Buying a gite and planning to move to France permanently? Join the club! Despite the changes forced upon us by Brexit, the French property market is such that it is much more appealing than our own. It’s much cheaper too!
Take advantage of that by all means, but we see Brits moving here and making the same mistakes over and over again. You would be much better off if you could avoid these common errors.
Not learning French
Brits are terrible at learning other languages. Our schools still haven’t geared up for it even though business has been asking for it for years.
Don’t move to France without learning at least some French. The French take their language as seriously as we take ours and it’s a big part of their culture.
Anyone who doesn’t learn French, or at least try, will not get on too well in France. Locals respond much more favourably to Brits who try to converse in French.
Even if you butcher the phrase, most French people will appreciate the attempt than not. Some will even rescue you by speaking English.
There are lots of free apps and resources out there to learn French. Use them. I used Duolingo to help me until I got here.
Not integrating into society
Depending on where you buy your gite, you will find tight-knit communities where people get on, say hello to each other in the street and cooperate for the common good.
The cities are different of course but where you find the average gite, will be closer communities. Communities you should be fully prepared to play a part in.
Get out there, meet new people, integrate into society, meet the mayor, use the markets and get yourself seen.
It will help you learn French, get you recognised around town and help you integrate much better in your new home. People respond much better to nice people and getting out there will get you known as such.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with Britain or the British but if you move to France, you need to become French. That doesn’t mean forgetting your roots but it does mean appreciating the world is large and diverse.
It means no huge St George’s flags when England are playing football, only offering English beer in your gite, offering full English if you offer breakfast or sticking to the old ways of doing things.
Add some British character of course, but keep in mind where you’re now living, who your new neighbours are and who your gite guests are likely to be.
It’s a hard balance to strike but one you have to find your way through. Keep some of your essential character, offer PG tips as well as coffee, offer full English as an option but always remember that gites are run for the benefit of your guests and not for you.
Avoid these three pitfalls and your new French gite should be an outstanding success!