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Real Lives


Real Life Stories of France

Real Lives

Welcome to 'Real Lives' - the section of FrenchEntrée that's packed with stories from people who have made the move to France.

If you want to set up a business and have a child going in to school, we also have first-hand accounts in our Business and Education zones. For health stories see our Health zone.

Would you like to tell others what your new life is like? We always like to receive real life stories. Go on, get in touch!

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Editor's picks

How the Brubaker family turned an ancient communal oven or four banal into an enchanting holiday haven. more...

Hannah and her family fulfill their dream in the Limousin

©Hannah Watson Lovely childhood memories of visits to France with her parents led Hannah to find her dream ... more...

Living and studying in Paris

by Andrea Bouchaud • December 2013 ©Andrea Bouchaud - Twenty in Paris
Andrea knew she wanted to live in France ever since her first day of French class when she was 13 years old...

The Best of Both Worlds

Gwynn Brooke ThumbGwyn Brooke is South African, married with two teenage children, has a passion for people and travel and divides her time between Nice and Dubai... more...

A life in Provençe that suits three generations

©Maria Maclean
Having moved to France in 2004 with husband, son and mum, Maria created a life in Provençe to suit the three generations... more...

Maison de l'Orb in Beziers

©Maison de l'Orb
A writer didn't want to reach the point of saying “I wish I had done that when I was younger". more...

A Chalet in the Alps

© Chris, an Isle of Man Advocate in General Practice, and Vanessa, formerly Head of PE at Island Secondary School, met on the hockey pitch... more...

Lunes Art & Bijoux

©lunes art & bijoux
Kylee turned her hobby into a a successful jewellery and art studio in Luc sur Orbieu, near Carcassonne and Narbonne. more...

It's all in the family

A renovation project in Paris  ©Tim McCafferty
The Paris apartment had great bones, but needed a top-to-bottom overhaul. How would they manage the renovation remotely? more...

Liz invites us to reconnect with the arts

©Liz Cutts cubertou.comIt's never too late for 'late starters and re-starters' who love art, writing and music. Learning new skills in an idyllic setting is rejuvenating. more...

We Arrived By Accident! years later...

©Pat Bernstein We had spoken to Pat seven years ago about his move to France...where is he now? more...

Becoming A French Citizen

A tale of three continents
© There are many things that Yetunde loves about France: the countryside, the Mediterranean, the grandeur of Paris, the traditions and the language. One thing she didn’t love so much was standing in line at the Préfecture. more...

A penthouse in Nice

©Don Corliss and Franklin Reed Franklin and Don fell in love with France for the language, the food, the art, the history and the sunshine in the Riviera. more...

The House of the Vineyard

Sunkissed days on the hills along rows of vines and sunflowers. Balmy evenings cradling a glass of Côtes de Duras under the shimmering moonlight. Who could resist? more...

From Texas to the Dordogne • Jeff and Liz find a home

©Jeff PosterJeff and Liz were dismayed to be shown a house that was different from their specifications, not in the small hamlet they had envisioned, not stone construction, and was very formal in style. It was also substantially over budget. In short, it was perfect.

From Australia to Agen

The story of an antipodean property search ©B&A Alcorn Ange and Bruce intended to move to Finland. After four years in France, one beautiful daughter and a baby on the way, they share the story of the road that led them to Agen –an acronym of Ange... coincidence?.

A stylish cottage renovation in the Dordogne

La Maisonnette Dordogne cottage renovation"Renovating and owning a house in France has been an incredible adventure that allowed us to feel like we’re a small part of a village and opened up a whole new way to experience France."
meet the Brubaker's

We bought a restaurant in Normandy

French cuisine with an English accent Patrick and Nicky HilyerIn 2002 Patrick and Nicky Hilyer swapped a settled family life in Saffron Walden, North Essex for an exciting but unpredictable future: running a restaurant in Lower Normandy. Patrick explains how they became restaurateurs. more...

My dress agency in Poitou-Charentes

Get the 'je ne sais quoi' Je Ne Sais Quoi dress agencyIn the three years since Terry Warren opened Je Ne Sais Quoi in La Rochefoucauld, she has seen everything from old knickers to vintage Chanel come through the doors of her dress agency. FrenchEntrée asks her how she - and her two teenage children - came to be in the Charente and what she hopes to achieve with the business. more...

In the dog house!

The HarwoodsEleanor Fullalove meets Rick and Tracey Harwood, a couple living the good life in France. They run luxury kennels in Normandy. Here they reveal why they made the move and how they make it work for them. more...

Designing jewellery in the Languedoc

Earrings by Gee BackhouseSeven years ago, Gee Backhouse gave up her job in computing and moved from the Cotswolds to the Minervois where she set up as a jewellery designer. Here, Gee tells how she and her husband realised their dream of settling in France... more...

Running an online shop from Alsace

Hayley FlurerHayley Flurer from South Africa moved to Strasbourg in November 2009 and discovered a novel way of earning a living (and meeting new people) even before she had mastered the language. The best bit is that anyone can join in, anywhere in France. more...

Holiday home owners who care

The BennettsJane and Ron Bennett have a property in the Gers that they rent out to holidaymakers. They intend to spend more time there once Ron has retired, but their investment has already brought with it a career change for Jane.

Integrating in France

Kathy and Paul ConnerKathy and Paul Conner moved from Woking in Surrey to Gemozac, Charente-Maritime four years ago. Their efforts to learn the language, speak to their French neighbours and socialise in France have made integrating easy! more...

Holiday home to permanent home

The cottage as it looked in AprilCharlie and Jules Thackway bought a property in the Dordogne with the intention of using it for holidays. However, the couple found that “the more time we spent here the harder it was to leave..." more...

Home chic home - A home in the Gers

Amy LeusseAmy de Leusse fell for France while working there as a teenage au pair. Little did she know then that it would make the dream of owning a French property pretty much inevitable. more...

Classic car business in France

Classic CarsIn January 2005, Cara and Greg Samways moved from Lincolnshire to the Limousin in hope of a new life. Here, Cara explains how they came to the decision and have now established a home abroad and a new means of supporting themselves through classic cars... more...

'How a life-threatening illness led to a successful business in France!'

mervyn and sallySally Stone and her husband, Mervyn, planned to have a holiday home in France. Then he was diagnosed with cancer and, a little later, she was made redundant, and they were forced to completely changed their plans. Here's their storymore...

Life as a wine and beer producer in France

David's VinesDavid Meakin left England for France in 1994. A farming background has helped him make a success of his vineyard, which has produced a number of award winning wines. It might not be the easiest job in the world, but David still finds the opportunity to enjoy himself in rural France. more...

Expat Family Health Insurance from Cigna

With over 30 years international experience, Cigna are experts at providing healthcare for you and your family whilst living in France. Find out more.

French Legal Advice

Stone King
Protect your assets across borders and jurisdictions covering Wills & succession planning, Inheritance Tax, Probate following death of a family member plus more... Visit for more information.

FrenchEntrée Magazine out now!

FrenchEntree Magazine issue 99The new issue of FrenchEntrée is out now! It's packed with articles on French holidays (including: Vichy, Burgundy and Marseille) plus French recipes and advice on buying and living in France from property finders and tax and law experts. Click here for a sample or consider our latest subscription offers.

Financial advice & solutions for people relocating to France

Siddalls Download Siddalls help sheets for "your new life in France" by clicking here.

British Corner Shop

British Corner Shop
The online supermarket for expats, selling over 8,000 British products delivered to your door. Start shopping.

Happy Family

But will they be able to communicate so well In French?
Family on the move
Language issues for children

Living in France?

(picture 19821c) For all the information you need on living in France, from education to the health system, and from how to set up a bank account to becoming self-employed, visit FrenchEntrée Living

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