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Geoffreycoan<br><hr size="2" width="360" align="left">Les Vallees Gite, Brittany - <a target=_blank href="http:www.giteinbrittany.com">www.giteinbrittany.com<A>

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Geoffreycoan<br><hr size="2" width="360" align="left">Les Vallees Gite, Brittany - <a target=_blank href="http:www.giteinbrittany.com">www.giteinbrittany.com<A>'s Achievements


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  1. [quote]I opened a CA Britiline account last year and I'm only charged for the Mastercard. When the chap from Caen phoned to set up the account he mentioned about a 5Euro/month charge for extra services (I th...[/quote]

    Most ways of transferring funds to your French account involve rip-off fees at one end or another. There's been previous postings on this subject but my preference (as suggested on this forum) is to use moneybookers (www.moneybookers.com) - you transfer money from your UK account to them (no charge) then use moneybookers to withdraw the funds into your French account (for a small - €1.20 ? flat fee).

    Apart from the small flat fee you only pay a nominal foreign exchange spread which I think is 0.8%.

    I use this route every time I want to transfer money to my French account. It takes a couple of weeks in total to arrive (1 week to moneybookers, 1 week thereon to France) but it's cheap.

    Other alternatives I've seen proposed are to use a Nationwide Flexaccount/Credit card to withdraw money from a French ATM (no fees but still incurr an overseas exchange rate conversion) or use paypal (you need to setup an account on both paypal.co.uk and paypal.fr), but you get charged 3.5% for the conversion

    Cheers, Geoffrey
  2. [quote]Try Angloinfo, they have a list of markets on their Normandy site.[/quote]

    AngoInfo's directory of markets is at http://brittany.angloinfo.com/information/2/markets.asp

    And another one that's quite good is on France Magazine's site at http://www.francemag.com/frmag/content/filoFrance/?id=39

  3. [quote]I bank with Société Générale and they have no charge for their internet service and they are national. Makes life easier![/quote]

    We looked at all the usual suspects when wanting to open our French account and based on the forum's advice at the time, opted for La Poste.

    Spent a pleasant hour with the little old lady in our local branch opening the account, her with no English and me with not a lot of French. Lots of forms to be filled in triplicate, copies required of passports and acte authentique's, etc (French Beauracracy at it's best) and the job was done.

    All statements and cheque books are posted to the UK (I simply told her my UK address rather than my French address) and 18 months on we've had really very few problems. Service charge is E35 per year (for two debit cards and remote internet access) and I get a free E200 overdraft limit. Frightened myself when I accidently went overdrawn earlier in the year (I immediately thought I'd be blacklisted) but only got charged E2.50 for the actual E150 overdraft and E0.67 in interest.

    Only problem of note we did have was that every time we went to France the debit cards would work fine for a week then stop working. Eventually I spotted that the cards only had a E500 per week limit on them and we were exceeding it ! So now when we go to France we tend to use cheques for everything (most supermarkets print the details on) and use the cards just for cash withdrawals.

    So I think La Poste is great. I have heard that if you had your account for years and years (e.g. with CA) then you don't get charged, it's just now that all new accounts you're charged a monthly service fee. Apparently some of this is at the managers discretion so may be worth quibbling (if you're French is up to it) ...

  4. [quote]Click on "Withdraw".[/quote]

    It gets me every time I use Moneybookers to transfer money to my french account - I always click on the wrong option and can't remember how to actually do the transfer !

    Once you've done a withdraw be prepared to wait. It pretty consistently takes 7 days for the money to arrive in my La Poste account; others on this forum have had horror tales of funds being stuck in transit for weeks but I've personally never had any problems; just a 7 day wait.

  5. I bought an Orange France card as I think their cards had the longest duration validity. Unfortunately my house (and indeed the whole of my nearby area) seems to have zero Orange-F signal cover so after using up my credit I didn't renew it.

    Having just had a week's bill for very light weight use of my UK O2 phone in France I think I'm going to have to look into it again. SFR seem to have an excellent signal where I am, does anyone know what their rates are (I can only figure out from their website that the sim cards are €30) and how long does the credit last for ?

    By the way there's an interesting article on moneysavingexpert at http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/cgi-bin/viewnews.cgi?newsid1119870249,48922, on the cheapest ways of using your mobile abroad.

  6. [quote]has anyone else used these guys on the western channel? i love sailing into st.malo with them but whenever i come on this forum people are only interested in speedferries or moaning about how expensiv...[/quote]

    We've used them a couple of times on the Weymouth/St Malo route although we do tend to go with BF as their property owners club discount means that they are cheaper.

    Overall we like Condor Ferries, the ride across is good and it's quicker than BF, even stopping off at the channel islands. One thing we don't particularly like is the drive down to Weymouth (takes noticably longer than Portsmouth).

    Their ferry times are a bit early as well (and you MUST arrive 1 hour beforehand) so it makes for an early start from home.

    Not sure what we are going to do next year. BF are cheaper but they've now withdrawn the daytime Portsmouth to St Malo route so if we want the short drive (our Gite is in Brittany) we have to pay the night time rate (+ cabin); consequently I'm taking the Portsmouth/Caen crossing when I next go over.

    We're using Speedferries in August as their £19 single (+ petrol + tolls) still worked out over £100 cheaper than any other option. Speedferries are also currently offering £50 open returns valid up to end June 06 so guess we'll be using them a bit more next year.

    Choices, choices ....

  7. [quote]"Because we chose quality brands, we haven't had any problems, nor do we expect any. Should something go wrong, a local Bosch agent can readily repair. It would take an awful collection of expensive f...[/quote]

    Our experience has been that dishwashers are particularly expensive in France as the French still consider them to be a luxury item that rich people have. When we were looking for a washing machine we found that we couldn't get a front-loading machine in France; plenty of front-loading tumble driers but all the washing machines we saw were top-loaders.

    In the end we bought our washing machine, dishwasher and fride from a UK second hand electrical store - £250 for the lot. Thought I'd done well until the washing machine started leaking. Our local agents found us another UK second hand one in france and all was well until it started leaking as well !

    Cut a long story short turned out that the fosse and soakaway was blocked up and so the washing machine couldn't pump the water out properly.

    I now have two washing machines. Oh well, at least I've got a spare for when the other one breaks.



  8. We use 123-reg.co.uk and have been very pleased with them.

    The site hosting is £20 per year (inc VAT) and the domain name about another £10.

    You get full FTP access to your area, CGI scripting, mail redirection or 10 pop mailboxes, online website stats, etc.

    And considering they are so reasonable with price I was even more impressed with the support I received from them when I couldn't get my "contact us" script to work. A full set of instructions as to what to do and advice as to which script they recommend.

    Cheers, Geoffrey
  9. We've got oil central heating at our (permanent) UK home and our Gite in France.

    The UK house has a 1300 litre metal tank and the French one a 1500 litre plastic one - much more sensible idea.

    In the UK we go through about 2000 litres a year using the oil for radiator heating and hot water.

    We've found that the price varies quite a bit during the year (more expensive in winter, even more expensive during Gulf War time and cheaper in summer) and it's also cheaper if you can get a larger delivery. Most UK suppliers give you a discount if you order more than 1000 litres (and if you can club together with your neighbours and all be delivered at the same time, an even higher discount for larger quantities).

    It's frightening how fast it goes down in winter, we filled up in December and the tank now only has ~300 litres left. I'll have to fill up again before the end of the winter and then will end up with a full tank for all summer. More bad planning.

    My advice is to buy the largest one you can fit in, certainly 1200 litres and 2500 if you can.


  10. Hep 20 is the brand name for a particular range of plastic pipes in the UK made by a company called Hepworth (I think).

    I've used them quite a lot for plumbing stuff in the UK as the connector parts are simply push fit, they are demountable so you can push in a little flange and pull the joint apart and when the joints are made you can rotate them (even if they are full of water). Great stuff and much less hassle than compression or solder joints. I guess your caravan has them as they are easy to push the pipes through awkward spaces.

    As far as I know the pipes are available in standard UK sizes - i.e. 10mm, 15mm and 22mm. French plumbing is of course different (14mm, 16mm, etc) ! I think there are converters to join from UK to French pipes and since Hep2O will take any standard compression joint (as long as you put in a HEP2O metal pipe sleeve in first) this'd be the way to join the two different pipe gauges together.


  11. I personally use google's translation site http://www.google.co.uk/language_tools?hl=en which is good enough to get the gist of what the document is saying - used it to great effect with my Acte Authentique, etc !

    Also works on French websites as well and does a live translation of the site. Best thing is that the translation is 'active' so you can click on a translated link, be taken to that page and it's automatically translated as well. Gets confused with some really complex 'shopping cart' type sites but works fine the rest of the time.
  12. I'm in the same situation !

    Recently bought a property on the Morbihan/Brittany border just off the D778 (between Josselin, Pontivy and Loudeac) and would like to try to make the place "earn its keep" a bit more.
    Soooo I need some help with caretaking, key handovers and the jungle (sorry, I meant lawn mowing).

    Anybody able to assist or know where to point me ?

    Thanks, Geoffrey
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