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Normandy or Brittany

Normandy or Brittany

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Old May 18th 2018, 7:28 am
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Default Normandy or Brittany

Hello All
First post on here and just wanted to start by introducing myself

I have been thinking about moving to France for a few years now, I know a few people in Normandy, one English ex pat quite will. I could think of a dozen places off the top of my head where I would like to go, but Normandy and Brittany for various reasons come out on top, and the No 1 right now is Upper Normandy, but I do love Brittany as well.

I have dozens of questions, but just two for now, your thoughts on pros and cons of Normandy and Brittany or anything you can suggest to me and the 2nd question quite silly, I am finally going to have to start speaking French properly, have signed up for a Babbel online course, any suggestions there also? .. I have at least a one year before I go for it.
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Old May 18th 2018, 7:46 am
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Default Re: Normandy or Brittany

Hi GG
Welcome to the forum.
Another grumpy git on the forum is all we need - there are loads already.
Are you coming to work or will you be retired and why France?
In addition to asking questions you can look at the FAQ at the top of the page and you can do a forum search using the search button at the top right of the France index page.
Ask away.
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Old May 18th 2018, 8:39 am
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Default Re: Normandy or Brittany

Originally Posted by cyrian View Post
Hi GG
Welcome to the forum.
Another grumpy git on the forum is all we need - there are loads already.
Are you coming to work or will you be retired and why France?
In addition to asking questions you can look at the FAQ at the top of the page and you can do a forum search using the search button at the top right of the France index page.
Ask away.
+1
Can't help on the Normandy or Brittany front, but give us more info on yourself so that we can advise in general. A lot depends on your situation (retired? "inactive"? job-seeker?) and whether you'll be coming alone or with spouse/children?
On the Babbel front, I started learning Portuguese, but was put off by having to learn the past tense before mastering the present. Maybe a detail, but IMO there's no need to learn the past tense so early on, if the purpose of learning is to be able to communicate in the present! Don't let me put you off though, the course was OK otherwise....
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Old May 18th 2018, 9:34 am
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Smile Re: Normandy or Brittany

Originally Posted by cyrian View Post
Hi GG
Welcome to the forum.
Another grumpy git on the forum is all we need - there are loads already.
Are you coming to work or will you be retired and why France?
In addition to asking questions you can look at the FAQ at the top of the page and you can do a forum search using the search button at the top right of the France index page.
Ask away.
Sad thing is I find joy in being grumpy rather than a weakness Quite simply I have loved France for decades now and they way of life. I won't be working there as I have my own small firm back in the UK which I will continue, even though I will take a hit, quality of life and all that though. I will have to spend 50-50 in both, but that's a start, I might even think about having a gite or something to keep me occupied.
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Old May 18th 2018, 9:46 am
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Default Re: Normandy or Brittany

Originally Posted by dmu View Post
+1
Can't help on the Normandy or Brittany front, but give us more info on yourself so that we can advise in general. A lot depends on your situation (retired? "inactive"? job-seeker?) and whether you'll be coming alone or with spouse/children?
On the Babbel front, I started learning Portuguese, but was put off by having to learn the past tense before mastering the present. Maybe a detail, but IMO there's no need to learn the past tense so early on, if the purpose of learning is to be able to communicate in the present! Don't let me put you off though, the course was OK otherwise....
Hi dmu

Kids grown up and I am divorced, happily. I have a nice little electrical installation business in the UK, not a millionaire but doing OK, not enough to buy and retire outright and will have to keep working, but that's OK because I want to be working as long as I can if I can help it, to the grave if possible. I am 56 now and in good health and have always been an outdoor and culture/history nut, family background is Irish and suppose partly to blame why I love Normandy.
Of course it is not going to be easy, these things never are and never run in straight lines, but again that's OK as I love a challenge, ex forces and all that. Give me rural, chickens a small plot of land to grow, few livestock if possible and farmers markets, good food and good company and I am the happiest man on the planet, my tastes at in expensive. I love England, but it's not what I want it to be right now, lets just leave it there.

Thanks for the Babbel advice, point taken. Would love to be learning with real in front of me French talking people, but not so easy right now.
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Old May 18th 2018, 1:46 pm
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Default Re: Normandy or Brittany

Originally Posted by grumpygit View Post
Sad thing is I find joy in being grumpy rather than a weakness Quite simply I have loved France for decades now and they way of life. I won't be working there as I have my own small firm back in the UK which I will continue, even though I will take a hit, quality of life and all that though. I will have to spend 50-50 in both, but that's a start, I might even think about having a gite or something to keep me occupied.
You should research this very carefully. Maybe even start another thread with a pertinent title, as this one might not attract those in the know. You'll have Residence, Tax, Healthcare,... issues to sort out and if your French isn't adequate, you'll need help!
Running a gîte is another subject to be researched, with all the various rules and regulations to comply with....
Not wishing to put you off, but you can't have had much contact with French Bureaucracy over the decades, and as I'm wont to say, fore-warned is fore-armed!
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Old May 18th 2018, 4:52 pm
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Default Re: Normandy or Brittany

As DMU says, you probably need to get professional advice on keeping the UK business going.

At present, Brits moving to France do so under the EU freedom of movement directive, which has special provision for cross-border workers (ie living in one country and working in another) which you could probably qualify under. Your healthcare and income tax arrangements would then follow the appropriate rules and it's all pretty seamless. However, it's looking likely that the UK will no longer be party to these arrangements after Brexit once it has quit the free movement zone. You'd then be looking at immigration requirements and I don't see how you would get a visa on this basis. But of course we don't know what special concessions, if any, Brits will be given by the EU after Brexit.

As regards Brittany / Normandy, they were my two top choices as well. I wanted to live in or near a small town and nearly chose Saint Malo but eventually ended up in a small town in Basse Normandie.

Can't fault your choice of location and good luck with the plans.
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Old May 18th 2018, 9:49 pm
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Default Re: Normandy or Brittany

Originally Posted by EuroTrash View Post
As DMU says, you probably need to get professional advice on keeping the UK business going.

At present, Brits moving to France do so under the EU freedom of movement directive, which has special provision for cross-border workers (ie living in one country and working in another) which you could probably qualify under. Your healthcare and income tax arrangements would then follow the appropriate rules and it's all pretty seamless. However, it's looking likely that the UK will no longer be party to these arrangements after Brexit once it has quit the free movement zone. You'd then be looking at immigration requirements and I don't see how you would get a visa on this basis. But of course we don't know what special concessions, if any, Brits will be given by the EU after Brexit.

As regards Brittany / Normandy, they were my two top choices as well. I wanted to live in or near a small town and nearly chose Saint Malo but eventually ended up in a small town in Basse Normandie.

Can't fault your choice of location and good luck with the plans.
Hi Euro
I am a long way from going into this blind, first thing I made of point of saying and was told the same by someone else whose advice I value was have a 6 month cooling off period and do your research, I am giving it one year at least. I have considered a few things already, Brexit being one and I have that already sorted, my Irish passport is in the post as I type.

Like I have already made a point if saying I know these things are never easy and never run in straight lines, I am sure nobody needs telling that, I just need to find the problems and decide whether it's worth it. My mate has been over there 15 years with his wife, straight away I have a bucket load of advice, they live not far from Granville, not sure I want them on my doorstep, but close would be nice, that's why I am asking for advice on good areas.
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Old May 19th 2018, 12:19 am
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Default Re: Normandy or Brittany

Originally Posted by grumpygit View Post
Hi dmu

. I love England, but it's not what I want it to be right now, lets just leave it there.

.
as a poster in the US forum says. "same shit, different bucket".
I can absolutely assure you that whatever you think you are leaving behind in England, you will find it in France.
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Old May 19th 2018, 6:33 am
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Default Re: Normandy or Brittany

Originally Posted by grumpygit View Post
I have considered a few things already, Brexit being one and I have that already sorted, my Irish passport is in the post as I type.
That's good then, although I don't quite see how it will solve the cross-border worker issue if the UK stops issuing EU portable health documents but at least residency won't be an issue.

"Good" areas is so subjective. When you say "rural" do you mean that in the UK sense or "rural" in the FR sense; do you like chocolate-box pretty or do you like wilder and more rugged; do you like coastal or inland; what facilities would you find convenient, etc etc etc. A assume you mean rural in the UK sense since you say rural area with good food and good company, and French "rural" areas tend not to have a lot of social life..

PF is of course right to a great extent, France isn't Utopia it's just a country with its own problems like all countries have. Folk often say that moving to get away from something doesn't work, you have to move in order to be somewhere that you want to be, and it does sound as if you're doing that. Again - good luck with it.
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Old May 19th 2018, 7:16 am
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Default Re: Normandy or Brittany

Originally Posted by grumpygit View Post
Hi Euro
I am a long way from going into this blind, first thing I made of point of saying and was told the same by someone else whose advice I value was have a 6 month cooling off period and do your research, I am giving it one year at least. I have considered a few things already, Brexit being one and I have that already sorted, my Irish passport is in the post as I type.

Like I have already made a point if saying I know these things are never easy and never run in straight lines, I am sure nobody needs telling that, I just need to find the problems and decide whether it's worth it. My mate has been over there 15 years with his wife, straight away I have a bucket load of advice, they live not far from Granville, not sure I want them on my doorstep, but close would be nice, that's why I am asking for advice on good areas.
That's good, they'll have given you a lot of info on the nitty-gritty of living in France and what differences to expect from life in the UK.
But unless they, too, are running a UK business while living in France, they won't be able to advise you on your Tax/Healthcare status and you must get professional advice.
You've got the time between now and then and, in addition to the Babbel course, are there evening classes in French that you could attend?
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Old May 19th 2018, 7:24 am
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Default Re: Normandy or Brittany

Originally Posted by petitefrancaise View Post
as a poster in the US forum says. "same shit, different bucket".
I can absolutely assure you that whatever you think you are leaving behind in England, you will find it in France.
I have no idea what that even means
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Old May 19th 2018, 7:29 am
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Default Re: Normandy or Brittany

Originally Posted by EuroTrash View Post
That's good then, although I don't quite see how it will solve the cross-border worker issue if the UK stops issuing EU portable health documents but at least residency won't be an issue.

"Good" areas is so subjective. When you say "rural" do you mean that in the UK sense or "rural" in the FR sense; do you like chocolate-box pretty or do you like wilder and more rugged; do you like coastal or inland; what facilities would you find convenient, etc etc etc. A assume you mean rural in the UK sense since you say rural area with good food and good company, and French "rural" areas tend not to have a lot of social life..

PF is of course right to a great extent, France isn't Utopia it's just a country with its own problems like all countries have. Folk often say that moving to get away from something doesn't work, you have to move in order to be somewhere that you want to be, and it does sound as if you're doing that. Again - good luck with it.

Of course just about most positive advice in any subject can be "subjective", all you can do is try and give a good picture of your preferences/likes etc and then go and see for yourself, in my game I count on my name being given or passed on to other customers in the form of references, again, it's subjective if I am any good or not.
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Old May 19th 2018, 7:31 am
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Default Re: Normandy or Brittany

Why don't you include in your planning closing your business for say a month and renting a gite.
You use the time to explore the area you have chosen and to view the area and neighbours from the point of view of a resident rather than as a tourist.
You can do this several times at different seasons of the year and possibly different locations.
If you decide that you want a more permanent move - say 5 or 6 months a year then consider renting long-term rather than buying.
Owning a property in France is not an investment as in the UK.
It can be difficult to meet french people especially if your french isn't good but if you live "out in the sticks" then you may find that it is difficult to
find the french life that you are looking for.
I would consider closeness to services like shops; restaurants and bars a priority.
I have reached out to french people by joining the local golf club and being prepared to speak exclusively in french ( I understand what I am saying but I don't know if their french is good enough to understand me ).
HTH
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Old May 19th 2018, 7:44 am
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Default Re: Normandy or Brittany

Originally Posted by EuroTrash View Post
That's good then, although I don't quite see how it will solve the cross-border worker issue if the UK stops issuing EU portable health documents but at least residency won't be an issue.

"Good" areas is so subjective. When you say "rural" do you mean that in the UK sense or "rural" in the FR sense; do you like chocolate-box pretty or do you like wilder and more rugged; do you like coastal or inland; what facilities would you find convenient, etc etc etc. A assume you mean rural in the UK sense since you say rural area with good food and good company, and French "rural" areas tend not to have a lot of social life..

PF is of course right to a great extent, France isn't Utopia it's just a country with its own problems like all countries have. Folk often say that moving to get away from something doesn't work, you have to move in order to be somewhere that you want to be, and it does sound as if you're doing that. Again - good luck with it.
After moving out of Wimbledon in my teens and then joining and leaving the forces I have lived only in villages, I am just an outdoors type and still train for triathlons, hike, wild camp, fish etc, fresh air and scenic roads and a slower pace of life are essential to me at times. France with all it's issues can offer me a smallholding the likes of what I cannot even come close to in the UK right now, yet the closeness to the UK for me I find appealing. One of my favourite area in France is the Pyrenees, but just does not tick all the boxes, I also have found Normandy to be far friendly to the British than most places in France.
I am also quite social, so do not want to be completely cut off, in my experience of villages I have found them to be far less lonely than most cities, it really is a case of what you put in locally you will get back, I am sure France will be no different.

Being in the Forces I have been in many of EU countries, Germany of course the longest, but was posted or have visited just about the lot of them, France is out there on it's own for places I would like to live, this is not a recent whim
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