Kim Defforge is a lifelong francophile and former French teacher, with a passion for all things French. Having moved from the U.S. to the French Riviera, she now enjoys writing about French culture, food, wine, events, and the simple beauty of a Mediterranean sunset…proving that dreams really can come true!
Why did you choose to move to Nice?
Actually, I had intended to live in Montpellier, but my husband’s family is in Cannes, so he wanted to return to the Cote d’Azur area. It turned out to be a great choice – Nice is a lively, beautiful city.
How was the moving process?
It was somewhat frantic: we sold our U.S. condo (unexpectedly in two days), sold our cars and other items and shipped the rest of our belongings and furniture from the U.S. to France in a 40 cubic foot cargo container. We were in the midst of totally renovating an apartment in Nice at the time, so had to store our boxes and furniture in the middle of the living room, leaving only a small perimeter to walk around. We had to shower at the beach, until the bathroom was completed…thankfully, it was summer. Getting everything done and being physically settled in took about 6 months.
Did you face difficulties to adapt to your host country?
Not really – I had lived and worked in Paris for a short time years ago and was a French teacher in the U.S. I also spent summers near Montpellier, and therefore, I kept abreast of French culture and am very comfortable being in France. I did, however, have to go to driving school to obtain a French driver’s license, a challenging and expensive process, plus deal with the infamous French bureaucracy for my long-stay visa.
What surprised you the most in Nice?
Although Nice is the 5th largest city in France, I was surprised at how relatively small the city center actually is; also, the aggressive driving, especially the scooters. Could you please share with us something you like about Nice and something you don’t like? I like the view of the Mediterranean sea, especially while sitting at one of the beach restaurants. I don’t like the rocky beaches in Nice and prefer silky, soft sand between my toes for an enjoyable walk along the surf.
A common belief about Nice which wasn’t right?
People usually come to the South of France for the warm, sunny weather; however, there can be, surprisingly, frequent periods of rain.
What do you miss the most from the US, your home country?
An authentic Mexican meal, like I enjoyed at On The Border restaurant and the level of client service found in the U.S.
What does a typical day as an expat in Nice look like?
There is so much to do here! It could be simply enjoying a walk on the Promenade des Anglais, shopping at an open market, taking in the sea view over a cup of coffee, meeting friends for lunch at a beachfront restaurant, and perhaps, attending one of the area’s many museums or international clubs’ events. Voilà!
Which advice would you give to people wishing to settle in Nice?
Take your time to decide if being in a large city is really where you want to live before investing in property and do your homework about what to expect, such as laws and taxes.
When and why did you start your blog, 24/7 in France?
Although I had written a few freelance articles in 2008, I started my blog in March of 2012, as a way to share current news, travel information, and amusing stories about living on the French Riviera, for locals and tourists.
You are also a writer and you release a book on your journey to France: why did you choose to write on your expatriation experience?
Solitary Desire-One Woman’s Journey to France is the true story of my personal journey and the life events that weave an emotional tapestry: from adolescent imagination to adult life situations, with the twists and turns that led me to pursue my life dream of living in France.
What are your projects for the future?
Although I miss my family in the U.S., I feel that I am where I am meant to be and have no plans to live anywhere else. Future project ideas include writing more books, launching special travel opportunities for tourists, and hosting a writer’s retreat.