Moving back to the South of France Part 1

We moved to London from Nice nearly 4 years ago, and since then people have asked me, with incredulity, why on earth we moved from the sun and warmth of the French Riviera to the rain and cold of the UK.

View from the window in Nice, France #FrenchRiviera

The view from my bedroom window in Nice when I first moved out there

When I moved to Nice, in 1998, I vowed I would never leave the area. It had sun, it was warm, I had the beach on my doorstep and the mountains were just over an hour’s drive away. Why on earth would I leave that to move back to the UK?

I continued to feel that way for a long time. I moved out of this beautiful apartment though, as much as I loved living on the famous Cours Saleya, or Flower Market, having quiet only 3 hours out of every 24 hours, and having to park a mile away took its toll. So I moved in with my first serious French boyfriend, in nearby town, Cagnes sur mer.

I lived on the French Riviera for 12 years (1st July 1998 – 19th July 2010) and in that time I lived in 7 different apartments/houses in 4 different locations: Nice, Cagnes sur mer, Mougins le Haut and St Vallier de Thiey. Quite a variety – from France’s 5th most populous city in Nice, to a village of 3000 inhabitants in St Vallier.

Sunny terrace in Cagnes sur mer #FrenchRiviera

The terrace of the first home I ever owned, in Cagnes sur mer.

View from apartment in Mougins le Haut #FrenchRiviera

The view of the Alps from our apartment in Mougins le Haut.

Provençal house with pool in St Vallier de Thiey, France #FrenchRiviera

The house that Hubs and I owned in St Vallier de Thiey, and where L lived for her first 2 years.

Girl on the beach in Nice #FrenchRiviera

L on the beach at the end of our road in our final apartment in Nice (aged 2 and a half).

I loved each place more than the last. And I always vowed that I would never move back to the UK.

Never say never. Because I finally decided to abandon my life in France to recreate a life for me and my family in the UK.

I love France and I love the French. I used to get excited just walking down the beach in Nice, I’d get butterflies in my stomach whenever I flew back over the coastline from visits to the UK, I’d have to pinch myself at the thought that I actually lived there.

I had some amazing times there, I have some of my best memories from France. Not only did I meet some incredible people on the French Riviera who have become good friends, but I also met Hubs in Nice, married him in Cagnes sur mer (legal wedding), Cannes (church wedding) and Vence (reception) and had L in Cagnes sur mer.

Husband and wife on their wedding day in Provence #FrenchRiviera

Hubs and me on our wedding day in Vence.

New dad with 1 day old baby

Hubs with 1 day old L in hospital in Cagnes sur mer.

Deciding to move back to the UK was one of the hardest ones I’ve ever made; knowing I would be coming back to much cooler weather, grey skies, no mountains and whilst there are beautiful beaches in the UK, it’s not quite the same weather as on the Cote d’Azur!

When we moved back to the UK we said we didn’t know how long it would be for, that we would take each moment as it came. Then last year my FiL became even more ill, and Hubs and I talked about whether we could/should/would move back to France in order to be there for my father-in-law.

I was surprised at how strongly I felt about such a move. In autumn 2010 if you’d asked me whether I would move back to France my answer would have been quite 50/50. Fast-forward to autumn 2013 and it was something that I really, really didn’t want to do.

But why would I feel so strongly about a country that I clearly love, is clearly beautiful, and clearly has a far better climate than the UK? I’ll explain why in Part 2 of this blog post tomorrow….(you can read that here)


6 Responses

  1. Joanna Mosse (Joe) says:

    Oh god this sounds very like my own situation! Married to french man living in ireland 8 yrs previously in Paris borders 5yrs previously London – very happy in both countries. But now that I am SO settled in Ireland my husband desperately wants to move back to his home town of Lyon – so with much reluctance/nerves/excitement we are going in July!

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      Good luck with the move – if you go with an open mind I’m sure you’ll be fine, just brace yourself for the downsides that I mention in part 2 of this blog post…

  2. Katie says:

    This is like a soap opera Sophie! Keep us hanging why don’t you! πŸ˜‰
    All the places you have lived look absolutely stunning and i’m not surprised it’s a real draw at times, i guess having L settled at school makes it harder decision to make too.
    My parents are actually looking to buy a house in france at the minute and live there for half of the year so i am very much looking forwrad to having a holiday home to go to πŸ™‚ x
    Katie recently posted…The hiding stuff you really need gameMy Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      It really wasn’t meant that way, I promise! It was just too long to have in one blog post πŸ˜‰
      Somebody else’s holiday home sounds like the perfect compromise to having the good bits but not having to deal with the bad bits of France! x

  1. 29/05/2014

    […] south of France and how I never imagined I would ever leave the French Riviera, which you can read here. Today I’m going to explain why Hubs and I made that incredibly hard decision to […]

  2. 16/06/2014

    […] I wrote a couple of blog posts (here and here) about why I can’t see myself moving back to France anytime soon. Notably in the […]

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