit to the Mairie was a common courtesy, and as ours is a small commune of <2,500 folk, we acted on the suggestion on good faith’

We are still in what we hope is an aware learning curve, and finding our way forward, which is thrilling as we are both nearer 80 than 70. Also my wife and I do tend to see stuff from slightly different angles, which helps as we can help each other see round corners more easily!

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  1. In fact our Mairie/Hotel de Ville is large (Dieppe agglomeration has 35,000 residents) but I have visited to meet the Mayor’s adjoint concerning the ferry service between Dieppe and Newhaven. I met the former Mayor (now a député in the Assemblée Nationale) socially a couple of times,
  2. I regularly attend local events, a big highlight soon will be the Foire aux harengs et à la coquille Saint-Jacques in November.
  3. On the list for volunteering with the Croix Rouge but no vacancies at the moment,
  4. Not registered for local elections but hope to do so next year.
  5. Regularly use excellent local plombier/chauffage and other trades.
  6. All my neighbours are French and I have a great relationship with them. In fact I only regularly meet two Brit friends in the whole of Normandy. I know many of the traders in our excellent street market.

Hello Jane
Where have I said that I am not concerned about injustice in this world ? I don’t live in a bubble and look at the world through rose coloured glasses. Maybe you should try reading my posts before you reply !

I know that you said that you did not want to think about famines, unpleasant world events etc. and just be happy here in France.
So what coloured glasses are you wearing?

I think you have misunderstood what was posted Jane.

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I agree Chris-although the punctuation didb’t help. What she said was don’t worry about the small things-if you need to worry then worry about the he big things, famine ect. To be fair I had to read it a couple of times before I got the the sense of it.