Archive for the ‘Buying a house in France’ Category

Finally starting to work on the book: Living in France without a TV crew

We’ve been meaning to settle down to write our book for years now but have only just gotten going properly on the initial stages of it over the last week or so.

Our working title is that of the original incarnation of this blog: Living in France without a TV crew. We figured that we needed at least a working title to focus our attention on what material would go into the book and what wasn’t really that relevant.

We’ve even got a very broad provisional structure:

  1. Choosing a place in France, of which we’ve nothing formally written yet;
  2. Moving in which’ll likely draw mainly on the articles here from 2004-2005;
  3. Some chapters looking in more detail at various aspects eg learning the language, education, etc.;
  4. Moving back, which raised more issues than you’d expect.

To see what we’d already written, I’ve been pulling together the relevant posts from 2004 through to 2009 which, even after loads of deleting, amounts to 322 pages and 180,000 words ie we’ve loads to work with.


Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Administering French life from afar

One of the greatest hassles in our lives at the moment is that we’ve to try to sort out some administration with the French tax and social security people whilst we’re in the UK.

You’d think that it would be relatively easy to do as you can obviously use email, faxes, phone calls and even letters but in practice it just isn’t. For one thing, French fax machines seem to work on a different standard as other places as faxes from the UK aren’t accepted by the French fax machines that I’ve tried (even sending from a French fax machine!). Phone calls just don’t seem to get you anywhere and emails rarely receive any response. You might think that leaves letters as a workable approach but even that doesn’t always seem to work. In fact, the French lettre recommandé is the only approach to use but, of course, that’s not available outside France, is it?

Actually, even in France we found that the only really reliable way to do things was to visit the office concerned though flying over all the time is hardly a viable option.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Extricating oneself from the French administration

When we moved here it took us four years before all the various authorities recognised that we were actually living in France. That started quite a flurry of back-administration obviously and it still isn’t entirely cleared up (eg we still get three separate bills for the TV license).

However, it would appear that it’s going to take quite a substantial amount of time for the authorities to recognise that we have now left France and are no longer French residents. Although we ceased to be French resident in January we are still receiving reminders that we’ve not paid various social security and health charges some eight months on.

It’s not that we have ignored their demands for money though. In fact, we informed them in January that we had left, then again almost every month since using their Internet service, email, fax, letter and even recorded delivery letter. In fact, it would appear that all missives from us are completely ignored. Last week we even resorted to writing to them in English as it would appear that they don’t understand French!

Actually, that last letter from us was in a response to a demand from them that it would actually be illegal for us to pay!

Perhaps another couple of years will see it sorted out…

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Isn’t is it annoying the way thieves trash your place as well as stealing stuff?

Sadly, we’ve just heard the news that some ******** have broken into our house in France and trashed the place.

What seems pretty much a cert is that the things that they took (seemingly less than a dozen things in total although we need to do a full check) will be appearing in one of the vide greniers (car boot sales) over this weekend. Some of their customers will be less than pleased with their purchases as they include, among other things, a TV that can’t receive French TV programmes and a number of region 1 DVDs that won’t play on French DVD players.

It isn’t so much the things that they’ve taken which is annoying though: it’s that they simply trashed most rooms in the house looking for stuff that just wasn’t there. Thanks to the high prevalence of the black economy in France, most French households are likely to have quite a pile of cash stashed away but us foreigners just don’t work like that so their cash take amounted to a few euros at best.

In other countries there’d be an insurance claim, of course, but in France the insurance only pays out when you have the original receipts and, for the most part, people don’t have them so you end up paying a whole lot for insurance that realistically you will never be able to claim on.

Anyway, it looks like our notional holiday will be taken up with cleaning up the mess that they’ve left behind and wasting time with the insurance company.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

The househunters return to France

Whilst we had loads of housebuyers staying with us in 2004 and 2005, 2006 saw none of them at all.

Who knows why? The UK interest rates weren’t much higher than they were the year before nor did there seem to be a big difference in the UK house prices.

It’s the same this year too ie no big difference. Yet, we’re just into the main house-hunting season (usually October to March) and already we’ve had three separate house-buying families call in with us. Whether this is the sign of a major buying spree is a good question but at least it’s a sign of the start of a movement in the French market.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.