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Everything posted by Eslier

  1. [quote user="cooperlola"]I once worked in the hotel business and a very wise man once said to me that owners should sleep one night in every one of their rooms each year, to find out what it's really like to stay in them - how noisy it is, how comfortable the bed etc etc.  Not a bad plan and something that can easily be done in the "off" season. [/quote] I certainly agree with this. We have done this - and try to repeat it every year for a night or two - and it has proved worthwhile. It's also worth trying to spend a week using the kitchens to cook your meals, which is a very good way of finding out if there are any essential items missing or discovering blunt knives !
  2. Three out of four of our properties have a dishwasher and we too provide the tablets. (The one that doesn't is quite a small gite).  I'm not sure that it is essential in the smaller properties but certainly provides added value. In larger gites however, especially those where there might be two or more families staying together, then I think it is a must.
  3. It took me about 4 hours ! Went to the Sous Prefecture, queued up and got form to complete and list ofother documents requiredWent around the corner to Hotel de Impots and got the tax certificateWent back to the car, looked in glove box and found Certificate of Conformity kindly supplied by manufacturers when car was newFilled in the formWent back to Sous Prefecture, handed in all documentsWent to  the cash desk and paid feeCollected new Carte Grise Our car was under four years old so didn't need a CT, but we had already changed headlamps anyway. All that effort (?) and one year later we changed the car for a French LHD  car which was a very sensible thing to do and what everyone should do as soon as possible - much safer.
  4. Any rental listing website is only as good as the effort the owners put into marketing that site to bring it to the attention of potential rentors.  What makes this one different is that, being owned by Archant, it is guaranteed of exceptionally good placement in the three leading UK magazines which are purchased by  people interested in France.  This sort of targetted  advertising would be very very costly to any other business or individuals and certainly out of range to those offering free listings to owners. With the resources that Archant has, I think it is fairly safe in saying that they will be able to achieve those hard to get high rankings in search engines. This new site has a lot of promise and  could be a very good investment. Perhaps, rather than offering freebies, it might be better if they offered to fix the price for three years to all launch year advertisers. It could easily take off in a big way and we could see advertising rates treble over the next few years. . . . and before anyone asks, NO I haven't got any financial interest in the new site and I don't work for Archant - I am going off now to fill in my details and get my properties listed !
  5. Cheaper  HERE or, for the other way around (English 13A to French Schuko) see HERE
  6. [quote user="dogwood"]Dogwood..[:@]    I hope this is ok moderators? [/quote] Dogwood, not only is your post OK but it is very good advice. This vehicle is illegal to drive in France and is illegal to drive in the UK.
  7. [quote user="Pierre ZFP"][quote]  as I find it difficult to believe that someone would steal an LNB that will only fit a $ky dish - the thief must have been a Brit... [/quote] Actually almost any LNB will fit any dish/box [/quote] By "Sky dish"  I, like Nick, assume that the OP is talking about a 45cm black mesh minidish, in which case Nick is correct. LNBs for these dishes utilise a different spigot type mounting to fix it to the arm. This is different from the type of mounting required for the readily available ugly 80cm dishes here in France for which any old universal LNB should be fine.
  8. I'm afraid here are a couple of flaws in all this research business. Firstly, many owners of gite complexes (much more so than owners of single gites) manipulate availability calendars (rightly or wrongly but that's another debate altogether - the fact is it happens).  For example, my largest property is still available for the first two weeks in July so I also show my middle property as being available even though it isn't - reason being that I stand a chance of selling enquirers up or, if necessay later on, doing a deal. Until a few weeks ago I hadn't even updated the calendar to show any bookings at all even though most  peak season weeks have been booked since last October - reason, it's good to get the enquiries as every one is an opportunity to sell an off season break and provides me with another valuable email addres for future marketing. So, take availability calendars in general with a pinch of salt until the end of the season when you'll get a much better idea of what was booked. Secondly, I'm afraid I don't agree that you need to worry too much about looking at the bigger picture with overall availability space. There are an awful lot of people out there with gites who haven't got a clue how to market their properties or how to find the right "product". You shouldn't take too much notice of the failures it's the success stories that you are interested in and why they are so. You  will be better off finding a small number of places that appear to be doing exceptionally well (again don't look at the number of weeks booked, work out from the prices they are charging how much cash they are making). Once you have identified a pattern of success email  the owners and ask them for their advice. Most brits running successful businesses in France are very proud of what they've achieved and will be only to happy to share some of their experience with you. There's nothing to be lost by asking a honest question and hoping for an honest answer !    You need to find out if you can match the successful businesses. Good luck.
  9. Yes, it is possible to make a decent living from a gite complex and pay back a mortgage - just like it is with any other business.  The question is, do you have enough money to invest in the first place to give you the sort of business that will generate enough income ?  If you are going to borrow money to finance the purchase then you really are going to need an established business with a track record of healthy annual accounts. To make the sort of money you will need, gite complex businesses don't come cheap.  Take a look at http://www.jacwoodestates.co.uk/ and you wil see that they currently have 19 gite complexes on their books at over a million euros. This is the sort of money you are likely to need to invest to be assured of a decent income from day one. Andy has given you some good advice but it is still a risk if the business is not already up and running. I would like to explode a couple of myths: Don't worry too much about "over saturation". The best tourist areas will always have a lot of competion but it can also be an indication of good potential. Don't get hung up on how many weeks a property is let for - how much income it generates is the important factor. A smaller number of weeks at a higher income is preferable. The most important factors to consider are, in this order,: LocationProductMarketingIf you get these spot on then much is possible but you've still got to know what you are doing. If you get any two of the above right and mess up the third then it will all go wrong. I speak from personal experience as I have a three gite complex  and this year, my biggest concern is whether I will excede the €76k  threshold for TVA registration. Pancake -  there is no excuse for the people you contacted not to have responded to your enquiry. Don't be surprised however if you find some owners reluctant to accept a 4 month booking. The problem with winter lets in a gite is that the amount of money that can be made is minimal. By the time you take wear and tear into account it may not be worthwhile.
  10. There is a very good fossse friendly toilet cleaning product called "Clarcyl" which comes in either blue or green bottles and is available in most supermarkets.
  11. We have found it better to buy meat from an excellent local butcher - much much better than the supermarkets.  Ours usually has joints of Charellaise  (not sure if that's how it's spelt) beef which you can tell just by looking at is going to be good. It melts in the mouth when cooked and however cooked. You need about 200g for each person as a guide. For roast potatos we've found that the ones sold in the supermarkets for "purée" give the best results. Use sunflower oil rather than olive oil. Can't help you with a gravy recipe other than buy a packet of old fashioned Bisto Gravy Powder - much better than granules.
  12. First, make sure that your blue EU Passport has the details of a successful blood test included in it (it is possible to have a passport without having had the blood test and, although this will get your dog into France, it won't allow him/her back into the UK) Assuming you are returning to the UK before the end of the validity of your dog's existing  rabies jab, then you will only need to visit a French vet between not less than 24 and not more than 48 hours from the scheduled departure time of your ferry or train home. The vet will give your dog flea and tick traetment (usually Frontline) and worming treament. The details of this will be entered into the passport by the French vet - make sure the details are entered correctly with the correct date and time. When you move to France on a permanant basis you can continue to use the same EU Passport but you will discover that, in France, new rabies jabs are only valid for one year. It is very important not to miss the date for the rabies booster jab as one day over and you will need to start the blood test and six month wait etc. all over again. Once you travelled once with your dog you'll realise that it is all much simpler than it sounds ! Enjoy your tip.
  13. Our cats love to drink from the swimming pool.  To start with we were a litle worried about this in case the chemicals harmed them but it doesn't seem to have done any long term harm !    In the summer, if the cover is on, they can sometimes be seen tentatively putting a paw onto the cover which can look alarming but I now know that all they are doing is pushing it down a little to get some water onto the surface of the cover for a drink.  Cats are probably far more inteligent than we give them credit for, and also very nimble with a good sense of balance.   Ours do walk on the top of the winter cover but this certainly isn't a problem. Only on one occassion has one of our cats ended up in the pool.  Last summer I had been cleaning the pool, closely watched by one of our younger cats. As I was striding down the terrace at the edge of the pool, the cat decided to run at full speed from behind me and attempt to overtake me on the inside. The result was that as my leg strode forward it made contact with the cat running who subsequently bounced off and flew into the water. Before I had time to react the cat had swum to the edge and climbed out of the water unaided. I am pleased to report that he  was very wet, slightly bemused but otherwise unharmed. It hasn't put him off the pool as he still enjoys watching me clean it in the morning and still drinks the chlorinated water.
  14. Eslier

    Dog to the UK

    As I've now done this a couple of times, I can confirm the following: Assuming the passport is a French issued blue EU passport: The rabies jab needs to be given (booster) every year, not one day over is allowed or passport lapses. A blood test needs to be taken - usually most effective one month after the rabies jab was givenIf the blood test results come back with  satisfactory result then take results back to vet to update passport detailsSix months after the blood test (note after the blood test, not the rabies jab) then the pet is ok to travel to the uk after . . .Between 24 and 48 hours prior to the scheduled deprture time of your ferry the pet needs to be treated for tick/flea/worms by vet and this treatment entered into passport.On arrival at ferryport, you have to visit the BF desk in the terminal with the pet and they will read microchip and check all documents thoroughly before allowing you to go back through vehicle check-in.Hope that helps. 
  15. I am sure the other mods would agree with me that a sensible discussion like this is constructive and welcome it as long as it doesn't become a opportuniy for any member (whether a mod or otherwise) to have a bash at any othe rmember or group of members. I think we have all discovered that it is far from easy being a moderator. As far as what our purpose is, the Code of Conduct is the main point of reference for what we do but interpreting it fairly and with discretion is the hard bit. Generaly speaking we are here to protect decency, protect individual members from harrassment and insults, prevent things that could become legally compromising and do our best to keep things on track. I suppose, we are also, in a way,here to protect Archant's interests purely as a means of protecting the continued existence of the forum. Now I know we don't always get things right, either individually or collectively, and even when we do, it isn't possible to please all of the people all of the time. I know that there have been occassions when I have made less than helpful decisions when moderating and if any of you feel you have been on the wrong end of that then I appologise now to you unreservedly. There have also been times when I and my fellow mods have been on the receiving end of some fairly nasty priivate messages which can be quite upsetting - but I don't hold any grudges because we are all capable of saying things in the heat of the moment that we later regret. The most difficult job of a moderator is that of when to step in and stop threads drifting off topic. This is so hard because I think we are alll reluctant to jump in but we are aware that this is one thing that causes anoyance to many members and prevents many others from even getting involved in sensible discussions. The Off Topic Lounge has helped this but there are still far too many threads that divert away from the original subject and become an opportunity for  bit of friendly banter which, in itself, is not offensive and therefore we, as mods, don't really feel it is appropriate for us to get involved until a complaint is received.  The more help that the rest of you members can give us in diverting this sort of conversation back to the "lounge" the better it will  help the forum. We are always particularly grateful to anyone who helps out in this way. To conclude, we moderators are members of the forum just like everyone else. We don't get paid, we just do the job because we enjoy the forum and want to help maintain it as a helpful, friendly and constructive place to exchange information and views about living in France and French culture. We do our very best but we are only human ! Perhaps we can all raise a glass over the next few weeks to the Complete France Forum, put any difficulties experienced in the last year behind us and look forward to an excellent year ahead.
  16. Your old email address is used as your login only as it is the one you used when you registered with the forum. If you go to your personal settings and change your contact email address then your old address won't be used for anything other than logging in.
  17. It's not possible to use a blanket percentage. You'll need to work out what your expected income and expenditure will be in a bit more detail. The running costs are likely to be anything between about 35% and 200% depending on how successful you are.  The following model is a very basic  income / expenditure  projection based upon the information you have provided. Use this model for your calculations updating figures in line with your own expectations. Remember however to be realistic. INCOME (for two two bed gites) twelve weeks @ 600€                        7200.00 € six weeks @ 400€                             2400.00 € four weeks @ 250€                            1000.00 € misc. income                                      400.00 €                                                          -------.---                                                        11,000.00 €   EXPENDITURE hospitality (flowers/wine/beer etc)            200.00 € general maintenance                             1500.00 € renewals / additions / projects                2000.00 € utilities (electric/gas/water/refuse etc.)    2500.00 € marketing                                             1000.00 € Insurance                                               400.00 € accountancy                                           600.00 € misc.                                                      100.00 €                                                              ------.---                                                             8,300.00 € Operating Profit:                                 2,700.00 € Percentage running costs against income = 75% Don't forget that there will be other deductable costs, including many of your own living costs which can be claimed. The most significant of these will be cotisations, top-up insurance, motoring expenses, other travel expenses (ferry crossings etc.) all of which will amount to another seven or eight thousand Euros.  Then there will also be non-deductable expenses such as taxes fonciere, d'habitation, professionelle, etc.  
  18. I think you will find that, in the UK, there is no law against having an incorrect address on your license - you only break the law if you fail to notify DVLA of a new address when required to do so. Therefore, as you aren't required to notify them of a new address outside the UK then you haven't broken any laws.
  19. You may have a bit of a problem. The Monday is a public holiday so you won't find a vet working and that will also be the case on Sunday.  If you know your local vet really well then he might be prepared to treat your dog on Saturday but put 31st on the form but unless you know in advance that he's prepared to break the rules then your best bet would be to change your return crossing to one day later. You must have the flea, tick and worm  treatment done between 24 and 48 hours prior to your return crossing scheduled departure time. When you take your dog into the terminal building check-in desk they will check every detail on the paperwork
  20. Yes, it was the Bank of England Inflation Report that seems to have caused much of the damage, indicating that a further rise in interest rates between now and Februay is less likely. This coupled with the expectation of an interest rate rise from the European Central Bank early next month.  There is some hope for the pound however with the publishing of the  Retail Sales  figures today. An increase in this figure is likely to refuel hope for a further Bank of England rise in interest rates in the near future, on the other hand if the figures aren't good then you can probably expect the pound to sink back a little more.
  21. [quote user="Will "]I honestly don't see the point in trying to compare France and Britain. They are two different countries, with two totally different systems and financial infrastructures, both for running businesses and buying/selling houses. OK, you pay more in France for things like estate agency, Marmite and gardening services, but I don't see too many comments about the many things that cost less (unless they are turned round into a 'rip off Britain' type argument). [/quote] Very well said Will. I couldn't agree more.  I'm afraid that resentment against others for simply making a living or running a successful business seems to be an unfortunate British trait. We all have a choice as to which services we choose to make use of, which products we choose to buy and which country we choose to live in. In the end it simply comes down to what something is worth to each individual.
  22. A good option is one of the relatively new ".eu" domains. As they've been available for less than a year there are more name options available than ".com" for example.
  23. Eslier

    Help required!

    The simplest solution is get yourself a Platinum Amex card, phone the "concierge service", tell them what you want, where you want it sent and with what message and they'll sort it all out for you.
  24. [quote user="Sunday Driver"] As always, the key is to study the French code de la route for the definitive answer to towing a caravan behind a French registered car . A caravan is classified as a trailer and the rules for trailers are quite straightforward: Trailers with a PTAC (total authorised all-up weight of trailer and payload) less than 500kg do not require separate registration and are merely required to display a rear number plate showing the towing vehicle's registration number. No type approval is required, but they must comply with French traffic rules concerning weights, lights, tyres, etc. Trailers with a PTAC over 500kg require their own carte grise and therefore need type approval.  They also need to display their own rear registration number plate. Most, if not all, UK caravans will fall into this category. Trailers with a PTAC over 750kg additionally need to be braked. Trailers under 750kg do not require brakes unless their PTAC exceeds the unladen weight of the towing vehicle. So, to summarise the specific rules which apply when bringing a UK caravan over to France with your French registered car: If the caravan has a PTAC less than 500kg, then it is sufficient to display the towing vehicle's French registration number on the rear.  You have nothing more to do. If the caravan has a PTAC greater than 500kg, then it needs it's own registration.  That means that before you bring it over to France, you must apply to your prefecture for a temporary "transit" carte grise and display a temporary WW registration number on the rear of the caravan before towing it here. The transit carte grise is valid for 15 days to give you time to register your caravan.  If your caravan does not have EU type approval, then  it will require a separate gas system test followed by a DRIRE type approval inspection  To allow for any potential delay in getting these done, you can extend the time limit on your transit carte grise by applying for a second carte grise which gives you an additional 15 days.  You may only have one extension. Once the caravan is registered here, you fit it's own new registration number to the rear.  Simple...[:)]  [/quote] from http://www.completefrance.com/cs/forums/742287/ShowPost.aspx
  25. The banning in French schools of head scarves worn by muslim pupils might be fairly topical and controversial enough to stop the examiner snoozing off. You will find quite a lot about this subject, both in French and English, on the internet.
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