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Calling all French ex-pats - Help! (Read 11504 times)
david en france
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Calling all French ex-pats - Help!
Jan 6th, 2010, 2:24pm
 
Having finally summoned up the courage to follow our hearts my wife (54) and myself (68) have sold our UK home and are looking for somewhere to live in the Lot/Dordogne/Garonne area.   Up to £180,000, about 1800 sq m of garden/land and min 4 beds, 2 wc,  in a quiet but not remote location. Must be modern/modernised.  All suggestions/contacts/advice joyfully welcomed.  David France ( ex Snr Events Prod, Radio)
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john ansell
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Re: Calling all French ex-pats - Help!
Reply #1 - Jul 19th, 2010, 8:24am
 
I've lived in the north of France for more than 20 years - and still love the life in this area. Property prices are much lower, of course and people here are extremely tolerant, kind and flexible in their attitude towards one another and gladly welcome "foreigners" from other EU countries. It's also handy for frequent trips to Britain via the Channel tunnel - with car of course and no weather holdups.
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david.shute
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Re: Calling all French ex-pats - Help!
Reply #2 - Jul 29th, 2010, 4:58pm
 
With the greatest respect, first hire somewhere in an area you fancy and go and live there, ideally in the winter. I stress LIVE, not whizz bang holiday mode. This will give you an idea of what goes on, who's about and what sort of a life you will enjoy as residents. Think carefully about your situation in, say 20 years time. Would you really want a big plot to have to keep maintained? Maybe you're mega rich in so hiring probably expensive help won't be a problem!   The Lot is our favourite. Every good luck with your new adventure. David Shute, ex Senior Talk Producer, Pebble mill.     davidshute.co.UK

david en france wrote on Jan 6th, 2010, 2:24pm:
Having finally summoned up the courage to follow our hearts my wife (54) and myself (68) have sold our UK home and are looking for somewhere to live in the Lot/Dordogne/Garonne area.   Up to £180,000, about 1800 sq m of garden/land and min 4 beds, 2 wc,  in a quiet but not remote location. Must be modern/modernised.  All suggestions/contacts/advice joyfully welcomed.  David France ( ex Snr Events Prod, Radio)

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Remember....Today is not the Rehearsal
 
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Amigo
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Re: Calling all French ex-pats - Help!
Reply #3 - Jul 30th, 2010, 1:58pm
 
If the post is still valid (the original was in January) here are my thoughts.

France is a huge country and so it has a great variation of climate, tastes, style, prices, character.

We know of people who loved an area, and who actually bought a plot of land in preparatin to having a property built, only to find that, at certain times of the year, the humidity was too much for him. They had to sell their plot.. and bought further south... way way south.

People we know bought a huge plot of land in France, and then had difficulty maintaining it. Especially when they came to Spain for the winter, where the climate is much better! Upon their return they often had to contend with no electric as it had tripped out during one of the many storms to which their area was prone, and grass which took a lot of effort to bring back under control. Everything was green, because it rained a lot!

Do NOT assume that your chosen area will always have excellent air connections to the UK. That small French airfield with daily connections to Gatwick might not last very long.

Rent for 12 months, live, try, and then step back and observe.

Better to see prices increase than make a very costly error.



Also beware of TAX and health insurance. Check them out for UK pensioner's arrangements. Age allowance? Inheritance Tax?
I don't know all the facts.

What I do know is that we couldn't set up our business in France due to a high TAX regime, and our friends (UK Pensioners) could not afford to live in France. They were much better off in the UK (they said). They have sold up and are returning......

Check it out first. Perhaps keep a UK domicile?

Don't assume all services will be available everywhere. A promised "Land-Line" telephone might never materialise. If there is one already connected there, you might not be able to take the line over... if your chosen location is miles away from a village it might not be capable of the internet and so contact might not be 100%. No SKYPE, no UK papers, no BBC Radio on line...

Befriend the local maire.

Good luck.

Amigo (In Spain)

who gave a lot of thought to living (and working) in France. We went, we looked, we studied,  and listened.... and decided...

elsewhere, with no regrets.

But that was US.
We know of others who are quite happy.

Rent for 12 months- see a year through..

Bonne chance!
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david en france
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Re: Calling all French ex-pats - Help!
Reply #4 - Aug 4th, 2010, 11:46am
 
Thanks to all who responded.   We are now settled in Brittany (border of Morbihan/Cote D'Armor) with mains water, broadband, full oil CH, and a cider orchard to give me a new project  and intend to be here for the rest of our days. For anyone who is thinking of making the move I am very happy to share our experiences, what costs we encountered etc. For the record, all our budgeting was done on a like-for-like basis, i.e. One Pound = one euro and on that basis we don't expect to be caught out by the kind of fluctuation that there was in the early days when a euro was worth 67 pence. All we have to do to reassure ourselves that we are in the right place is to visit Loudeac, three miles from here, driving down an empty motorway-standard dual carriageway, park free of charge, walk crime and vandalism-free streets filled with flowers, and buy fresh produce like apricots and peaches at less than 2 euros a kilogram. True some things are mysteriously expensive like toilet seats!!!,  shower doors!!!   fresh chicken!!  but on the fish counter stuff is about half UK price.   And we're buying very quaffable Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon  in boxes at 8.42 euros for five litres, diesel at 1.09 a litre and "council tax" equivalent is less than a quarter of what it was in Dorset. C'est la vie, indeed.
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swjmckay
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Re: Calling all French ex-pats - Help!
Reply #5 - Aug 4th, 2010, 1:46pm
 
My folks made the move 6 years ago (also Morbihan) and loved it. From what I recall BBC pensions are quite amenable to paying into a French bank account too (but I may be wrong so don't quote me).
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Amigo
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Re: Calling all French ex-pats - Help!
Reply #6 - Aug 4th, 2010, 1:56pm
 
The BBC Pension is, I believe, capable of being paid anywhere. The exchange rate isn't always the best you can get, but it works fine, and is regular.

The only point I was making is that we have been led to believe that many French taxation rules can make living in France expensive for pensioners.

We do not live in France!
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stephenj
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Re: Calling all French ex-pats - Help!
Reply #7 - Sep 6th, 2010, 12:13pm
 
A BBC pension can indeed be paid in France, and the rate is not bad. I settled here (in Paris, not the Dordogne/Luberon/Brittany) 15 years ago. Just be warned that if you become tax resident in France you lose control over your estate when you go to the great BH/TC in the sky. French law dictates that half your estate must go to your child(ren), You must decide what your financial relationship with your spouse (common or separate property). Means using the services of grossly overpaid notaires.
Bonne chance
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Amigo
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Re: Calling all French ex-pats - Help!
Reply #8 - Sep 6th, 2010, 2:03pm
 
This is what I was refering to, stephenj. Every country has different rules. You can not presume that what you think will happen upon your demise, actually will!

Here in Spain, the children take priority over the spouse. This can lead to all sorts of problems!

The further you are away from the main trunk of the family tree, the greater the amount of inheritance tax you pay. This explains why there are often empty properties, as the 'distant relative' would have to pay so much inheritance tax, it wasn't worth it for them to claim their inheritance.

The best advice is get good independent advice wherever you are.


And finally, remember that if you write two wills, one in the UK and one in your chosen foreign country, make certain that they don't inter-act.
If you have written a (say) Spanish will, and then go to the UK and write a UK will which will (usually) start with the statement that it supersedes all previous testaments, immediately you cancel the Spanish will. Tell both lawyers that the other exists! Say in each will that there is another will in existence when you write them. It can save your family a lot of hassle, expence and worry. Exchange telephone numbers- it makes life so much easier if they know what's going on, and with whom they are dealing.


For what it's worth that's OUR experience, anyway.
Oh, and keep them up-to-date as well!
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chris west
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Re: Calling all French ex-pats - Help!
Reply #9 - Oct 19th, 2010, 12:04pm
 
Good advice Amigo. We've lived in Spain for nearly ten years now, and we find that the better we speak the language, the more questions it throws up about the Spanish nationa/regional character, thought processes, attitudes etc. I think anyone moving to a foreign country, even one so close (geographically) to the UK should realise that there are massive differences, and not only in the language....

BTW, it seems that the Spanish inheritance laws don't apply to foreign nationals: check out Article 9 of the Codigo Civil.
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PGS4038
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Re: Calling all French ex-pats - Help!
Reply #10 - Jul 16th, 2015, 6:36am
 
We've lived in France for 9 yrs now, and pay all taxes in France.
Pensions are paid into UK bank accounts, and we are considered as French residents, so no UK tax is paid. Tax is therefore paid in France, at an agreed annual exchange rate based on the average euro/pound rate for the year, OR on the rate on the 31st December, the end of the French tax year. This offers the opportunity of timing your transfers to take advantage of the changing bank rates.
I recommend reading "Living and working in France" by David Hampshire. We found this invaluable to us as we trudged our way through the layers of France's infamous bureaucracy!

p.s. they rather like to speak French here!  Wink
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