Top Tips For Brits Moving To France

Jeanne Boden, Sales Director at La Durantie offers some tips and advice from her 19 years living in The Tarn in South West France with her family of four.  Her experience as Sales Director at La Durantie – a historic chateau development with 57 new build homes on the estate, means she has personally spoken to many British second home seekers.  She has a good knowledge of their concerns and frequently asked questions.

 

Here are Jeanne’s latest top tips for anyone moving to France:

 

1. The paperwork – be prepared to be patient as the administrative system is a lot slower in France than in England.  Original copies are required for all documentation whether for a mobile phone or insurance and it is often quite difficult to get things done over the phone or online.

 

If you are renting a house you need to ensure you have a contract in French even if you are renting from British owners.  Also, some utility bills in your own name will be required to show proof of residency for car insurance etc.

 

2. Getting connected to TV and WIFI - nowadays the first essential requirement is WIFI and internet.  Check whether your property has “haut debit” or high speed broadband (at Durantie this is all handled for you).

 

Firstly you need a France Telecom line installed in your own name.  If you are buying a house that is not part of a managed resort, your previous owners must close down all their contracts with utilities before you are able to install your own.  This is still done by letter, so there can be delays.

 

There are four main service providers with different packaged deals and can include your French mobile phone should you opt for this, when choosing your live box.  The average price is 30€ per month for unlimited broadband with free calls to Europe and some TV included.

 

It is necessary to call the service providers by phone to purchase order your live box and set up a contract.  You will need to speak good French or find someone who can do this for you.

For British Satellite TV contact your local electrician.  He will be able to advise the correct installation for your satellites in order to pick up the essential UK channels.

 

If you are renting a house you need to ensure you have a contract in French even if you are renting from British owners.  Also, some utility bills in your own name will be required to show proof of residency for car insurance etc.

 

3. Rural banking – if you are moving to a rural area it is advisable to open a bank account in your nearest town.  It is much more straightforward for signing documents etc. if your branch is nearby.

 

4. Car insurance – if you are bringing your right hand drive UK car with you to France, you will need to get the car registered for France.  You have six months where you can still drive on UK licence plates and your UK insurance will cover you. Thereafter you are required to have a French vehicle registration document (“carte grise”) from your local administrative office (“prefecture”) in order to get French insurance.  This can be obtained in person or online.

 

5. Pets – If your dog or cat is moving with you, they will need to be micro – chipped and have up to date vaccinations.  Many rural places do not have fenced gardens so if your dog is likely to wander then it might be worth considering an underground electric perimeter fence line.  This is a harmless system that creates invisible boundaries for your pet through either a perimeter wire or wireless through radio or WiFi signals to their collar.

 

6. Income tax – seek advice from your UK accountant to ascertain whether you need a French accountant for your affairs when you become a resident in France.

 

7. Registering to vote – Once you are settled in your new home in France do not forget to pay a visit to the local Mairie (Mayor’s office) and let them know who you are. You are eligible to vote in local and European elections if you have EU nationality.

The mairie is the mayor of your village, town or city. They are an elected representative with a ‘direct line’ of communication to the decisions made locally, and are usually based in the town hall, which is likely to be one of the most impressive buildings in the town.

The role of the mairie in France is especially key in rural areas.  It is best to know what your local mairie will expect from you or be able to help you with. They will be able to advise on all administrative matters in your commune and if not can direct you to find the information you need.

 

8. FINALLY do learn French!!