The French Dream

Updated: Aug 7, 2019

Why France they ask?

Why not? seriously girl, but why?

Honestly, the thought of spending my halcyon days in the UK gives me hives! It's a small, over crowded island and land is stupid expensive!

Our close neighbour La Belle France has space for us to spread out a bit and I'm all for that. Bonus, land and homes are not as expensive as the UK.

It's a balance isn't it? You spend less of your income on a decent home and life is easier to manage all round!

One thing I've come to understand over the last two years, is that, everyone's reason for living in France is different, even if there are similarities. It doesn't always mean a chateau or manor house, clearly, often...... it means a 'do'er upper'. Making ends meet, better than one could in the UK or wherever in the world one lands from. Cheaper bricks and mortar and a chance to spend less all round.

There's no 'one' dream, no one size fits all and no wrong way to move to France. I don't know, dreams just seem easier to achieve in a foreign land, don't they? Infinitely more exciting too.

It is getting harder to live a decent life and save for a rainy day in the UK isn't it?

As unique as our individual dreamy escapes to France are, we definitely appear to be searching for the same thing............that which seems so out of reach, whilst we are busy earning a crust, treading the 9/5 working boards.

What's that then?

Er hem......a 'better quality of life'...........of course!

Amen to that.

The slow life.

Culturally, life in the UK is fast paced, swallows you up and spits you out. I loath it.

We all really, really, want to say 'Au revoir' to the Rat Race, wherever that may be. Nothing like shaking off the shackles of the soul sucking commutes, paying 3/4 of your salary to live in boxy house, which becomes ever so small and oppressive as time goes by. It sucks the life force out of us. Steals the joy.

There's more to life, right?

We want time back in the bank. Absolutely.

Life is indeed very short. Too short to waste it being a slave to the rhythm.

A more considered life and less of everything, bar wine and cheese of course? Maybe a bit of land so we can grow the 'good life', spend less and be kinder to the environment?

You get the chance in France. Sure. France isn't really a big consumer of fancy goods. No one cares!

I always laugh at French kitchens.....they are generally very basic, a sink is all, but do we need all these expensive fitted units? Is an old battered larder cupboard any worse? No of course not. 'Keeping up with the Joneses' is a thing we bring with us! Leave it at the airport wont you, please!

Madame France offers us an abundance of ramshackle properties with bags of character and woodworm, to boot. Property and land are so much cheaper than where we hail from and.........?

Better weather?

That would be lovely, ta!

Can't say cheaper in other areas, unfortunately, France like everywhere in Europe, is suffering rise upon rise, in the cost of living. Still, if you want it bad enough, you will economize, renovate on a budget and stretch out those pennies best you can, eh. With property prices so much cheaper, you are at least at the starting line!

To live in France is to take the blind fold off, ear plugs out, smell the roses and all that, isn't it?

Most folks still need an income, of course, we aren't all wealthy retirees, mores the pity. Maybe not as much needed as before, but you know we could potentially live till we are 120, so it's a long life we have to fund and that's something to think about. I look at a month for every decade. I'm 50 years old so I'm in the May, going into the June of my life. Whatever we have when we retire, needs to work well for us, long into the future. Folks, we are going to live longer, healthier, more active retired lives. Those pennies will have to stretch!

Still, there are many folks living in France very frugally on very small pensions. Is it a risk worth taking? Many still say yes! They are living well, despite the tiny budget and wouldn't hope to own a like for like home in the UK.

Although, increasingly it's not just a leap of faith for early retired couples. Single men and women of all ages and families with young and older kids are also making a break for it! For as many that are successful, the same amount return home, once bitten twice shy and all that.

Many families opt for the hospitality profession to make a buck, which is not easy, but can be rewarding and bonus you'll earn a little whilst working a lot.

Is this your dream?

Certainly working from home and making my home work for me, is my dream.

Our dreams are larger than life eh, colourful and vibrant, full of hope and positivity but what of the pit falls?

Like any international move, it's what you make of it. Settle well and all is good. Yes there will be bad days, sure and you'll have days when the language might as well be Klingon.......and yes you do have to learn as much as you can, as soon as possible. There's no way round it. To not learn the language is to isolate yourself or limit yourself to EXPAT groups. Not only that, but when you need medical attention, or legal paper work done, you'll end up having to employ a translator, every time. Your budget will only stand that for so long eh?

If you want to integrate properly into French life, learn the language. It's that simple. You don't have to be proficient, they are very forgiving. The French are just happy you tried!

Some days, it would seem easier just to go back to the push and pull of UK life and shop in M&S. I know. I believe most days will be good days and you'll sit in the sun after working hard on the renovations or garden and you'll thank your lucky stars. you live in France.

Escaping to France is not easy but if it's what you want, then go for it! Believe me its a path well trodden and I don't believe even Brexit will stop the exodus, any time soon!


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