Jennifer Greco is an expat living in a small village in the south of France. She shares regular photos of the stunning scenery and charming vignettes she captures with her camera, and blogs about French cheese tastings, the delicious food and wine from France and the Languedoc-Roussillon region, travel experiences around Europe, recipes of both sweet and savoury dishes, stories of life in a tiny village in rural France and the ever-present challenge of French bureaucracy. Read more on her blog at chezlouloufrance.blogspot.com.
Q: Where are you originally from?
A: The USA.
Q: Where are you living now?
A: In a small village in the south of France, in the Languedoc-Roussillon region.
Q: How long you have you lived in France?
A: 8 years.
Q: Did you move with a spouse/children?
A: With my husband. We do not have children.
Q: Why did you move to France; what do you do?
A: We moved because it was my dream to live in France. I am currently working in tourism.
About the South of France
Q: What do you enjoy most about your host city, how’s the quality of life in France?
A: We live in a village of 400 people. The quality of life is excellent!
Q: Any negatives? What do you miss most about home?
A: We have to rely on our car a lot. The only thing I miss is good Chinese food.
Q: Is the South of France safe?
About living in France
Q: How do you rate the standard of accommodation?
A: We own our home. It is small by US standards, but we are very comfortable.
Q: What’s the cost of living in France compared to America? What is cheap or expensive in particular?
A: Some things, like fuel and personal grooming products are more expensive. Beef is also expensive, so we eat duck and lamb instead. Fresh fruit and vegetables, wine and cheese are all reasonable. I love cooking so we eat very well.
Q: What are the locals like; do you mix mainly with other expats?
A: The locals are wonderful! Our friends are a mix of French and expats.
Q: Was it easy meeting people and making friends?
About working in France
Q: Did you have a problem getting a work visa/permit?
A: We had no problems getting our long stay visas to live in France, but it took 6 years to get a work permit.
Q: What’s the economic climate like in the city, is there plenty of work?
A: We live in a very rural community. Most of the people are winemakers or work in the tourism industry. It isn’t easy to find work here.
Q: How does the work culture in France differ from home?
A: I earn less and it is hard to find work all year long. Right now I only work in the summers.
Family and children
Q: Did your spouse or partner have problems adjusting to their new home?
A: No. We got involved in the community as soon as we arrived and made friends easily.
Q: How would you rate the healthcare?
A: Excellent! I had a medical emergency several years ago and was more than impressed by the surgeons, the hospital staff and the follow-up care.
Q: Is there any other advice you like to offer new expat arrivals?
A: I know it sounds very cliché, but be open-minded and patient. Things are not like they are at home! Learn to appreciate the differences and be open to new experiences.
~ interviewed May 2011