Your interactive family guide to France as recommended by local mums | Last updated 4 weeks ago

Interviews

Vicky Formston - Toulouse

"I think that France is a fantastic place to bring up children and thats why we wanted to stay here (originally my husband was just on a 2 year contract). I had Alicia at the Ambrose Paris in Toulouse and found it hard being in the hospital as the mid wives contradicted each other all the time, and I checked myself out after 4 days. But the care I had while I was pregant was amazing, being able to have a scan every 4 weeks was brilliant." (VF, July 2011)

  • What is your name, age and how long have you lived in Toulouse?
    Vicky Formston, age 29, and lived in France for 4.5 years....since 8th January 2007

    How many children do you have, what are their names and when were they born?
    I have one child, a daughter, she is called Alicia and she was born 20.03.09

    Do you work and if so what do you do?
    I worked for 8 months at Airbus on Colomiers, as I had worked in Airbus Broughton in the UK. But now I just work at home with my own bussiness Handmade Gifts & Goodies

    What was your experience of having children in Toulouse?
    I think that France is a fantastic place to bring up childern and thats why we wanted to stay here (originally my husband was just on a 2 year contract). I had Alicia at the ambrose paris in Toulouse and found it hard being in the hospital as the mid wives contradicted each other all the time, and I checked myself out after 4 days. But the care I had while I was pregant was amazing, being able to have a scan every 4 weeks was brilliant.

    For those who don`t know, can you describe what is Toulouse like?
    Toulouse is a stunning place, the town centre its self is filled with hundreds of shops, bars, restaurants (LEntrecote being my favorite). And about a 10 minute walk from the shops in a river, where you can walk along or sit and have a beer/ice cream.
    Its definetly a place for sight seeing and I would advise people to take a camera, as there are some beautiful buildings.

    How well integrated would you say you and your children are?
    With Alicia only just turned 2 its hard for me to say just yet. But I would say quite well, as she attends a French Halte Garderie once a week for 3 hours where they only speak French and she copes/understands very well, considering we only speak in English with her. We also plan to send her to a French school when she is 3, as we are permanment in France its the best soloution.

    What language do you speak to your children?
    Mainly English, although I do try and teach her a few French words as I know its important.

    Do you feel that you need to speak French to be fully integrated in the area?
    Yes and no..............it would help,as otherwise you find yourself surrounded my English people.

    Do you feel that having children has helped you integrate?
    Yes I would, as I have met many friends via play groups etc...

    How much French and how much English culture do you think your children are exposed to?
    mainly English at the moment, as Alicia is mostly at home wiith me. Apart from her 3 hours on a Wednesday at the halte garderie.
    But she starts in September at the Brext creche for 10 hours on a Wednsday so I think she will be more interngrated into the French life then

    How welcoming were the locals when you moved to Toulouse?
    Very,and we made friends very quickly

    How would you describe a typical local?
    I wouldnt like to say (with some people)............just very French, and set in their ways.
    Maybe thats just my neighbours. Most French I met are friendly and kind and always willing to help.

    Do your children go to a nursery or have any childcare, and if so how do you rate it?
    Halte garderie 3 hours a week, I think its good but not long enough. And as I didnt work (last August when she started) they would only allow me 3 hours......I would have liked more.

    Are there any particular family restaurants, activities for kids or shops you can recommend in Toulouse?
    Restaurant - LEntrecote and Activities - Mums & tots group in Leguvin

    What do you think are the main advantages and disadvantages of being a parent from the International Community living in Toulouse?
    Not sure to be honest

    Is there anything you think would improve children´s lives where you live?
    A park......but I live in the middle of nowhere so theres no chance of that.

    What advice would you give for anyone having a baby or thinking of relocating to Toulouse with children?
    Its the best thing they would do, as its a better life for them and the children. Advise would be get the kids into play groups etc as soon as possible as its a great place to meet friends for babys and mums

    Can you ever imagine moving back to the UK?
    No

    What couldn´t you live without in Toulouse?
    English food

    (July 2011)