france - to demenage or not to demenage?

labruyere

Well-Known Member
Joined
13 April 2012
Messages
208
Location
gloucestershire
Visit site
brain picking time please folks...

am I being naive? - selling up and moving to France is calling strongly again...

have read through all relevant posts in this section and wondering what you guys think...

I am fortunate to be ok with the lingo (though now rusty on spoken/written), having lived in France for 2 years, 30 odd years ago as both an au pair and student and having degree in French

but concerned that 30 years back France may have been a different country -

- > visited an expat relative a few years back (brittany) and was massively disappointed with food (but they have little or no taste!! ;) - purchased from local supermarkets - is French food (and 'life') quality still miles better than UK (posts suggest prices now similar)

-> during same visit was pulling hair out that despite being qualified in UK - in France my BHS qualifications count for nothing - so much for free trade/free movement of labour (though would not need to work in horses there now fortunately)
>> but would I however be prevented from competing (dressage) if not 'Galop' (?) qualified?

- > would imported horses be prevented from competing?

- > would you suggest rent house and livery initially whilst conducting house search - how partical/expensive would this be?
>> or go the whole hog day one - ie find house to buy first?

-> related point - would you buy house with land and keep horses at home but probably 'remote' from community, or buy village house (for community) with horses at livery nearby - and is livery widely available (with schools and turnout)?

-> which region would you recommend? - better weather but not too hot to ride in summer + quality of life for a Francophile rather than 'ghetto ex pat' type

- > where could I get general advice on where I would stand with income/tax (I have option of earning sufficient rental income in UK and effectively being 'retired' (early) in France - or selling up in Uk and buying somewhere with rental (or other) income in France

are my spectacles over rosy or should I cut my losses/frustration with current day UK which seems to be loosing more and more of the plot on a daily basis (not to mention the totally erratic weather we now have)

>> or should I look beyond France (despite not speaking language???)
 

ycbm

Einstein would be proud of my Insanity...
Joined
30 January 2015
Messages
58,725
Visit site
I can't help with any of your questions about France I'm afraid, but your post reminded me of something I once read. It may not apply to you, but just in case I'll repeat it.

It went something like -

'she got on a plane to America to leave all her problems behind, only to find that they followed by sea six months later.'

If you decide to go, good luck and I hope you love it there.
 

Booboos

Well-Known Member
Joined
5 January 2008
Messages
12,776
Location
South of France
Visit site
Ok I'll have a go at this:

- the food is considerably better but you have to go to the weekly markets for fruit, vegetables, cheeses, charcuterie, etc.

- to my knowledge BHS qualifications do not count and France is dragging its feet on a lot of aspects of employment integration

- yes you need a Galop 7 to compete Amateur (Galop 9 for Pro) however you local RC can certify you. The trick is to go make friends, sort out your license through them (you have to do it through a club anyway), book a couple of lessons so they can assess you and they should do it for you. I think you can compete club on just a regular license.

- any horse can compete Club, only horses with three generation pedigrees from established breeds can compete Amateur and Pro.

- livery is very cheap compared to the UK, most places have indoor schools but very few have daily turn out and they don't all muck out to anything like acceptable standards (e.g. once a week take out the worst).

- if you can rent try that first to make sure you are happy, the property market is very slow and you may struggle to sell a place you buy and don't like.

- I'm in the border between midi-Pyrenees and languefoc. Further south it is considerably drier (no grass, stony soil) and warmer in the summer. Weather wise this is a good compromise.

- there are specialist tax lawyesrpprs who deal with expat issues. I would strongly advise you to speak with an experienced tax lawyer before even thinking of setting foot on France.

- how invested are you in competing? Saumur is the best place for competitions, clinics, etc but the weather is not a great improvement on the UK. In general the middle of the country is completely dead competition wise and it is a bit better down south. By a bit better I mean there are 5 competitions within an hour's drive of my place and one has just been cancelled! The French tend to compete differently to us. They hire large horse boxes, everyone goes together and they spend long weekends after away doing multiple tests a day at loads of different levels. They all stay in site and have great parties in the evening. If you have work or family obligations this can be very tough.

If you have a choice for horsey madness consider Germany. If the weather is the most important factor then it's difficult, I don't know what to suggest.
 

Hilary'smum

Well-Known Member
Joined
18 January 2015
Messages
97
Visit site
Live in Brittany with imported horses on own land. Would suggest you don't sell UK hose until you have lived in France for at least a year (if you can afford to).

Try Normandy Hooves (Sabots Normande) group on Facebook. A kind and helpful group many of whom will be able to help with all your queries

Also the forum Angloinfo is quite useful. In my admittedly limited experience Normandy and Brittany appear to be the most horse friendly areas

Hope this helps
 

Shady

Well-Known Member
Joined
24 October 2014
Messages
6,436
Location
lost in the wilderness of France
Visit site
I'll give it a little go too but i have no experience of competitive horsey stuff.
As above's , don't buy straight away, where you start is rarely where you want to end up in France and you can get badly caught out, what looks nice in summer could be very different in winter, or a lovely house but nowhere to hack etc etc. Or no decent vets. Visit notaires , mayors, and on line ,Greenacres and Le Bon Coin, the best buys are not with the estate agents.
Take some trips over, do different regions, look at transport links, this is very important , somewhere may be pretty but there are limited flights back to UK, , i needed to get back to the west country so Bristol airport was best but most regions don't fly there except Toulouse.
Look at the weather, Brittany and Normandy are wet, cold and windy, too far down south and it's seriously hot or near the Alps seriously cold in winter. It's a balance, central France is cheap, anywhere near the coasts expensive.
i would buy a place with land if you can, they always hold their value better than a town house and liveries are very different here and rather inflexible in how they are managed, standards are lower but there are more as Booboos says.
Supermarkets are indeed the pits and you would have seen the best of them in Brittany, you learn to make your own meals and buy fresh, take aways and ready meals will become a thing that you live without!
I'm Midi Pyrenees too, like Booboo's but further up? across? definite seasons but hot in summer, you learn to ride early then ,the countryside is amazing here but the drawback is that it's very rustic and a long, long way by road to any ferry ports.
Lots for you to think about, the one thing i would say strongly is make sure you have a good accountant who works for you and not the French government, have an emergency fund behind you and a good working plan in place, this is an unforgiving country if you get it wrong. best of luck x
 

Booboos

Well-Known Member
Joined
5 January 2008
Messages
12,776
Location
South of France
Visit site
I'm between Carcassonne and Toulouse, where are you Shady?

Out of my 5 competitions a year the first got cancelled this weekend due to lack of entries - I was the only one! I think I'll sell my horsebox, it's just not worth the maintenance costs.
 

Shady

Well-Known Member
Joined
24 October 2014
Messages
6,436
Location
lost in the wilderness of France
Visit site
I'm between Carcassonne and Toulouse, where are you Shady?

Out of my 5 competitions a year the first got cancelled this weekend due to lack of entries - I was the only one! I think I'll sell my horsebox, it's just not worth the maintenance costs.

Hi Booboos ! i'm in the Aveyron now,
in an isolated valley surrounded by forests and gorges, many , many endurance Arabs here and from what i have heard quite a bit goes on but i can't confirm that! I was in the Tarn before, about a half hour from Gaillac so 1 hr ish from Toulouse, a much better spot in terms of work and traveling but houses with land were expensive and the land much stonier. Toulouse is lovely and my old totally amazing vet has moved his practice there now, huge loss for me but lucky for everybody there!
Weathers picking up now, boy was the winter wet here this year, miserable indeed! hope you are ok down there :):) xx
 

Booboos

Well-Known Member
Joined
5 January 2008
Messages
12,776
Location
South of France
Visit site
We had the mildest winter ever - sorry! I pretty much rode every weekday (spend weekends with the children) and we never even saw any frost. It all feels a bit pointless though if I can't compete, not because I am such a star, Freddy has a delightful tendency of getting us eliminated, but because of a lack of goals, feedback, etc.
 

jokadoka

Well-Known Member
Joined
20 November 2008
Messages
490
Visit site
We are just about to move back to Yorkshire after nine years in Alsace ( North East). Sold our property, had house with land and stables, and will leave in July. The riding has been fantastic here, and the freedom to roam where ever you like we' ll never have again in the UK. However, I can't wait to leave all this behind, the French people are definitely an "acquired taste" ( in my opinion, and in my area), the paperwork on anything and everything endless, the reputation of the French cuisine does not match reality! ( again in my opinion and in my area), and costumer service is another story altogether.....I am sorry to be so negative but it isn't all sunshine and flowers here. I have found it very hard here, especially in the winters, as we are quite rural and the locals seem to go into hibernation when the clocks change! My husband has found it slightly better as he had a job to go to ( the reason we came here, he was on a nine year contract), but even he is getting fed up with it now. We found that despite living in the same vilage for nine years we would never be completely part of the community, always still being " the english"( and I'm not, I'm from Holland, just the OH is British, as they all know!)).Having said that, lots of people do love it in France but I would suggest to think long and hard, perhaps rent somewhere first, and don't burn all your bridges in the UK until you are absolutely sure it's what you want. Good luck with your decision making, I hope it all works out for you. In the meantime, I shall look forward to a wet and windy summer back on a Yorkshire hill side😁
 

RichardRider

Well-Known Member
Joined
8 November 2007
Messages
14,248
Location
Haras du Pin, Normandy, France
Visit site
Well, I've lived here for I guess over 30 years now(so I guess I'm rather used to it. Though I suppose one might say I'm rather well integrated(OH is French, our son, of course Franco-American, and we speak only French at home,) much of what jokadoka says can be true...Not that I would pack up and leave(and certainly not for the states,) but I probably agree with him/her in many respects...Outside of major cities, especially in the North, there is not much social life, that you don't make yourself..... i envy so many of my friends on HHO Forum for their "pub tales," and lively club and yard happenings. The French can be a bit "grim" compared to you Brits and your wonderful sense of humor in the face of everything...

But(there's always a "but,") some folks do like it here AND, speaking of the region formally known as "Basse Normandy," now just Normandy, you can probably buy A LOT more land and building that you could in most parts of the UK, Germandy, or Holland.

Could you do a long stay "Airbnb" sejour, say 3 months, and see how you feel here?

Good luck whatever you do...rr
 

sunnyone

Well-Known Member
Joined
8 September 2010
Messages
637
Location
France previously Dorset
Visit site
I'm a bit late coming to this party, sorry!
I live nearer to Bordeaux than anywhere else well known. We moved over in 2011. When I was a student I both studied and worked in France, but a long time ago. At that time I considered myself fully fluent but language has moved on in the interim, and my vocab needs changed, students don't need DIY, banking or health vocab, so I am still learning. Only yesterday I realised a petrol can is un jerrican for example!
The countryside is very similar to Dorset, where we were for 20+ years, so lots of grass, longer daylight hours, and only occasional frosts. The rain has been less than we expected and the sun is warmer.
Hay is cheap, from €25 a big bale or €2.20 a small one. Horse keep is anything from €60 to €350 a month on livery. Feed is always a mix. We don't compete but if you look back at other threads on France you will find some useful links about them.
We bought a house on the outskirts of a village in a hamlet of 9 properties. Our land is separate. I didn't want to think that one day I'd look out and see only empty fields. We have built shelters for the horses and installed running water but I feel the need for a stable so am in the process of moving to a house nearer the village but with an acre and a 70m² building for a couple of horses and the tractor to occupy.
Property when reasonably priced in this area sells. Those we looked at in November are almost all sold and occupied. Bordeaux city is around €4k per sq.m for a new build flat, the more inland you go the cheaper it is. 25 mins commute outside of the city is considered long. We are beyond that so €1200 is a more appropriate figure.
People are proud of their heritage here, whether it be British, Italian, Spanish Portuguese or French French. Our village has a special fete for the Portuguese, the next celebrates the Italian links. Paella is the most popular events dish around. The only 4 Brits occupy a table together once a month in a random restaurant!
 

PandorasBox

Member
Joined
5 February 2015
Messages
21
Visit site
I live in the centre of France. Houses cheap. Very rural, endless off road riding without a gate in sight.
Lots of show jumping and dressage here in this area at lower to mid-level.
I do a bit of endurance and it's great to train here, local gallops charge 5€ for hire.

Property quite cheap here, ALWAYS buy the land with your house as it is hard to do it afterwards (so don't listen to the estate agents who will tell otherwise).
When land goes up for sale, the farmers have priority over any 'private' people.

The food is what you make it. The French generally are lovely. We have been here since 2002.

If your horse is a recognised breed and has full papers then you can compete in amateur category (roughly equivilant to affiliated). If your horse doesn't then you will be confined to 'club' category which isn't too disimilar to unaffiliated.

You should be able to validate your BHS qualification here. You will have to jump through a few hoops, but it is not impossible.


It is easy to re register your horse(s) here.

They will need to be microchipped if they are not already done.
 

PandorasBox

Member
Joined
5 February 2015
Messages
21
Visit site
Right in the middle of France.

If you are interested in this area, you can look at houses in the departments 23, 36, 18, 03. The big towns are Bourges, Gueret, Montluçon and Chateauroux. There are flat and hilly areas in the depts, but the Creuse (dept 23) is very nice for hacking with hills, rivers and lakes. The autumnal colours in the Creuse can rival those of new England :) .
You can buy somewhere with a reasonable amount of land for around 200k E
 
Top