Managing visits from friends and family

Real Estate Broker/Owner with TERRA FRANCE | International Estate Agents for France CP570T

Managing visits from friends and family - Especially when you have moved to France.

Within mere minutes of settling into your new home in France you are likely to have friends and family getting in touch, asking when they can come and visit. Although seeing them is always fun, having them stay in your home can be another matter entirely. 

visit friends in France

You may well find you are Mr & Mrs Popular once you either move overseas or buy a second home abroad. Having friends and family visit you can, and should, be great fun, but it does mean your routine will change and you will have more to think about. Therefore, like many things in life, a little preparation and forethought will pay dividends. 

Once you welcome your guests into your home, there will undoubtedly be more work involved as you will naturally want to make sure they are comfortable, entertained and generally having a good time. Good guests will be aware that they are just that: guests, i.e. they don’t live with you, and therefore will be sensitive to the way you live and aware that you may have things to do which don’t necessarily include them all the time. For them it is a break or short holiday; for you, it is daily life. It’s all about compromise and understanding. 

Today, I have prepared some excellent tips for you so that you can make your guests’ visits enjoyable for everyone…

Make their room feel welcoming
Aside from fresh bed linen and towels, think about leaving such items as a book on your village/area and maybe even a few paperbacks or magazines. Most guests will want a little down time and will appreciate your taking the time to provide some reading material for them.

Think ahead about meals
Have a few meal plans up your sleeve for the first few days. The likelihood is that your friends will want to pitch in and help as well as take you out for the odd meal. You don’t have to be a slave to your cooker: make a casserole or two in advance and stock up on provisions.

Breakfast doesn’t need to be a grand affair either. In our case, we usually tell our friends where our local boulangerie is and they love to go up the road to get some fresh bread in the morning. This gives them a nice chance to have a wander as well. 

Be relaxed about everything
Noone wants to think they are putting pressure on you. Take time out to enjoy your guests’ visit, to sit and chat and catch up.

If you have run out of something, take them up on an offer to go and get it and don’t be shy to let everyone muck in when it comes to clearing up. Although you will want everything to be spotless, you will find they don’t really care if, for example, the sheets aren’t ironed. Most people want to feel they are “at home” with you and don’t wish to be treated as royalty!

Think about their visit as teamwork with everyone just enjoying each other’s company.  After all, it is only a relatively short time they are with you in your home.

Have a “things to do” plan
It doesn’t need to be set in stone, but think in advance about local attractions you would like to take them to. You may have been there countless times, but it’s fun to see places again through the eyes of people who have not been there before. You don’t need to feel you have to entertain them every single minute of the day, but a few ideas in advance are a good idea.

Get out and about
Chances are your guests will be visiting in the warmer months, so make sure you get out and about too and if you have a garden, offer them a chair and a newspaper if you have some work to get on with whilst they are there. Tell them they are welcome to go for a drive/take a bike somewhere and you will catch up with them later. Be laid back about it all!

Enjoy it
One of the great things about living abroad is that when you do see your friends and family on a visit, you have time. Back home, you might have only been able to meet for a short while i.e. for a drink, a coffee or a spot of lunch. Now that they are visiting you for a few days, you can relax in each other’s company and not rush to tell them everything.

You will find that conversation evolves without being forced. In other words, it is good quality time which should be a joy for both guest and host. Just remember that you really don’t have to be on your best behaviour. You can have fun with them, laugh with them and be proud that they want to come and see your new home.

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House in FranceTERRES DE FRANCE | International Estate Agents for France

NORMANDIE|Maisons | International Estate Agents for the Normandy area

Your dedicated broker : Gijs VAN BREUGEL

Based in France - working worldwide.


T : +33 (0)2 32 49 31 44 | E : |




Comments (4)

Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

Gijs, Great tips and I especially like how you recommend the local bakery to have them get their own breakfast and explore at the same time. Brilliant.

May 21, 2013 08:13 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

I would come visit too, France is beautiful, and the heaven, especially the baked goods!

May 23, 2013 03:22 AM
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

It is fun to see family but it is also a big job if for maore than a couple of days.

May 25, 2013 05:51 AM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Gijs, this is good advice even if you don't live in France - although in most neighborhoods in the states, you can't wander down the hill to a  boulangerie!

May 25, 2013 11:57 PM

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