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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As we plan our move I'm thinking about how to make it as smooth as possible (which won't happen, je sais bien)
So put your thinking cap on, what would be the best piece of advice you would share with a newbie?
Merci bien
 

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A very good question!

Of course, there are several specifics that I could mention, but they may not apply to you or to others.

My best advice is to treat coming to France the same as going to a new school at the age of 11. Before you were the eldest in the school, now you are the youngest. Keep a low profile, don't assume anything - it's different here, ask questions and don't say "at my previous school we did it this way....". I found, and am still finding after 12 years in France, that each day I learn more about "life" and myself everyday.

DejW
 

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Ask, ask, ask - in your best (faltering French); don't assume; be (very, very) humble
 
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Well, as already said in this forum, learn French. Try to do everything in French. Even learn how to swear in French with the graduations from acceptable to downright rude. I'm sure some people here in this forum can help!

If you don't know about the Fr approach to apéros (and the difference between an apéro and an apéro dinatoire!) then we can help. The moment you arrive ask neighbours etc in for an apéro. Don't be surprised if it takes a year for the invitation back, just keep on inviting people.

Be prepared for black days when going back to the UK is a good idea.

I've been a consultant in business change management, and a lot of the principles and theories used in changing people and businesses applies to the leap across the channel. One idea for you is that there is the "learning curve". Most people understand this and buckle down to the learning new things. There is also the "forgetting curve". You need to forget how things were done in the UK, you avoid the "this X is different / wrong because it's not what I knew in the UK". There are many examples of this, kissing, pissing in public, commas instead of decimal points, the French shrug are all things that need to be accepted as "the norm".

I hope this helps....I'm sure our dear Hils can add her own comments - they are always interesting.

DejW
 

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Errrm, Dej, what IS "the difference between an apéro and an apéro dinatoire" 'cos I don't know .... ?
 

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An apéro is a pre-dinner drink, and you leave to go home to your own dinner around 8:00. Nibbles will be served, but no-one thinks that they constitute a meal.

An apéro dinatoire is where nibbles are replaced by a larger range of quiches, tartes etc. There may well be a cheese and ham quiche, and after that a "pudding" of an apple tart may be served. Here people go home around 9 or 10 feeling well fed without the need of a meal when they get home. Overall, more choice of eats and in larger quantity.

DejW


Errrm, Dej, what IS "the difference between an apéro and an apéro dinatoire" 'cos I don't know .... ?
 

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Oh - not sure that happens here; might be a regional thing.
 

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Dear Hils, of course, I understand that you don't get invited to these events very often. I omitted to say that it is usual to take off all your clothes before you are handed the first drink.


DejW
:D:D:D

You think I might have a problem with that ?
 

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Dear Hils, of course, I understand that you don't get invited to these events very often. I omitted to say that it is usual to take off all your clothes before you are handed the first drink.


DejW
New bloke arrives in small Australian town and is very pleasantly surprised when his nearest neighbour comes over and invites him to drinks at his place that night.

The new bloke, wanting to make a good impression, asks about what to wear, should he bring some booze etc etc.

The new neighbour advises that he should bring lots of beer but shouldn't worry too much about what he wears as usually soon after the party starts, everyone takes off their clothes and a lot of sex happens.

A bit taken aback but still wanting to fit in, the new blokes asks what time he should turn up.

Neighbour replies that it doesnt matter too much as its just the two of them
 

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Hi,
The best piece of advice I was given before coming to France (21 years ago) was to think about renting , rather than buying, a house. I did that and have rented from the same excellent landlord ever since , and saved thousands, which I didn't have to spend on "renovating," and repairs etc.
 

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Hi,
The best piece of advice I was given before coming to France (21 years ago) was to think about renting , rather than buying, a house. I did that and have rented from the same excellent landlord ever since , and saved thousands, which I didn't have to spend on "renovating," and repairs etc.
That's fine, Parsnips, except that deeply entrenched in my Brit upbringing is that "rent is lost money", ie only making the owner rich, and one needs something to leave to the next generation (other than debts), which you can't do if you use up your capital and what poxy little income you may have by paying rent.

That said, here in France, the system is distinctly more geared to renters rather than owners. You are right: there are no renovations/improvements/repairs to fret about (and pay for), you can tell cold callers for double-glazing/solar panels et al where to go, and you also don't get charged Taxe Fonciere, insurance is substantially less, and CAF pays out for rent and insurances but makes no contribution if you're an owner/occupier, AND you have access to Restos du Coeur. AND French Law favours the tenant over the owner.

BUT Brit upbringing dies hard, so we take the rough with the rough .....
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I was just going to say that hils, it's an entrenched thing although since being sent to Brussels I'm renting and I'm in the best home I've ever been with no worries about anything,
 

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As we plan our move I'm thinking about how to make it as smooth as possible (which won't happen, je sais bien)
So put your thinking cap on, what would be the best piece of advice you would share with a newbie?
Merci bien
If you want to fit in quickly, you could talk positively about our cheese and wine. It's a winner!
And I hope you like cheese!!! :D

Ps: Babybel and the Laughing Cow do not count, sorry...

Hope that helps
 

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Hi,
The "rent is lost money " argument doesn't hold water. If you have enough cash to buy -and most brits come with house sale proceeds- and rent , then you still have a good amount of capital.
If you invest it sensibly, you will make enough to pay the rent and make a profit. If you have to eat up the capital to live, then you would have been worse off if you bought , as you wouldn't have the capital to live off.
If you find you cannot survive in France (no job, business fails etc.) you are easily able to leave a rented home to return to the UK, and not be shackled , like so many ,to an unsaleable french house.
 

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Hi,
The "rent is lost money " argument doesn't hold water. If you have enough cash to buy -and most brits come with house sale proceeds- and rent , then you still have a good amount of capital.
If you invest it sensibly, you will make enough to pay the rent and make a profit. If you have to eat up the capital to live, then you would have been worse off if you bought , as you wouldn't have the capital to live off.
If you find you cannot survive in France (no job, business fails etc.) you are easily able to leave a rented home to return to the UK, and not be shackled , like so many ,to an unsaleable french house.
I didn't say it was a valid argument, just that it was a deeply entrenched argument.:)
 
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