"Don’t talk yourself out of it, there is never going to be a perfect time to make the move and it is difficult at times so be prepared, learn as much of the language as you can, without it you can become very isolated." (KR Dec 2010)
What is your name, age and how long have you lived in France?
Kirstie Rowbotham, 36, 4 years (Sept 2006)
Whereabouts in France do you live?
Les Leves et Thoumeyragues, nr Ste Foy La Grande, Gironde, 33
What nationality are you and your partner?
How many children do you have and what are their names and ages?
2, Benjamin (5 yrs), Jacques (3 yrs)
Do you work and if so what to you do?
Yes, we own a vineyard and make wine
What was your experience of having a baby in France? (if relevant)
Very good, I found the main difference between having a baby in France & in the UK was that there were many more staff in France
What was your experience of relocating to France with children? (if relevant)
My eldest was only 9 months when we moved here and we had a few hiccups finding a nanny but I wouldn’t have said that it was any more of a problem than if I had relocated within the UK.
How well integrated would you say you and your children are?
What language do you speak to your children?
What is your impression of childcare and education in France so far?
Our Nanny has been superb, so much so that she is now pretty much part of the family. Our boys are both happy at school and they seem to be receiving the help they need
What school do your children go to?
Local village school in Les Leves
Why did you choose this school and are you happy with your choice?
We think it is important to use the local village school to help with integration, and we are very happy.
Where you live, how good are the facilities for children (shops, restaurants, activities etc)?
Our small village has a baker, garage, postoffice, Mairie, hairdresser and there is a restaurant opening at the end of the year. The main supermarkets and shops are 10 minutes away in Ste Foy La Grande.
What do you think are the main advantages and disadvantages of being a parent from the international community living in France?
Advantages: way of life; space; children are bilingual; health care & education are better
Disadvantages: language; long way from family you have to build up a whole new network of friends and support;
Is there anything you think would improve children’s lives in France?
No, we are lucky that are family visit us every 6 weeks, I think that missing out on family could be a disadvantage
What advice would you give for anyone having a baby or thinking of relocating to France with children?
Don’t talk yourself out of it, there is never going to be a perfect time to make the move and it is difficult at times so be prepared, learn as much of the language as you can, without it you can become very isolated.
What couldn’t you live without in France?
The space, the way of life
What could you live without in France?!
(KR Dec 2010)