Meet a Frenchie – Irène Fumanal

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Meet a Frenchie – Irène Fumanal

In this section of the blog, we’ll meet French people living in Barbados. A census carried out by the French Consulate indicated that there were around 250 Frenchies living here.

This time around, it’s Irène who will recount her experiences here. She is from the southwestern Department of Vaucluse in France.

So Irène, tell us, what brought you to Barbados?

Love… I followed my husband who was posted here.

How long have you been here?

4 years.

Was settling in easy?

Yes, it was, as I used to visit Barbados twice a year before moving here.

Is there anything you know now that you wish you had known then that would have made the process easier?

No, not really.

Had you ever heard of Barbados while in France? 

I had heard it was a rum-producing country, but I didn’t know exactly where it was in the West Indies.

What has been the biggest culture shock?

The biggest culture shock for me? The omnipresence of religion… in public life, business and even the tourism sector! It’s surprising when you come from a secular county.

What was/is most frustrating about living here?

The state of the roads and the difficulty and red tape involved when trying to go into business as a foreigner.

And what do you like the most?

The island vibe. There are very few unpleasant things here… apart from mosquitoes! I like Bajans’ sunny disposition, the atmosphere, the uncomplicated lifestyle, the never-ending summer, the peace. I love Barbados!

What’s your favourite place of interest?

I really like Parliament, the National Heroes Gallery and Museum of Parliament. I also like the Barbados Museum, very informative about Barbados’ history. I also like the natural attractions… the east coast, North Point, the countryside… and the rum shops!

What’s your favourite Bajan dish?

I like flying fish in any form.

What’s your favourite Bajan expression?


Name your favourite beach

I like Dover Beach and Miami Beach.

How do you relax?

I go to beach, either to swim or walk. Otherwise, spending the day on a catamaran… it’s a very good way to relax.

 Any advice or tips for French people who might be thinking of moving here?

Don’t come with any expectations and you won’t be disappointed! Sometimes, Europeans come here expecting to live exactly as they do in their country of origin, and constantly criticize the country and its people, etc. My advice: don’t confine yourself to the expat community, go out and meet Bajans. Some are Francophiles, and it’s a real pleasure to be able to converse with them in your mother tongue.

Tip: I always ask Bajans when it comes the practical aspects of life here… for example, to recommend a good electrician. I’m always grateful for their help and advice.

Barbados in three words.

Coconut, rum, liming (hanging out with friends).


Photography by Stephen R. Smith of Pro Photo Studio/Photo Dynamics Inc.

Rédaction et traduction du blog réalisées par AAA Translation Services. Pour la version française voir ici.


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