Expat Hub Feature……..The pros and cons of living in the Midi Pyrénées

So this week I’ve been working with a great new website The Expat Hub, that helps to provide expats with great resources and advice when they move abroad. Not only have they put a great guest post together for me on the pros and cons of living abroad, but they have featured me on their new ‘Expat experiences’ page, that focuses on the lives of different expats around the world……You can visit my feature here: http://www.theexpathub.com/an-english-girl-in-france-with-nothing-toulouse/2446/

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So the real question is what are the pros and cons of living in the Midi Pyrénées

The Midi- Pyrénées attracts expats from all over the world, and locals see it as the real south of France, but what does it really have to offer? Here we take a look at the pros and cons of living in this popular region.

Pros 

Climate – Everybody loves a bit of sun, and it’s not in short supply in the Midi-Pyrénées. Because of its southerly location the region is generally warm for most of the year, but its size means it’s variously influenced by continental, oceanic and Mediterranean climates. In continental/Mediterranean areas you can expect a whopping 2000 hours of sunshine a year and average summer temperatures of at least 20°c. Spring usually comes early while the summer months are characterised by intense sunny spells. Although winters can be cool the weather generally stays pleasant throughout September and October.

Location-As the Midi-Pyrénées covers such a substantial area it encompasses a varied landscape. Breath-taking mountains, limestone plateaux, beaches, regional and national natural parks, picturesque towns, bustling cities and geological curiosities like the caves of Padirac can all be found in the Midi-Pyrénées. It’s also just a hop, skip and a jump away from Spain!

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Fun-The favourable climate and varied terrain mean all sorts of fun can be had in the Midi-Pyrénées. Whether your passion is skiing, golf, cycling, hiking, sightseeing, paragliding, relaxing, walking, fishing, exploring or horse riding you can indulge it in this southerly region of France.

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Culture-In much of the Midi-Pyrénées the culture is a traditional rural one, one of markets, great food, craftsmen and artisans; a region where you can immerse yourself in a way of life which follows the seasons and celebrates heritage. The Midi-Pyrénées also has an interesting history to appreciate, evident from the ancient Gallo-Roman city of Saint Lizier with its Roman frescos and 18th century pharmacy to the powerful city of Rodez and the pink city of the Haute-Garonne.

The People-The Midi-Pyrénées has been a place of refuge for foreigners for centuries and the people of the region are known for their warmth, easy-going approach and welcoming attitude. The population density of the Midi-Pyrénées is very low at 56 people per km2 which means that many areas have a close, community feel.

Cons  

 The Climate –France is exposed to seven different climates, but the weather in the Midi-Pyrénées is generally thought to be the best. While it might seem unlikely that anyone could get sick of sunshine some expats really do come to miss the climates and seasonal changes they’re used to. When it comes to the weather it can sometimes feel like too much of a good thing!

That Holiday-Feeling-It’s easy to assume that when you move abroad, to a beautiful location with beautiful weather like the Midi-Pyrénées, your life will seem like one long holiday. Although this may well be the case for some, for others the issues, annoyances and responsibilities which existed at home will continue. If you intend to move to the Midi-Pyrénées do so with your eyes wide open – yes the weather might be glorious but bills will still need to be paid, home repairs will still need to be carried out and personal issues won’t just disappear.

Pace of Life –A slower, more relaxed pace of life is one of the main reasons why people relocate to the Midi-Pyrénées but be aware that a laid-back lifestyle can become frustrating, particularly if you feel a situation warrants an urgency it isn’t receiving.

The People-As welcoming and friendly as the locals may be they can never replace the loved ones you’ve left behind. When people first move abroad friends and family often think they’ll pop over to visit all the time, but in reality life often gets in the way and you can go far longer without seeing anyone from home then you thought. The Midi-Pyrénées might not be the moon but it’s far enough away that you’ll inevitably miss out on family occasions and events, situations which might sometimes trigger feelings of loneliness and guilt.

This Guest post was provided by The Expat Hub the number one stop online for expatriates looking for advice, support and information.

To those who have recently moved abroad or have been living abroad for sometime now, I would love to hear your thoughts on these pros and cons do you agree? or do you have your own list of pros and cons?

Au revoir mes amis x

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Must sees in the Midi Pyrénées……

Being the largest region in France, the Midi Pyrénées is a great place to visit as it has a huge variety of day trips and and beautiful places to see. During the time I live here I want to make sure that I make the most of the area, so over my next few posts I’m going to look at some of the essential places to go while over here!

The Pyréenées – Starting at just over an hour away from Toulouse The Pyrénées hold some breathtaking sights that are not to be missed;

The Cirque de Gavarnie – A UNESCO world heritage sight, the Cirque de Gavarnie is a natural ampitheatre only accessible by foot and home to one of the highest waterfalls in Europe.

The Pic du Baget – Is a mountain in the Néouvielle massif that lies within the Néouville natural reserve, a ‘must see’ on my list purely for its sheer beauty.

The Pic du Midi Observatory – An observatory that stands at a whopping 2,887 metres allowing you to get up close and personal with both the Southward Pyrénées chain and the Plains in the North. Don’t forget to visit the museum as well while you’re up there!

Keep your eye out for my next post as I’ll be looking at some of the ‘Must See’ towns in the Midi Pyrénées …..

Au revoir mes amis x

So I am almost a fully fledged Frenchie…..

Salut mes amis,

Sorry for the lack of posting in the last week, I have been busy becoming a fully fledged Frenchie…..

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I bought a car this week which I couldn’t be more excited about as it means I can finally get around by myself, and that I can avoid some of the strange men I have met on the public transport so far……it doesn’t matter what country you are in there is just something about strange men and trains!! Buying the car was an experience in itself, the sales guy didn’t speak English but with the help of google translate and a kind French friend we got there in the end. My next step is learning to drive on French roads, this is something I am not looking forward to after being a passenger on the roads over here….I’m sure there are many car stories to follow!

I also started a French internship course this week, after arriving in France I was lucky enough to come across a language school that not only provided an intense language course but that helps you to get an internship with a French speaking company once you have finished the course.

My first day was every bit as terrifying as I expected, after navigating my way around the public transport for the first time I arrived to find that the majority of the class was Spanish speaking and not English speaking….Although I learnt Spanish at school my Spanish is much to be desired and presented a whole new challenge, not only was I learning to speak French, but I was now attempting to remember any Spanish I had previously learnt. I was over the moon when half way through the class I figured out there was a couple of Americans, and English hiding in the crowd and that they had just been sat quiet as mice like myself trying to figure out if there were any other English speaking people in the room.

I can definitely say my second day was a much more positive experience, I knew where I was going, what to expect and felt a lot more settled…I was even brave enough to attempt bungled Spanish talk in the break with the other girls my age, who knew that I’d be learning French and improving my Spanish at the same time.

Although only 3 days into my course now, I feel like I have learnt so much already, and I’m so excited to be able to practice my French out in public, although I am more than prepared for some of those awkward moments when nobody has a clue what you are saying…..My next challenge is to create a French CV and cover letter, something I’m not sure I’m ready for quite yet, only time will tell!!

A Bientôt mes amis x

One more step along the way I go…..

So I am ridiculously pleased to have bagged myself a part time job for when I arrive in Toulouse, after an intense Skype interview I have been accepted as a babysitter for French speaking families…..yes I did say French Speaking…..disaster awaits!

I have also discovered an intensive language course at the Catholic Univeristy of Toulouse, this is great news to me as it gives me something to focus on when I get there, and a great way to meet other English speaking natives!!

The move looks like its getting closer and closer now, we’ve notified our landlord and I’ve handed in my notice at work, I’m itching to get over there and start my new adventure in Toulouse……

Bonjour!

Bonjour!

Here are a few facts about me….

I am a recent Fashion graduate from the University of Manchester, (I am 22, soon to be 23) my partner has recently been offered a job in Toulouse and after struggling in the UK job market, i thought I would try my luck in France and move over there with him!

With a passion for all things online I’ve decided to create a blog covering all things French….. my attempts to learn the language, my struggle to find a job, French food ( Frogs legs yeuch!! ) and my amazing French fashion finds.

I would love to hear from anyone who has already moved abroad, or is currently thinking about it so please comment on my posts and share your experiences and opinions with me or you can email me at: murphyjasmine@hotmail.com

Enjoy!!