What was it about France that made you decide to live here?

Having often stated the negatives about France...a country I've enjoyed regular holidays in for the last 30 years or so, and have now lived in for the last 3 years, I thought it would be beneficial to think about what France has got; whatever made us decide to pack up a very comfortable life in the UK, and risk everything moving here. For us it was a mixture of so many things, the sheer beauty of the countryside; the pretty little villages; mountain ranges that can take your breath away; cities that seem so full of history and the preservation of the old buildings.

We have always enjoyed our food experiences in France, and made every effort to ensure our family, like most French families, ate our meals together and took time to enjoy them. In fact the way French families maintain a closeness so often missing in other countries. Lack of traffic jams so pleasant driving, and of course, the climate! Safer streets; cleaner streets; A sense of community;

Our holidays over the years have been spent in almost every Department of France. When we started to look at places with a view to moving permanently here, we made a list of preferred places...no less than 6 Departments in France; we were spoilt for choice.

We have a lovely home and garden here, and enjoy a much nicer climate that we were used to previously. There are elements I don't enjoy, and some things I find are done better elsewhere, but France is an amazing country. We have chosen to move back to the UK, personal preference as I wish to nurse and will never find employment here in my profession, but we are well aware that we have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to live here for several years (and if the housing market doesn't buck up, several more years!) It hasn't been a hardship to live here, on the contrary we have had many wonderful times and made some fantastic friends, including many on this website.

What was it about France that brought you here?

Having visited NZ when the British Lions were last there I must note that whilst I was there, June/July 2005, New Zealand suffered severs droughts!!

Some of them lasting several minutes! :-)

I came to France because I married a Frenchman 18 years ago, but I live in a part that has exactly the same weather as the UK and the main change for me was moving from a city (London) to the country (Loiret - yes, no-one has heard of it). After all this time, I can't really compare it with the UK, I can't compare maternity care as I had my children here, I can't compare the education system as my children are educated here and the system in England has, I think, changed alot since my education and I haven't lived in Paris, so can't compare the two cities. France is a nice place to live but, for a foreigner, it can be difficult from a career point of view, and overlooking this could lead to disappointment later.

Thanks Shirley

Being a commonweath citizen makes no difference since I'm over the age of 24 and can't take advantage of working OE holidays or anything. I've been in France 2 years now, I need to hang in another 3 years and then up to two years more while they decide if I can be French.

Sorry, NZ weather is nothing like the UK. In the North Island, especially Auckland it can be a bit wet at times but it's humid, sub-tropical. You can't say that about the UK. In the South its very hot in summer (25-35 degrees) and very cold in winter but less cold than the UK, even at the end where it's closer to Antarctica. NZ doesn't suffer from SAD because it's never grey and dark and overcast for more than a few days at a time. Here in France you can spend months like that in the Paris region and (ahem) Brittany.

Frances, you are a very brave gutsy woman, and I really admire your courage. You have the determination to get it right for yourself, I wish you all the luck in the world and I too sympathise...living apart from our children is never easy...but it does get easier over time...makes the time together so very precious.....keep smiling x

YOU GOT GUTS, Francis! I really hope your dream of staying in France come true, you certainly deserve it. I also know the heart-break of living separated from your children, in my case its 2 daughters in Canada. I don't know where in France you live, but would like to meet you one day. My heart is with you. x

Reading all the diverse comments I feel Like I'm from another planet. My situation is so different.

I left NZ because I could no longer get work. I thought my job was, for the first time in my life, reasonably secure working for a city council. Who could have imagined the politicians/moneymen would actually dismember a city? I worked for NZ's only eco-city- Waitakere City Council inthe western area of the Auckland region.Seven councils were combined into one super city. This was done despite all the public suggestions and disagreements- the separate councils were all very dissimilar and some restructuring was needed but what happened was a slaughter and people's lives and careers were distroyed. Without a job I would lose my home, become unemployable at my age.

France had always been in my heart. A strange insistent tugging for many years but to get to France is an almost impossibility for someone like me.No money as a solo Mum, not an EU citizen. The story's too long to tell here though you can read my blog and I'm writing a book about how I realised this dream and the adventures I've been having since 2008.

The weather here is worse than in NZ (Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington anyway)

It's a beautiful country- agreed but that's not easy to impress a Kiwi

I came alone and have struggled alone - no French Oh to help, no family

I am not an EU citizen- that's lightyears away from what most of you can understand from the heart.

I cannot buy a home in France because the exchange rate is too negative for me and I don't know how long I will be allowed to stay here (I must battle to stay each year). I have no money for retirement and no idea how I will ever get any- certainly not in France. In short, I have no idea how I will survive from one year to the next and without employment I'm screwed. There will come a point when I will not be eligible for NZ retirement either.

I had to convince a guy to create a job in France for me that didn't already exist - that was a miracle, and it had to be an organisation that could go in to bat for me against the French government. I'm in an abusive work environment hazardous to anyone's mental health but it's what keeps my dream alive so i endure.

The French countryside is lovely- I'm living in a small town that is within driving distance to my work. I've moved from a dark, damp one room for two years to a new apartment so that's a big improvement but I had to take out a NZ bank loan to buy furniture and essentials like an electric jug and tin opener.

it's damned hardto get here and damned hard to stay. NZ is going to hell in a handcart at present so there are no compelling reasons to go back to unemployment- my age is against me and my daughter is struggling over there to find work. Times are tough all over.

My ancesters were Europeans. I have mostly French ancestry but also English and Irish. Unfortunately that's my great- grandparents. No use at all to give me rights in Europe. I can't explain the pull, I just had to do whatever it took to get here and I just have to take whatever happens to me as a consequence. DNA/ Maybe but when I set foot here I realised I'd been living all my life in a foreign country and now i was home. Trouble is, it's not home- I have no rights to be here. I'm in no-man's land. Maybe I'm a crazy woman to listen to my heart and take such a risk with my survival into the future but I'm having the most rich experience of my life. Rich doesn't mean simple or easy but every day is fesh and new and I don't have any NZ baggage with me. My great sadness is to not see my 21 year old daughter because neither of us have money to be with the other and skyping is too emotional for her.

I look around myself in wonder here and think...wow, this is amazing, I'm actually here and it means I live every day in the 'now'. France will always be part of my soul.

Like your blog! Love your recipes!

Thank you so much....we still have our holiday home and our permanent home here so will be returning regularly as leaving other half here! Am hoping to work sporadically...so I can work the winter months...flat out and return for spring and summer...best of all worlds for me....and I will pass on your suggestions re: lunchtime meals....OH and I rarely eat out at lunchtime...as he enjoys wine with a meal and it knocks him out at lunchtime! but brother a bit younger...so am sure he will appreciate the info.

A lot of the problems which you all express are to do with employment in France. I am in the happy position of being retired, and have to say that, although I am proud of being British, there are many things which are simply BETTER in France [at least, S W France] than in England [can't comment on Pays de Galles, Ecosse or Irlande du Nord - no experience]. Care of the elderly - community activities - healthcare - road maintenance -THE WEATHER!!! - food. I love living in a house on a hill with views partout...

We have just driven back from our holiday home in the Languedoc Shirley...and every time we leave we curse that we didnt go with our initial reaction and move to the Languedoc...still our fav. place in France...though, as with everywhere..cost of living getting very expensive. My brother arrived at our flat today for a weeks holiday, his first trip to France for a dozen years...he tends to holiday in Turkey/Greece etc...and he was shocked at the costs of his first supermarket shop and first meal......but....everywhere is expensive now...so still winning if living in the place we really want to!

I shall repost this under working in France Ann, thanks....

It would be not too hard to find work as a nurse in France. You RGN can be translated by the DDASS. There are lots of nursing home in rural area that have trouble getting trained nurses. I work in one for three years but am working in Uk now. I hope to find work nursing in France fom Easter next year.

Good luck

Brilliant Alexander...there must be lots of people who have done similar....I know at 18 I used to come over to France monthly on my own...spend a couple of days in Paris and was within a whisper of just jumping ship and moving to France and seeing what happened. In the end I stayed and did my nurse training. I have to say...I am back in the UK from the 16th..so thought I would get my CV out there...so placed it online with the Guardian, a couple of nursing agencies etc....I had 3 phone calls yesterday offering jobs and 6 today so far...the first at 8.30 this morning..meaning it was 7.30 in the UK!!! Ive been amazed that I have 7 interviews lined up the week I return....so much for not a lot of work about in the UK!

Hi Kerry. I am an ACA, and perhaps you could set up doing English tax returns etc, as my builder tells me there is a shortage of this skill. This is work you could do from anywhere, I think, but people appreciate the human touch. What do you think?

Alexander, I think you have a contribution to make to the 'Working in France' group too with your experience. Tell us about your concours and job there if you have a moment or two, please.

Unless you are in a large city... most of us escaped them to come here and the consequence is standing in line behind French candidates. I am almost retirement age, so less chance, but my OH gets short listed if not as far as interviews thus far, at university level because she has the language and the international experience. I actually do have four teaching sessions for a uni after Christmas, so there are cracks...

Mark I dont think I expected to find my speciality here...(my main speciality being sight loss is unusual)....hospital never used to get involved in their 'failures' and thats how sight loss was seen...I was one of the first working with consultants and high street optoms... The other area I worked in for several years was gender re-assignment....not a lot of that required locally either...the other areas were coronary care...but again as a community coronary rehab nurse...unknown here...Marie Curie was my first speciality...similar here but not the same where you are allocated one patient from beginning to end. I hadnt expected to want to return to nursing and was going to look at catering...I used to cater dinner parties in the UK...but its complicated here...and we couldnt work out if we would make a profit so I just went back to UK nursing. Still love it here...but maybe when or should I say if I ever retire....

It's a shame that you didn't manage to find work nursing over here, Carol. It's virtually impossible to break into either the teaching profession or the health service if you haven't got French qualifications. What brought us over here were more of the same. All the things you mention and specifically the birth of our daughter: we thought it would be nice to bring her up bilingually in beautiful countryside. There was no way that we were ever going to be able to afford a house in the British countryside, and since we were both self-employed... Voila. Good luck back home. Hope you find yourself a rewarding job.

Carol, post it as a discussion in that group to keep it in place and on track.