Smart move

Yes, you can move to France; just fol­low th­ese 10 steps for a smooth tran­si­tion

French Property News - - Contents -

If you want to be liv­ing the dream, take th­ese 10 sim­ple steps to get set­tled into your new French home, says Julie Sav­ill

Your bags are packed, you’re ready to go, and you have your check­list of in­te­gra­tion tips firmly in hand. Good, this is go­ing to be fun!

1) Iso­la­tion or pri­vacy? At the be­gin­ning of the search for your new prop­erty, you need to have in mind what you want on a so­cial level. When you say you’re look­ing for iso­la­tion, do you re­ally mean that?

Iso­la­tion is easy to find in France (it’s about three times the size of the UK with a sim­i­lar pop­u­la­tion). In ru­ral ar­eas, such as the Au­vergne re­gion, for in­stance, pop­u­la­tion den­sity goes down to 50 peo­ple per square kilo­me­tre. Com­pare that to Shrop­shire, one of the UK’S least densely pop­u­lated coun­ties at 136 per square kilo­me­tre.

It may be that iso­la­tion is not what you want and that pri­vacy is what you should ac­tu­ally be look­ing for. You can live on the edge of a French ham­let, or in a prop­erty a few hun­dred me­tres from a vil­lage, and be ex­tremely pri­vate but still have the sup­port and se­cu­rity of not-too-dis­tant neigh­bours.

Move a cou­ple of kilo­me­tres fur­ther from a vil­lage (a nice cy­cling dis­tance, for in­stance) and you can crank up the mu­sic, dance naked in the gar­den and not scare any­one.

2) Start the school year right

Get your tim­ing right if you have chil­dren. If you can ar­range to move to your new home dur­ing the sum­mer hol­i­days, you can all get set­tled, en­joy a lovely French sum­mer and get them ready to start school in Septem­ber.

Most vil­lages have a cen­tre aéré or cen­tre de loisirs. It’s like a day camp for kids where they do lots of ac­tiv­i­ties. Over the course of a sum­mer there might be swim­ming, fish­ing, kayak­ing, gar­den­ing, paint­ing, singing, a trip to a theme park and so on. Food is pro­vided and more and more of the cen­tres have can­teens that use or­ganic in­gre­di­ents.

There is likely to be a mix of na­tion­al­i­ties but it will be pre­dom­i­nantly French so lan­guage skills will come on in leaps and bounds amidst all the fun – and they might well make a friend or two who will be a fa­mil­iar face when school starts.

Ask at your lo­cal mairie (town hall) for de­tails and try to book early as the num­bers are lim­ited. The cost is around €10 per day. If you are reg­is­tered with the CAF ( Caisse d’al­lo­ca­tions Fa­mil­iales) in France and re­ceiv­ing pay­ments (sim­i­lar to fam­ily al­lowance in the UK), the cost can go down to €3 per day.

3) Kid speak

Stick­ing with the lan­guage theme, there are a few things that will help chil­dren. The younger they are when they make the move, the eas­ier they will find it. Young brains are like sponges and within weeks they’ll be chat­ting with friends and cor­rect­ing your pro­nun­ci­a­tion.

Above pri­mary school age it gets harder and they’ll be deal­ing with a level of study that is hard in a new sec­ond lan­guage. There are so­lu­tions. France has some ex­cel­lent in­ter­na­tional schools and this can of­ten be a

Do you re­ally want splen­did iso­la­tion...

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