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Leaving Panama for France

Leaving Panama for France

Old Dec 20th 2022, 10:17 pm
  #16  
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Default Re: Leaving Panama for France

Originally Posted by Moses2013
I think you misunderstood. Nobody said that every area in Spain is English speaking, it's just reality that you will find far more areas where it's possible (also Algarve).
Where we are it's Catalan, but along the coast you will find more areas that are set up for foreigners who holiday/live there long-term.
Exactly, nobody is suggesting that everyone, everywhere speaks English and no English speaking people should ever learn a foreign language so let's put that one to bed.

What I am trying to say is Spain and Portugal are very geared up and pleased to welcome residential tourism on the southern coast of Spain and the Algarve respectively. It goes without saying and obvious that they are easy places to relocate if you are English speaking or have English as you second language.

Time and time again I witness Dutch, Belgian, German, Scandinavians walking into shops in Spain and Portugal asking for things in English because it is their second language and they assume (and expect) that it is the second language of Spain and Portugal. Love it or hate it, that is how it is Iberia in areas where there are a lot of residential tourists. EU freedom of movement obviously produces a lot of residential tourism and it is part of European culture now.

It you want to completely immerse you in the language and culture of your chosen destination then make sure you chose somewhere that is a long way from all popular tourist destinations.

If you decide you want to live the life of a residential tourist with a mixture of other nationalities eg Dutch, Belgian, French, German, Scandinavians and many others, chose an area in the Algarve or the southern coast of Spain.

Be realistic and honest with yourself about what you want.
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Last edited by Lou71; Dec 20th 2022 at 11:03 pm.
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Old Dec 20th 2022, 10:30 pm
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Default Re: Leaving Panama for France

Originally Posted by Helen1964
Morning Rosemary.
I don't think anyone is presuming that that applies to Spain in general. I think we all realise it's true of certain areas in Spain and Portugal. As regards France on the other hand, I can't think of any areas of the country where you could get away with knowing practically no French.

It would be very nice to have gestors here to help with admin. But's it not just about admin, is it? With basic French, you can certainly muddle along in France. Plenty do. From what I gather, Bob and his partner are no spring chickens. I know lots of nice middle-class English people who have moved to France late in life (they tend to be a bit snooty about Spain for some reason) and not one of them has managed to learn French to a really high level. Usually one of the spouses has significantly better French than the other and, as a result, deals with all the paperwork. But even if your French is good enough to cope with the French tax return, deal with insurance companies if you have a car accident, etc. at the end of the day it's still a slightly unsatisfying half-life. You're never going to fire off an acerbic and highly effective email to a company or government agency, complaining about bad customer service. You're probably not going to stand up in a public meeting and explain exactly why the new proposed tram route should go down one street and not anotther. You're probably not going to join in the heated political discussion going on at the next table in the local bar.
You'll basically always be floating along the surface of society. A tourist with knobs on. Remember I'm not talking about younger people moving to France. I'm specifically talking about older people.

I'm thinking that this is less true of Spain and Portugal where there is perhaps a big enough English-speaking population to enable someone to play an active part in what feels like a community without having great Spanish or Portuguese. Or mabye I've just seen too many episodes of New Life in the Sun where the Brits always seem to be raising money for donkey sanctuaries.
A lot of people move to Spain to experience Spain just like people move to France to experience France. Although I always say one should make an effort and learn the language, it's just reality that many pensioners want to enjoy their retirement and struggle with language/admin later in life. Even where we are you could say it's typical Spanish and a lot of people live there permanently, or it's people who live in Barcelona and have weekend homes.

We still can't deny that compared to France, Spain does have a lot more resorts that are designed for people from abroad. For example Perpignan is more Catalan and when you go to Roses (Spain) you'll find many French who have holiday homes there and communicate in Catalan/French, so easier for the French there. The next bigger town for us would be Lloret and if we like it or not, they target pensioners from abroad (low cost up to luxury market) and have a lot of the services in English.

Apart from summer when the students/families are there, you'll see more pensioners during winter (although a lot of the hotels are closed) https://lloretdemar.org/en/lloret-in-your-golden-years/ Even though we don't have that many British around us, you still notice that communication in English is easier than Pyréneés-Orientales and go down to Valencia, Alicante etc. and you'll find even more of these places. Nothing wrong admitting it and at the end of the day I can understand that many retired just want to enjoy life.
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Old Dec 20th 2022, 10:40 pm
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Default Re: Leaving Panama for France

Originally Posted by Helen1964
Are you living in Spain/Portugal full time, Lou?
Or just spending winters there?
Am I right in thinking it’s easier to manage in Spain/Portugal with poor Spanish/Portuguese than in France with poor French?
Because there are plenty of English-speaking accountants, lawyers, etc to take the pain out of admin?
Helen, my partner and I split our time between Spain (Malaga) and Portugal (eastern Algarve) and like both equally.

We first bought land (which we built on) in Spain in 1998, then later bought a place in Portugal so we have done very well out of freedom of movement and the great opportunities it offers. We were both young in 1998!

It is most definitely easier to manage with bad Spanish/Portuguese where we are than to manage with bad French in France. It's common to witness someone battling with Spanish/Portuguese and then the conversation turns to English because said person's English is better than their Spanish/Portuguese.

Most Portuguese people understand Spanish so that is very helpful. In our part of Portugal there are about 50/50 Spanish/Portuguese cars on the roads and most Spanish people don't speak Portuguese so they just speak in Spanish in shops and restaurants!

So although most French people speak very good English, I don't think it is as geared up for residential tourism.

By the way, we have met plenty of French people in Spain and Portugal.


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Old Dec 20th 2022, 11:41 pm
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Default Re: Leaving Panama for France

Originally Posted by Lou71
Helen, my partner and I split our time between Spain (Malaga) and Portugal (eastern Algarve) and like both equally.

So although most French people speak very good English, I don't think it is as geared up for residential tourism.

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Where I am in France I come across very few French people who speak to me in English.
We have French friends with whom we socialise regularly none of whom speak English at any level.
One friend - a doctor tells me he can read and write in English but cannot speak it.
Many local restaurants have menus in English but some don't.
We do live in an area where Brit expats are spread thinly across the region.
I agree with previous posts that suggest that if you want to speak in English in France then you need to choose your location carefully.

I have also spoken with French GPs who have told me that they will not hold consultations in English in case they are mis-understood.
HTH
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Old Dec 21st 2022, 1:01 am
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Default Re: Leaving Panama for France

Originally Posted by cyrian
Where I am in France I come across very few French people who speak to me in English.
We have French friends with whom we socialise regularly none of whom speak English at any level.
One friend - a doctor tells me he can read and write in English but cannot speak it.
Many local restaurants have menus in English but some don't.
We do live in an area where Brit expats are spread thinly across the region.
I agree with previous posts that suggest that if you want to speak in English in France then you need to choose your location carefully.

I have also spoken with French GPs who have told me that they will not hold consultations in English in case they are mis-understood.
HTH
I must admit that the last few times we stopped in France, we noticed that more people do seem to speak English and the younger generation try more anyway.
Then again our experience is more on the route down to Spain and people there are used to truck drivers and tourists communicating in English. We stayed in Langon and had a Chinese (typical French), the waiter was very friendly and asked if we speak English. We have had other issues in the past and some just refuse to communicate even when you have your French phrasebook out:-). With Spain you also have Canary Islands and even on an island like Mallorca, I'd say English would be more widely accepted compared to Corsica. Of course with the D7 Visa Portugal might be an attractive option if one can afford the property prices (Algarve).
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Old Dec 21st 2022, 1:16 am
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Default Re: Leaving Panama for France

Originally Posted by Moses2013
I must admit that the last few times we stopped in France, we noticed that more people do seem to speak English and the younger generation try more anyway.
Then again our experience is more on the route down to Spain and people there are used to truck drivers and tourists communicating in English. We stayed in Langon and had a Chinese (typical French), the waiter was very friendly and asked if we speak English. We have had other issues in the past and some just refuse to communicate even when you have your French phrasebook out:-). With Spain you also have Canary Islands and even on an island like Mallorca, I'd say English would be more widely accepted compared to Corsica. Of course with the D7 Visa Portugal might be an attractive option if one can afford the property prices (Algarve).
Young Bob's gone a bit quiet.
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Old Dec 21st 2022, 1:45 am
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Default Re: Leaving Panama for France

Originally Posted by Helen1964
Young Bob's gone a bit quiet.
Still early in Panama and probably just getting up, followed by siesta . Could be a long wait.
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Old Dec 26th 2022, 5:21 am
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Default Re: Leaving Panama for France

Greetings Bob, We went a similar path! In 2004 to David Chririqui, shortly thereafter to Casco Viejo Panama City. We left that for Saumur France, Ajijic Mexico, Merida Mexico, Cork Ireland and finally a few days ago we moved to Carcassonne France. International Living is only illustrative, but definitely no serious advice. Always do your own homework. Feel free to contact me if you need sny feedback. Saludos, Paulus
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Old Dec 26th 2022, 6:07 am
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Default Re: Leaving Panama for France

Just catching up on this thread and this phrase made me laugh out loud
Originally Posted by Helen1964
A tourist with knobs on.
thank you Helen.

There are places in France you can go on holiday without needing a word of France. This summer for the first time I visited a tourist hotspot in France where everybody speaks English. I worked a season at a resort in the Vendée and I found it bizarre. I would say there were fewer than 20% French tourists, more than 75% English, and the rest Dutch, German, Belgian and what have you. Absolutely everybody spoke English (apart from an assistant in the chemists who persisted in looking baffled and harassed when an English lady kept repeating very loudly I've come to collect a prescription. I suspect the assistant understood perfectly well really and wanted to make her point, but in the end I got fed up waiting so I spoiled her game and butted in to interpret.) But, the only English they know is sales speak, designed to make it easy for tourists to spend money. They're not there to be your friend, they don't want you to move in, they want you to stay for a week or a fortnight and spend a lot of money and then go home and make way for the following week's arrivals. In season there are many thousands of tourists, a supermarket, boulangeries, a parade of cafés and restos and clothes shops and nicknack shops, a beach bar, a bike hir place. Out of season, all the shops close except the chemist - there isn't even a boulangerie - and the population shrinks to under 100.

I like this phrase "residential tourism" that a couple of posters have used. I don't think I'd heard it before but it's a good description.
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Old Dec 26th 2022, 8:23 pm
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Default Re: Leaving Panama for France

Originally Posted by EuroTrash
Just catching up on this thread and this phrase made me laugh out loud


But, the only English they know is sales speak, designed to make it easy for tourists to spend money. They're not there to be your friend, they don't want you to move in, they want you to stay for a week or a fortnight and spend a lot of money and then go home and make way for the following week's arrivals. In season there are many thousands of tourists, a supermarket, boulangeries, a parade of cafés and restos and clothes shops and nicknack shops, a beach bar, a bike hir place. Out of season, all the shops close except the chemist - there isn't even a boulangerie - and the population shrinks to under 100.
That sums up many, many places in France.
For anyone else considering moving to France then you must check out your chosen location in the off-season.

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Old Jan 1st 2023, 11:08 pm
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Default Re: Leaving Panama for France

Hi Bob
I would advise you to rule out Catalonia and the Oriental Pyrenees. You would definitely have a hard time if you moved there. Even French people born in Paris (for example) are seen as foreigners and intelopers. My husband is from that region and when we go to visit them they delight in telling us how many people have been forced out of their country (region) recently!!! They still look askance at me after 40years. Also you would have to learn to speak Catlan and Basque. They speak French (but pretend they don't), When I first met them they just looked blank at me when I spoke French. They don't consider themselves to be French or for their 'country ' to be part of France. Thank goodness we live in Lyon now!!! They are not bad people .......
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Old Jan 2nd 2023, 4:40 am
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Default Re: Leaving Panama for France

Originally Posted by Appletree21
Hi Bob
I would advise you to rule out Catalonia and the Oriental Pyrenees. You would definitely have a hard time if you moved there. Even French people born in Paris (for example) are seen as foreigners and intelopers. My husband is from that region and when we go to visit them they delight in telling us how many people have been forced out of their country (region) recently!!! They still look askance at me after 40years. Also you would have to learn to speak Catlan and Basque. They speak French (but pretend they don't), When I first met them they just looked blank at me when I spoke French. They don't consider themselves to be French or for their 'country ' to be part of France. Thank goodness we live in Lyon now!!! They are not bad people .......
The OP never came back but you would have the same challenges everywhere if it's a less touristic area/not a city and you don't speak the language as a foreigner. Santa Ponsa is also Catalonia, but a lot easier with English or German than a small non touristic village in Brittany. Then again look at Paris and same with people who are non Maghrebi in one of the Maghrebi areas and they might feel they're having a hard time. Go to Benidorm and the Spanish might feel they are foreigners😉, China Town etc.. Saying that, the OP would always be a foreigner in France, Spain and so on. Some areas are easier than other areas depending what language you speak, but with no French even Lyon could be challenging.

Last edited by Moses2013; Jan 2nd 2023 at 5:12 am.
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