Dwelling in France: Household life in Calvados, Normandy

PUBLISHED: 17:08 30 July 2021 | UPDATED: 17:11 30 July 2021

Rachel with husband Régis and her two boys Louis and Robert

Rachel with husband Régis and her two boys Louis and Robert


Clécy in Calvados is a perfect place to deliver up kids, says Rachel Johnson

Rachel Johnson moved to France with two younger kids in November 2000 and since has labored in a store on Mont St-Michel, purchased a stone cottage, and spent many hours on the close by seashores

The place are you from and what introduced you to France?

I’m from Humberside in northern England, however it gained’t be an excessive amount of longer earlier than I’ll have lived most of my life in northern France! I moved to France with my two younger kids in November 2000. It wasn’t a calculated transfer on my half; it simply appeared pure. My mum had a small bolthole within the village of Roz-sur-Couesnon in Ille-et-Vilaine, Brittany, which she purchased in 1992 in preparation for her retirement. We had been holidaying often there since then and actually loved what life in France appeared to supply.Even previous to that, I’ve a really sturdy reminiscence of my first French lesson at secondary college and considering ‘Rachel, you had higher listen; you’re going to want this’. I continued by A-level and into college learning French with no actual concept as to why it was going to be so vital.

Rachel’s home in CalvadosRachel’s dwelling in Calvados

What do you do in France?

I hadn’t actually labored out a plan earlier than we arrived right here; I didn’t spend any time making ready or fascinated about our future right here. It simply appeared proper on the time and we completely cherished being in such a fantastic space of France with a view of Mont St-Michel from our again backyard. I used to be fortunate sufficient to discover a job virtually instantly within the museum outlets belonging to the La Mère Poulard model on Mont St-Michel. It was a pleasure to work there; the view was completely different every single day relying on the sunshine, the mist and the tides. Getting this job was an enormous break – I had no concept of simply how fortunate I used to be till a lot later, however I used to be naive and satisfied that if I wished to work I might discover work.

My background in French helped however make no mistake, I began from scratch! My schooling in French grammar actually held me again, I might hear all my grammatical errors and didn’t wish to sound foolish till I heard Jane Birkin talking on French tv along with her very sturdy English accent regardless of greater than 30 years right here – this was my ‘déclic’, I believed if Jane can do it, so can I!

The Abbey of Saint-Étienne in CaenThe Abbey of Saint-Étienne in Caen

Working for La Mère Poulard actually helped my French language expertise come on in leaps and bounds, and by the top of it I might promote in French with no drawback (and Japanese!). Nonetheless, it was seasonal work so I educated in accountancy in my spare time. Once I noticed an advert for an English-speaking assistant at Crédit Agricole Britline financial institution in Caen, I went for it. I attended an interview for a short-term contract and I’ve been there ever since. I progressed and held completely different posts at CA Britline but additionally for our associate banks in different areas (whereas remaining in Caen), lastly turning into head of promoting and improvement in 2015. In 2018 I wished a brand new problem and utilized for a department supervisor publish and have been on this function now for simply over three years. Altogether I’ve been at CA for 17 years.

I purchased a stone cottage in Calvados, because it’s nearer to the financial institution; it wanted beauty work however not a lot else. My daughter Charlotte was two-and-a-half once we arrived in France and was accepted on the maternelle (primary school) instantly. Now grown up, she and her associate Tony reside shut by and have two daughters of their very own. My son Robert was solely 11 months previous and he now speaks English with a French accent. In 2006 I met my French husband to be. It was a whirlwind romance; we celebrated our civil partnership in 2007 and married in 2020. Our son Louis was born in 2008.

How has it been citing kids in France?

It wasn’t all the time straightforward in a brand new nation making an attempt to do my greatest for my kids and having to make tough selections however that they had a stunning childhood. They stayed with my mum in Brittany after I first labored in Caen and I went dwelling at weekends however it was powerful. As quickly as my contract grew to become everlasting, 9 months after I began, we moved to Caen. The youngsters went to the native college in Thury-Harcourt. They loved taking part in rugby; the varsity had a partnership with the Ovalie Caennaise ladies’s rugby crew they usually helped coach the youngsters. Louis loves something to do with nature, fossils and palaeontology – we’re within the good place for that. In collège, Robert took up kayak-polo and his crew gained the nationwide French championships twice. The education right here is superb.

Our favorite place was the seaside at Cancale simply over the border in Brittany. It has a small cove, no outlets or distractions, superb yellow sand, rockpools and clear blue sea deep sufficient to get pleasure from with out having to stroll two miles to paddle! We spent many hours right here and on the opposite seashores and love Cherruiex the place you’ll be able to take a tractor trip to go to the mussel beds.


Louis, Robert, Charlotte, and Charlotte’s daughtersLouis, Robert, Charlotte, and Charlotte’s daughters

Learn Additionally

7 reasons to buy a house in Manche

A guide to the French education system

Finding our dream home in Brittany


What actions make this such a fantastic space for households?

Inside 10km of Clécy now we have an enormous variety of out of doors actions together with paragliding, horse driving, golf, swimming, kayaking, climbing, strolling and biking. The Voie Verte means you’ll be able to cycle, skate, scooter or stroll in full security alongside the coast and superb countryside. There’s additionally an equestrian theatre in the summertime. After all, there are additionally nice seashores, museums, a number of historic websites and cultural occasions. You by no means run out of issues to do.

What’s your favorite market?

We love our native Sunday market in Clécy – it’s vibrant and pleasant. We are able to purchase every part we want, from fantastic Normandy cheeses, cider, calvados, pommeau and apple juice to natural pork, beef, greens and honey direct from the producers.

Clécy itself is a picturesque village with a major college, grocery store, bakery, butcher’s, pharmacy, florist, publish workplace, hairdresser’s, physician’s – every part a household wants. There’s even a photographer, salon de thé and a small lodge providing gastronomic eating in regular instances.

There’s additionally a miniature chemin de fer, with mannequin trains and a little bit ride-on practice, and bouncy castles – the children like it. And we love the guinguette, a conventional restaurant on the banks of the River Orne the place you’ll be able to rent kayaks, go climbing, whizz down the summer time toboggan run or strive the ‘demise slide’ throughout the Orne!

Be taught extra about life in Calvados within the October problem of French Property News out quickly!

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