Of german origin, I moved to Toulouse with my family in 2005. We arrived a bit unprepared, that's the least I can say: despite having taken some french lessons prior to our arrival, we only had basic language skills.
Fortunately our first steps were accompanied by a relocation agency. So the most important things such as finding accomodation or opening a bank account were taken care of.
Nevertheless, we encountered some situations where we found ourselves lost. Struggling with the french authorities remained an issue over the years.
But in the beginning even everyday situations such as finding a sports club or music lessons for your children can be difficult when you don't understand neither the language nor the requirements. Why do you need a medical certificate even for yoga lessons? Or a cheque? Or a certificate of your housing insurance if you want to participate in french lessons of your home town.
So during the first years the most important tasks were learning french and exploring the cultural differences. When we finally decided to buy a house in a small village near Toulouse, we really began to feel at home in France.
That's definitely due to Toulouse, the so-called Ville Rose and it's beautiful surroundings. During summertime it's always a pleasure to take the apéro in one of the bars on Place du Capitole or Place St. George. Every day of the week there's a market somewhere in town, offering an overwhelming diversity of local produce.
A lot of museums make it easy to discover Toulouse's long history - Celts, Romans, Cathares, monks and rich medieval merchants all left their traces.
The Mediterranean Sea, the Pyrenees, the adjacent departments Gers, Tarn-et-Garonne and Aude are nearby and provide lots of opportunities for week-end trips.
Today we enjoy our life as expatriates in France.