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

Interviews

Jennifer Fairbanks - Dordogne

"The provision of bilingual lessons is highly commended and wonderful for children and adults alike, the children learn their mother tongue in fun ways and get to make new friends too. My daughter has a happy life and I dont think there is anything that could improve it at the moment apart from seeing her Grandparents more frequently." (JF Dec 2010)

  • Interview with Jennifer Fairbanks

     What is your name, age and how long have you lived in France?
    Jennifer Fairbanks, 43, lived in France 2.5 years

    Whereabouts in France do you live?
    Monsegur, Gironde 33

    What nationality are you and your partner?
    English

    How many children do you have and what are their names and ages?
    We have 1 daughter Darcie 5 years old. My husband Doug has 3 grown up children.

    Do you work and if so what to you do?
    We have a gite /chambre dhotes business and I am a florist.

    What was your experience of relocating to France with children?
    My experience has been very positive, we have met lots of lovely people, the lifestyle is excellent for children and I love the freedom for little ones, they seem to be children for longer here. We have been kept busy with our business and renovating our barn into a home.

    How well integrated would you say you and your children are?
    We are slowly making friends both French and English, my language skills are improving and Darcie is very happy here and I would say very well integrated.

    What language do you speak to your children?
    English

    What is your impression of childcare and education in France so far?
    I find the childcare and education strict but very fair, wonderful relationships with my daughter and her teachers and I get a very good impression at this stage.

    What school do your children go to?
    Ecole Maternelle Monsegur

    Why did you choose this school and are you happy with your choice?
    We chose a house with a school within a short distance and liked this school, as all the levels of school, maternelle, primaire and college are near to each other in the same small town.

    Where you live, how good are the facilities for children (shops, restaurants, activities etc)?
    We are close to a small town with shops, restaurants etc., but tend to travel for activities at the moment as we are tending to go to activities with Darcies english friends that she met when still very small and it gives us opportunity to meet up with other children and parents.

    What do you think are the main advantages and disadvantages of being a parent from the international community living in France?
    We are open to lots of different activities in a much wider area than our local town, which stems from the international community, and perhaps we have more choice in many areas, I dont find any outstanding disadvantages apart from the distances between friends, but it also is an advantage as it broadens your horizons.

    Is there anything you think would improve children’s lives in France?
    The provision of bilingual lessons is highly commended and wonderful for children and adults alike, the children learn their mother tongue in fun ways and get to make new friends too. My daughter has a happy life and I dont think there is anything that could improve it at the moment apart from seeing her Grandparents more frequently.

    What advice would you give for anyone having a baby or thinking of relocating to France with children?
    Learn French beyond school level, be prepared to be more self sufficient, actively search out French and English friends for yourself and your children, dont stay at home...there are lots of lovely people out there!

    What couldn’t you live without in France?
    I try to have cheddar cheese, baked beans and quorn in stock, veggie food isnt very common here!!

    What could you live without in France?
    Paperwork!!

    (JF Dec 2010)