Internet problems in France were bound to hit us hard. We discovered pretty quickly on arriving at our new home that the phone was not connected and we had no Internet connection. This was an issue not only because of the children’s wishes to play video games and chat with friends back home but also for work reasons for both myself and my husband.
So on the first full day of our stay in France, we had two priorities – make progress on the phone/Internet front and acquire a pair of shoes for our daughter who had inconveniently put all her shoes in a case that went to the storage unit leaving her with only a pair of slippers!
We went to the lady’s house to report our phone and Internet issues. We had made it clear when negotiating that these must be in place when we arrived and had paid for the same in advance. We had discovered that there was an English speaking helpline at Orange in France which pleased us greatly. There is a big difference between being able to order a meal in France and being able to negotiate on something technical.
Actually before we bothered the lady and with our mobiles all doing strange things we had gone to the local phone box to make the call. Cue lots of oohing and ahhing from me as I discovered the delights of the new village such as the boulangerie, the bar, the tourist office and the church. Every house seemed prettier in the last and although the Internet issue remained, it was wonderful to walk around our new village on the sunniest of days and to give ourselves a pat on the back for making this leap of faith in moving to France.
We found the phone box and my husband picked up the handset only to see it came away with wires at one end. So we found out that vandalism is not just a UK issue.
The lady welcomed us warmly and we explained our problems and asked to use her phone. Whilst my husband phoned Orange, she showed me around her home and filled me in a little on how she had found herself in France. She had offered coffee which we had turned down but it was soon clear the call would take ages so we settled in for the duration. It took about 20 minutes for my husband to get to speak to a human being.
After a few calls to and fro, it transpired the engineer had visited at some point but nobody was in mainly because we had not yet arrived in France. My husband was angry but I thought it was probably just a genuine case of misunderstanding somewhere along the way between Orange, the lady in England we were dealing with and the lady in France we were in contact with. I imagined just as in the UK Internet problems in France are not uncommon when moving home.
With my husband due to work from Wednesday and myself due to work on Tuesday on something that could not be put off, stress levels mounted a bit. At this point an English neighbour turned up to visit our lady. They put their heads together in the most generous way coming up with 3 clear options. We could travel to a big town and access a Wifi spot outside the prison turned bar. We could speak to our neighbour referred to as “Posh Petra” and see if we could piggy back on her connection or finally we could use the lady’s bedroom as an office until Orange turned up 2 weeks later which they had told us was the earliest they could do.
We are discovering the kindness of expats and also the wealth of information they are keen to share. I think they would have happily let us sit there all day discussing everything that might possibly be useful to us but I was keen to get alone with my husband and children so we could discuss the next steps.
Posh Petra seemed our best option but unfortunately the elegant Parisienne was not around so we drove to the Wifi spot and managed to get a connection. We worked out that this was OK for the work I needed to do but not for my husband who works 8 hours per day giving legal advice. With the heat, I felt this was a step too far.
So after an afternoon relaxing my husband headed to the lady’s house who was more than happy to hand over her bedroom as our office for the next couple of weeks. We offered payment but she would not hear of it.
Meanwhile back at the house I was attempting to cook a beef stew with my son. It transpired our gas bottle was empty and I could not get the slow cooker to work. Fortunately because we had done a huge shop whilst in the big town at Leclerc supermarket, we had lots of food that did not require cooking.
When we came to France, my brother said there would be hurdles to overcome but we would be OK as we had each other. I noted how we had got stressed early in the day and perhaps taken it out on each other a little but the truth was issues were getting resolved and we are still spending most of our days having a brilliant time exploring and finding out all about our new country and area.
Have you experienced Internet problems in France?