A great way to settle into your new life in France, make friends and find new hobbies is to get involved with local life and volunteering opportunities in your area.
So, what new activities could you pursue whilst giving something back to the community?
Comité De Fete
If you’re moving to a town or a village, there tends to be a real sense of community, particularly in rural France. Your first port of call should be your local Mairie, which will have plenty of information on how you can get involved in community activities. You’ll meet all of the key figures in town or village life, which will be extremely useful if you need any advice on the local area.
Every village and town tend to have a ‘Conseil’ and ‘Comité De Fete’ – a committee that organises events for the local community. The council relies heavily on volunteers to get these events going, whether it’s a village fayre or an antique sale, and you could be one of them!
First aid and the Fire Brigade
If you’re interested in or have experience in first aid, there are plenty of volunteering opportunities in France. The French Red Cross, ‘Croix-Rouge’ has over 55,000 volunteers and runs first aid courses. You could choose a short course to be able to help in an emergency situation or involve yourself in regular volunteering.
The French Fire Brigade, the Pompier service, also relies on volunteers. This would be more of a long-term commitment but would be extremely rewarding and provide you with a variety of skills. If you’re up for a challenge, then why not?
If you are a fan of the outdoors and love your history, why not get involved with a local heritage charity? Charities such as APARE focus on protecting local heritage and the environment, running volunteer workcamps that focus on restoring old buildings and the landscape. You’ll have to be prepared for some physical work, but to work as a team on something so important will get you chatting to new people and leave you with a sense of accomplishment.
Animal rescue groups in France are always needing volunteers. What better way to meet fellow animal lovers whilst contributing to a worthwhile cause? La Société Protectrice des Animaux (SPA) is a well-known charity and you may get involved with anything from dog kennel care and walking duties to rehoming checks and office support.
Alternatively, you may find that smaller, local animal charities in your area are in need of a helping hand.
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