Your interactive family guide to France as recommended by local mums | Last updated 3 months ago

Interviews

Birgit Mehrens- Le Bar sur Loup

"The French people are very considerate to pregnant women and the health system is highly rated.
Priority is given to pregnant women and you will be encouraged to go to the front of queues when in public, which is really nice.
The locals are all very interested in babies and like to talk to them when we pass by. You might even get advice from a local person, like you baby needs more clothes or I have been told my son should wear sunglasses to protect his eyes. I have been kindly donated some baby shoes by an elderly couple who regularly walk our street"
(BM, Jan 2011)

  • Interview wtih Birgit Mehrens

    What is your name, age and how long have you lived in Le Bar Sur Loup?
    Birgit mehrens, 35, 1 ½ years (2011)

    Why did you decide to move there and what is it like?
    we wanted to be somewhere near Monaco, Nice and Canne which was inland where we had the chance to enjoy the outdoors. When we saw the valley of Bar Sur loup from above in a lovely hill top village called Gordon we knew this was the place. We have lovely neighbours and the people of the village are very friendly and welcoming.

    What nationality are you and your partner?

    I am Australian and my husband is British

    How many children do you have, what are their names and when were they born?
    we have one little boy, james born jan 2010.

    Do you work and if so what do you do?
    no I don’t work at the moment.

    What was your experience of having a baby/babies in Le Bar Sur Loup?
    The French people are very considerate to pregnant women and the health system is highly rated.
    Priority is given to pregnant women and you will be encouraged to go to the front of queues when in public, which is really nice.
    The locals are all very interested in babies and like to talk to them when we pass by. You might even get advice from a local person, like you baby needs more clothes or I have been told my son should wear sunglasses to protect his eyes. I have been kindly donated some baby shoes by an elderly couple who regularly walk our street.

    Would you do things differently if you did it again?
    it is what it is, if I want to do something then I focus on the now to make a change

    How well integrated would you say you and your children are?
    we like to participate in town events but as james is only quite young we have found ourselves not as sociable as we used to be. As my French betters, James goes to school and time passes we will certainly become more and more integrated.

    What language do you speak to your children?
    we speak English

    What is your impression of childcare and education in Le Bar Sur Loup & the surrounding area?
    Childcare is hard to get into unless both parents are working which is a bit of a shame but there are the options to either paying for a ‘noonu’(private childcare often in their own home) or you can visit mother and baby groups either for free or for a small fee. There is a lovely school in just outside Bar Sur Loup village and we look forward to taking james there. Children can start going as young as 2 ½ years old.

    Do you think Nice & the surrounding areas is a family-friendly place to live?
    The area in general is great for families. I personally find living in an apartment in the heart of Nice city not as family friendly compared to living in the surrounding areas where you can have a little land with a yard for the children to play. The sea is calm for toddlers to swim or sail, skiing is within an hour and there are lovely parks with playgrounds for children. Although, there aren’t as many children activities as you might find in other countries, like the UK, I am told.

    How would you describe a typical Nicois? Are they generally welcoming of families from the International Community relocating to the region?
    I haven’t met many Nicois people. Like most French they love it when you can or try to speak French. there are so many international people here that it has become part of the norm to be relocating to the region. There might be some anxiety with some. People comment on how many foreigners are here but I have often heard how lovely they are too.

    What do you think are the main advantages and disadvantages of being a parent from the International Community living in the Nice area?
    When living in a foreign country you might want to experience the local traditions and cultures, being an anglo and socializing with other anglos can steer you away from these joys.
    I find the international community bond very well and friendships form quickly. There is plenty of advice and support from people of the international community when they are in similar situations. Children really help to create these bridges.

    Is there anything you think would improve children´s lives where you live?
    I would possibly suggest more emphasis on team sports starting from a very young age.

    What advice would you give for anyone having a baby or thinking of relocating to Nice and the surrounding area with children?
    Think thoroughly about where you want to live ie, close to the beach or further afield. Summer is very busy near the coast and traffic can be a real pain if you have to drive anywhere. You can often get stuck dead in traffic and its not nice when you have children in the car.

    What couldn´t you live without in Le Bar Sur Loup?
    The beautiful view of the gorge with surrounding forest and walking trails.

    What could you live without in Le Bar Sur Loup?
    The distance my husband has to travel to get to work every day.

    (Jan 2011)