Why did I make my life in France?

I fell in love with French and France when I was just a little girl. I remember learning the word neige in Primary School with the French lady who taught there. Growing up in Jersey in the Channel Islands, the Normandy coastline was often visible: tantalisingly close at times (usually a sign of rain!) yet so far away somehow, often shrouded in mistiness which doubtless captured my childhood imagination. On my maternal side, many of my ancestors are from Normandy and Britanny. Maybe those family echoes called to me whilst I looked at France and repeated the new words I had learned.

Whatever the reasons, I was determined to study French at University and chose to combine it with Law. After qualifying in London, I was just about to accept a job that had nothing to do with France when I spotted a job ad in the Times Legal Supplement for a post heading the legal department of a French estate agency based in London. That was me set en route for my life in France! The next year (2002) I moved to the Gers is in Gascony in the south-west of France and I have been living here happily ever since.

Initially I worked as a freelance interpreter and translator specialising in real estate and then in 2005 I created my own Estate Agency which I still head to this day. I also continue my freelance work. I am married to a Frenchman and we have a little girl. I have a horse, a dog and 3 cats! We live in a rural area surrounded by nature. These days when out walking I look towards the Pyrenean mountains rather than the Cotentin peninsula. Like the French coast from Jersey, they are often veiled and when they do appear it usually rains just afterwards, particularly when they are very clear and seem bigger than usual!

Never once have I regretted following that childhood dream of living in France. Sometimes things are complicated and I sigh as I fill in yet another form(!) but when I look at the neige on the peaks of those mountains I know deep inside that this is home now.

Published by Victoria Maître Headdon

I am a dual French-British national. I hold a degree in English and French law with French language awarded by the Universities of East Anglia and Lyons (Jean Moulin III). I also hold a Post Graduate Certificate in Translation. After qualifying and working as a Barrister in London, I have worked in French real estate since 2001. I have also provided translation, interpretation, advice and assistance services to English-speakers moving, living and working in France over that time. I am also a qualified property valuer. I have considerable professional and personal experience of many different aspects of French life from divorce to water divining!

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