Page 0016

16 leggettfrance.com

ABOVE

The local village

shop is a great place

to meet people

EXPERT ADVICE LEGGETT MAGAZINE

over to British TV for Downton!

Your 'O' level French might

need brushing up: language

does change over the years,

and what you learned at school

is not necessarily the French

you need today.

Many of the French will

speak a little English, and shop

staff often go out of their way

to help foreigners. The local tax

ofice might even have someone who speaks English to help

you 'arrange your affairs', and

the EDF electricity board have

an English-speaking helpline.

However, this isn't enough to

make you truly happy in your

new environment. You must mix

with French people whenever you

can. Perhaps you can

join the 'Comité des Fêtes' in

your village. Help out in your

community as often as possible;

it will be noted and appreciated

- and your French will improve

enormously.

CULTURE

The culture in France is

subtly different to UK culture.

The French have a different

way of doing things: they think

differently and have different

values; they prioritise differently and live

quite differently. For

example, you have to get used

to the long lunch hours, when

banks and shops close. Many

British people fail to realise that

they must still deal with the

everyday chores, hassles and

problems life brings anywhere.

You may wonder how

much everyday life is going to

cost. This depends: what may

seem a perfectly reasonable

standard of living for one

person could be inconceivable

to another. Talk to people who

live in your target area to get an

idea of their monthly outgoings.

At Leggett Immobilier, we can

tell you the cost of the rates,

but don't forget to account for

electricity, heating, telephone

and food costs.

Many people use wood-

burning stoves for heating. In

autumn, your woodsman will

arrive on his tractor to deliver

the cubic metres of logs you

ordered. You then get to stack

them. The delivery can be

hilarious: while the woodsman

is being charming to you, he

could well be shouting profanities to his apprentice

as he fails

to negotiate backing into a tight

driveway.

Then there is the paperwork:

be prepared. You will

amass a dossier of essential

papers. You'll need birth and

marriage certificates and,

although EU law says this is

not required, you may have to

get them oficially translated.

My advice is to keep all your

paperwork to hand and go with

the flow. While administrative

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