Hi Frances, am really British but more Australian having lived in that country for 45 years.
Sorry to hear you had such bad luck but doing what you are doing will surely make you the stronger for it.
Work here is really hard I know from what others have written and the cost of living has risen dramatically in the last couple of years. Are you qualified in any profession? Not that that seems to be a help either but you never know. At least rents are more reasonable here than Aus or the Uk, NZ I know nothing about.
My spoken french is terribly limited but I can shop and make hospital appointments for my husband who benefits greatly from the french medical services. I find it hard to string sentences together in the different tenses and get in a right old pickle. My husband has spent all his spare time renovating the house to make it comfortable so he's had no time to learn and without going into details I have had a problem with my sight. However, we bumble through but must admit now the will to persist is slowing. We would love to live in a village where the people are welcoming and are considering trying (being the operative word in today's climate) to sell and then perhaps rent if that's possible. Anyway the sun is now shining and we feel more enthusiastic about life and hope the same is for you. Have you made a few friends? Don't hear about many kiwis settling but there are plenty of Aussies. Do you need a visa? As you say so much to see and look forward to. Best of luck.