Mark Greenside was originally from New York, moved to California, and then was dragged by his girlfriend to a tiny Celtic village in Brittany at the westernmost edge of France. It was here, in Finistère, where he wrote his book 'I'll Never Be French (No Matter What I Do)'.
Read more about expat life in the France country guide or read more expat experiences in France
Q: Where are you originally from?
A: New York
Q: Where are you living now?
A: Finistère, Brittany, France
Q: How long have you lived here?
A: 20 years, summers
Q: Why did you move; what do you do?
A: I’m a writer/teacher. I fell in love with the geography, culture, and light.
About Brittany, France
Q: What do you enjoy most about your host city, how’s the quality of life?
A: The quiet, calm, durability, physical beauty, magnificent food, curious and inquisitive people, the light, the light, the light.
Q: Any negatives? What do you miss most about home?
A: Grand museums, theatre, friends.
Q: Is the city safe?
About living in Brittany
Q: Which are the best places/suburbs to live in France as an expat?
A: On the coast or on a river
Q: How do you rate the standard of accommodation in France?
A: Excellent—especially in this economy, except, of course, for the exchange rate
Q: What’s the cost of living in France compared to America? What is cheap or expensive in particular?
A: Housing is cheaper, food about the same—but much much much better, wine is cheaper, gas is $9.00 a gallon, transportation is expensive
Q: What are the locals like; do you mix mainly with other expats?
A: There are no other Americans. There are Brits, but I do not mix with them much. Most of my contact is with locals.
Q: Was it easy meeting people and making friends?
Q: Is there any other advice you like to offer new expat arrivals?
A: Fit in, don’t stand out
~ Interviewed February 2010