Once we had decided that the move to France was something that we wanted to seriously consider, it was time to do a lot more research. To do this we made use of both friends that we had already living in France and also online.
Friends Are Invaluable
We are very lucky because we had a couple of friends who had already made the big move to France and they were very willing to speak to us and pass on their first hand experience.
We had a long chat on the phone with a friend for example who had moved 2 years previously and that was the time to ask those questions that had being gnawing away at us :
- What is the house buying process like ?
- Is it easy to fit into a new country & culture ?
- What do we need to look for when buying a house ?
- What is the cost of living like compared to the UK ?
Use Social Media
Back in the day all research had to be done out of books or asking people who had experienced it in person but social media and especially Facebook has been invaluable.
We made contact with our other friend in France through Facebook and direct messaging was a great way of asking questions.
Expats In France
Both of our friends also advised to join the Facebook group ” Expats in France “. This is a closed group but provided you are not intending to join the group to Spam the members & you explain about your intended move to France, they will let you join. There are also other groups to join.
In this group the members are either currently in France or are looking to move and questions will get asked about everything from how to move your pets to France to what is correct number of kisses on the cheek when you meet someone ( evidently it varies by region ! ) .
It was still quite secret for us the impending move and only a handful of people knew of our plans and so I am quite happy to admit we were just ” lurkers ” in that group absorbing all the information being shared.
Apart from the big decision of making the move, the most important thing is deciding where to live. The move for us was going to be a downsizing exercise for us and being mortgage free and France is a great way of doing this.
House prices are much lower than the UK, have a look at the Leggett website, choose a region on the map and put in number of bedrooms etc and see what it throws up. If you are uncertain where to search, go with Department 87 , Haute Vienne .
You Can Overdo It
You can do masses of analysis recording massive spreadsheets of all information for each area and go into super overload of information but I think that can be overkill. I am happy to admit I am a Management Accountant and we love data but in the end any decision on your location will come down to gut feel and knowing you have found ” the one ” .
Data is good but you will rely just as much on photos and your memories. Though recording will become important later on when viewing houses when you record your views on each house you see.
Get Yourself Over There
The best research is boots on the ground, in another post I will let you know how me & Hazel got on when we made our first visit to France in 11 years !