French in Portugal: Jean Pierre Hougas can’t get enough of Portugal

“It’s impossible to get tired of Portugal. My only complaint is that the days aren’t 25 hours long.”

Jean Pierre Hougas is one of many French citizens living in Portugal. He currently resides in Caldas da Rainha, a city in the West of the country, around 90 kilometres from Lisbon, where he enjoys a calm lifestyle with plenty of culture and commercial offers as well.

He enjoys living in the region, as it is close to many interesting attractions. “It takes me less than an hour to reach Sintra, Tomar, Batalha or Alcobaça, which has a fantastic monastery and historic centre,” he says. And that’s not the only advantage: he is close to several beaches, such as those of Ericeira. He has little doubt that “Portugal is a country worth getting to know better”.

A lively French community

As chairman of his local chapter of the Union for French Abroad, he helps to welcome other French citizens who decide to move to Portugal, many of whom found themselves attracted by the tax benefits for non-habitual residents.

As in other places, the French citizens like to get together. “We gather according to our preferences. Every Monday there is a group which goes bowling. Others run a book club and some play golf”, Jean Pierre explains.

The Portuguese lifestyle

There are two Portuguese words which one learns quickly, Jean Pierre says: “wait” and “slowly”. Why? Because the pace is less stressful here than in France. “We adapt well to living here,” he says.

Nowadays he sees the country as his home, won over by the natural beauty, the friendliness of the people and the rhythms of a society he has adopted as his own.

That makes Jean Pierre just one more French citizen who wants to keep on living in Portugal: “I don’t miss Paris in the slightest.”

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