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Everything posted by Cerise

  1. Cerise

    Dog Disease Risks

    Two common ways in which dogs can get leptospirosis are from swimming in infected river/ canal or from outside drinking bowls in which rats urinate (ugh!!).  If there is a local river/canal risk your vet should know and may advise extra booster, and if you leave outside water bowls for the dog make sure you empty and turn upside down at night - obviously also wash out before refilling. Maggi
  2. Hi - yes we're in Laguepie; Is the train thing definite?  On and off they have been threatening to withdraw it for last 10 years (I've only lived here full time for 2 and half years, but have been holidaying in area for much longer).  It has had several stays of execution and we thought it was OK for a while now, but please tell if you know otherwise.  It still seems quite popular as there are people waiting for it here most nights. The wait for ASTI is unfortunately made worse by a number of people who take places and then only turn up once every 4 weeks or so.  Seems a shame as there are so many waiting.  However, Mike tells me that they are doing their best to try to fit in anyone who really needs the language for working more quickly (in fact some people have joined his class during the last weeks of last term).  Even if people have to wait - I think it is very worthwhile as I don't think he would have made that sort of progress on his own and individual lessons are very expensive.  Glad you like the area so much too - feel torn between telling everyone how wonderful it is and wanting to keep it to myself Best wishes Maggi    
  3. Villefranche really is one of the nicest towns around.  Not too touristy, excellent market on a Thursday and lots to see and do in the area.  Suggest that you look for property south of the town unless you don't mind very cold wind.  We live about 30km south and it is quite a lot warmer. Villefranche itself has very narrow streets which don't get the sun so in town is often chilly out of season.  On Thursday dropped off the dog to kennels near Rodez and temperature there was only 5 degrees whilst at home it was 14.  Often have a chilly wait when picking up visitors from Rodez airport.  Both Rodez and Toulouse airports are within easy reach, but one of the best things about the town (and our village cos we're on the same line)  is that it is on direct train line to Toulouse, both for days out and for getting to airport without the car - there is a navette from Toulouse station to airport.  Also direct overnight train to Paris every night giving real possibility of day out in the capital. The area has very distinct seasons and it can be very cold in winter but has spectacularly lovely spring and autumn and generally nice warm summer.  The people are very friendly and, if your French is not so hot, the town offers classes at very reasonable prices via ASTI an association for "travailleurs immigrés" which have enabled my husband to go from 'no French at all' to 'able to cope in most situations' within 2 years. As you can tell, I love the place - so hope you find it's good for your too. Bonne Année, Bonne Santé et Bonne Chance Maggi    
  4. Cerise

    Dog Disease Risks

    We too live on border of Aveyron, Tarn & Garonne and have had our dogs vaccinated against piroplasmosis (tick borne disease).  The local vet advised that the injection - Piridog - was approximately 80% effective BUT - most important - he had never known a dog which had been vaccinated to die in the rare cases where they contacted the disease.  He recommended that we should have the injections for our dogs as, coming from UK, they had no natural immunity.  The down side is that the injection cannot be given with the other annual jabs.  However, neither of our dogs had any ill effects from the jabs  - we also use Frontline every 4 weeks and obviously check for ticks.  As piroplasmosis can be be fatal and has a rapid onset I think it is well worth considering the injections. Hope this information is of some use.   Maggi  
  5. Unless you are absolutely certain that you need this I would wait.  We have been in France for over 2 years and have done most of the paperwork things - bought house, registered car, got carte de sejour, CPAM etc etc and have not needed translated certificates for any of those things.  I realise that this varies from place to place, but unless you're advised differently most places seem to be able to cope with the English originals.  You will however need a full version of your birth certificate if you only have the shortened one. Hope this might save you a few euros. Maggi  
  6. Hi there Just got back from a week in sunny Spain.  You need to have the jacket in case you break down.  It is not an offence not to have it, but it is an offence to walk on motorway without it on. Leclerc Auto sell nifty little box with 2 triangles and a jacket for not many euros (can't remember how many exactly) you would however need second jacket if passenger wanted to walk on motorway!! I am not particularly nervous driver but I didn't even want to DRIVE on Spanish motorways let alone walk.  Too scary for words, didn't know people could drive that fast.  Decided to go across country using money saved on motorway tolls to spend nights in hotel instead. Are you off on holiday? Maggi      
  7. Hi Tracey Bring your warm undies as it's very cold.  Just got back from taking B & B guests to Peyrusse le Roc and it snowed there this morning!! We live just on Tarn & Garonne & Aveyron border and if you have not already settled on somewhere to live I would suggest that you go nearer one of the big towns if you are looking to work.  The people of the Aveyron are very traditional and, realistically I cannot see many of the French locals employing an English builder however good.  Not wanting to rain on your parade but there are far fewer English in this area than in the Tarn for example. It is a beautiful area but quite a few places are isolated and if you want to improve your French you need to have neighbours to chat to.  If you need any more information please get in touch. The Chambre de Metiers in Rodez will be the best place to advise on requirements for registering as a builder - please note they are more stringent than in UK and do require formal qualifications or proof of relevant experience so make sure you get all the bits of paper before quitting the UK. Best of luck Maggi www.les-cerisiers.net        
  8. Poor Beani - no wonder you are confused.  I've been reading this forum for a number of years and don't often contribute.  I'm a person who wants to do things the right way and if you get advice from this forum you will usually end up somewhere near right.  Unfortunately, real life just isn't quite that simple. I'm still waiting for all the people who live near me to be carted off by gendarmes etc.  I know we are the only English people in the area with carte de Sejour (they were still obligatory when we arrived) and I know this because the mairie were astounded when we applied.  Some English neighbours have lived here for nearly 7 years - child at school etc - car still registered in UK father and son working on black and frankly their life is a great deal simpler than mine.  When I asked other B & B owners about licences they thought I was mad 'You don't want to bother with that'. As Will says you take a risk and frankly I'm too cowardly to take one.  But, at the risk of bringing flak down on my head, how great is that risk.  As I struggle on with various French bureaucratic procedures (and I speak very good French - God help those who don't) I often wonder if I wouldn't have been better off if I had never registered with anyone for anything. My advice would still be to do things properly, it is a bit frustrating but you will find people to help you and to make sure you have a real plan and enough money - don't be tempted to borrow for any venture.  However, be realistic and don't expect to find that everyone is playing by the rules.   Good luck, and keep asking the questions, don't be put off by negative answers - after all most of it is only someone's opinion. Maggi   
  9. Cheer up you lot.  I was told by our local Chambre de Commerce that I had obviously made up my CV as I had worked in several different domains and been to college when I was 40.  These things are simply 'pas possible'.  Anyway as I am 50 this year (boo hoo) and - shock horror - had never been to University I would be unemployable anyway!!! Good luck SB - hope someone realises you're not really incompetent and ill-educated, simply English. Maggi
  10. Hi Chris We have the same terms as you.  However, my lovely bank has charged me 2 euros for paying in Euro Travellers Cheques, which is I suppose better than the 21 euros they charged for the 150 euro money order!! Cash or French cheques seem to be the order of the day, and we too do not take deposits.  Gor gites I think deposits are essential so wish someone would come up with a cheaper way of doing things. Maggi    
  11. We do do meals (20 euros for 4 courses and wine) but try persuade the guests to go out as like Coco there are nights when I really can't face eating it myself - and our local tourist office insist that if you do Table d'Hotes then you must eat with guests. However, our local restaurant are already on 'winter' hours so it is not always easy for them to get food elsewhere.  Added to which French guests particularly will often only book if they can have meals.  We always offer meals on first night but do offer the alternative of booking a restaurant for them. Interestingly the French guests are the ones who do not always want 'local' food and quite often ask if I will make English meals or even Indian (my husband is indian) which has been a surprise. Maggi
  12. What with the church bells, the neighbour's demented rooster, the bullfrogs, the cicadas, the weir on the river, the railway line and the cafe across the way where they play boules until 1.00 am sometimes, you can't hear yourself think round here. However, the majority of our guest rave about what a lovely peacful place we live in and the only complaint we have had about noise was from a guest who asked if she could take the battery out of the clock in her room as she didn't like the ticking (although she slept through a huge storm). So, I guess you chouldn't worry too much if it doesn'tbother you personally. Good luck with your venture. Maggi
  13. Good luck in your endeavours and hope it works for you. The best tip I can offer in property hunting is, buy something that you can afford. This may seem obvious but we seem to run into endless people who have not finished their projects because they ran out of money. After the English property market things appear to be cheap, but actually very few people need umpteen hectares of ground (we only have about third of hectare and frankly that is enormous) and most houses here - at least by English standards - need quite a lot of refreshing/ renovating which is always more expensive than expected. For example, when we purchased our house - which didn't need major building works - the estate agent kept saying loudly how anyone could turn it into a palace for 10,000. We knew better than to believe him and to date have spent at least 50,000 on improvements, still work to go and we have done most of the work ourselves. We only employed local artisans to do electrics and plumbing. If we had to employ someone else to do all the other bits and pieces we would have spent at least twice that. We are very happy with our house, and we have no loans to pay off so the fact that we are not earning a huge income is not too stressful. If, we had believed the estate agent, bought the house with a mortgage and then had to pay French social charges we would be very poor and very scared indeed. Starting up a business is a bit frustrating and expensive but it can be done and if at least one of you speaks French that helps. Good luck anyway Maggi
  14. Yes it is true - we travelled with a guinea pig (and dogs and cockatiel) on BF and had a very Fawlty Towers conversation with BF booking office asking whether we sure the said guinea pig was not a rabbit!! As no-one actually inspected any of the animals (or the VERY expensive paperwork) I though we should have just shoved the whole lot in the car without asking any questions. Maggi
  15. Has anyone got a B & B in this area with room for 2/3 nights from 26 July. We have clients - 1 couple - staying who wish to move on to that area (don't know exactly where)who have asked if I can suggest anything. If you don't want to be seen advertising your wares, please send me private message. Thanks Maggi www.les-cerisiers.net
  16. Hi Carly First of all - good luck with the move and your new life. If you are thinking of doing keyholding etc alongside chambres de hotes you may find that it doesn't work, as the problem is that when you are busy with your own place is the same time that people want you to do changeovers etc. The cotisations for setting up even a small business are horrendous (sorry to bang on about this but it is true) and you can actually only do one or two changeovers maximum in any one day even if you are not busy with your own guests. We started off with the same idea, but now that our chambres de hotes is actually up and running have had to change tack a bit and my husband is going to work for someone else during the autumn/winter to make a bit of extra money. If you haven't run chambres de hotes before, don't underestimate the work involved. The other thing we found is that people don't want to pay a realistic rate for changeovers - and mostly hope they can find someone to to do it as a 'favour' or cash in hand. Can't understand why anyone would want to 4 or 5 hours of someone else's cleaning as a favour!!! Although you may not want to be rich you certainly don't want to be taken for a ride either. You don't say whether the chambres de hotes is a going concern, but if not you may of course be able to do the same sort of thing until it is - but may find that gardening (which there seems to be a demand for) or something else is more rewarding. Anyway, hope all works out for you - we have done the same thing and are enjoying it despite the sometimes rocky ride. If you want any more info e-mail me privately, or come and see us when you get over (we're about an hour and a half from Gourdon) Maggi
  17. I wish you all good luck, but bear in mind that 5 is quite a lot of people to keep if you have no other income. Also you will need a huge property as you will need a minimum of 3 bedrooms for yourselves before any rental space. Huge renovated properties are very expensive and unrenovated properties need a lot of money and most of all time thrown at them. We have been here for nearly 2 years and spend almost 18 months full time renovating our house (which didn't actually need any major structural work) and spent as much on the renovations as the original cost of the house. We had budgeted for that, but have met many prople living in half finished projects who hadn't!! We have 4 letting rooms - opened the B & B in March - and although we have a nice steady trickle of guests I can't see it earning enough to keep even just us 2 (and I don't give him indoors too much pocket money) for quite some time. My husband is in the process - complicated and costly - of registering for other work. We love our life here but it doesn't do to underestimate the amount of time, money and patience needed. I wish you luck whatever you decide - but go into it with your eyes open. Maggi
  18. If you want to do it, do it. You are only young and if you fail (and I say if) it doesn't really matter. I went to Paris as an au-pair for 18 months when I was not quite 18. Had a great time, learnt to speak fluent French, went back to UK lived a quite ordinary life for 30 years and now I'm back in France. Never regretted any of it. Have you considered getting some sort of domestic job so that you can have somewhere to live whilst you find out more. Suggestions such as gardener, au-pair (boys can do that too), stable or kennel hand. Publications such as 'The Lady'and various agencies in London have details of these kind of jobs. Will give you a bit of security while you decide if it is for you. If you really want to do this, don't let the obstacles put you off. As my granny used to say 'Life is not a dress rehearsal, this is the real thing' So go for it and bon courage. Maggi
  19. This is interesting as my husband recently renewed his passport and we were going to go to Bordeaux or Paris to do so, but read (whether correct or not) that although Consulates could renew passports the resulting document is not 'machine readable' even now, which may give rise to problems and the need for a visa if travelling anywhere outside Europe. In the end he opted for a quick Ryanair trip to London - renewing passport on the spot - he had to make appointment in advance by phone to do this, but it was easy and in the end cheaper, for us, than renewing in France. When phoning the passport office I asked why we as British citizens couldn't simply renew our passports by post like everyone else and was told it was because post was not secure. When I asked why registered post from France was less secure than ordinary post from, say, Glasgow or Cornwall they couldn't tell me. No one seemed to be able to advise whether a passport produced in France would in fact be 'readable' or not. I've been advised by friends (but haven't tried it) that you can travel in Europe just using your Carte de Sejour as it is equivalent of ID card. Would be interested to know if this is true as its certainly more convenient to carry around. Anyone know the answer? Maggi
  20. Not impossible, but not too easy either. I am not trying to put you off as everyone has to have a go at their dreams, but realistically don't try it if you need to support a mortgage etc. Lots of people have managed to set up businesses like this but you probably need a fairly good cushion to get started. One of the problems is the amount you will need to charge to cover the dreaded cotisations if you set up your own business - we have just undertaken a very scary (all in French) one day session at the Chambre de Commerce which was enough to put most people off. Many of the services you want to offer (e.g decorating and any sort of DIY) cannot legally be paid for by Cheque d'Emploi (that's not to say nobody does)and non-residents i.e many English gite owners, can't use them either. This means that if you want to be legal you need to set up business and pay, pay, pay. The other thing to bear in mind is that everybody wants their changeovers at the weekend and you can't do more than one or two in a day. Therefore you need to look for other more year round offers. We have also found that many people hope you will clean their pool, cut their grass, mind their dog etc as a 'friend' which basically means they want to pay you cash and not too much of it!! Hope I haven't made it sound too gloomy, but we are still banging our heads on the wall trying to find something that my husband can legally do which won't leave us poorer than we were before. Having said that, we are still here - enjoying our new life, getting our Chambre d'Hotes off the ground and trying not to worry too much about the decreasing bank balance. Good luck with your dreams. E-mail me privately if you want to know anymore about the info we have already gleaned as it might save you a few hours of administration. Maggi
  21. Cerise


    As well as Frontline it is possible to get your dog injected against tickborne disease. The injection is only about 70% effective BUT our French vet advised that he had never known a dog die from Piroplasmosie once innoculated, even if they did pick up the disease. The injection "Piridog" needs to be done separately from the other annual injections and is quite expensive (from memory about 40 euros per dog) but local vet considered it worthwhile for dogs coming from the UK as they would not have ever been exposed to the risk and, therefore, would not have built up any immunity. I have had my 2 dalmatians - aged 3 and 12 - done for the 2 years we have been here with no ill effects. It is important to continue with the Frontline as well. Hope this is useful. Maggi
  22. Hi Dominique I called in at our DDE (82)and they were very helpful and printed off the regulations for me. Basically you can have 4 signs on roads leading to the property max height 1 metre, width 1.5 metres. These must be within 5 kms of your property, or town if you are in town, and on private ground (i.e. the other side of the ditch) you should have the permission of the owner of the land - tricky sometimes. In addition you can have one standardised sign - number CE5b - blue and white with chambre d'hotes and a stylised bed which can be on the public thoroughfare (i.e. road side of the ditch)on road leading to property - they suggest at last roundabout/crossroad before - but don't think this is obligatory. For signs on the house itself contact the Mairie and also for the little brown signs pointing to local amenities. Our Mairie are doing one for us and said cost will be about 30 Euros - they said we could call the house any name we liked and put up any sign providing it was 'tasteful' - shades of Kenny Everett! Hope this is helpful - but of course as with all else in France it may be different elsewhere! Good Luck Maggi
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