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Everything posted by Cerise

  1. I assume jon that you know no employed people, as huge numbers of the French population in all areas earn the SMIC, and many others are on contracts of perhaps only 25 hours a week.  Very few people work cheque emploi full time.
  2. Blimey - 6 years to be a counter clerk in a bank!!  When I worked in a bank I think anyone who couldn't do that after a few months, with customer service,  would have been out.  I'm sure the training was very THOROUGH, but it does seem a bit excessive.
  3. Look in Pages Jaunes - find a vet near where you are making first night stop and get it done there.  Or, talk to your vet and ask them if they'll date it for the next day.  I didn't say this last thing as, strictly speaking, of course no vet would do such a thing.  There are how ever those who do - allegedly[6]
  4. A joint decision, and we only decided on France because I spoke the language.  We thought, perhaps wrongly in the case of France, that somewhere different might be easier if you understood the language. 
  5. Panda has it right.  It is not that you can't make French friends, simply that if you live in a deeply rural area and that is not your background you may not meet many likeminded people.  I have three French ladies I would consider proper friends here, but none of them is from round here.  They are all people who have travelled, lived elsewhere, with decent educations and who can encompass the idea of friendship with someone who has a completely different background to themselves. I have plenty of charming neighbours and acquaintances but they are never going to be real friends because however kind we don't think on the same level.  If for example I complained because my husband wasn't giving me enough help around the house, they could never understand that, as for them it is completely normal that a man wouldn't help.  My lovely neighbour even feels sorry for my husband because she has seen him pegging out washing!  Most my female neighbours think it is completely normal that they should drop their own lives to feed other adult members of their families.  I'm of the opinion that any adult human being can rustle themselves up a meal and that I wouldn't drop everything and rush home specially.  In their eyes that makes me alien and weird - so however nice they are to me they are hardly likely to be my bosom buddies because when we talk we don't share common beliefs and experiences.  They don't read so I can't discuss books, I've no interest in growing vegetables so the fact that I don't even try to grow any bothers them.  They have no desire to go anywhere and I don't care if they have been slighted by the butcher's cousin's sister who I've never met.  They never go to museums and I never go to lotto.  If they were English we'd have nothing in common and so we don't in France either.That doesn't mean they aren't nice kind people but for most of them I'd say friendship wasn't an aim as they are far too busy with their extended families.  Their 80 year old parents live for their visits, my 80+ year old parents are currently on a walking holiday in Southern Ireland and I dare say will give me a call when they get back.  Different lives!
  6. I live here full time.  If I was retired, could come and go as I pleased and didn't have to deal with the day to day reality of earning a living in France then I'd be very happy.  But it is the not being retired bit that weighs heavy.  Thus far we have managed but I would so much rather have a job than run my B & B.  I do this to the best of my ability because it is all I can do and it is a way of living.  My husband had a CDI but after several years was recently made redundant and is now trying to go it alone.  The constant bureaucracy and the constant worry about whether we'll make enough money really gets me down.  I know that my neighbours make do on less than 1000 € a month.  I do know, because I am on the CCAS and deal with the constant stream of poor, unhappy people (mostly French) wanting help with their bills, free food vouchers etc.    You can know a bit about people by observing, but you can only really know anything much if you can actually speak to them on a deeper level than "would you like another cup of coffee". I personally don't consider trying to get by on a small amount of money a 'better way of life'.  Some might, I suppose see it as a challenge, but when I meet people who have to wear their coats indoors in the winter because they can't afford the heating, who can't afford an occasional nice night out or a trip back to see their families, or who work in some horrible job that they'd never even have considered in their country of origin then I wonder what they are doing here.  I bet those things were never in their original plans.  People who arrived here with a house and a reasonable pension don't generally find themselves there because although things might be a little tighter they have an income.  Those who have to make a living, unless they were already wealthy on arrival can be in for a rude shock. There are many, many things I like about France - but trying to earn a living here is not one of them and neither is the education system, which as someone else pointed out even the French government don't like.  In so far that any foreigner can be 'integrated' I would say I am.  Most of my friends here are French, I'm on the local council, both OH and I are in local associations and as I said this would be OK if we didn't have the daily battle to earn a crust.   My own fault I dare say for coming to a foreign country and needing to work rather than having sufficient resources to live on for the rest of my days.  But, hey it was an adventure, it has largely worked and when I move on - as I will - I'll be glad I did it.  However I would hesitate to recommend it to anyone with a young family because whilst I can do what I like with my own life, the responsibility for making your family happy and comfortable is a much greater one and I think it only fair to let people know the realities of the challenges which they may face.
  7. With children so young, you need to think long term in terms of finance.  Spend a bit of time reading through this forum.  After the 2-3 years you need to have a steady income.  Many people manage in the beginning and then find it more and more difficult if they have no work.  The gite market is quite saturated and long term renting in France is fraught with problems. I am not trying to be negative, but we have no children and I am a fluent French speaker, and my husband is fairly fluent.  We also bought our house outright - we work but on French wages do little more than get by, not a happy position for someone with a young family.  I know people for whom it has worked and in each case they had a viable long term plan for working.  Administratively life is great deal more complicated in France than in the UK and there are not the easy work opportunities. Why not rent for a year and see how you like it before throwing caution to the winds. 
  8. Being fed up with England is not a good reason to move to France.  What are you fed up with?  Weather - well we have a lot of that here you know.  Politics - some of those here are pretty horrendous.  The relatives - they'll come and stay for 2 weeks instead of just the weekend[6] Seriously, do you and your family speak French?   What are you going to do for a living and will be able/allowed to do it in France? Have you got enough capital to tide you over for a couple of years until you get going?  The working and the language are for the moment the most important things.  If you have a young family you need to make sure they are secure and unless you are very rich, life without employment is precarious.
  9. Panda - you have certainly not failed and instead of saying 'giving up and going back' how about 'making a decision and moving on'.   There is no law that says you have to stay anywhere if you see something you prefer elsewhere.  Your son has had an opportunity to see another way of life and that will always be valuable. There is a very real possibility that we will move to the UK in the next couple of years.  I've mostly enjoyed being here, but think that if we stay we will end up too poor to have a decent retirement - we get by but never make enough money to save anything.  I don't want a 'simple' make do old age such as my neighbours have - I want travel, warmth and no worries over the bills.  If we go - either to Uk or elsewhere - then it will just be the next adventure as this has been. I wish you luck and admire you for having the courage to say 'This isn't working, let's try something else'  
  10. That sum is turnover I imagine, not income.  Just because any business makes a reasonable sum doesn't make you rich and 6 months earning nothing is enough to make anyone struggle.  OP should keep trying to get reductions based on this year's projected income.
  11. Because the Mairie is where you can make an appointment with the Assistante Sociale and you can get help.  Far from gossiping throughout the village, real help can be given to those in need.  Of course there are unkind gossips in all walks of life - but actually most people just want to help those ith real problems.  It would be a shame if such comments prevented anyone from getting much needed help.
  12. Sweetpea - I am so sorry to hear of your situation.  Can I suggest you contact the Assistante Sociale at your Mairie (ask for an appointment) and tell them your situation.  They will point you in the right direction and advise you of any help you may be entitled to.  They will also write letters for you if your French isn't up to it.  Talk to your doctor too as your husband will need an arret de travail (even if he hasn't actually been doing any work) to help you claim any benefits due.  The local Inspection de Travail should also be able to tell you what other steps you can take. Do not be afraid to ask for help - often there is help and people just don't know where to find it.  I hope that your husband makes a speedy recovery.  Take care of yourself. Cerise
  13. Are you currently working with a CDI?  If so, if you are being made redundant you will be entitled to some training under the terms of your redundancy.  You should be offered a CRP (contrat de reclassement personelle) and the Pole Emploi should appoint someone to help you. If you are being made redundant and you haven't been informed about this contact the local Inspection de Travail who will inform you of your rights.
  14. Check your insurances too as you may have cover for loss of revenue.
  15. Sorry to hear that - are you employed/self employed, bit more info might be able to point you in the right direction.
  16. I go from Toulouse - usually via Frankfurt; Amsterdam or Milan - not the quickest but a lot cheaper than Air France.  Best prices to be had from www.expedia.fr.  However next time will probanly go from Paris - Athens with Easyjet.  Frankly it is not cheap to fly from here to anywhere much that isn't UK.  It may well be cheaper to go UK first.
  17. The drainage, or lack thereof, should be mentioned in the Acte de Vente (says whether there is mains drainage, fosse or nothing) if this is blatantly wrong then you may have some recourse.  If it tells you there is a fosse did anyone get it inspected before the sale.  Not knowing where your drainage goes does seem pretty elementary to me - but having said that, I have at least 2 acquaintances who haven't a clue where their fosses are!!!  Did you - or notaire, or anyone - check these things before the sale?
  18. 'Poule' - 'Pull' - as in, 'It's a bit chilly, I'll just go and get my chicken!'    Ahhhgh
  19. I think I'd go further and say plain don't do it if you have small children and no other income.  Even if the books look good, currently the holiday market is suffering a downturn and this may be why the present owners are getting out.  It will eventually turn up again, but can you afford to wait 2 or 3 years before you make any money.  Rental income is always unreliable, one bad season can eat all your savings.  If you are just two adults you can scrape by taking odd jobs if necessary, but who wants to 'scrape by' with a young family. Many of the people making a 'comfortable living' from gites or B & B, actually have pensions or other income in place as well so that is the icing on the cake.  I've lived here 7 years, we have a fairly successful B & B and my husband works (but French wages!).  We are OK but we would be struggling if we had a family as well. If you decide to go ahead, make sure you check things such as the dreaded fosse septiques.  If things are not 'aux normes' there may be a sudden - expensive - requirement to bring things up to date.  It may be worth checking with the local tourist office, Gites de France or any other body they are curently registered with that there are no urgently required upgrades (check water, electricity, pool security, roofs, insulation) so that you don't end up paying out a large unexpected sum. I'm sure you have probably thought of this yourselves - and like Quillan I wish you luck in whatever you eventually decide.  
  20. Don't know[:$][:$]   Honestly - it said that, now it has changed!!
  21. Pierre - go to my favourite site www.viamichelin.fr and look for your route.  Shortest route gives only 807 km Luxembourg to Biarritz (saves a bit of mileage) or there is the route découverte which will take 15 hours (overnight stop somewhere?) but goes the "pretty" way.  Alternatively, you can put in your own towns for étapes and it will find the wat for you. Bonne route
  22. They do say 10 days - but my experience is that is worse case scenario.  Usually seem to put in appearance sometime between 3 and 7 days.  Hope it arrives in time - newt year you'll know what to do, don't forget to mark the calendar!!
  23. I really would try phoning them.  It is a central number now - 3646 - you then key in your department number when asked and have your social security number ready.  I called for someone else on Monday and they have just rung to say the cards arrived this morning (not bad seeing there was a Bank Holiday in the way).
  24. Just ring CPAM - they send in a few days (mine took 3) in our area.  All you need is your Secu number - remember to get one each.  They often ask you where you are going, say Spain or Italy not GB as some of the staff think you don't need one for GB (wrong) and go off into one.  So Spain for your hols it is.[:)]
  25. There is a peculiarity of French law which says that the sale of muguet on 1st May does not have to be declared for tax purposes, nor does the seller have to have any business registration!  So perhaps they are hoping to make a small windafall today.
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