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Old 13.11.2011, 12:06
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Moving To France from CH

Hello All,
My wife and I have been living close to Basel for almost a year, moving here from UK with work after living in several places in Europe and Asia. We would consider moving to France as to be honest we are struggling living in Switzerland. Firstly, let me say, the country is beautiful; hills, forests ruined castles which lead to fantastic hiking and cycling which we are passionate about. We are also lucky as we have fantastic Swiss neighbours who have helped us and without whom we would have left a while ago. However, we aren't seeing many plus points to residing here.

We are paying a third of our income in tax, which we didn't expect, although we can claim some tax back, the advice we have received and the cost of living makes it marginal to being here or France. We find the endless rules difficult and the people quite staid. We both like France and was wondering if there is a difference to quality of life in France and where would be a good place to live, but still commuting to Basel. Our initial investigations reveal nearby places are still more Germanic than French (obviously we expect a large German/Swiss influence) but we are looking for somewhere that feels more French. Any suggestions about Colmar area?

Any constructive help would be gratefully received.
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Old 13.11.2011, 12:58
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Re: Moving To France from CH

Yes there is a difference, my quality of life has improved significantly since I moved to France. And my commute is 10 minutes.

About being Gemanic - well, it is still Alsace, that's expected. It's still way more relaxed and friendly than Switzerland.

As for where to live - do you want to be in town so you can walk everywhere and use public transport to get to Basel? If this doesn't matter then there are dozens and dozens of villages to consider, just take the map and real estate sites and start browsing.
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Old 13.11.2011, 13:36
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Re: Moving To France from CH

Thanks for response. Ideally access to a town for convenience, public transport would be good, but is there somewhere that has the French 'joie de vie'. We are probably willing to commute up to an hour.
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Old 13.11.2011, 17:35
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Re: Moving To France from CH

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Thanks for response. Ideally access to a town for convenience, public transport would be good, but is there somewhere that has the French 'joie de vie'. We are probably willing to commute up to an hour.
I'm not sure that part of France has what you are looking for. Mulhouse, Colmar, all the way up to Strasbourg are pretty "Germanic". In fact I find them more Germanic than the Swiss Romands.

I don't think you are going to get what you want within an hours drive from Basel. You might need to go all the way up to Dijon and that's 2 hrs from Basel. But it's a good excuse to take weekend exploring trips!

Having said that, if you are struggling financially, you'll probably be a bit better off in France.

Good luck!
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Old 13.11.2011, 18:51
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Re: Moving To France from CH

I agree with ullainga. I think you are on to a winner here. This is a subject which has crossed my mind many times. Things become much more French once you get north of Saint-Louis and a quick drive around Village-Neuf, Blotzheim, Bartenheim, Kembs etc will give you a good idea. The distibus (distribus.com) runs to Basel from some of these towns but the service is not that frequent from some of them.

My favourite is probably Sierentz where there is plenty of space and a decent supermarket, the Hyper-u. Sierentz is not far from Mulhouse or Basel but is north enough to have lost the Swiss and "3 frontieres" influence.

Personally I think Colmar is too far to drive every day but it would undoubtedly put you next to the best of Alsace including the picturesque villages of Eguisheim, Riquewihr, Kaysersberg, Ribeauvillé and also the Vosges.

West of Basel is also an option (e.g. Folgensbourg, Ferrette, Hésingue etc) but I'd go north if you want the real France.
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Old 13.11.2011, 19:42
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Re: Moving To France from CH

If you're willing to commute an hour, you may want to consider the region west of Alsace known as Franche-Comte. Belfort is simply gorgeous and that would be my first choice since that region is where my husband comes from - I've spent quite a bit of time in that region. We're living in Alsace at the moment and it is definitely more germanic - even the baguettes here are a heavier consistency and the croissants too gigantic compared to the rest of France

Franche-Comte is decidedly French and I haven't even heard German spoken there from locals. You will quickly notice the big difference in architecture too compared to Alsace - and housing prices! If you want something a little more middle ground and closer to Basel, consider Altkirch. Very cute town with the center on a hill and gorgeous views. It's still Alsace but has a more French flavor being further away from the German/Swiss border.

Good luck
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Old 13.11.2011, 19:48
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Re: Moving To France from CH

What we did when we decided to move to France, we took some weekends and biked around in the area, just checking out the villages and the feeling. Why don't you do the same - I would suggest driving if you are considering 1 hour radius. Talk to people and look around (like are they building or is the place dying out) and think about what it would be like living there and how you would feel about this commute every day.
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Old 14.11.2011, 23:22
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Re: Moving To France from CH

Thanks everybody,

We have been looking around, but want to make sure we try to tick as many boxes as possible. Just want to be sure we are making the right move as the move to Basel isn't what we expected and we don't want a repeat performance.
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Old 13.12.2011, 20:29
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Re: Moving To France from CH

Wow! I'm in exactly the same situation and considering the Alsace area to move. Any tip or advice? So far I found that the only con. is transport system, other than that taxes, cheaper properties, quality of life etc seems to be bether than here.. tks
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Old 13.12.2011, 21:00
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Re: Moving To France from CH

Just be aware that the tax situation may dramatically change in France next year if Hollande is elected. The tax burden could become suddenly much heavier for high earners in France. And being paid in Switzerland, you are likely to be in one of the highest tax brackets.
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