The formula: Family (usually English, as they’re the neighbours just across the channel), fed up with city life, having vacationed previously in France, sell their house (if they have one to sell) pack themselves, kids and animals in their only vehicle, and with no concrete employment prospects, plus barely (if any) French language skills, commence their (they hope) more than a Year in Provence French Travel adventure.
While this “Tour de France is obviously romantic, it’s equally not very realistic. However, some of the starry eyed immigrants do make it work. Otherwise there would be no books in this genre. Right?
Some might argue that the invariably sunny picture these books paint of French Life, particularly French Country Life, seduce disgruntled city-ites and convince them that despite the obstacles, they too can, somehow, someway, find their dream cottage on the French Riviera.
The big stumbling block for most making the move to France today, is the one they consider least. The French Language. Particularly French Grammar. If the prospective immigrants have had even a few French Lessons, this will be glaringly apparent.
Complicating communication even further is the fact that French words and phrases have a gender. That means that inanimate objects – like a fork or a tree are either masculine or feminine. Definitely a concept that takes some getting used to if you come from a country where everything that’s not alive has no gender. N’est ce pas? If you are planning on moving to france then go for it.It’s a good thought.
And then there’s something that every country has. Which the people of every country hate. Red tape. Bureaucracy. And France has more than enough to confuse and befuddle even it’s own natives. So you can imagine the difficulty (to put it mildly) that non French face. Non- French speakers, frankly, have no chance in cutting their way through this paper chase.
You need a permit for everything. But you don’t get that permit at just one place. No. That would be too logical and convenient. You must first get an application for a permit at one location. Then go to another to get it stamped. And then,( yes it is this bad), go to another to deliver it.
But wait- there’s more! Assuming your paper doesn’t fall into a bureaucratic “black hole” never again to be seen, you can wait untold weeks before finally receiving it. And, should you have been careless enough to have used blue ink instead of black, you will be back where you started.
These “cold showers” of every day French reality will, without a doubt, drench your French dream. Usually, when it’s too late. When you’ve made the move and now get to experience the frustrations as well as the fun.