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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We are currently living near Bourg en Bresse, Ain. Whilst we really love our house, we are not so keen on the area. There are very few expats and extremely little English is spoken. We have made big efforts to learn French, but it's taking a long time. Sadly, we are not good linguists.

We have begun to think we should move to an area with a more international community. We have been thinking of Divonne les Bains as it's very international and I have family in Geneva. However, Divonne les Bains is extremely expensive. I'm not sure we could afford anything there. I love it there though

I'm open to anywhere on this side of France, but my DH says its Divonne les Bains or UK. I'm hopeful I can persuade him otherwise as we both love being in France.

What nice areas are there on this side of France that are not too expensive, have an international community and are not in the mistral? (We had enough wind in Scotland to last a lifetime!!)

Thank you for your help!

I also need help with renting / selling, but I'll post separately about that.
 

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I would make some inquiries about just what the "international" community in Divonne les Bains consists of. Just the fact of having expats in the area doesn't always mean they "hang out" together. Some expats are actively trying to avoid others of their own nationality.

And I note that where you are, Bourg-en-Bresse has one of the few AVFs that maintains a presence even through the summer months. Bourg-en-Bresse - AVF - Accueil des Villes Françaises AVF is a newcomers' association for both French and foreigner, generally made up of folks who have moved themselves at some point and know what it's like to be "all alone" in a new town.

Expat enclaves tend to be expensive because the expats have overpaid for the property they've bought up and run property values up beyond the reach of the locals. (At least that's what our French friends tell me.)

But if you're not in too big a hurry to move one, why not "try out" Divonne for a couple of weeks over the summer and see if the area really is up to your expectations. You might also want to try out someplace like Normandy, where there are LOTS of British expats, though I'm not sure how "organized" they are. Plus, you can get radio from the UK much of the time.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for your reply!

Yes, there is an AVF. We joined last year and met one lovely lady who introduced us to her daughter. They are both delightful. The others weren't very interested because our French isn't great. I think a lot of French people, where we are, are very self sufficient. They have busy lives and have family living near by. They can't really be bothered with people who don't speak good French and who haven't always lived here.

We have been to Divonne les Bains a lot because my brother lives near by. We really like it. We met a lovely family last year and are still in touch. We usually house sit for my brother and have been doing for years. My children and I are going next week and we will go for a week in the summer. Going to the park is like being in the UK - there are so many anglophones!

I know what you mean about expats trying to avoid each other! There are a lot of people like that around.

Thank you again.
 

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... we are not so keen on the area. There are very few expats and extremely little English is spoken

... we both love being in France.
Would maybe help peeps suggest areas that might suit if you could be more specific about the things you like about France and hope to find in another area? And the things you dislike about where you are now, apart from the fact that people speak French?

The only criterion you've mentioned so far is having English speakers around you, and on that basis your DH might have a point in suggesting the UK ;)

Parts of Normandy still have lots of English-owned second homes so plenty of English voices to be heard in the summer, starting around now and will carry on through to September, but far less out of season. There's been a bit of an expat exodus in recent years.
 
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