An Expat Talks about Living in Privas, France

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Privas

How long have you lived there?

3 months

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

I wish this town had activities! I can't even find a French class here. We are now looking for an apartment closer to a sizable city like Aix en Provence where I can find art classes and an expatriate community.

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In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

This town is 100% French and is just the beginning of what is known as Southern France or Provence. It's largely agricultural and very provincial. (Though not really very religious.) When we walk in the village to run our errands we dress nicely because it's not an anonymous city -- you always see your neighbors. Unlike larger cities like Paris which have huge immigrant populations, it seems most of the people here have been in the region for generations. Sometimes when they hear my American accent the look at me like I am a space alien! I am usually the first American anyone has met.

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

Privas is a town of 30,000 and the center of government for the Ardeche region so about 80% of the people here work in cushy stable government jobs. We are here because my partner works in agriculture/wine, the major industry here. If you want to find work, I imagine you go to Grenoble or Lyon, not the Ardeche.

In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?

The ecomomy is very stable, it's extremely safe, a very pretty clean town where you can walk to everything. We enjoy some of the best weather in all of France and are 1 1/2 hrs from the Alps and 2 hrs from the Cote D' Azur. Home and family are the focus of life here and there are many couples in their 30s-40s.

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If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

I would not recommend this area for an expat unless they are self-sufficient or retired. It is a lovely place for an artist or retiree to live simply and cheaply -- for example, a stone house can be bought for $40K to $100,000 and a 2 br. apartment rents for less than 400 euro. We have the advantages of Provence with a lower cost of living.

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Comments about this Report

guest
Oct 24, 2010 03:52

Hi, I am an Australian and am just moving to near St peray (nth of you) where i am looking for a long term place to rent. Are you still in the area, and if so would you like to catch up? my email is Cheers

guest
Jan 15, 2011 05:25

I'm an American living in Bourg les Valence! Are you still around? What about the Australian living in St Peray? I am desperate for American/ Anglo-phone company!

guest
May 30, 2011 06:17

I liked Privas when I visited briefly last year while on a week-long jazz workshop near Chomerac, and thought of buying a retirement place there. But I would need to earn at least a part-time income, which doesn't look likely, even in Valence, even for an experienced, fair-French-speaking 'stately home' manager/gardener with honed editorial skills! So I'm glad of your comments and will look elsewhere. I hope you'll have found somewhere more congenial by now! Paul Ingrams

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