Moving to France but still looking at areas

Greetings. We are moving to France hopefully in the next 2-3 months to fulfill Mothers dream. Our idea is to rent a place for a while so we can explore and find where we really wish to be before looking to buy a property. Once we find a place to rent we shall need to get some lessons in French as I remember little from school and the computer programme it seems does not suit me very much at all.

Initially I will not be looking at finding some way on making an income we will have a bit of money to live on but once we settle finally then of course a way of earning some money will be needed. Finding the right place and picking up some French will be the priority.

Right now we live near Boston in Lincolnshire on Englands East Coast but are originally from Surrey Mum & Dad moved here back in the mid 1980's and now Mother wishes to fulfill her dream of living in France so my nephew and I will do all we can to help her make it real. We are currently looking at Brittany, Normady and the top of Pays de la Loire the property needs to be on one level as Mother has difficulty with stairs.

So we are in the process of sorting out what to get rid of and what to keep ready for the move. Any advice is of course most welcome.

Hi Plezier,

As an alternative to renting a house, have you considered a gîte..?

When we moved to France, we initially looked at renting a house - but the monthly rentals typically started from 1250€/pcm. As we only wanted somewhere to sleep (as we'd be out all day looking at a suitable property to buy) with a small kitchen, renting a gîte seemed preferable - and it was considerably cheaper than renting a house with a garden. We found one near Bayonne for 500€ a month.. and we ended up living there for 5 months. Start looking here.

If I were you, I wouldn't delay starting French lessons. Take advantage of this period before you move to grind the rust off those cogs.

Finally, I'd think very hard about moving here if you haven't got a plan sorted out. By a "plan" I mean how you intend to make a living once the dust has settled - otherwise Mother's dream could turn into your nightmare..

Thank you .................... yes we tried to get French lessons here but there are none locally it seems. Oh you can learn Russian, Polish, Chinese even but not French it seems not with out travelling a fair ways out of the area.

Yes we have been looking at Gites to rent this of course means putting everything into storage.

As for income well that is a problem no matter where you live what with ageism and me not being Eastern European but with the internet and my skills there must be something I can do. They are now looking at the province below Pays de la Loire. Our first job is to pin down the area she fancies then we can hopefully move forwards.

I had the same problem with finding a French language course when we moved here.. There were fewer places here for foreigners to brush-up their French than I had expected. Yes, there's a swish language centre here in bayonne but looking at the charges, it's clearly aimed at the business user. For retired old gits like me, there was a choice of only two.. I tried both and neither was satisfactory. In the end, I just jumped in the deep end and joined a sporting club, and a few other unrelated activities on my own to kick start my French. Madame is French but as her English is perfect, guess what we speak at home..!
Storage costs aren't as high as you might think.. We put 90% of our belongings in store and came over in a rented van.
I wish you luck on the job front.. If you're thinking about being self-employed, you might want to research how to set up as an auto-entrepreneur..
Good luck!

Hmmmm it was here in England that we could not get Frech classes without travelling quite a distance. Around here it is all geared up to the Eastern Europeans it seems. We did find a school in Boston but they were not interested in taking us oldies on it seems as they never got back to us about timetable and costs despite several enquiries on our part. We have made contact with a movers based in Essex by the M25 who can store for a while. The nephew does speak fairly good French so we will not be totally at sea and he is coming with us. I shall just have to manage as best I can and cram French.

We shall be travelling over and around in the Rover 75 with a small trailer the rest will be with the movers. I will be making contact with the French branch of the MGCC and MGF Register so that should help and I will be joining the TIR once settled to continue my interests in that field. That should help me at least intigrate more.

I will be bringing as many of my tools as I can and if we can find the right place will be looking at getting a lathe and possibly a milling machine. We have some here but conversion costs and shipping costs would be prohibitative so will look into getting the machines once finally settled. Another thign that would be most useful would be a ramp. 2 or 4 poster so I can carrying on doing the cars. Maybe look into a spares business?

First we need to get settled.

If I may offer a couple of tips - we travelled over here with everything we thought we'd need to be self-sufficient for an undefined period. The one thing I had with me that was worth its weight in gold was my PC and more importantly, my printer.. It was one of those multi-function ones that did printing, copying, scanning and faxing. This was a life-saver.
I once sat down and we made a list of the essential features we were looking for in our dream property. Doing so helped to concentrate the mind.
Major mistakes? I'll admit to only two!
I only packed one book - all the rest went into storage - and it had to do me for 5 months! (and I'm a compulsive reader) If this is important to you too, think about a Kindle.
The other mistake was the camera - somehow it got packed and went into storage..

Just like to give my own 2 cents....

One of my favourite areas in France is the Pays Basque, where I understand Pip64 lives and where I also lived for many years. There are three main towns called Biarritz, Anglet and Bayonne and we commonly call it the BAB. The area is truly amazing, with beautiful beaches and gentle hilly countryside, it's own micro-climate, friendly people and just across the border from Spain. In fact it is so close that you can drive into Spain to have lunch, do your shopping and fill your petrol tank at a much cheaper price than you could in France. This is my favourite part of France and it has warmer weather than the northern parts of France, it rarely snows except up in the Pyrenees Mountains which have many ski resorts.

The province below the Loire Valley, along the coast is Les Landes which is basically flat land with pine forests leading all the way down to the Pay Basque. It is beautiful with so many camp sites and Gites, especially during the summer as it is somewhat seasonal. It would be a nice area to settle but many businesses tend to be seasonal during the summer months when the entire area gets packed with tourists from all over Europe. When I say seasonal, I mean the place can feel pretty dead out of season. The main towns in Les Landes are Cap Breton and Hossegor which are side by side and on the beach, and these are packed solid with tourists during the summer. They have some of the best surfing waves in the world and there is money to be made if you can come up with a good business idea. A lot of transactions are made "en espèces" during the summer months as tourists commonly pay in cash, and what with the high taxes in France....

Gites are indeed a good idea for cheaper temporary accommodation, but they tend to be small so finding a permanent place to rent as quickly as possible is quite important.

As far as learning the language, I would be actively using YouTube where you can learn virtually everything these days. It's free and you go at your own pace and so many people are uploading free lessons for everything.

Once you have moved to France, you will pick up the language remarkably quickly. You actually need to because depending on where you decide to settle, people may not speak very good English. So begin with basics and you will automatically pick it up as you go along. I ran businesses in France and dealt with clients everyday, so from having a CSE Grade 4 in French from school (I wasn't interested in languages at the time) I quickly learned to become fluent in conversational french. Note also that many professionals such as doctors and architects and pharmacists can speak some English so you shouldn't worry too much there.

I have a Canon MX320 multi function printer...................... need to check if it has the dual voltage switch and same goes for the PC. Funny you mention books as I have already packed up 3 boxes of books and still have more to do. A lot of reference books though. Mother has just got a 7" tablet so books can be read or listened to on that. Of course the mobile will need a new SIM card but I doubt that will be much of a problem.

Hmmm not sure we want to be packed out with tourists ........................ we have had that for years here as we are near Skegness and getting into town for shoping can be nightmare during scholl holidays and the silly season.

Now as to the suggestions of moving further South we are seriously considering doing just that and have just been speaking to a French estate agent after asking for more details on a property in Aquitaine, Villeneuve-sur-Lot, and after our discussion the need to get over and look is more important still as many online properties while they may look good in photos it seems they do do reveal what is needed to make the property ready to move into. So finding the right place to rent is becoming more important.

You are helping us narrow down our choices and I thank you for that.

Hi Plezier,
Here's a link to the blog I started writing shortly after moving here. The early posts describe the house hunt and also engaging with French bureaucracy.. You might find it helpful.

Thank yes it has been helpful even though have not finished reading through it. Some of the dishes you describe are not for me though but no doubt I wil manage as I did those 3 months in Southern Spain when I was donw there some years back.

Think that subject deserves a thread all of its own.
There are still a few dishes that give me nightmares..!

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