Australia to France - Expat Interview With Rosemary

Published: 17 Nov at 11 AM
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Filed: Interviews,France
Rosemary Kneipp knew from a very early age that she wanted to live in Europe. She learnt French at school and her university studies were aimed at achieving fluency in the language and getting a job in France. She has never regretted her choice and although she enjoys visiting Australia, France corresponds to her mindset in every way. Both her children were born and grew up in France and her husband is French. She doesn’t ever feel like a foreigner. In fact, when she goes to Australia, she feels as though she doesn’t belong there any more. Although she never thought she would want to leave Paris, she is looking forward to her new life in the Loire Valley in two years’ time and is spending lots of short holidays there in the meantime. Rosemary blogs at her site called Aussie in France (see listing here)

Aussie in France

Here's the interview with Rosemary...


Where are you originally from?
I come from Townsville, North Queensland, Australia

In which country and city are you living now?
I am living in Paris and have bought a 400-year old Renaissance house in Blois in the Loire Valley where we’ll go to live permanently in two years’ time when my husband retires.

How long have you lived here and how long are you planning to stay?
I have lived here for 37 years and am planning to stay forever !

Why did you move and what do you do?
I moved because I knew I wanted to live in Europe. I’m a legal and technical translator and was a university lecturer for 15 years in Paris.

Did you bring family with you?
No.

Aussie in FranceHow did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
I loved every minute of it. I never found it difficult.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
Yes, it was easy meeting friends and I didn’t socialise with any expats until my children were born. Most of my friends have always been French.

What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
I don't think I need to recommend things to do in Paris. The City of Lights is most people's dream city. There are many English-language groups for people who don't speak French. You can pick up FUSAC is most English-speaking venues, but I always think it's better to pursue your hobbies and interests among French speakers, even if it isn't easy to communicate in the beginning. The Loire Valley is known for its châteaux but there are many other activities as well and a quite a large English-speaking population. There is a group called the Loire Connexion that is mainly a Facebook Community at the moment but should soon have a website. It organises all sorts of interesting events attended by both Anglophones and French people who speak English. To join, expats can become my friend on FB and I'll invite them to join the community. Non FaceBook users can write to me and I'll put them on the mailing list.

What do you enjoy most about living here?
I love the history, the culture, the French language, the food, the wine, the mushrooms, cycling ….

Aussie in FranceHow does the cost of living compare to home?
Up until now, I always thought that Australia was cheaper but my last holiday there in October proved me wrong, at least in terms of food, wine and accommodation.

What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
People in shops are not as friendly in Paris but it’s different in Blois. The weather’s not brilliant in the north of France, particularly in the winter.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
To do their utmost to learn basic French and not assume that everyone should speak English.

Aussie in FranceWhat has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Living so far from my family, as my parents got older and my brothers had children.

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Learn to speak French (I was already fluent on arrival)
  2. Mix with French people.
  3. Don’t compare things with your home country all the time.
  4. Learn to enjoy local food and wine, make the most of everything France has to offer.
  5. Live in the present, take each day as a new adventure.


Aussie in FranceTell us a bit about your own expat blog.
I’ve always loved sharing my insider’s view of Paris and French customs. It’s the everyday differences that people enjoy hearing about. Blogging has made me more aware and appreciative of the area I live in – the Palais Royal, just next to the Louvre and Tuileries Gardens and in the very centre of cultural Paris. I also share my European travels. Now that my children have grown up, the possibilities of travel are unending. I’ve also started house swapping. My blog is a way of sharing those experiences.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
I can be contacted through my blog , Twitter @AussieFrance and my Facebook page

What are your plans for the future in France?
While waiting to move to Blois, we've turned the bottom half of our house in Blois into a gîte for two people. We’ve had wonderful reviews and I’m really enjoying the experience even if it’s sometimes a bit hard to organise from Paris.When we finally move, we’ll occupy the entire house but my husband is going to renovate the little house next door and it will become the gîte.

Rosemary blogs at http://www.aussieinfrance.com/ which we recommend a quick visit if you haven't been already. Aussie in France has an ExpatsBlog.com listing here so add a review if you like! If you appreciated this interview with Rosemary, please also drop her a quick comment below.
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Comments » There are 2 comments

Françoise Courtet wrote 1 year ago:

So interesting writing, about you, your life in France How pleased I am to welcome you in Blois and to become friend with you ! Your expat blog is amazing ! Thank you

I really enjoyed reading this interview and getting to know more about Rosemary! With her insider's view of Paris and knowledge of French culture, her blog is an excellent resource and an entertaining part of my daily reading.

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