Thursday, June 23, 2011

Family Life in France – Is it Really Any Better?

I’ve been thinking about what it means to me to be a Family in France, what makes it different from being a Family in the UK. What’s changed – is it better, worse or the same?

Some things haven’t changed – Gary and I still both work relentlessly to make ends meet! But then, we have a huge property, several businesses and 5 kids! What do we expect?

So, if nothings changed there, what’s the deal? Why did we bother to make the move in the first place. Why don’t we just pack it all in and go back to England? After stopping and thinking for a while, it didn’t take me long to figure why.

We have a healthier diet
No matter how busy our days are, we always sit down at the table and have a meal together in the evenings. That’s much the same as the UK too, but here we definately have a healthier diet. For a start there are not so many convenience foods available and take-aways are virtually non-existant. I used to find cooking from scratch every day a pain, but now I have a repetoire of quick meals when I’m really short of time. Also we grow our own vegetables and consequently eat much more veg.

We spend more time outdoors
The weather is better here and we have lots of land, a pool, a lake and river for the children to play outside and explore. In the summer we are rarely indoors at all so the kids actually play more imaginatively rather than sat in front of the computer or TV,

Summer guests keep us all entertained
We have 3 gites and the guests we attract in the summer are usually families with kids. Our children have a constant stream of different playmates with whom they spend their time outside playing, swimming and enjoying barbecues. Guests find it hard to drag their kids away on day trips!
It’s fun for us too to have different people to chat to, share a glass or two of wine and enjoy the warm evenings.

More events to visit as a family
There are many events going on in the summer and throughout the year – village fetes (much like a street party), festivals (music, country fairs and those specifically aimed at children), Lotos (a sort of village bingo), firework displays etc. We seem to do much more as a family here than we ever did in the UK.

Organised Holiday Clubs when we have to work
When we have to work during the long school holidays, there are plenty of organised holiday clubs for the children which are very reasonably priced and well subsidised if you’re working. They have loads of activities and day trips and our children really enjoy going.

Day trips are simpler, cheaper and more fun
Day trips are not so sophisticated – no big amusement parks or fancy leisure centres. Instead we can go canoing, mushrooming, swimming in the local lakes with beaches. We can have a day trip to the mountains, Spain, the Mediteranean or Atlantic coast. In the winter we can go sleighing or skiing for the day.

There are so many possibilities to enjoy life as a family and it doesn't have to cost much either.

Is our family life better here than it was in the UK – you bet it is!


  1. phew! that's good to hear! hoping it will be just like that for us as we move to Annecy end July. Am following your every post now... x

  2. Glad your enjoying the blog. Yes life's not easy, but it's definately worth the effort. Good luck with the move and I look forward to hearing how you're getting on :)

  3. INteresting differences, I was guessing that life in the UK can be much better.