French Education

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Re: Where to purchase modest dwelling 30-minutes from major University

The school is another case of the system being different.

Unless you choose to go down the private school (usually Catholic establishments) there is something known as the 'carte scholaire'

La carte scolaire permet l’affectation d'un élève dans un collège ou un lycée général ou technologique correspondant à son lieu de résidence. Toutefois, chaque famille a la possibilité de formuler une demande de dérogation afin que son enfant soit scolarisé dans un établissement de son choix.

In practice this  often means that in a town of any size it is difficult to get the school you would prefer unless you manage to pull strings.
You have to sign up your child in advance.

Calendrier prévisionnel


  • information préalable des familles dans les écoles et collèges ; mise en ligne des informations sur les établissements ; portes ouvertes dans les collèges et les lycées
  • recueil des demandes d'affectation pour l'entrée en sixième
  • recueil des demandes d'affectation pour l'entrée en seconde

The site above also provides a map of the regions with links to each academie.
The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.
- Bertrand Russell
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Re: Where to purchase modest dwelling 30-minutes from major University

To back up Norman's post, we live near the Brittany/Manche border. Even thought a school in another academy's area of responsibility may be geographically closer, you need a dispensation to go there. Your daughter may not then be able to use the school transport to go to another area's school, or may have to pay full cost!

To go back to my original point, it is possible to avoid making a fixed decision based on one quick visit to France which you may later regret. In theory, all French schools march forward in their curriculum at the same speed. This means that you can change schools at any time, the new school picks up near the spot you left the old school at. Its not a guarantee, but if you move over the long summer hols it should not be a problem. If you rent for a year, it would give you more time to make an informed decision "sur place". As mentioned above, most Lycée's have open days (as do Colleges). Both our children went to our assigned Lycée which is 15 mins away by car, 90 mins on the school transport which goes round all the pick up points. Neither of them wanted to waste that much time on the bus. Both of them were "interne" ie they lived at the school for the week, coming home at weekends. It cost in the region of 1300€ a scholastic year (2013/2014 price), including all their meals. Even if she does not live in, you would still have to pay for lunch (packed lunches are were not allowed), in the order of 650€ a year.

IMO there are far to many options available within the French system for you to comprehend at distance to make such a long term decision.

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Re: Where to purchase modest dwelling 30-minutes from major University

As Lehaut says : If you rent for a year, it would give you more time to make an informed decision "sur place".

I can only say that, in my view, is the most sensible option in many cases if you are new to France.
And it is what OH and I decided to do for a year ... and explained this carefully to our private-let landlady. As even if we went down the have-it-built route (the most common decision where we live) the minimum time-scale all-in would be around 15-18 months.
Finally, due to life-circumstances, OH and I ended up renting our little house for nearly 7 years but in that time we learnt a huge amount. The only damage it did was to our ever-depleting capital. Now we have our own little house, where we want to be.
There is an enormous cultural and economic difference between living in France and living elsewhere - books have been written about the bureaucracy, never mind all the other differences.
Absorbing it all takes time. Give yourself enough time.

Computing - it's another world
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Re: Where to purchase modest dwelling 30-minutes from major University

Like other parts of the world France has seen many changes over the last decade. For example there are now 13 regions instead of 22 this is very recent and supposedly for administrative purposes.

Do visit France and have a good look round. A Winter visit would give a truer picture of what full time living in France is really like.

Norman H, Lehaut and Sue in 56, Idun and the others have given some sound advice.

There are hand-holding agencies who for a fat fee will help you re locate but whether they know the ins and outs of the education system I am not sure.

If your daughter plans to use public transport to travel to school / uni the check schedules carefully.

Good luck and bon weekend.

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Devil [6]

Re: Where to purchase modest dwelling 30-minutes from major University

I have skimmed the contents of this thread, mainly to get informed about the French education system, as I know zilch about it.  So, please do not depend on me for anything to do with French education establishments.

Also, I see that many people have been here to give you, after researching on internet and also on the basis of personal experience, information.

On the basis of what I have gleaned, could I ask you just a few questions which I am sure you will have asked  yourself and have answered to your own satisfaction.

Am I given to understand that:

you are prepared to split up your family, with husband and 2 children in the US and you and 1 child in France

you are sure that you and your child would be able to relocate to France, satisfying all criteria of finance and health requirements

you are assured in your own mind that all the information that you and your husband has obtained in the past, with 10 intervening years, is still current

you assumed that immobiliers knew about the schools on their patch and that the "mean price" (your words) of a house in the Poitou Charente was 105k euros

So you are convinced that the best place in the world for your child to have the education you think suitable is an ocean away from your home and you are making a move to France, even after considering all of the above things and even after many on here have put you right on a number of points that you have wrongly assumed?

Words fail me!  

N'allez pas trop vite - Proust
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Re: Where to purchase modest dwelling 30-minutes from major University

I typed out a polite reply to mint's post full of explanation that revealed my very sound but still-emerging, naturally, plans, sources of information and concrete evidence about my plan. Even within the last 12 hours I have gotten helpful emails from realtors in France, one whom is going to make phone calls for me on Monday to his region's colleges, another who is going to telephone me in NY on Monday.

Rereading mint's post, I realized how rude it is. Mint makes incorrect assumptions about my family members. I made it clear that BOTH my husband and I were coming to France with our youngest daughter. My independent older daughters have money to travel what is not a great distance.

Mint is the antithesis of what a forum member should be. A forum is a place where an individual learns from those who are better informed and ELECT to share information. Why bother to type a reply if it is not going to shed enlightenment? Some of the information is not easy to find, and individuals like Norman H and Lehaut have aided me tremendously by pointing to essential websites or offering useful guidance. Why go to the trouble of delivering a claque au visage? I see that mint even went to the trouble of adding an angry devil emoticon to her title to add emphasis to her mean spiritedness.

This is certainly not the first time I have encountered hostility on social media. I hope this does not deter new friends and new readers from joining this discussion.
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Re: Where to purchase modest dwelling 30-minutes from major University

So, I am rude and unhelpful and make "crude assumptions" about your family?  I am only going by what you have said on the thread.  I, like anyone else, is not a party to what you might know and chosen not to reveal.  Of course, that is your choice, no argument there!

If you think I am "hostile", then I can only say that you ain't heard nothing yet (ok, just a pharaphrase) of a recent president of yours.

And, according to one of your compatriots, a well-known tennis player, you can't be serious?

At this point I am bowing out and, if you can make it all work according to your plans, good luck, and I do mean that.

I have no further inclination to contribute to this thread.

N'allez pas trop vite - Proust
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Smile [:)]

Re: Where to purchase modest dwelling 30-minutes from major University

Did she mean John McEnroe?
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