A dream come true

Alpes-Maritimes, 10th of October

HouseWhen my husband Ashley and I first met in 2001, I told him my dream of living in France. I had worked in Versailles for 3 months a few years ago, and had fallen in love with the French way of life. Luckily for me he also fancied a change, so we visited a Property Overseas Conference in Ascot where we met a fantastic couple who ran the Nice office of a French/UK relocation company.

Right place, right time

We fell in love with a property advertised on their website, and once we got out here we knew it was the one for us. The house we chose was one that we could live in immediately and renovate as we went along. 'Lieu dit St. Julien' was just that house. It is a large farmhouse built in 1837. The ground floor has 2 self-contained apartments, the first floor we could live in, and the top floor needed to be renovated, as it was a large attic. The house stands on 11.5 acres of land, which is mostly meadow and forest. Also on the land there are various other buildings just asking to be 'done up'. The idea was that I would run the place as a B&B, and also rent out the apartments. Ashley works as a Technical Specialist for a telecommunications company and would continue to work from home commuting to Europe and the States when required.

Getting ready

I gave up work at the end of April 2002, and we were married on 5th May. Both our houses were sold pretty quickly, and with the money we were able to start our married life with no mortgage. On Friday 28th June we finally said farewell to our families, flew out, signed the paperwork, and the house was ours.

Cracking the language

We've found that none of our neighbours speak English. It is like being a child again, and having to learn all the basic stuff from scratch. In the UK we knew the shops to go to, the services to get connected etc. This has been our main problem, as we need to get things done, and do not know where to start. Ashley learnt French at school, and I had a couple of terms, but that was a good few years ago as I am 39 now and Ashley 40. Just trying to understand the local Yellow Pages wears us out. It can get very frustrating, and we are extremely grateful when people come to our rescue.

JanieBut we have embraced the language, and are doing our best to learn it. This week I started a month's course in Nice to help me get some confidence. We also try to watch television in the evenings. There are only 3 channels, but having it on, even in the background, will get our ears used to hearing the language spoken, and the pronunciation.Everyone has been great. Our little town is certainly getting used to their first English residents.

Sent by: Janie


Charlotte 2006-07-03

Yes I agree that France is a lovely place and I am pleased to here that you got to live over there like you had wished to. Take care.

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Helen 2005-09-15

I have just logged on to search for French language lessons and found this diary which is great for me to read as myself, my husband and 2 children are planning to take the plunge and move to France next year. We are planning now and although we are very excited about the move (finding a property would be a start!) it is also very daunting because of the language barrier.

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