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Moving to france with young kids

Moving to france with young kids

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Old Jun 24th 2017, 12:50 pm
  #16  
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Default Re: Moving to france with young kids

Originally Posted by BritInParis View Post
Given the family is Australian it would be helpful if the OP could clarify which visas or EU/EEA passports they are planning to use in order to reside in France for a year.
I mentioned the Passport/Visa question in #2, together with healthcare insurance, but neither subject was picked up and I presumed rightly or wrongly that it was all organised. In any case we on the France forum can't do more than advise the family to consult the French Consulate in Australia if necessary....
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Old Jun 24th 2017, 12:59 pm
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Default Re: Moving to france with young kids

Originally Posted by macadalmo View Post

........And getting around with a young family... has anyone bought a car in France? I'm assuming its best to have one for family getaways and daily commutes etc.

But what should we do or avoid doing when buying a car in France? Thinking of a volkswagon transporter. Anyone have an experience with purchasing a car in France?

We've lived in the UK before and it was super easy to buy and sell a car in the 12 months that we we're there.

In Australia you'd buy from the car owner directly (which is cheaper) or a car dealer.
Is it different in France?
Welcome to the forum!
I was a little surprised to note that in this forum's very useful FAQ section that there was nothing specific on buying a car, although it's a question that has been raised many times here. When I get a moment I'll try and add something relevant to be added to the FAQ.
Obviously the first major choice will be new or used. If the former, the best tip I can give is try and plan for a purchase in Dec. The closer one gets to the very end of the year, the better the deal you will be able to negotiate. From experience I know that car salesmen will accept any reasonable offer in order to meet their annual sales quota (and commission)! The one downside is that one is generally limited to a model that is readily available in stock, so a choice of colour and catalogue-listed accesories may not be possible. But the significant savings on price negotiatons are well worth it. And the dealer of course will take care of all the necessary administration.
The magazine to purchase in order to be aware of current new prices (and 'Argus' used prices) is Auto Plus. A great read every week - even in French.
If you Google 'expatarrivals france buying a used car' you will get a whole lot more info. However, don't believe comments you read such as, 'buying a used car in France is regulated, thus unlikely you’ll be scammed or sold a stolen car.' Agreed, the system is highly regulated, but I have on file several of the common 'Arnaques' and how to avoid them. Until such time as these make it onto the FAQ section, just ask here when the time is right, and I'll do my best to steer you clear.

Last edited by Tweedpipe; Jun 24th 2017 at 1:12 pm.
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Old Jun 24th 2017, 1:44 pm
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Default Re: Moving to france with young kids

I stayed a bit quiet on the making friends front but since DMU brought it up I will comment.

I lived in France for 11 years and when I moved there I was surprised at how hard it was for the kids to make friends. We did the parties thing at our house but didn't find it lead to a whole load of invitations back. I learned that it isn't a particularly french thing to invite people you don't know to your children's parties. Most of the kids had known each other since at least the beginning of ecole maternelle and age 2.5 or 3 so they already had their group of well known friends by the time my daughter arrived at age 5.5. At first she was a bit of a novelty - the only non-french speaker in the group and they loved that she spoke english. She made school friends but not really friends that we were able to foster good friendships with. That happened the following summer when we bought a house on a little lotissement (estate) and we had a pool in the garden during the heat wave of 2003. Then apparently she became very popular! Her best friend became another girl on our estate who was half french/half english. My son was 3.5 and started ecole maternelle - he did not speak in class that first year. Nothing. He became the class clown and made friends with a boy who was half Moroccan/half french. His mum was professor at the vet school in Toulouse and originally hailed from Paris. In other words, these families and kids were both like ours in that they were not from the area originally, had travelled and lived in other places and were something of outsiders too. My youngest was born in France, she made friends everywhere she went... blonde, blue eyed (a bit unusual in those parts) and perfectly bilingual thanks to me sending her to a nanny for 2 days a week and the local garderie. She is still best friends with the boy who lived 2 doors away and will be spending some time at their house again this summer.

My experience was by no means unique and the more you learn about "third culture kids" (TCKs) the more you realise that this is what they need to do in order to thrive. They need kids around them that are like them.

I learned french and got a job but it took me almost 3 years - I stayed home with the kids for 2.5 years and took an hour of 1:1 french lessons for 2 of those years. You can't get enough lessons.

My friends were a mix of french and Brits/Americans, but mostly anglophones - not really due to language problems but more cultural ones.

You're there for a year, don't have massively high expectations of how integrated you will become. You will all learn french, you will experience french life, you will visit lots of places. You will have the lovely food and countryside. You will meet new people and some may become friends.
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Old Jun 25th 2017, 7:20 am
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Default Re: Moving to france with young kids

Originally Posted by petitefrancaise View Post

My experience was by no means unique and the more you learn about "third culture kids" (TCKs) the more you realise that this is what they need to do in order to thrive. They need kids around them that are like them.
Sorry to hear of your negative experience. Mine was positive - my daughters were also considered a "novelty" when we moved down to rural Hérault, and were called "les Parisiennes". At first, their respective classmates regarded them as potential snobs, but this attitude was short-lived....
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Old Jun 25th 2017, 10:30 am
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Default Re: Moving to france with young kids

Hi BritInParis, thanks for your interest. My husband has an EU passport so as Australian citizens myself and kids will travel on a spousal visa - good for 12 months which is all the time we need.

I appreciate you picking up the thread and look forward to hearing anything that you can share from your experience.

Many thanks in advance.
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Old Jun 25th 2017, 10:59 am
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Default Re: Moving to france with young kids

OH. i'm new to this and missed all the recent posts before I hit send on my last message. So, let me back track!

Thanks so much Tweedpipe on your offer of help. I will definitely take you up on that. It seems, from your response, that there is a bit to know when navigating the ins and outs of a car purchase in France.

Thanks for following up on the health insurance dmu - in answer: we plan to take out comprehensive travel insurance that includes health care for the full 12 months that we will be away. My research tells me there is no reciprocal health care agreement between Australia and France.

Sorry to hear of your experiences with integrating in France petitefrancaise. We will try the parties and little aussie gifts (tiny stuffed koalas are always cute) to break the ice but as you say I should keep my expectations realistic.

Advice anyone on finding places with expat kids similar to mine to hopefully making finding a few friends a bit easier?

Better to keep to the larger villages or outskirts of large cities or are there great smaller villages (my preference) that you have experienced? Any such place/region that anyone can suggest would be so appreciated. I'm torn between near Toulouse or Lyon at this stage, but I seriously wonder sometimes if I could throw a dart anywhere on a map of France and be happy for the experience! Just not North - too cold for an Aussie!

And thanks for suggesting the Save valley petitefrancais - I was up late last night researching the website you suggested (Gite de france). Great site but so far haven't found much available in the villages you mentioned.

And thanks again, I look forward to further comments.. and so pleased I decided to do this. Everyone is so helpful.
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Old Jun 25th 2017, 2:44 pm
  #22  
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Default Re: Moving to france with young kids

It didn't mean my experience to come over as that negative!! I just wanted to point out that it can take time to make friends . My kids were happy there and my eldest describes her childhood in France as "idyllic"! She passed through Toulouse last week and felt very homesick for it....

OP considering the cost of renting a furnished place, you might consider trying to rent an unfurnished one (although that will have it's difficulties too). There is an IKEA in Toulouse, you can buy loads of things on leboncoin.fr and there are also Emmaus ( a bit like charity shops ) around. You could look on leboncoin.fr for housing too.
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Old Jun 25th 2017, 6:42 pm
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Default Re: Moving to france with young kids

gites...
This is a lovely village.
https://www.gites-de-france.com/loca...31G100701.html

Montaigut sur Save
https://www.gites-de-france.com/loca...31G301246.html

Larra

https://www.gites-de-france.com/loca...31G100820.html

Merville
https://www.gites-de-france.com/loca...31G101316.html
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Old Jun 26th 2017, 8:14 am
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Default Re: Moving to france with young kids

Macadalmo,

Just a word of caution about travel insurance. Most policies will only cover you for a limited period of time, outside of your home country; typically one month.

For longer periods, you'd be looking at Backpacker insurance. Even then, I have never seen one that covers day-to-day healthcare needs.

You might be best off contacting an insurance broker and negotiating a bespoke policy; I've done this a number of times, as my work used to take me overseas for very extended periods of time.

ETA: apologies if I'm teaching you to suck eggs here.

Last edited by Vinosity; Jun 26th 2017 at 8:16 am. Reason: Addendum
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Old Jun 26th 2017, 8:49 am
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Default Re: Moving to france with young kids

Ha! no eggs being sucked. I'm really pleased to hear any advice. Thank you.

From your experience what advice would you give when negotiating a bespoke policy? I've taken out insurance before but its all been off-the-shelf.

Is it just the same policy but negotiating a longer term? And from your experience what's the hike on the premium like?

Love to hear from you on what to do or things to avoid.
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Old Jun 26th 2017, 9:19 am
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Default Re: Moving to france with young kids

Well, your mileage will certainly vary.

I run wineries for a living, so I needed to be covered for heights, enclosed spaces, operating heavy machinery etc.

I just went to my broker with a list of my specific requirements, and they found someone to cover me within 24 hours. If memory serves me right, the price wasn't dissimilar to the highest cover you can get for travel insurance.

Apart from covering the work I was doing, my main stipulations were a high level of emergency medical cover, and a high level of repatriation expenses (you'd need to think about repatriation costs covering your entire family, should one of you need to be rushed back). YMMV on the repatriation costs too; however, I have always felt I would be more comfortable being treated in a country where I can communicate effectively, and where I have a support network of friends and family.

Hope that helps.
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Old Jun 26th 2017, 10:04 am
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Default Re: Moving to france with young kids

Thanks Vinosity - I'll look into it and appreciate your advice.

Also petitefrancais, You've been amazing- thanks for the list of potential gites - I"m going to check them out on-line now. I notice you are keeping to the west, west/north of toulouse. In your experience are the areas to the east of Toulouse much different? Less expats, different socioeconomic situation perhaps?

I've picked up so much from your advice- thanks again.
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Old Jun 27th 2017, 5:30 pm
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Default Re: Moving to france with young kids

I concentrated on that area because it's basically "airbus country" with schools used to taking in non-french speaking kids, with lots of different nationalities, not just anglophones but also a lot of spanish and german speakers.

Just a note, the local school will provide a bus to take the kids to school and just about everyone uses them. There is a tram system and trains too and the Metro for the city.

Down the other side of the city, you need to go further out to get the nice countryside.

You really need to decide what you're going to do about schooling and then we can narrow it down more.
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Old Jun 28th 2017, 11:34 pm
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Default Re: Moving to france with young kids

Thanks Petitefrancais. In answer to your question..

We're thinking a public school that is used to taking expat children that have limited understanding of French - a real bonus would be anywhere that would give the children some extra help to begin with. We are also happy to look into tutoring at home.

I agree with your suggestion, petitefrancais, that English 31 maybe isn't that crucial if we are only going to be there for 12 months.

We love nature and being outdoors so I imagine a village rather than a suburb of somewhere like Toulouse would be better but we don't want a tiny village if it means there are no boulangerie etc. Somewhere that has a market each week would be perfect or at least villages really close that do.

I'm guessing being in a village rather than out in a remote farm house would be better to be able to 'rub' against the locals and try out our limited French?

Also a really tiny school (less than 100) seems too small to me and potentially more difficult for my kids to settle in if in that small mix of children there isn't 'their tribe'. Is my hunch on that similar to anyone's experience? We found what seems like a gorgeous village Loubens Laurgais to the east of Toulouse. School only has around 50 kids though. tiny!!

Anyone know of Loubens Laurgais or the area around there?

Your experience and ideas on what might work best for us is invaluable.

And one more question! How strict are French schools on attendance?

Are we causing problems if we take the kids out of school for the occasional few days to travel around Europe?

Is that not tolerated or would we be given a little slack given we're Aussies here to experience all France has to offer in just 12 months?

Again- so grateful for anyone's help here.
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Old Jun 29th 2017, 1:53 am
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Default Re: Moving to france with young kids

The Lauragais is very pretty. You have the canal du midi there and some lovely towns and villages. The further towards Carcassonne you go, the more likely you are to encounter other Brits in the villages. It's easy to get into Toulouse and to Narbonne and the Mediterranean, Foix and the mountains within easy reach too.

Look for schools that do CLIN - this is the french as a second language help.

Attendance, it's a cultural thing - French people place great importance on education, they are very proud that everyone gets a good education and generally they would not take the kids out of school during term time. So, I have no idea how strictly they enforce attendance since it was never an issue that I came across. I'm guessing it would depend solely on the attitude of the teachers. If you could bring it across as a pedagogical exercise then they'd probably be on board especially since your kids are so young.
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