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'Adieu France': Mum's parting rant goes viral

The Local/AFP · 13 Jul 2015, 15:31

Published: 13 Jul 2015 15:31 GMT+02:00
Updated: 13 Jul 2015 15:31 GMT+02:00

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An open letter in which a French family says it is leaving for Canada because of France's attitude towards entrepreneurs has gone viral, gaining tens of thousands of "Likes" on social networking site Facebook.

The bitter Facebook post, titled ‘Adieu France’ was penned by the French entrepreneur Géraldine Lerch Thuillier, who, along with her husband Jerome and their four kids, will move to Montreal in August.

She claims her family, which she describes as a "classic French family" has been forced abroad essentially because of the red tape and the French judicial system that has cost of hundreds of thousands of euros.

In the open letter, which was picked up by French media after going viral on social media, she accuses France of driving its creative forces abroad.


The letter begins with the words "Adieu France". It's done, we're leaving."

"You will tell me that the grass is not greener on the other side. But over there [in Canada], with our money they will push us to success rather than preventing us. 
Then taking a sarcastic tone Thuillier writes: "Dear leaders of France, continue to ensnare this wonderful country
"Continue to send abroad those who can bring something, real added value to our beautiful country."
"Ciao France, I hope you will not fall too far."

In recent years France has seen an increase in the number of people heading abroad.

Many leave France for professional reasons, others because jobs are hard to come by in a crisis, or simply for the experience of living abroad.

Others, more high profile expats have complained that notoriously heavy French bureaucracy and the high payroll charges and taxes have forced them to set up businesses abroad.

Canada and especially French speaking Quebec has proved one of the most popular destinations for those leaving France.

While the likes of actor Gérard Depardieu famously blamed France's Socialist president François Hollande for his 75 percent tax as the reason he quit the country, the Thuillier family, says no single person is to blame. Just the attitude in the country itself.

“(We’re not leaving) because of the crisis, or because of the president, it would have been too easy to accuse just one person,” she writes, “France, we’re leaving you to go to a country where success is something that is welcome, where creativity is encouraged.”

Her words appear to have struck a chord in a country struggling under record unemployment.

Since the letter was posted on Thuillier’s Facebook page on July 5, it has has been shared more than 114,000 times.

SEE ALSO: Crisis not taxes driving French abroad

But what was her grievance that prompted her to quit the country in acrimonious circumstances?

In the letter, Thuillier tells the story of how the couple had the idea of building a luxury B 'n' B style cabin on their property in Provence, southern France.

Although they were initially told by authorities they could do “whatever they wanted” and assumed they wouldn’t need a building permit because the cabin was based on a flatpack assembly and would not to be constructed as a house would.

They thought they had done everything by the book but then the fines and threats of legal action came rolling in, just as the business looked set to flourish.

As a result they had to shut down their project even before it had even opened.

“After several years of battle, (and) two trials, we lost in appeals court!,” she wrote, explaining how the couple then decided to embark on a new guesthouse project.

Again, the couple’s business was brought to an abrupt end because of complicated red tape.

The Thuilliers got into hot water because they had used the term “guesthouse” for their business.

The final straw came when the couple’s third attempt to make an entrepreneurial living was stopped dead in its tracks, apparently because the banks considered the tourism industry way "too risky" of a sector.

That's the same tourism industry that attracts around 85 million visitors to France each year.

“So France, that’s just too much,” she wrote. "That's  the final straw."

SEE ALSO: French expats in no hurry to return



The Local/AFP (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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