10 Reasons Not to Move to France



10 Reasons Not to Move to France

In the course of interviewing new and established foreign residents in France, there are common patterns that emerge as to the main reasons why they chose to move here. What is somewhat less obvious is the reason why the dream isn’t working out. People who have been disappointed are either less likely to share what went wrong because they feel embarrassed, they feel as if it is their fault in some way, or because they can’t really put their finger on exactly why their French experience isn’t quite la vie en rose.

More often than not there is a combination of multiple factors rather than one big reason why the taste of French life has gone sour. I was recently talking about this with Nadia Jordan, a buyer’s agent in the Midi-Pyrénées who is a practised hand at weighing out the pros and cons of moving to France for her clients. The following are Nadia’s observations from years of accumulated experience helping people find their dream home and settle here.

The main reasons why people choose to move to France:

1. Better quality of life (of course this depends on your definition of quality but, generally, the French have their priorities right when it comes to lifestyle choices)

2. Unspoilt natural environment, fewer people, more space, uncrowded roads, no traffic jams

3. Greater environmental awareness and responsibility

4. Fabulous and varied landscapes and climate

5. Paradise for children with lots of freedom

6. Fantastic hunting, shooting and fishing (if that’s your thing)

7. Stunning old stone houses, beautiful, classic French architecture, and affordable property prices

8. The French healthcare service – it is as impressive as everyone says

9. Sense of tradition and identity and strong family values

10. High quality and delicious food and wine with abundant local, seasonal, organic fresh food and wonderful local markets

Ten reasons why a move to France may not be for you:

1. If you are running away from a bad situation at home – it will still be a bad situation in another country

2. If you are determined to believe the stereotypes about the French being rude and arrogant. In reality, they are generally friendly and welcoming, but you are a stranger in their country and must expect to do things their way even if you don’t like it – and you might even get to like it

3. If you’re not prepared to learn the language

4. If you expect American style, in-your-face service – they do things differently in France

5. If you don’t want to embrace French culture – both the upsides and downsides

6. If you are not patient enough to build proper relationships with the locals

7. If you want or expect clockwork efficiency rather than a more latin, laid-back attitude

8. If you expect anything to be open on Sundays (except boulangeries of course!)

9. If you are always in a hurry (to be pressé can be used as a form of insult in France)

10. If you can’t live without your takeaway curry or Chinese meal (you can still get a pizza!)

How about you? Do you see yourself reflected in any of these arguments? What were your reasons for moving (or not moving) to France?

•With thanks to Nadia Jordan, property search agent in South West France.
Photo by Zigazou76

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Sylvia is a freelance journalist based in France, focusing on business and culture. A valued member of the France Media editorial team, Sylvia is a regular contributor to our publication.

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  • southerly
    2015-07-08 11:26:21
    cdprince - your post is either a really bad attempt at humour or you live in another dimension to the one that we live in. [edited] [edited] Do you make eye contact with people, do you always greet people passing in the street with an hello. Do you speak French. Do you have any French friends, do you converse/interact with your neighbours? The 3 things that the French (like other nationalities) want to to know about you are - what your sexual preference is, your politics and if you are religious - there are very good rational reasons for this, all of which horrifies most Brits who are very character armoured and hate anyone to know what they are really like. French drivers - very considerate of walkers/cyclists/horse riders. Every day I take the dogs for a walk along country lanes and always make sure that I move to the side of the road when traffic is passing, this is noted by the French and very often in the village or at the supermarket someone I don't recognise will approach (making eye contact of course) me and thank me for being considerate. I live in the Aveyron and I am impressed with the standard of driving and consideration that drivers have for each other wendilaurie - my partner is a retired nurse lecturer in paediatrics, so is very able to make a quality assessment of the French health care system, especially as I have been an inpatient on 3 seperate occasions due a fibrilating heart condition and as the 'one in a hundred' who always reacts badly to medications. The standard of cleanliness in the hospital in Rodez was excellent as was the food and the clinical attention. As for aftercare, in the UK now it is abysmal, indeed it was abysmal in 85 when my partner's mother was dying and in 93 towards the end of my father's life. The community nursing is excellent and there is help available in the house/shopping and meals on wheels. As always there will be variations across a country and bear in mind that survival rates for cancer is far better in France and across the mainland as a whole compared to the UK. This is because far more money is spent on healthcare than in the UK and doesn't end up in big profits for private companies as in the UK - health is not a political issue on the mainland but it is the increasingly 'Americanisation' that is growing apace in the UK. My partner has reunions with those women she trained with so many ears ago - the 47th is coming up and all are so sad at the terrible decline in standards that they have witnessed over the years. The only way that we would leave France is in bodybags. I haven't been back to the UK for 8 years now. Do I miss anything? Car boot sales bright and early every Saturday and Sunday.