This section has taken quite a long time to prepare. In fact, it is a bit of an afterthought in that we had no plans to include this type of information when this web site was initially set up. In the meantime, though, we have received a great many emails from all over the world asking us what it is like to live here, how the health care system, works, whether there are international schools in the area, and so on. Many of these have come from people who had either signed contracts to work in this area or had at least contemplated moving here. Though this section is titled "Moving to France" we have no first-hand experience with areas other than the French Riviera, more specifically Sophia Antipolis. While some of the information in this section may apply to other parts of France, most is specific to the area we live in. Not all the information presented in these pages deals with moving; much pertains to certain aspects of living and working here.
Are you interested in moving to Alsace instead? If so, there is a terrific book called "Window to Strasbourg" that you must know about. This book, subtitled "A Guide to Living in Alsace", was written by an international group of volunteers and is available at the very reasonable price of 20 euros. I was given the opportunity of reviewing the book, and it is a gold mine of information. Even if you plan to settle in another part of France, you'll find more than enough useful information to make the purchase of this book worthwhile. For ordering information, please check the Window to Strasbourg Website. You'll be glad you did (and no, I have no interest, financial or otherwise, in this).
Or perhaps you are considering a move to the Chantilly area? In that case, be sure to check out the APARC (Anglophone Parents' Association in the Region of Chantilly). A quote from their welcome page best describes what they are about: "To foster social interaction and keep our cultural traditions alive, APARC provides numerous activities for adults and children alike. However, its primary function is to organise classes in English with the goal of helping children to achieve or maintain a level of English as near as possible to that of their peers in English-speaking countries."
If you are moving to or living in France as the American wife of a Eurpean man, you may want to check out AAWE: Association of American Wives of Europeans. According to their web site, "AAWE was founded in 1961 to protect the citizenship rights of Americans married to Europeans and the children of these bicultural and bilingual families. AAWE promotes American culture in this context and assists in resolving needs specific to its permanent resident membership. AAWE strives to strengthen understanding among peoples of America, France and Europe on both a personal and cultural level."
You should also check out AngloInfo. It is the definitive English-language guide to what is happening on the French Riviera.
Or how about a newspaper? Take a look at The Connexion, a monthly newspaper for English-speakers living in and visiting France. The Connexion keeps readers informed of what is happening in and around France with its many pages of French news and information on expatriate life in France. In addition to the national news pages, The Connexion carries legal, financial and health articles, all written by experts in their field, aimed at informing and updating expats in France on the important issues of life in France.
In putting together this section, we used two main sources of reference. First of all, there is, of course, our own experience in having moved here from New York in November of 1990. Some of this experience has been distributed to a large number of people in the form of replies to emails. We have made extensive use of our email archives in gathering the materials for the various topics listed below. Second, we have made use of documents given to us by our respective employers, and occasionally in rather shameless a fashion.
Throughout this section, we are very often going to refer the reader to the Yellow Pages . Getting to know the web version of the French Yellow Pages opens an invaluable resource to people seeking all kinds of information. When you access the site, you will find the following form:
When we suggest that you look up something in the Yellow Pages, we usually supply the proper (French) search term. The easiest is to copy the search term and paste it into the field called "Activité". The radio button immediately below that field has a default setting that causes the search to only return listings that have a web site. You probably want to enable the right radio button in most cases.
For finding listings in or around Sophia Antipolis, try setting the "Localité" field to Valbonne, Biot, or Antibes. You should also enter "06" into the Département field. Clicking on the Rechercher button activates the search.
Below the form, you will see a small Union Jack icon. Clicking on it will cause the labels on the form to be displayed in English (though you must still use French search terms). We advise against using the English version of the form; in our experience the searches are much slower than with the French form.
Note that the second tab on the top portion of the form reads Pages Blanches; these are the French White Pages. You can look up any telephone number in France that is not unlisted.
While we hope that the publication of this information will prove helpful, we are aware that we cannot anticipate every inquiry. Therefore, feel free to send us a mail if your question is not dealt with in this section. Fair warning, though: we will not provide email answers to questions already addressed in this space. On the other hand, we would be pleased to hear from people who already live in the area and who would like to comment on the information presented here.
Though every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information presented in this section, we appreciate the reader's assistance in keeping it that way. If you find links that do not work, phone numbers that are no longer current, or information that is not up to date, we would appreciate hearing from you.
Finally, many thanks to Lisa Akeroyd (née Doggett) without whose work (and willingness to share it!) this section would simply never have been completed. If you have read these pages, Lisa, you know how much you have contributed. Thank you!
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