Every week I talk to a Belgian who moved abroad and built a new life there. This week Philippe tells us about moving to France
1. Hi, Philippe! Please quickly introduce yourself. Tell us who you are, where you’re from, where you moved to and when/why you moved.
My name is Philippe De Rouck, originally from Brussels. Five years ago, my partner and I decided to move to the South of France (Pierrevert / Alpes de Haute Provence). Our main reason for moving was the fact that we wanted to put the past behind us.
2. What did you expect from France and life there before moving? Did those expectations hold up?
The most important factors for us were 1) the tranquility 2) the nice weather. Yes, our expectations have been partly satisfied.
3. What’s the biggest difference between life in France and life in Belgium?
That’s a hard one to describe but definitely the weather. The region I live in is incredibly beautiful, we’re only 1 hour and a half away from the mountains, 1 hour from the sea and 2 hours from Italy. In addition, there are some beautiful landscapes that can be admired nearby.
4. What’s the best part about living in France?
The beautiful nature, the local markets and the sunny terraces.
5. What do you like least about living in France?
It’s not right to put everyone into the same basket however, a lot of people here think that France is the ‘navel’ of the world. Besides, one always remains a foreigner here. So I would say that mentality is what I like least about living here.
6. What do you miss most about Belgium?
Certain eating habits: a snackbar where I can get some great fries, pistolets… . Aside from that, I miss my friends and family.
7. Is there something about Belgium that you don’t miss at all?
I wouldn’t know what.
8. Do you think you’ll stay in France? Or is there a chance you’ll move abroad again someday?
One can not predict the future, but who knows? Normally, I’m staying here till my last breath.
9. Do you have any tips or advice for other Belgians who consider moving to France?
It is crucial that you speak the language. People here only speak one language and that is French. Also, to settle here permanently you have to have your paperwork in order and this can take a while.
10. What are some tips you would give to people who are traveling to your region/city? Things they should visit or eat?
The wonderful nature and beautiful cities like for example Aix-en-Provence and Marseille. The Mediterranean, The Alps, the nice markets and a lot more.
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This interview was done by Paloma Garcia Miranda, a talented Master’s Student of Business Communication who’s helping Sofie out here on WonderfulWanderings.com.