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Expats stories - Angela, from Ireland to Lyon

Hello Angela, can you tell us where you come from?

Come from West of Ireland, moved from Brussels where I was an expat.

What is the best way to prepare for moving to Lyon?

Key challenges for me were schools for my 9 & 11 year olds and where to live. I was lucky that my work were managing my move for me so many things were handled by them. We did a lot of research, reaching out to friends who knew Lyon, joining Facebook groups, forums, newsletters as well as a couple of visits.

Why did you choose to live in Lyon?

As I work for a French company France was always on my mind as a good destination. We had spent 4 years in Brussels and even if my daughters were in a British school they had a good basis of French. Key locations in France for my company are Paris and Grenoble. Lyon was a good happy medium with good transport links as my role is global and necessitates lots of travel!

How to deal with culture shock in Lyon?

I am not sure we had issues with culture shock as Brussels has many similar practices, lots of paperwork, not commercially minded (many shops closing for lunch and not open Sundays). Of course Brussels is very international in comparison with Lyon but the only real challenge in this case is language (which of course is a huge challenge!!).

How to overcome difficulties during living in Lyon?

Learn the language. Our entire family are doing lessons, it will take time but an absolute necessity. In Brussels we tried to practice French but everyone spoke back to us in English (clearly shows how bad our level is!!). This does not happen in Lyon. The bureaucracy can also be a little frustrating so plenty of patience needed.

What do you plan to do in Lyon ? What are your projects at the moment?

Top project is to learn French! We have also rented quite a large house so trying to figure out what to do with all the space that can potentially payback in time.

What are your favorite things to do in Lyon? 

Many many many things!!

- Spending the afternoon out and about in the Mont d'Ors (where I live);

- a picnic on Mont Thou (in the summer preferably!);

- a dinner at L'ermitage looking down across Lyon;

- a trip to the market in St Didier;

- a drive to Couzon and walk along by the river on the other side - Wandering around the cobbled streets around Vieux Lyon - there is always something new to discuss - Visiting the movies and miniatures museum (again in Vieux Lyon);

- Taking the funiculaire up to Fourvière via the roman theatre and trying to find the best route to walk down;

- Going for a walk in Parc de la Tete d'Or (or a boat ride weather permitting!);

- Taking a boat ride on the Saône;

- Dropping in to Grand Hotel Dieu and immersing yourself in some of its history;

- Crossing the Rhone and visiting one of the boat/bars for an aperitif;

- Spending Saturday afternoon wandering around Croix Rousse Clearly I am still a newbie totally enamoured with this city and I hope it continues in this way!

What is your advice for people wishing to come and live in France?

Do your research. As I mentioned we were very lucky to have my work managing most of the set-up but still had plenty of challenges. House-hunting is pretty tough and traffic in the city pretty bad so you need to be prepared. Ultimately its always a risk to move country but once installed quality of life is pretty great!

Is it easy to make new friends in Lyon?

Absolutely ! We have the advantage of having children in school so always a big benefit but we also met people through social media. For the moment we have no engaged with local events but there are heaps of activities organised locally so will manage this once we have improved language a bit!

Do you hang out with locals or foreigners mostly?

Mostly foreigners so far - again language but hopeful to have plenty of local friends for the future.

Is it easy to do networking in Lyon?

Not yet really attempted but I reckon with all the groups especially this one - there is no excuse not to!!

Where is your favorite place in Lyon to hang out with friends?

Parc de la Tête d'Or, Grand Hôtel Dieu, the Croix Rousse and Vieux Lyon.

Can you share with us, a memorable experience that you have in France?

Summer in Lyon has been one big memorable experience from swims in the pool by the Rhone to eating outdoors every evening and waking up to clear blue skies - heaven!

Do you have any tricks/tips to settle more easily in a new city?

Walk - a lot! Get to know your city. Try not to buy too many things in first weeks months, you will find later there are much better options than you first thought (as I have learnt so many times now!)

What have you learned from living abroad and about expat life?

Never judge a book by its cover.

A word or two to define Lyon!

Work Life Balance.

A word or two to define Sojoourn!

Support structure.


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