Living in France

Real life experiences and articles about living in France

Thinking of moving to France? Or perhaps you're already there. Either way these articles can give you the benefit of experience - from those who have gone before you.  Written by contributors who are currently or recently based in France.

Some relate to practical issues and others focus on pleasant distractions. Many are real life experiences. Whether it's a question of the French education system, what French hospitals are like or how many times to kiss a French person on the cheek - these articles provide both a reminder that relocating to France is a realistic option and also some light-hearted relief.

Featured Article: TALES OF RENOVATING A CHATEAU IN FRANCE - REAL LIFE STORY - PART 9

In the ninth part of her blog, Catherine Broughton describes turning black with soot while cleaning a ceiling, then white with shock as she realises that one guest room allows people to hear everything that is said in the kitchen below!

Featured Article: TALES OF RENOVATING A CHATEAU IN FRANCE - REAL LIFE STORY - PART 8

Five years into the renovation of Domaine de Rochebonne, a huge storm ravages the chateau and grounds. But the Broughton family don't waste any time feeling sad - they get straight on with building it back up again, in part eight of Catherine's blog.

Featured Article: TALES OF RENOVATING A CHATEAU IN FRANCE - REAL LIFE STORY - PART 7

The Broughton family tries to work out the mystery of the chateau's voluminous top floor in the seventh part of Catherine's blog. And they divide the space to create cosy bedrooms which the children enjoy decorating free-style!

Featured Article: TALES OF RENOVATING A CHATEAU IN FRANCE - REAL LIFE STORY - PART 6

In this sixth part of her blog, Catherine Broughton raises an eyebrow at pool regulations and litigious attitudes. And her family manages to dig a pool despite the soil in most of the grounds being only six inches deep.

Featured Article: TALES OF RENOVATING A CHATEAU IN FRANCE - REAL LIFE STORY - PART 5

Catherine Broughton introduces some before and after photos of the chateau facade in this fifth part of her blog. In its original state, the chateau was "a grey and dreary old building", but after enormous effort it is now a beautiful holiday rental property!

Featured Article: TALES OF RENOVATING A CHATEAU IN FRANCE - REAL LIFE STORY - PART 4

In the fourth part of their blog, the intrepid Broughton family renovates the chateau's kitchens. They salvage some aged furniture and Catherine narrowly avoids setting her hair alight as she cooks over an open fire.

Featured Article: TALES OF RENOVATING A CHATEAU IN FRANCE - REAL LIFE STORY - PART 3

Amidst tales of demolition at her family's chateau, Catherine Broughton describes the old fashioned attitudes of the Charente Inferieur. And there's a word of warning for anyone tempted to "reveal original stones".

Featured Article: TALES OF RENOVATING A CHATEAU IN FRANCE - REAL LIFE STORY - PART 2

Catherine Broughton's blog about renovating a small chateau near the Ile d'Oleron continues. With her usual dry humour, Catherine describes the difficulties of having huge areas of ancient tiles.

Featured Article: TALES OF RENOVATING A CHATEAU IN FRANCE - REAL LIFE STORY - PART 1

The first part of Catherine Broughton's blog on her family's adventures renovating an enormous, derelict house in France. They begin the huge task of clearing decades of rubbish and making the house habitable.

Featured Article: LANGUEDOC FOOD - A SERIOUS SUBJECT!

French food is highly thought of, but are you familiar with Languedoc food? The gastronomy of this part of France is delicious, and if you are not aware of its specialities, then read on. Mouth-watering dishes from each department are discussed, made from natural local ingredients. This results in one of the healthiest, most superb selection of dishes in the country.

Featured Article: LANGUEDOC WINE - TO BE SAVOURED AND ENJOYED

French wine is world renowned, with the Languedoc-Roussillon region being the most prolific wine producing area in France. This article discusses some of the wines that are produced here, including sparkling, white, red and rosé wines, and suggests particular bottles to try.

Featured Article: FRENCH MARKET EXPERIENCES IN LANGUEDOC-ROUSSILLON

For those of you who love shopping or browsing in markets in France, this article should be of interest. It runs through a selection of general and specialist markets in the Languedoc, and includes information on what each market has to offer  as well as when they are occur.

Featured Article: FESTIVALS IN FRANCE - CELEBRATE THE LANGUEDOC-ROUSSILLON WAY!

Festivals and fetes are a fundamental part of life in France in general, being hosted by small villages as well as larger cities. This article highlights many of those held in the region of Languedoc-Roussillon, with information on when they are and what they are about.

Featured Article: SECOND HAND CARS IN FRANCE

This article may be of interest to those of you thinking of taking a car to France and registering it there. It is an account of what happened to one unsuspecting ex-pat, and though it is a real life experience, it is certainly is not what happens in all cases.

Featured Article: 10 THINGS THAT MAKE THE FRENCH FRENCH

When people think of the English they probably think of bowler hats and umbrellas, or less favourably... rowdy football fans. But what image comes to mind when thinking about the French? See if you agree with our top ten characteristics that make the French totally French.

Featured Article: FRENCH SPEAKING CANADA

Here's a look at the areas of Canada that are quintessentially French. It includes information on the history of French speaking Canada as well information about the current property market.

Featured Article: CHATEAUX FOR SALE IN FRANCE

If you thought that owning a chateau in France would only be for the immensely rich, think again. This article discusses the origins of chateaux in France, how they are used now, and who buys them. It also offers advice from previous and current chateau owners.

Featured Article: RUNNING AN AUBERGE IN FRANCE

For those thinking about moving to France and running a business, it may help to read this article to see if running an auberge may be the business for you. It offers advice from a couple of ex-pats, who are currently operating a successful auberge in the Midi-Pyrénées, and gives you an idea of what you need to be prepared for, should you go down this route.

Featured Article: BEST THINGS ABOUT LIVING IN FRANCE - TOP 10

If you still need convincing that living in France is for you, then perhaps this article will help you make up your mind. It lists the ten best things about living in France, from an ex-pat's point of view.

Featured Article: BRITS IN FRANCE

This article, written by a British ex-pat, gives you an insider's account of what it's like to be a Brit in France. It discusses what sort of people tend to go to live in France or buy property there, what the French think of the Brits, how easy it is to fit in, and also where in France many Brits seem to congregate.

Featured Article: CHRISTMAS IN FRANCE

If you've ever wondered what Christmas might be like in France, then this article is for you. It outlines the small differences between the British way of doing things and the French way, and suggests places that you may like to visit for the festive season.

Featured Article: SECOND HAND FRANCE

Buying or selling second hand items is a popular past-time, especially in France. There are many alternative ways to do this, and so for the newcomer to France, this article may make things a little clearer. It explains the differences between "Broccante",  "Vide Grenier" and "Depot Vente", and even includes information on selling cars in France.

Featured Article: A FRENCH KISS

An account of the various ways of greeting people in France. Should you kiss, kiss once, kiss twice or not at all? The anomalies of French etiquette are examined, and advice is offered to those unsure of the correct procedure to follow! 

Featured Article: LIVING IN FRANCE

If you've ever wondered what it's actually like living in France, then reading this article is a must. Written by an ex-pat who moved to France in 2004, it not only gives you the low down on what you may miss living there, but also examines the benefits you can enjoy living across the channel. 

Featured Article: FRENCH SCHOOL - EXPERIENCES OF A 14-YEAR-OLD

A first-hand account of going to school in Normandy in France, knowing little of the French language or culture. The article offers an insight into the problems encountered when starting at a French school, and how they can perhaps be overcome.

Featured Article: RETIREMENT IN FRANCE

Are you planning your retirement and thinking about going to live in France permanently? This article may be of interest. It is an amusing account of a routine visit to a French doctor, and includes seven steps you can take to stay fit and healthy in your seventies. 

Featured Article: OWNING GÎTES AND CHAMBRES D'HOTES (B&BS) IN FRANCE

Thinking of moving to France to set up a gîte or B&B business? This article may help. The experiences of two families are outlined, together with top tips from an expert - highlighting what you should look out for before you buy.

Featured Article: INSTALLING A SWIMMING POOL IN FRANCE

For those of you who have bought your dream house and are thinking of installing a swimming pool, you may want to read on. This article gives you the ins and outs of the various types of pools available to you in France, and includes tips and advice from one who has been through the process.

Featured Article: HEALTH CARE IN FRANCE: A FRENCH HOSPITAL EXPERIENCE

This article gives a first hand account of a visit to a French hospital, describing how things are done in France and what sort of treatment you can expect. It also details how health care costs are met, what forms are needed and what measures you need to take with regard to health care when you move to France.

Featured Article: BUYING AND COOKING FRENCH FOOD

Almost everyone who moves to France loves French food. But doing the French food thing on a daily basis can be a bit of a shock to the system for expats. A real life look at what to expect and how to cope.

Featured Article: REGISTERING COMPETITION HORSES IN FRANCE

Although this an article primarily of interest to those who are thinking of taking their horses to France in order to compete, others may also appreciate hearing of the experiences of Angela Allen and family. From horse passport issues to obtaining export licences and to the eventual registration of their horses, this has been a long-haul struggle.

Featured Article: LEARNING TO SPEAK FRENCH - MISADVENTURES IN A FOREIGN TONGUE

One of the biggest challenges when moving to France is to learn the language. For most this is quite an ordeal and one that is best approached with a sense of humour. If you need advice or encouragement then read these real life experiences from Joanna Simm who recently moved over to France with her family.

Featured Article: TRAVELLING TO FRANCE WITH PETS

If you've got pets or animals in your life and you'made your mind up to move to France then you should read this article. It covers many of the points that you should consider carefully before jumping in the car . Clear practical advice covering legal, comfort and health points of view from someone who has been through it themselves.

Featured Article: STARTING SCHOOL IN FRANCE

Joanna Simm's article about her experience of finding suitable schools for her children  makes very interesting reading and offers hope to would-be ex-pats whose offspring might initially struggle to make the transition. 


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