A year in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

First paddle in the Med, Cannes, Sept 2015

“That’s crazy!” was the response from some friends and family when we told them we were moving to France. We heard “amazing” and “brave” too. One year later (today in fact) I have to agree…that what we have done is really amazing, we’ve had to be brave, AND there are days when it all feels a bit crazy!

Last summer over the period of a few months we left our jobs in the UK (initiated by me receiving voluntary redundancy), packed up or sold our stuff, said our sad goodbyes, and followed our dream to live in the South of France, with our then nearly three year old son.

I’ve moved countries before, but not to a place where I don’t speak the language – going from Sydney to London was a walk in the park compared! We knew that becoming a part of the French system would be complicated and there would be a lot of bureaucracy to deal with, but in all honesty nothing could have prepared us for how stressful some things have been. Fortunately (and one of the main reasons we chose the Cote d’Azur) there is a large expat community living here, so we’ve received great advice and support from others.

We couldn’t have done the move without the help of my parents who packed and stored boxes for us, and joined us for the first few months while we found our feet. We have supported each other through the ups and downs, and have fun exploring the beautiful area and discovering the French way of life together.

My hubby and I both spent many childhood holidays in France and as a couple, which is probably why we are Francophiles now! These led to our dream to one day live here – we just needed the right opportunity to do it. But, how long were we willing to wait for that? In the end we decided to take a leap of faith, without jobs to go to and only a temporary holiday-let for the winter! It turns out the risk was worth taking.

Crazy, amazing, brave things we have achieved in a year:

  1. My hubby got a permanent job teaching in a French school’s Anglophone department.
  2. I have set myself up as a freelancer for the first time and have Auto-Entrepreneur status.
  3. Found a wonderful bilingual Montessori preschool for our Petit Garçon where he is happy.
  4. Setting ourselves up as residents and improving our French…gradually.
  5. Met some lovely new friends, and caught up with dear family and friends from the UK.

We have achieved so much and I feel very blessed to now be living where we loved to go on holiday, to have endless sunny days and the outdoor lifestyle that comes with it!

I had hoped to launch my blog a year ago, however day-to-day life took over. Now we are more settled and it’s our 1st Anniversary as expats it’s time I took the plunge! Tonight we’ll crack open a bottle of Rosé and toast our Bonne Anniversaire. Santé!

A big thank you to my brother for helping me set up the blog design!

Thanks for reading,
Jenny

 

17 thoughts on “A year in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

  1. Sensational and congratulations on such a bold lifestyle change. Following your dreams is the hardest thing to achieve in life and you guys are doing it. Inspirational. I wish you and your family all the best. I look forward to reading more about your experience.

    1. Thanks Alex! And lovely to see your message. I hope you and your family are well. You’re right it has been a bold lifestyle change! Made easier with supportive family and friends, and keeping our focus on the goal. No more English winters keeps me motivated! 😉 All the best.

  2. Congratulations Jenny and a massive well done to you all for setting up your lovely new life! I lived in Mexico for almost three years and know all about stress and bureaucracy! I am so pleased that the voluntary redundancy worked out so well for you (as it did for me!) and very much look forward to reading more about your adventures xx

  3. Lovely stuff! As a dear old (very old) friend I was used to you leaving! First Australia then after our reunion of London years to Exeter and then France! It’s actually the same time from us to you now, as it was to Exeter but this time there is beach, sun and yummy food! Well done, not easy year at all. Here’s to year two! Xxx

    1. Sunny and not on the other side of the world! Looking forward to more fun times when you visit us, with additional travelers 😉 xx

    1. Thanks Karen. I have more reasons to go into some time (maybe another blog post!) with sunshine being at the top of the list. 🙂 x

  4. Time has flown! Almost a year for us too.
    Congratulations on managing all the hurdles and challenges relocating brings. I like to call them ‘patches’ life girl guide patches. I secretly give myself imaginary patches when I’ve accomplished a challenge.

    Cant wait to visit and enjoy the French sunshine And share our patches ♥️♥️
    Libby
    Xxx

    1. It has flown hasn’t it! Hope you guys are feeling at home now. Imagining girl guide patches is a good idea! Will be great if you come and visit one day xx

  5. I love this!
    Your blog is inspirational and gives me hope that we too can relocate our little family soon.
    Alas, my partner is very risk averse so I am trying to encourage him that good things can happen if risks are taken. I will be linking your blog to him for a good old read 🙂

    1. Thanks Anna! I’m so glad you find it inspirational, and that encourages me to share what we have experienced. I recommend finding out as much as you can and visiting the area can help with these big decisions. Please get in touch if you have any questions about relocating 🙂

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