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

Interviews

Caroline Bartley - La Mayenne

"The locals seem to welcome the influx of Brits better now than they did 20 years ago although we seem to be less of a novelty! They arent impressed by those who come and stay amoungst the Brits and dont make any attempt to mix with the locals and speak the language. Living in La Mayenne is very pleasant, I would never go back to the UK, we have our own land with chickens, horses etc.... Its graet for the kids to be able to go out on their bikes and meet their friends without having to worry about what could happen to them!" (CB. April 2011)

  • Caroline Bartley - La Mayenne

     

    My names Caroline Bartley, Im 32 and have been living in La Mayenne for almost 20 years. Imoved here with my parents whom had been wanting to move to France for years, they made the move in 1991 when they found a jobs here. My brother, sisters and myself had to follow!
    I still have english nationality although Im seriously thinking of getting French nationality as my life is here now and the fact that I cant vote even though I work and pay tax here Im still not compleatly in the system.
    My partner is French. I have 3 children, Betsy 12, Joey 9 and Phoebie-Rose 2 1/2 and a baby due in September. My first child was born in Laval hospital, my second and third in Fougères as I liked the "ambiance" better and the mid-wives are more into natural births etc...
    Ive been working as an estate agent but have taken time off to renovate our new house. Ive always rented houses up until last year when i bought our new house. My partner also owns a house. Obviously beeing an estate agent myself helped the process of buying although its quite simple even for those that dont know how it works.
    I would say that we are all very well intergrated, the children have many friends and are part of different associations (sport and culture). Chlidcare in the Mayenne is good although in the country we somewhet lack "creches" so the only option is "Assistante Maternelle". Education is fine, I went to "collège" and "lycée" etc here and did well, my children are doing well too! They have less problems as they are bilingual whereas I didnt speak any french at all!!
    Betsy goes to the public Collège in Andouillé, where I went. Joey is at the public school in Chailland and Phoebie-Rose will be starting in the private school in Chailland in September.
    The locals seem to welcome the influx of Brits better now than they did 20 years ago although we seem to be less of a novelty! They arent impressed by those who come and stay amoungst the Brits and dont make any attempt to mix with the locals and speak the language. Living in La Mayenne is very pleasant, I would never go back to the UK, we have our own land with chickens, horses etc.... Its graet for the kids to be able to go out on their bikes and meet their friends without having to worry about what could happen to them! I cant think of anything I would like to improve, as far as our lives are concerned, they are polite and respectful and are always busy. I dont think I would alow them to do half of the things they do if we were living in Wolverhampton!!
    As far as day trips go, our favorite place is the Refuge de larche in Chateau Gontier, its a great day out with loads of animals to see and a great picnic area. Our favorite restaurant is the "Creperie" in Chailland.
    As for having a baby, I think it all depends on the sort of birth you intend to have, if you want a very surveyed and medical birth then Laval hospital is good for that. For something more natural Id go (and will be going) to Fougères.
    If anyones planning on relocating to La Mayenne with children, I would tell them its very difficult for children over 12 unless they already have good knoledge of the French language and culture. For younger kids, theyll adapt very well and after a year in French school will be teaching their parents French! It would take me hours to express all the advice I could give on this, but if anyone has questions then Id be pleased to answer them.

    April 2011