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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, we are in the very fortunate position where we are able to move to France for a year or so. My wife works from home except for a couple of times a month where she has to travel internationally and I am going to take a year off so I can spend more time with our 3 and 6 year olds and study French. The question is, where to go? We have the following success criteria:
- good schools (don't have to be international but worth having the option)
- international airport that flies to London, Frankfurt, Brussels, etc) within 1 hour train or drive
- warm climate for a decent chunk of the year
- language schools
- on edge/in/very near to a town or city that has life all year around so we won't feel cut off or die of boredom

Any thoughts?? Many thanks, Tom.
 

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Oh! And I forgot to say one very important criterion!!!: it must allow access very near by to great nature as we love hiking, biking, camping, etc.. Access to beautiful nature is essential. Thanks.
 

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Look around Bordeaux. The city is great, there's the sea, the wine country, and all sorts of stuff going on. The airport doesn't do Frankfurt, but does a load of other European destinations (Destinations departing from Bordeaux | Bordeaux-Merignac Airport). And there's the TGV link to Paris. And the Opera. And did I mention the wine? There's also an international Montessori school there.

Me, I'd avoid the Cote d'Azur, especially if you want to learn French. It's too cosmopolitan - it feels to me like every second person in Nice is speaking English.

Enjoy your year!
 

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The only truly international airport in France is Paris. Most other airports have only a limited number of destinations - and for the rest they'll fly you into the Paris hub to change planes. Or, you can always take the TGV (train) to Paris - much nicer than flying, anyhow, and often you can get a train directly to the airport at Roissy (CDG).

For the warm weather, you'll need to be in the south (and even that's not a guarantee year round as the last two winters have proven!).

The other big thing to understand is that France more or less shuts down in July and August. Clubs, associations, civic groups, theaters, and whatever else there is pretty much shut down for at least one of the two months. The exception are the various summer festivals (of which there are quite a few down south).

Personally, I'd recommend Montpellier. It's a university town with lots going on. It's also the most desireable spot for folks looking to move from elsewhere in France - for many of the reasons you're looking for. And they have a TGV station with service to Paris.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Bevdeforges said:
The only truly international airport in France is Paris. Most other airports have only a limited number of destinations - and for the rest they'll fly you into the Paris hub to change planes. Or, you can always take the TGV (train) to Paris - much nicer than flying, anyhow, and often you can get a train directly to the airport at Roissy (CDG).

For the warm weather, you'll need to be in the south (and even that's not a guarantee year round as the last two winters have proven!).

The other big thing to understand is that France more or less shuts down in July and August. Clubs, associations, civic groups, theaters, and whatever else there is pretty much shut down for at least one of the two months. The exception are the various summer festivals (of which there are quite a few down south).

Personally, I'd recommend Montpellier. It's a university town with lots going on. It's also the most desireable spot for folks looking to move from elsewhere in France - for many of the reasons you're looking for. And they have a TGV station with service to Paris.
Cheers,
Bev
Thanks Bev. Very helpful. We used to live in Paris some years ago so I am v familiar with how the world closes down in the summer. Re Montpellier, any recommendations re where to live? Budget would be up to 2.5k euros per month and we are 2 adults and 2 young children. I am guessing the city centre would be a bit hectic for young children so suburbs are probably best. Thanks to anyone with a view! Tom
 

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Toulouse! Poor train connections but good air connections (You can now fly direct to Frankfurt, Berlin, Hamburg, London, Istanbul...) Outdoor stuff nearby, decent weather, cultural life, and relatively friendly
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
qiubuo said:
Toulouse! Poor train connections but good air connections (You can now fly direct to Frankfurt, Berlin, Hamburg, London, Istanbul...) Outdoor stuff nearby, decent weather, cultural life, and relatively friendly
Thanks a lot!
 

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You know, I think you'll have a great time wherever you go. This is a great country, there's so much to see, and ordinary life is wonderful. I might not put myself in Calais, but other than that, I think you'll be fine. Since your first post I've been finding places popping up in my mind - Nancy, Perpignan, Valence, etc, etc - and I'd be happy in any of them. I'm sure you will be too.

K
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
NewMexicanMove said:
You know, I think you'll have a great time wherever you go. This is a great country, there's so much to see, and ordinary life is wonderful. I might not put myself in Calais, but other than that, I think you'll be fine. Since your first post I've been finding places popping up in my mind - Nancy, Perpignan, Valence, etc, etc - and I'd be happy in any of them. I'm sure you will be too.

K
Thanks K. I am sure you are right. I just need to get on with the practicalities now. Think I am going to go for Montpellier so will check out schools, where to live in the city that works with young children, etc. Very exciting. Won't move till next year but it may take that long to sort out schools etc I guess. And meanwhile I can come visit as haven't been to Montpellier for several years. Thanks again.
 
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