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Moving to France
Looking for a place to move
Tired of living in Spain, three years ago we decided to sell our house, all furniture included and move. The problem was... we did not know where to move!
Before we sold the house we went to the Dominican Republic. My husband was set for moving there. It was a lovely place where we spend a while exploring the country. But having two young children (6 months and 3 years old) I didn't like it enough to bring up a family, so we came back to Europe.
Scotland, Italy or France?
We also tried Scotland. We had lived there before and the house prices were favourable but it was too cold and our daughter was depressed with the lack of daylight. So we started to look on the internet, the choice was between Italy and France. Both still Mediterranean countries with relatively good weather and good priced country houses. Our only problem was that neither of us spoke Italian or French. By this time, my husband was set for living in the countryside, an idyllic piece of land with farm animals and our own vegetable patch.
Being a city girl myself, I was not sure about country living but once we landed in France I could not pull myself away from it. We arrived in Lyon and travelled around looking for our ‘love nest' around the Alps area. The place was magnificent, we loved it immediately but unfortunately, closeness to the Alps and skiing facilities meant high house prices. We had to look down a bit, so we decided to move our search to Central France where prices were still affordable.
We arrived in the Centre department in the first days of January and rented a ‘gite rural', in a place called Saint Plantaire. It was cold and snowy but the scenery was breath-taking. We loved lighting the log fire in the living room to heat us up.
By this time our little boy was almost one year old and he loved toddling about the snow, while our girl enacted all her fairy tale stories from little red riding hood -we had a forest at our door step- to Rapunzel every time we were near a Castle.
This time we were settled on France. This was my first time in the countryside. The nearest town was 10 km. away and the nearest city was 50km away. Near our rented gite there was a big farm, but the owners were not very friendly and in six months we hardly saw them. I could say that our nearest friendly neighbours were a herd of sheep!
A haunted house?
To get to our house we had to cross the local cemetery which for me was a terrifying experience and I hated going out after dark. At night time I would close all the shutters and locked them afraid from I am not sure what.
The first few days I could hear the wind blowing, the owls howling and strange noises on our bedroom wall. I could even hear people screaming and my imagination made me believe that the house was haunted, until I discovered that the strange noises, screams and laments at night time came from our neighbours: the herd of sheep and their young lambs! Our bedroom wall was also their "bedroom" wall.
Moving to France
Buying a house
Living in the countryside was soon to reveal itself too much. The constant long drives to get anywhere, the lack of human contact and the solitude soon made us change our mind and instead of buying a hotel in the countryside as we had planned, we started to look for a house in the town.
We were lucky to find a hotel for sale in a nearby town. It was a small six bedroom hotel. The rooms were awfully decorated and the place was inhabited by a couple with numerous dogs and plenty of mice as we discovered later! But in our search for an ideal home, the hotel in the town seemed ideal for us. It was a good deal, a big house with a garden that we could easily convert into a B&B.
Now almost three years later we are settled into our new lives. Our children are trilingual and although we speak English or Spanish at home when they speak to each other they do so in French. For the children French has become their first language. Moving to France proved to be a good choice despite all the trouble that we encountered on the way. We love it!
Are you making the move?
- How to fit in a new country?
The first time that you make the big move is always the most difficult. After that, the second time is easier and by your third time moving countries you are an expert expat, even looking forwards to your next move.
- Why move to France?
the first time I visited France I must admit that I fell in love at first sight. Listening to French language just made me melt, I didn't understand the language but the sound caressing my ears was a strong aphrodisiac.
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