Would you advise someone to move to France?

I've been contacted by a friend who wants some advice about moving to France. Rather than just respond myself, I thought he might getter better advice and input from SFN as a whole. So what do you think? And remember, as this is a subject that is bound to arouse as many negative as positive opinions, PLEASE keep it polite!

This is what the message said:

"I'm having one of those mid-life moments, and I'm seriously considering just packing and moving to France to start anew. May need some advice. How bad is work there? Business generally? and if worse came to worse, benefits? I'd literally do anything and live anywhere to start off so I'm not fussy. I just have had my fill of all this."

Have only read the last 5 pages, so missed a few points but will add..... you must either already,or be willing to speak,or learn french to live here. That, and try it as a holiday first.... either with you, Catharine, if they're friends,or perhaps get someone to put them up for a week (we have room for a couple,plus a small handful of kids) to see if it rings true as "home"

Emily, Engineering 7 long hard years, would i advise anyone to go into engineering not b****y likely knock a few kids out sign on and yippee £26k+ for sitting on your backside in the pub, cynical no not really just disillusioned, guy who lived next door when i was a kid went to uni then spent his life driving heavy goods and loved it his son did exactly the same but ended up running a very succesful haulage company, education is never wasted just not recognised sometimes


Brian Milne

Permalink Reply by Brian Milne 1 minute ago

Oi, Andrew and Emily... I soon get to be a song, Beatles 'When I'm ... and losing my mind'. Next year I qualify for what remains of my UK pension. So careful who you are thinking about, especially Emily if it is yourself because at your time I shall be long gone or very gaga. But in France!

just pulling your leg and quite understand the situation. if I remember correctly it gets much cheaper as soon as you leave the coast (as with everywhere!) and people end up living around guingamp, loudeac, lamballe and further afield and working in St Brieuc, go further into "la terre" and its even cheaper but I'm not sure I'd like that... where are you looking?

"- as an old person I reckon" blimey how old are you Emily :-O

oh how I wish I was ;-)

it's not everybody's cup of tea Jane - which makes it cheaper for others who do ;-)

and don't let my waffle start you off on one Emily - I know you have more than a few views on France to share here ;-)

Yes John, I haven't seen any place in the sun or other programmes for years now but before coming out they used to wind me up no end as I'd already been here at uni and worked and i'd looked into things a lot and spoken to many people/got to understand how the system works etc and the programmes where painting a completely different picture! I'm no longer up to speed with UK prices or exchange rates or housing market etc but I would hazard a guess that France is as expensive as the UK for day to day stuff, perhaps more expensive reading Glen's blog. Yes houses are cheaper IF you don't mind being isolated or not too picky about the area - wat to move to the coast, especially the south coast etc and you'll find it as expensive if not more so than the UK. And it isn't always sumemr here - most of us in the south are well below freezing at the moment and that isn't unusual. I remember my digs in Aix-en-provence looked over a nice villa with a swimming pool, speaking to friends back in the uk in january they presumed the neighbours were swimming in the said pool - no, I said, it's frozen over! they never did believe me but that's exactly because there are too many misleading programmes on uk tv - just so they can do a "5 years on" programme seeing the people in a part renovated house with no heating, burst pipes, no job or income moaning that no one told them it would be like this and all the systems/admin are different, they still haven't learnt the language although they thought it would just happen... sorry John, you're so right and you've got me on a roll here but I'd better stop or they'll strip me of my "member" of the month award :-O

We have just had a delivery early this morning and the driver was totally bemused as to why we would want to come and live in the countryside in France!!

As I was told many years ago at college you are not qualified to give advice what you can do is point out what may happen if you take a particular decision I blame the wish you were here and place in the sun programs so many people said to me they were thinking of moving to France, saw a place in the sun last night it looks great, aren’t the houses cheap plenty of land then I usually ask what are you going to live on there’s no work what are you going to do with 23 acres have you thought its in the middle of nowhere what happens in winter you are snowed in and want bread and milk, its not all sitting around a pool drinking wine and a BBQ that’s for two weeks holiday in the summer, do not move on a whim, you have had a bad day at work ok get over it you will have a bad day in France, I decided I was going to live in France in 1979 I got here in 2010 after 30 years of touring France, researching it still didn’t prepare me for the problems there haven’t really been many but the cost of everything has surprised me in recent years its shot up in the last 3 to 4 gone are the days when you could get a decent meal for 10 francs =£1 the people you see going back are the ones who didn’t think it through or did actually come here on an extended holiday with every intention of returning at a certain age those i do feel for are the ones caught by the health system change and are seriously ill those caught by the fluctuating exchange or uk housing crash as i was came over with less than planned but made sure if was still feasable

e si buona giornata..

this is no good at all, I'm over my various attacks of SAD which I usually go through in the autumn and now I'm flying high because it's so bright and dry outside but all this talk about italy is giving me really itchy feet! Add to that the fact that our place is on the market too in anticipation of OH's school being closed at the end of the year (99% certain and she's had such a belly full that she's desparate to get out!) and I'm ready to pack my bags and travel! sorry what was that? oh the kids, oh yes back down to earth with a bang! As for the music thing, it's very parochial in France with some pretty dire quality at times, I'm no expert but can see that compared to other countries, there are so few real tallents. kids were listening to this before going to nounou this morning http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mq5bbxIQ630 keeps me in touch with italy, all be it in a very limited way, and opens their minds a bit too! Interesting that your friend wouldn't come to France, perhaps it's a case, as we've already said, that it ticks lots of boxes and comes out on top but in reality it fails to get a top score anywhere whereas Italy scores lower but gets some "firsts" which are tempered by the "thirds" or "unclassifieds" at times!

Devo lavorare un po' adesso altrimenti...! Buona giornata e a presto

Can I come to help build it? No sir, buying anything in that region is ooof. My OH and I were talking yesterday (camping is not far from her secondary school in Giubiasco) and apart from the family mafia (worse than the criminal version) on both sides of the border the notion of affording to live there is off the map.

Funnily enough, I was putting the whole thing to an old friend in Cambridge last night. We were college contemporaries in the Cambrdige sense, he doing music though. He is now a musicologist but still there in Cantab. He is also French with an American wife. He never came back here to live and I doubt he will ever move away from the Grantchester academic ghetto now. His thoughts are similar though if he ever did. His wife is in the music business too, an expert on opera. So music is always part of it. He was saying that French music is terrible, very few people ever sing well, popular music tolerates whatever which is why young fans listen to so much Anglophone music. Italy, on the other hand, he said has someone exceptional in just about every family. He is a great rock fan and we actually went to see Zucchero together near Firenze once. Gianna Nannini did some duets with him and an unannounced solo set. He reminded me of that and said when has France produced rock singers of that calibre who could beinternationallu successful. So, as long as they could be within a shout of Milano for La Scala and the rock venues he would choose Italy too. Apparently he was invited to a reception at No 10 by Jum Callaghan in honour of Giscard d'Estaing and both he and his OH said that French music would be the main reason for them never living in France and Giscard said something about 'what about Boulez'. My friend asked if he meant the chap whose music is played in shopping centres as background sound? On reflection, thought about the music and get cutting those trees I'll be there in a minute! ;)

I looked for property around Menaggio for a while, not long really as I soon realised I needed to go to the not so nice areas around Lecco to be able to afford something and even then it wasn't really much either...! Yes CH seems far too expensive for everything but didn't ever look in the ticino - just doing some shopping, buying a pizza and filling the car up in Lugano I realised it was a tad too expensive! understand the escaping family thing too ;-) off to cut some trees down to start making that yacht...

I'll go with you on that last sentence. I dearly love Viet Nam and would live there happily, but not with a young family to raise, which is not about politics but the most generous and accepting people I have ever met so far. But British Council school then private away from home... Then there are parts of the Caribbean I adore, although Richard Branson probably owns them... Never got over the year of Portugal entirely and actually Menaggio Guitar Festival could interest me. CH, too expensive and we are under the eye of too many people (F-in-law was head of Swisscom personnel, uncle is Bishop Don Ernesto Togni, etc, etc... and we are both very left wing and watched every moment, mon dieu would they get at our kids...) so France it is for lack of money to even make a raft of twigs right now!

It's like many places in northern southern europe (if you see what I mean) it still gets some pretty harsh winter weather but is just sooo beautiful in spring and autumn before it gets swamped by tourists in the summer. got to be pretty damn rich to stay in bellagio now; mennagio still has some cheap hotels, having said that I was camping last time I was in that part of the world, stayed not too far from Giubiasco just along from Locarno but found it way too expensive :-O. Spent some time in torri del benaco on lake garda too, same feel but not the same beauty. did sardegna staying at a mates in Olbia, nice too. then there's always corsica - best of both worlds, (italian and french). I love the veneto and trentino for the architecture, ditto emilia romagna but the climate's terrible c'è afa tutta l'estate e fa troppo ma veramente troppo freddo in inverno! Think I'm just going to have to buy a huge yacht and sail around from place to place as the mood and weather take me...!

Yo, my wife's maternal side are related to Abbondio Genazzini, the hotellier and restaurateur whose place is now the Hotel Genazzini, well old site of. My ma-in-laws lot had a castle in Giubiasco that was actually a trattoria until it closed down 20 odd years ago (now up for sale after old generation nearly all gone) where a Genazzini married into the Togni family and blah-blah-blah... The whole Como region thing is wonderful but the weather at present could just put me off...

I've stayed with a friend in Rome a couple of times and loved it. The Italians are mad and fun and I like that. Just remembered the French mother of my Italian friend moved back to France, saying she couldn't stand Italy any longer. She also went to great lengths to explain that the mafia really are bad guys and they have their fingers in everything.