I understand that the flood of expats arriving in France from the UK has slowed down quite a lot recently in the face of falling house prices and an interminable number of TV programmes telling everyone what sad miserable lives we expats lead, battling against poverty, bureaucracy, and of course the French.
Ah well, not to worry, I’m sure those of us here will muddle by somehow. But before you think the flood has finished first read this quote I came across:
‘No Egyptian ever dreaded the approach of a swarm of locusts more than the native residents of the little towns of France do the settling down of a flight of English. For the result in both cases is the same…
…scarcity and dearness of every article of consumption. I met, in the remoter parts of Brittany, three or four old Englishmen, many years resident in the country, who constantly retreat before the advancing flood of their countrymen…knowing that to live cheaply they must find some part of the country where English gold has not yet penetrated’
They are right of course, if all else fails we can all move away from Provence and the Dordogne and live in an abandoned village in the Auvergne where a house still costs less than a postage stamp, spend the money left over on enough bread, cheese and wine to last a lifetime…and about 94 umbrellas and a lot of wellington boots.
But the amazing thing about the quote above? It was written by Trollope in 1839 when describing Brittany. Hence the situation has been more or less the same for 170 years – except perhaps during two World Wars, since I assume demand for property in France by expats diminished slightly in the early 1940′s.
So the in-flood of expats might have abated momentarily, but I think we can assume it’s a temporary pause, and it’s only a matter of time until the papers are once again full of stories of the ‘English invasion’…