Moving across the channel: a British couple in France

living in France

For Bob and Sue, retirement lead to expatriation. It’s been three years since they left the UK to settle in France. Before deciding to buy a house in the Pays de la Loire region, they had already spent time in the Bourgogne and Alsace regions. Bob and Sue’s expat experience in France is successful: they now feel they have blended into the local community!

Why did you choose to settle in France?

We chose France because of house prices, lifestyle, space, life-long interest and appreciation of the country and everything associated with it.

Do you consider adjusting to life in France was a rather easy process?

Yes, because we were not stepping into the unknown. We found the bureaucracy relatively straightforward and officials were generally friendly and helpful. After understandable initial caution people in the local community have been friendly and welcoming so that we now feel totally integrated.

How often do you go back to the UK?

We make brief visits once or twice a year.

What piece of advice would you give to a UK citizen who aims to live in France?

First and foremost, learn the language – or at least make a start and then continue once you have moved, ideally by following a proper course with a professional teacher or school. Do all your research before you start house-hunting. Weigh up all the pros and cons of a move to France, including things like health care, future employment if you are not retiring, check out the longer term budgetary considerations, pension provision and other income, local taxes. Think of how you are going to spend your free time and what your chosen region has to offer. Join in local activities. Do your exploration in winter or at least in spring or autumn to avoid being seduced by summer weather and tourist attractions.

Date of publication Oct 9 2013

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