Surface area: 547,030 km²
66% of the country's trade is within Europe
It was a fairly quiet town but it did have a theatre, three cinemas and a few bars. There weren't many young people, but I was still able to meet lots of locals and had a great time in the process. There were 8 other assistants, so we got the chance to organise many things together. I also lived with a family which was a great experience as it meant I was never lonely, always meeting different people, going to places with them and doing new things. I made the most of the opportunities I had to travel. I went on a two week tour of France, visiting six major cities. I also went to the main towns of my region over the weekends.
Living in a small place like La Mure, I felt like I'd exhausted the things to do there after 9 months. I thought that integrating and immersing myself into the local community and culture was the hardest challenge of the stay - but by far the most rewarding. After a few weeks, you start to feel at ease with the place. The people are really welcoming and there is a real feeling of a close community and pride over the surrounding area. La Mure is a very small commuter town with very little night life but great access to the 'outdoors'. I was able to travel very easily using Grenoble as a hub. Places I visited included Paris, Geneva, Marseille, and many parts of the Rhône-Alps.
A few weeks ago, I was teaching a class about the delights (or lack of them) of English cuisine, this then led to a discussion on different types of gastronomy, Chinese, Italian, Thai. To finish the lesson I asked them, 'if I gave you a hundred euros and the choice to go to ANY restaurant in the whole of Paris, what type of cuisine would you choose?' To my surprise, 90% of them said French.
Charleville is quite small with not a lot to do - but the people are lovely though, I had a brilliant time. The locals were very friendly, but there were no clubs or bars to speak of. It was quiet but I think that forced people to band together and groups of friends were very close. As they say "variety is the spice of life". The number of forms that need to be filled in is a joke; a lot is expected of you in this regard.
Without making an effort, a small village can be a very isolating experience. Moreuil was a beautiful place and the people were very friendly, which helped me settle in. There were lots of clubs and societies and I wasn't far from Amiens. To really enjoy Moreuil, you'd have to be up for living in a small village. I worked a lot and therefore didn't have much time to get involved in town activities, which is important for making friends (although there wasn’t a huge number of young people). With a car, this would be a good place to be. Make sure you know exactly what you will be doing and think seriously about whether or not you will enjoy where you are living – it’s definitely worth visiting beforehand. Also, consider how much French you will be speaking.