A Superb Country Property
Well Worth Viewing and Fully Renovated in a Superb Location
Current Exchange Rate: £1 = €0.85
Euro-Connect French Property has been working with immobiliers and notaires in France since 1989 and we are able to offer you a good comprehensive selection of properties through several different regions.
France has always represented excellent value in property in comparison to other parts of Europe. The areas we operate in represent a range of differing French landscapes and cultures.
For easy access to the UK Normandy has gently rolling agricultural countryside with views to the Channel Islands from its west coast beaches. From the spectacular sight of Le Mont St Michel to the wonders of Bayeux and the tapestry from the wonderful castle at St Lo to the picturesque coastline to the west of the region, Normandy has it all. As your ferry approaches the port at Caen you are greeted by vast expanses of golden sand,
The "D" Day landing beaches, with names like, Gold, Omaha, Juno & Sword, no longer are conflicts played out on these beaches, they now are the playgrounds of children, yachtsman and nature lovers. Being easily accessible from the UK, Normandy has always been extremely popular with UK visitors but not many people take the time to Drive south from one of the ports, and discover the farms that make Calvados, the smallholdings that make the wonderful cheeses that can be found all over the region. The small local bakers that produce the freshest rolls and bread in the area, put it all together and sit overlooking the lush green rolling countryside that is Normandy and you will find that there is no better way to wile away the hours in peace.
Alternatively wander around one of the historic towns that Normandy has become famous for, towns like St Lo, Flers, Bayeux, the list is endless. Soak up the atmosphere, the markets, the street caf s, and the history. Drive to the coast at Granville and watch the fishing boats dock or take the ferry to Grande Ile. Normandy is a region that refuses to be rushed; it has all the plus points of the 21st century without the headaches. Can you imagine the scene, you have purchased your dream holiday home, its Friday afternoon and you are catching the ferry to France; in a few hours you will be there.
You need to pick up some provisions, you stop at the local boulangerie, and the owner greets you warmly, asks you how you are and is genuinely glad to see you. You are already starting to feel part of the local scene. Given the chance the local traders in your town can be a real asset with regard to where to get this or where to get that or the best artisan to do a particular job. They all love being involved and nowhere more so than in the small towns of Normandy. I hope that I ve given you a small taste of the region and that we can be of assistance in finding you a suitable property to purchase. From cornfields to endless beaches, from fashionable resort to tiny unspoilt beauty spots, from the lush green of the countryside, to the ever-changing blue of the ocean, this is Brittany, changing with the season and the tides.
The coastline of Brittany is the area beloved of artists, where light is at its best and most interesting. With its 1060 miles of shore, the region juts out like the prow of a ship rising above the crest of a wave.
Mont Saint Michel to Brest. From Brest to Nantes, the Breton coast has a whole range of scenery to offer visitors, with an outstanding variety of flora and fauna and the sand and water troubled by the ebb and flow of the tides are beautiful scenes.
The scenery abounds in breathtaking headlands, vast beaches of fine sand, creeks flanked by pink, grey and purple tinged rocks, and numerous picturesque, well-sheltered harbours. From all of them Brittany has derived a whole list of delightful names such as the Emerald Coast, the Wild Coast, the Pink Granite Coast and the Coast of Legends.
A development in the area is the introduction of the high speed train (T.G.V.) to Paris, making the area ever popular with the French and visitors alike, being within easy reach of La Baule on the western coast and Paris about two hours away from the town of AngersBrittany, from the rugged coastline of the Cote D'Armor in the north to the attractive inland villages and towns of Ille et Vilaine in the south of the region with its many canals and rivers which borders onto the Loire. Lying east of Ille et Vilaine you have the Loire region which boasts magnificent chateaux and towns steeped in history. Further south and located in the centre of France is the Creuse region which forms part of the much larger Limousin region. Here you find an area of magnificent lakes and forests, a comparatively undiscovered area where property bargains can still be found.
Available to all citizens, the French have a FREE high quality National Health Care Service. The treatment generally received is second to none within Europe.
Insurance. Although some aspects of basic medical care are provided for visitors, medical insurance is recommended for more complicated treatments. English visitors should obtain an E1-11 from the British Post Office.
Pharmacists are always available to give advice for minor aliments and are often visited by the French. Make sure you take a good supply of prescribed drugs, should you intend to visit for a prolong period. Your general practitioner will often prescribe an extended supply if requested.
Vaccinations. There are no special vaccinations required to visit France.
Owning a car in France is absolutely essential particularly if you are living in an isolated spot. However, although a car is a priority it is worth looking into the French attitude towards them.
Forget the Sunday morning ritual of the car cleaning and maintenance, the French will tell you that time would be better employed playing boules! Minor dents and scrapes are not to be expensively repaired but become like notches on a Colt 45, or a visible warning to other drivers whilst on the road you are not a person to be trifled with.
Now lets move on to the practical aspects of driving and car ownership in France.
A point to remember is the difference in price between petrol and diesel and deciding what to do about your existing car and your future fuel costs. Diesel can be cheaper than petrol especially when you take into consideration the extra MPG you get from a diesel vehicle. It is said that one in four cars in France are now diesel.
You could not fail to notice whilst travelling in France that the French are fervently patriotic when buying their cars, and would rarely consider buying anything other than a car that was made in France. It is always reassuring to know however that in the event of a malfunction there is hardly a town in France that doesn t host a Citroen, Renault or Peugeot garage. The story goes breaking down in France you will roll to a stop outside a Renault garage.
It is interesting to note that since moving to France many foreign people have exchanged their American, Japanese and German cars for a French vehicle and have found them to be excellent value and very reliable.
Car Registration. Every car, van, lorry and some caravans and trailers have to have what is called Carte Grise , registration document. The last two digits of the registration number denote the department in which the car is registered. This is about to change though and new cars will soon have a national number.
Driving Licences. Within one year, of officially becoming a resident of France it is best to go along to your prefecture and exchange your licence for the French version, in order to avoid the fate of taking a French driving test. They do however keep your licence, so it best to keep a copy of it so that you have a record of how long you have been driving.
Insurance. Thankfully, your No Claims Bonus can be transferred, providing a letter from the Insurance Company stating the facts of the bonus, is produced. The standard maximum in France is 50%. At first glance insurance seems more expensive in France but there is a high tax on the premiums and the standard cover is generally better. Cover also automatically includes travelling throughout Western Europe.
Importing a car into France. Providing your car is road taxed and your insurance company covers your driving in France, you can usually drive it around legally for three months.
After this time the process of matriculation should be put into operation. You need to acquire a certificate de comformity which is a document containing the specifications of the car: - weight, length, power etc. Manufacturers produce these certificates so long as your car is officially imported into France, the manufacturers should be able to supply one. You then have to go to the local customs office to declare officially that you want to import the vehicle into France. The amount of duty paid is determined by the current value of the vehicle in France.
After obtaining the relevant piece of paper from the customs, take it to the Prefecture and make an application to tax the car in France. They will then make an appointment with the Service des Mines to perform a test on the car to ensure it conforms to the equivalent of the Construction and use regulations in the United Kingdom.
Assuming it passes you will get your Carte Grise complete with the registration number you have been allocated.
Running and maintenance costs. If you go to a main dealer generally the costs are reasonable and normally the prices are displayed with hourly rates for different types of work. In general it is cheaper to have your car serviced at the local village garage.
The drink/drive legislation is now strictly enforced in France. The legal limit is similar to that of the U.K. and the police do carry out random tests and penalties are severe.
Parking fines are generally fixed penalties and paid by buying a stamp called a Timbre Amende from the Tobac attaching it to the notice and posting it off to the relevant authority. An orange badge scheme operates in France.
Speeding fines No speak de lingo was always a good one to try, but the police now have charges set out in English. Speeding results in an on the spot fine of up to 138 and they will impound or immobilize the car until you pay. The Police will confiscate the car if you do not have the means to pay.
Recent law: Driving your car in excess of 25 km hour over the speed limit, can mean an Instant ban , whatever your nationality and they will take your license away on the spot.
Every child living in France is required by law to attend school from the age of six to sixteen. Young children from the age of two and a half can attend nursery school for a period of two to three years. (Note: The child must be dry before they can attend) At the age of six, children enter primary school, for an average of five years: -
*Preparatory class - One year
*Intermediate class - Two years
*Elementary class - Two years
Around the age of eleven, children begin their secondary education, for an average of four years. During these four years pupils learn French, Mathematics, History, Geography, Latin and one or two modern languages, Art and Music.
Regular exams are carried out during this period, which leads on to a diploma called the B.E.P.C. Lycee for approximately three years. At the end of this period they should have a diploma called the: - Baccalaureate .
(The above outlines the obligatory free state system in France).
The religious schools have the same educational program. The teachers are paid by the state and the cost involved in this type of education is reasonable and can be paid for monthly. Private schools are not subsidised by the state at all and use different teaching methods.
Any pupil attending a French school is assured of a good education. The French student has to work a long day, do loads of homework and is encouraged to receive an excellent education.
Speaking French. Although being able to speak French has its obvious advantages, it is not absolutely necessary, because the French, particularly the young, are able to speak English. Languages are taught from an early age in the schools. You will find that people will help you, as France is in the middle of Europe and is use to many foreign visitors.
Non-French speaking, new students are usually thrown in at the deep end and within three months are able to converse in French very well. The younger they are the easier it becomes. Should any student have a particular problem, extra lessons are provided. Most children after a short while show the parents up with their command of the language.
Tips to learn French: Try writing French words on a piece of card, on the reverse write the English equivalent and keep then handy and look at them when you have a moment to spare. Stick labels on things around the house i.e.: fridge, computer, fish tank and so on. However little you know, it s important to use what French you have at every opportunity.
Food is a very important part of the French way of life. High on the weekly list of entertainment, many French people indulge in a weekly visit to a good restaurant. The many visitors to France share this every year. Restaurants are varied with Italian, Seafood, Cantonese and the world famous French Cuisine. Try a Lorry driver s cafe a Routier it can be excellent and is usually good value, boasting a good atmosphere and home cooking. The best buys are in the local markets, home produced fruit, vegetables, poultry, meat and cheese are usually good quality.
Wine. Many words and books have been written on this subject but its always a personal choice, all would agree that French wine is probably the best in the world. Most French shoppers can buy their wine from the local Supermarket supermarche paying as little as 1,82 and a low priced Chateau bottled about 4,57 . Champagne costs from about 7,62 Remember there is no import duty on wine within E.E.C. for personal use, however should you live outside the common market please check with your customs and excise office.
French banking systems are straightforward. It is relatively easy to open an account A passport and proof of address is required You are given a cheque book; cheques are accepted in most places, including shops, garages and hotels.
Penalties are severe. To write a cheque without the funds in the account could mean that all cheque books with every French bank could be taken away from you for ten years.
Cash point, are readily available. Traveller s cheques would be a safer option.
Recommended banks: Abbey National France (a name we all know) Credit Agricole (the biggest bank in France)
Mortgages are possible to foreign buyers usually up to a repayment period of 20 years. Strangely the property is rarely surveyed. It is possible to have up to 80% but please remember this will not include the Notaire s fees or the Real Estate Agent (immobillier) commission.
French mortgage rates tend to be on the high side for this reason it is, therefore, recommended to obtain the mortgage from your own country if possible. At the time of printing the French rate is approximately from 4.95% to 6.55%. The rate can vary depending on, deposit paid, fixed or variable and length of term.
Do not forget a 10% deposit is always required at the time of signing your contract. French cheques, bankers drafts, bank-to-bank transfers and must be payable in Euros. An English or American cheque will not do.
Naturally the price you pay is dependant on how much money that you have set aside to invest in a future holiday home or your permanent move to France. Don t forget, to remember to calculate your outgoings, such as insurance, rates, maintenance and travel (if holiday home) Land. Under French law when you acquire land it must be kept in good order, kept free of nettles, should they spread to farmer neighbours you can be made to remove them. It is possible for the farming community to compulsory purchase the land. This will happen when the land is not used for farming. Very often a good relationship can be formed with a farmer by allowing him for example to let some livestock graze on your land for free. You will make a useful friend and in return would clear your ditches and cut grass for you with his tractor. This would be particularly useful for a holiday home. The farmer would often keep an eye on your house when you are away. Neighbour-hood watch takes on a different meaning in France.
I hope that we have given you a taste of this wonderful country and that we have to opportunity to help you in your search for your French pied a terre.