Angers, France Report of what it's like to live there
Personal Experiences from Angers, France
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
No. Also lived in Warsaw and Shanghai.
2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?
Boston. About 12 hours. Two-and-three-quarters hour TGV to Charles de Gaulle airport, then 7 hour direct flight to Boston.
3. How long have you lived here?
March 2009 - August 2010.
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
We lived in apartment in old building in town center. Also many small homes in the suburbs. There is not a huge home rental market.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
Yes. Restaurants often open at 7:30 or 8pm.
5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
French postal service.
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
Expensive but available.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
We opened a French bank account and used that card. ATMs are easily accessible.
5. What English-language religious services are available locally?
I believe once a month at one of the Protestant churches (Baptist?).
6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?
TV - several channels available. IHT available at some tabacs.
7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
Need some to get around. Very little English spoken.
8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
Many. Its a very old city and many buildings are not built for physical disabilities
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
Any automobile is fine. Smaller cars are better in small streets.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?
No. But need microchip and blood test to confirm they don't have rabies 2-3 months before travel.
2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?
Yes. Our cat actually fell from 3rd story and had multiple fractures in his leg. He had expensive, but excellent, care to repair his leg.
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?
Definitely for English teachers.
2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
Dressier than USA but more fashionable / less conservative.
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
Great medical care.
3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?
4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Very mild. In summer, only occasionally too hot. It seldom snows in the winter.
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?
3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?
4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?
Yes - most run on an September to June schedule.
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
2. Morale among expats:
3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?
Great restaurants, some theater.
4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
Yes, for anyone who can speak French and can integrate. Otherwise, very limited socially.
5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
Not a major issue. Some prejudice exists
7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
Trips to Normandy, La Rochelle, Brittany. Visiting our goat cheese vendor's farm to see the baby goats. Accrobranche - ziplines & rope course in the trees.
8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
Lots of great parks - St. Nicolas is a favorite. Many castles - Angers, Breze, Brissac. Anjou Adventure Parc - accrobranche
9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?
Great food - fruit & vegetables, wine. Many cultural/historical sites nearby. Mild weather year-round.
11. Can you save money?
Words of Wisdom:
1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
3. But don't forget your:
4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?
5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:
6. Do you have any other comments?
Great English language library in town (www.ellia.org).