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My French Life: Working from Home in rural France

 The Good Life France

I work from home, I’m a freelance journalist and I’m the editor of an online magazine called The Good Life France.

I’ve had a home in France for almost a decade now and I pretty much think every day how lucky I am. However – one of the things I never considered when I bought this old French farmhouse, simply because it never occurred to me to do so, was to check that we had good internet services and connections. Mistake! Though in all honesty I was working full time in London when I purchased and we didn’t need the internet in those days.

I use Orange, the French telecoms service and most of the time it works perfectly but living deep in rural France means there are issues. Yesterday for instance there was a fault on our landline and I was informed it would be repaired no later than 3 working days by 18.00 So precise!  As I am a cautious person and cannot afford to be without a phone for work, I have a backup phone connected to my internet service. That too decided to give up working yesterday, followed swiftly by the internet and I spent an hour getting it to work again – but at least it works, phew.

Talking of the internet, here in the country we don’t get fibre optic speeds We get snail speed… And we get breaks in the connection from time to time and everything grinds to a halt and red lights flash on the box thingy. This makes the OH very stressed as he needs the internet to run his business too. I tend to try to fix things on my own as I am generally calmer. By that I mean I don’t shout and swear at the computer or threaten it.  I just sit here and push buttons and hope I don’t make it worse.

Sometimes it is the box thingy that you connect to itself that goes wrong. We go through boxes like there’s no tomorrow. And I have to drive for 45 minutes to get to the nearest shop to pick one up. When that happens it’s such fun – NOT. This involves several attempts to relaunch, reconnect, re-evaluate life in France and then speak to an engineer who will test it and eventually concede grudgingly that yes your Orange internet Livebox is in fact a Deadbox Madame.

For anyone considering moving to France and who relies on internet and phone for work or family contact you might want to consider the services that are available or at least be aware that there are issues from time to time and read up how to deal with it. If your French is not great, Orange have an English speaking helpline number and we have used it frequently over the years and they’ve been great. Just be aware that when they pass you on to an engineer who doesn’t speak English and talks technical telecoms it can be tricky!

I have to tell you that as I sit here at 16.00 on a  Saturday afternoon, two Orange telecom engineers just popped in, they’ve repaired the line and wanted to make sure the phone was working and we were happy with the result. Less than 24 hours to repair and a personal visit – its a resounding Oui and Merci to Orange France from me!

An update to this post a few years later – we now have fibre optic internet with superfast speed and it is awesome.

A bientôt
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