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Everything posted by hstraf

  1. I'm sure it does say in the contract. The problem is that the contract is in French (which I can't read), and unless I know how to tell the bank guy what I want to do... neither will he know what to look for in the contract. In other words, I tried my hardest to explain the concept of "early payment of principle" to him. He did not understand. :)
  2. Hello, I am trying to figure out if it's possible to pre-pay the principle of my mortgage a little bit. I got a big chunk of money, and I'd like to use it to pay down my mortgage principle amount with it. Does anyone know how to say "pre-payment" in French, as it applies to this situation? Or perhaps a simple phrase I can give to our bank that would explain what we want to do? (I went already and the guy looked at me like I was crazy. No matter how hard I tried, I just could not make him understand the concept of wanting to apply a one-time payment to the principle amount of my mortgage.) Thanks!
  3. Hello, (I have a small company that installs remote video conferencing equipment.) Someone asked me to install a webcam into the meeting area where our local village's conseil general meets. They want to broadcast the meetings, so the meetings are "open" (by watching/listening on computer) to everyone. I was getting ready to do this, when the Mayor intervened and told me it is not possible to allow the meetings to be recorded or viewed by anyone except the elected list of the conseil general. He told me it is against the law and that nobody may be in the room during these meetings, so it is therefore not allowed to make the meetings viewable by webcam. My French is not very good, so it is difficult for me to research and determine if the Mayor is correct or not. Does anyone know? Are there any other villages that broadcast their conseil general meetings via webcam? Thanks.
  4. Hello, I need some help understanding what is the best way to run wires behind the wall. (I need to add two new electrical plugs.) The wall is built with plaque de plâtre (gyprock) that has a 10cm backing of rigid styrofoam (polystyrene), which is then glued to the cement blocks. I thought perhaps I could heat up a fishing weight and drop it down the back of the plaque de platre to melt the Styrofoam and create a tunnel... but in this situation I need to run the wires horizontally, not vertically. Any ideas how to do this? Thanks!
  5. We recently signed up with idmacif.fr and they seem decent.  I have another car to insure so I'll take a look at amaguiz, too.  It looks like they have a "pay as you drive" plan which might be good for our 2nd car which we don't drive very much.    
  6. Hello, I am wondering if there is such a thing as car insurance that charges by the KM.  We have a 2nd car that we rarely drive, so it doesn't make sense to have "normal" insurance on it.  We drive it maybe once per week for about 50km or so. Any suggestions? Thanks.
  7. Hello, I actually already have the regulator I need, which came with the BBQ when I purchased it. All I need now is the adapter to go from my regulator "input" to the French cylinder. (They use different sizes of connections, which is why I posted...)
  8. We brought our propane BBQ to France when we moved. The problem is now we need to replace a part and I can't find a replacement anywhere since the French BBQs use either butane or propane with different attachements. I have a Weber Q220 BBQ, and am trying to figure out how to connect it to a "local" propane tank connector. So basically, I need this part here: http://www.amazon.com/Weber-6501-6-Foot-Adapter-Go-Anywhere/dp/B0012XXD4Y/ref=dp_cp_ob_ol_title_0 (And then I will simply cut off the "USA propane tank" end and put a standard french tank connector into it. So I really only need the end of the hose which connects to the BBQ.) Or if anyone knows how I can get a part like this shipped to France: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=150526172605 (My BBQ has a female connector on it, which fits a standard USA "throwaway" propane cannister. I want to connect to a normal French propane tank, so I need a 1" male to ?? adapter. Any ideas? Thanks!
  9. Hello, I need to purchase an open for our home in France... but I do not understand exactly what is the difference between these two cleaning types. Can someone explain or point me to a webpage that explains the difference between "catalyse" and "pyrolyse" cleaning for ovens? (Also, if anyone has a favorite website that sells ovens at a good price.. please let me know. I'm looking for an oven in the same style like this: http://bit.ly/oEF17w (Except my wife wants one with an electric oven instead of gas.) Thanks!
  10. [quote user="Russethouse"]Perhaps it would help if the OP explains the incident that makes him thinks such a letter would be an advantage [/quote] Certainly. First, yes.. I am French (Canadian by birth, but also French because my Father was French), and my wife is also French (American by birth, but also French because she is married to me and applied for citizenship). We have lived in France for the previous 5 years. We did not speak French before moving to France. So... my wife went to North America to visit family, with the kids. (Two were born in France, and the other in Canada.) When she returned to France, she was questioned by the French immigration authorities. She had French passports for everyone, including her Carte d'identie, etc... And she was told that, "It might be a good idea to travel with a letter of permission from your husband, to show you are allowed to travel with the children out of the country". I actually received a phone call from some guy at the airport asking if my wife had permission to travel with my children. So ya. This happens. It shouldn't. Of course not. The whole thing was rediculous and absolutely insane. I can only imagine the "reason" might have been the oddity of my wife's broken French and three kids with French passports... .. but whatever the reason, it happened. So... to avoid the situation again in the future, I figured I'd take 10 minutes and get a translation for a letter she can keep with her when she travels with the kids alone. It seems a lot easier to comply with this "suggestion", rather then her making a big deal and trying to point out the law and her rights and whatever to the immigration/customs officers. Believe me, nobody was as pissed off as I was when she got home and told me why I received this phone call. I went straight to our mairie and told him what happened. Unfortunately, there was no paperwork given to her to show the name of the officer who questioned her and called me. We even tried tracing the phone call I received, but it wen to some switchboard at the airport and could not be tied down to any particular officer who made the call. So.. somewhere in the immigration/customs office in Paris there works a functionaire who obviously has no idea that it's perfectly ok for a woman to travel with her kids.. without her husbands written consent. (And just to lighten the mood a bit... we've had many good laughs about this whole incident. I often have tried to tell my wife she must also have my permission to leave the house, drive the car, etc. So far she seems intent on doing her own thing without my permission, and I'm still trying to find out to whom I should report such direct flaunting of my absolute authority.) :)
  11. [quote user="allanb"]If you want to take a chance on a plain French statement, the following might work. (I don't think you need to bother with "to whom it may concern" or "sincerely", which are purely conventional.) Par la présente j'autorise mon épouse Madame [...] à voyager, ou bien seule, ou bien accompagnée d'un ou plusieurs des enfants nommés ci-dessous: names of children][/quote] Thanks very much! This is for travel to and from various French-speaking countries... (mostly France). I fully understand that French law says my wife can travel alone with our children. However, from experience, we have found not every "functionnaire" is fully informed about the law. :) Thus, from experience, we have decided it would be better for her to travel with a simple letter giving her my "permission" to travel with the kids. Yes, I do realize she could contact the appropriate authorities and have them look up the relevant law, etc... but hey.. why bother when a simple letter will "fix" the problem in 10 seconds if she is ever asked for one again? We all know the French love their beauracracy, regardless of whether they are right or wrong. If the person asking for the letter wants a letter with my permission... presto.. now she can provide it. Problem solved with no need to complicate things by calling the police and/or an advocate.. causing her and the kids to miss their flight (again).
  12. Hello, I have a single sentence text that I need to be translated from English into French. The lowest quote I received from a professional translator was $75. That seems a bit high for one sentence... so I'm wondering if there's anyone here who could do it for less? Basically.... it just needs to be in "proper" French. Otherwise, I would use google translate to do it. Here is what I need: ---------------------- To whom it may concern, This letter is to authorize my wife, [her name will be here], to travel without me with any of our children listed: [children will listed here] Sincerely, [my name will be here] ---------------------- Thanks!
  13. Very nice. I also found this link, which lists the individual regions and their associated prefixes: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indicatif_t%C3%A9l%C3%A9phonique_local_en_France Thanks again!
  14. Thanks for the replies! I have an unlocked GSM phone which I will be using. I've travelled with this phone to many other "gsm" countries and never had a problem. I just install a local SIM chip, and all is good. For the ADSL modem question... I'm basically trying to avoid the 3 euro per month it costs to rent a modem from orange/sfr/alice/free/whatever. (I don't need a wifi/router as I already have that.) For example, I can go to grosbill.com and purchase a new adsl 2+ modem (including delivery to our house in France) for 30 euro. This works out to be 10 months of modem rental... after that.. I'm saving money. That's two "free" coffee every month! haha. (BTW - the voltage/electrical issues are no problem. All my electronics work with 110/220v and 50/60hz.) I just called Orange's English-speaking phone number and talked with them about this. The first two people were totally clueless, but the third person was very helpful. He said I can use any modem and it would be the same for them as if it was theirs. He said if (when!) there is a problem with the service for any reason, it would not matter if I'm using my own modem or if I'm renting theirs. He told me all "newer" modems include the same diagnostics software inside the modem firmware that their own rental modem includes... so when there is a problem, it doesn't matter if their modem runs the diagnostics or my own modem does it. So we'll see... I really like the English-speaking phone number.. I wish SFR had that. I prefer SFR.. but being able to discuss technical issues without a communications barrier is really nice... So I suppose it's a tossup between SFR and Orange. SFR - cheaper for both adsl and mobile phone. Orange - Has English speaking people and "owns" the phone lines where we will be living. (Non degroupage area.) Cheers!
  15. Maybe I'm missing something but, it just gives me a message saying to call a phone number which charges money to find out the answer... ---------------- Pour identifier le propriétaire Appelez le 08 99 78 00 46 * Vous pourrez ainsi écouter en toute discrétion le message d'accueil de votre correspondant. * 1€35 par appel + 0€34/min – Sous réserve que le correspondant ait personnalisé sa messagerie vocale et sous réserve de compatibilité technique. ------------------------
  16. Hello, I am trying to find out what "region" or city or area a specific phone number is associated with. Does anyone know how to do this? Here is the number: (33)42088xxxx (I removed the last four digits for privacy.) Thanks!
  17. Hello, We are moving to Corsica in August, and I am doing some research now to figure out what is the best solutions for our "telecommunications" and "internet connectivity" needs. Perhaps you can help me... I need information and opinions from people who know the details of the service providers in France. We will be moving into a new "villa" house that has just been built... (well.. it's still under construction, but hopefully completed by August)... so there is no existing telephone number. We need two mobile phones, and one ADSL internet connection for the house. We already have our own unlocked mobile phones (iphone and android), and I am hoping to use my existing ADSL router. (So we don't need any technical equipment.) Any suggestions? I am thinking something like the following: - Signup for the lowest cost high-speed internet possible. I see there is a 10Euro option from Alice.. but will not work for us since Corsica is "non-degroupe" (I think?). The problem here is that there is no existing phone number for the house.. so I'm not sure if we MUST use Orange.fr, since they are France telecom and can open a new line? - For the mobile phones... I am thinking that it is best to get a contract with a high amount of data allowance. Maybe even a "data only" plan that is for an iPad or something? Then we can simply use VOIP on the data plan to make and receive calls. (We already have a voip provider, which gives us a "local" french phone number as well as a "local" north american number.) But what provider offers unlimited data plans? They all seem to have a maximum of 200mb or 500mb or 2gb. I could not find anything higher for a reasonable price. I don't care about the number of "voice minutes" since we will hopefully use just VOIP data on the mobile and no regular voice at all. It is no problem to sign into a 2 year contract. (We will be in Corsica for about 5 years.) Any suggestions? Thanks!
  18. Hello, We are moving to France in August, and so I am doing some research now to find out what is the best high-speed internet provider for our needs. I see that all the providers offer their own "boxes", which are a few Euro extra. Thus, I wonder if it would be better to bring my existing ADSL router that I am using right now (in north america) so I can save those few Euros... But will it work? Is the ADSL "system" in France the same as in north america? Can I simply take bring my existing ADSL router and use it for free.fr, sfr.fr, orange.fr, etc..? (Of course, I would need to enter the appropriate un/pw and connection details provided by free/orange/sfr...) Thanks for any help!
  19. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hello, We are moving to France in August, and I'm trying to find out now what are the possible "pay as you go" cell phone (mobile phone) providers that provide very low-cost services. I already have an unlocked phone, so I do not want a long-term contract, etc... I already know about the big 3 (sfr, orange, boyouge), but what are the "pay as you go" alternatives? I am just looking for low cost voice and sms/text service only. I don't really even care about data plans. The only one I could find was www.simyo.fr. Any others? Thanks!
  20. Hello, My wife and I are in the process of organizing a move to France for August. We will be living in France for 5 years. (I already have a work permit, etc..) My understanding is that we must get a French driver's license within 1 year of becoming residents of France... .. so we are trying to figure out how this works. According to some info I found, we can "exchange" our Alberta, Canada driver's licenses for French driver's license. Is this correct? If so, is there any "gotcha" that we need to know about? Do we just go to the Marie/Prefecture and give them our Alberta licenses.. and that's it? Do we still need to take French road or written tests? (Which I am *very* paranoid about because I've heard they are very expensive, difficult, and time consuming..) I just don't want to have any surprises. Thanks!
  21. Hello, Your question is rather "complicated" and has a lot of serious consequences.. so I highly recommend seeking out a tax professional in France to ask your question. Following advice you found on the internet about taxes is never a Good Idea. :) So... that being said... France will consider you a tax resident if you meet their tax residency requirements. (See the french government website for current definition of "residency".) Generally, you pay taxes in whatever country you are considered a resident.. and then hope there is a tax treaty with your "other" country. Techncally, you should still need to file a return in the other country.. and then claim a tax credit on whatever amount you paid in your residence country. If France discovers you are living (resident) in France.. ANYWHERE (your girlfriends apartment counts).. they will deem you a resident for tax perposes if you meet the residency requirements. (ie: Where are you physically located for x days of the year.) So it doesn't matter if you are in an apartment or a car or a gutter on the street. You can only physically be in one place at one time... so count the number of days in each country and then it's very simple to see where you are a resident. Now... regarding your foundation, etc. I assume you have something like a Panama Foundation, where you are considered the beneficiary, but you are using others in the public record. If so.. then what it comes down to is how "honest" you want to be. Technically.. France requires you to declare WORLDWIDE income, where you are the beneficiary. So this means if your Foundation makes $1 in profit, you are supposed to declare that in your French tax return. There is no question about this. If you get caught.. they will wonder what else you are hiding, and your life will never be the same. They can penalize you for any amount, and it's up to you to prove them wrong. (ie: They don't need to prove how much you owe them.. you must instead prove why you don't owe the amount they will fine you for.) It's risky at best, and catastrophic at worse, to play the "Overseas Foundation Game". What you should consider is removing yourself as any mention in the Foundation. If it's a panama foundation, you can use 3rd party nominees as the public names, and then the beneficiary is hidden from public viewing. If that's already the case, then again.. it's how honest you want to be. technically, you are the beneficiary but nobody will be able to see that publicly.. so you can do your best and hope nobody ever finds out. What I recommend also is to have a corporation associated with your foundation. So you have two layers in place, and then you pull a "management" salary or yearly bonus from the corporation. The corp is owned by the foundation. So the only public thing you are putting onto your French tax is the corporation, and there is no direct link to the Foundation, which owns the corporation and gets all the money/profit from the corporation. It still doesn't solve the "beneficiary of the foundation" honesty issue.. but helps to avoid it as then the french people won't know about the foundation and all the money in it.. as they'll only see the corporation and whatever bonus it (you) declares every year or salary it pays you for management fees, etc.. I hope that helps. Be very very careful. Taxes aren't something you want to screw around with.
  22. Hello, In the US and Canada, there are places like "ING Direct" where you can open a free interest-bearing savings account. Does such a thing exist in France? I haven't been able to find anything and my current bank wants to charge me for their savings account. I have about 20k Euro that I would like to deposit into an "emergency fund" savings account.. but I'm too cheap to pay a monthly fee if there is something that is free out there. Thanks!
  23. Hello, I am looking for help to find transport from the Nice ferry port (arriving by boat on Corsica Ferries) to the "All Seasons Nice Aéroport" hotel. Normally, I would just take a taxi, but this time.. my situation is a bit complicated. I have a LOT of luggage: [INDENT]- 3 large rubbermaid containers (100cm X 50cm X 40cm) - 3 large suitcases - 3 small suitcases - 2 strollers (push-chair / poussette) - 2 children car seats - 2 children (3 year old and 1 year old - 1 wife - me[/INDENT] Does anyone have any suggestions for me? Or perhaps you own a large car or truck and would be willing to drive us? (Multiple trips if necessary...) I am willing to pay for your help, of course. :) Thanks!
  24. Hello, I am looking for help to find transport from the Nice ferry port (arriving by boat on Corsica Ferries) to the "All Seasons Nice Aéroport" hotel. Normally, I would just take a taxi, but this time.. my situation is a bit complicated. I have a LOT of luggage: [INDENT]- 3 large rubbermaid containers (100cm X 50cm X 40cm) - 3 large suitcases - 3 small suitcases - 2 strollers (push-chair / poussette) - 2 children car seats - 2 children (3 year old and 1 year old - 1 wife - me[/INDENT] Does anyone have any suggestions for me? Or perhaps you own a large car or truck and would be willing to drive us? (Multiple trips if necessary...) I am willing to pay for your help, of course. :) Thanks!
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