Thinking of emigrating? Want to find a place to stop off for a chat in your mother tongue whilst in France? We’ve done a bit of research and found some areas you may wish to visit to recreate a bit of home whilst you’re in France.
If you are an expatriate, we can’t stress strongly enough the importance of integration and the benefits you’ll find from making friends with the local French. This post is really just a brief list to point you towards certain areas where the language barrier won’t be so much of an issue, if you’re new to the country or a bit homesick.
France is referred to as a melting pot; you’ll find people from all over Europe so you won’t be alone. The rules of being a stranger in a strange land should always be heeded. My apologies for being didactic but, efforts with your new neighbours should be made (particularly with language), respect for local custom and traditions etc. will not steer you wrong. As you’ll find in most countries, the native population only really take exception to immigrants when expats establish communities to the exclusion of nationals.
British expats tend to gather in the south of France, for a hotter climate, its close proximity to Spain, another country heavy on British expats, as well as open countryside that’s ideal for retirees to relax. Areas such as Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon have moderately sized British communities, generally because the environment is so pleasant. As a somewhat countrified location it is stereotypically a rather sleepy part of France, but you’ll notice the division once an international football or rugby match is playing.
The expats are not secluded in the south of France, you can find them all over the country, and one that stands out is Dordogne. This is a favoured destination for British immigrants with more than 20,000 moving in 2006. It is site to over 1500 castles and the famous caves of Lascaux.
If you prefer a more urban setting there is a large expat community in Paris and Lyon. There are plenty of meetup expat groups online. You’ll be far more likely to make a large group of friends in one of the cities than in a rural setting. There’s been a downturn in businesses run by British people in France but there are still locations for English pubs and B&Bs the further north you are, particularly the tourist spots in Normandy and Brittany.
If you are planning on a move to France you can fill the car with the items you won’t trust to the movers and take the family for a road trip to your new home at minimal expense.