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Everything posted by samdebretagne

  1. Just a few corrections - the law re: declaring taxes together actually changed back in 2005 I believe, and you can now declare your taxes together straight away.  For example, if you get pacsed in April, you will each need to complete a separate declaration for Jan-April, and then a common one for the rest of the year. And the other thing is that both partners need to have the certificat de non-PACS, not just the French one. 
  2. Just a funny story - a friend of mine joined one of these mail-DVD rental programs a few years ago, but eventually had to stop because everyone kept stealing the DVD's from her mailbox!!! (neighbors, the postman, etc).   Which explains why the prices are so much higher than back home, LOL!!
  3. Just wanted to point out that since CA is a regional (and not national) bank, the fees are set locally and will vary according to where you live.
  4. [quote user="Mackyfrance"]My experience of it is that it is rigid, narrow and is  one size fits all. There is no outlet for creativity, the children are not encouraged to analyse or question or debate, just to learn and regurgitate. I don't think the French systems requires much more than a good memory to succeed. He has only just started writing creative stories but they are marked more on grammatical correctness than on imaginative content. The curriculum is very narrow and IT teaching is patchy to non-existent (talking about our schools, not necessarily others). Children are tested to within an inch of their lives with the consequence that French students are apparently some of the most stressed in France. France has one of the highest suicide rates in the 15-24 age groups in Europe. [/quote] As with everything else in France, there are historical reasons for the why the French educational system is the way it is.  After the revolution, they had to come up with a way to get rid of all the religious influence on the population, as well as find a way to integrate the thousands of foreigners that had moved into France.  What better way to do that, than by the school system?  They set it up so that no matter where you came from and where you were in France, you would leave the school system eating, breathing and feeling 100% French.  And they did this by rote learning and by teaching that the teacher was always right, no discussion allowed, so that there was no room for deviation.  And all the references to kings & popes, etc where erased and replaced with the names of revolutionary heroes (just look at the street names of most French cities or the names of French schools).  The "marianne" was invented for that reason also - to give the people something else to focus on besides the cross.   Creativity encourages people to think outside of the box and to question the way things are done, and that's exactly the opposite of what they wanted.  It's really quite genius if you think about it, especially since it also allowed them to create a future army of fonctionnaires who would do whatever their superiors told them, without ever questioning it.  :-)
  5. Thanks Will.  The thing is, I don't really know much of anything when it comes to this sort of stuff!  I've always been employed by companies, so this is really my first foray into looking at being self-employed.
  6. I'm currently being employed part-time by a foreign company through a portage company.  My contract with them is up in April, and I'm starting to think about renegotiating it and registering as self-employed, but I really have no idea where to start or which régime to look in to.  With the dollar being so low, my revenue would only be about 1000€ per month.  I realize this won't leave me with much after all the charges/cotisations, but at least I would recoup the 8% I'm currently paying to the portage company.  Has anyone been in a similar situation, or have any suggestions as to which régime would be the best one to go for?
  7. Not as far as I know, but then again, with the way things are in this country, I'd never say never!!
  8. I work with a bilingual portage company out of Nantes called Challenge & Co - so far, they've been nothing but extremely helpful.
  9. Maybe he/she could go through a portage company?  That's what I'm doing for now, until I get all of this figured out.
  10. I have just started researching the same thing today - I sent an email to the French-American Chamber of Commerce, I'm hoping they'll have some good advice.
  11. They've been talking about this every since I've been here, so for at least five years now, with estimates of it opening in 2015.  Part of the point of the airport is to divert some of the traffic away from the airports in Paris.  It will be located Northwest of Nantes, along the N165.  I drive that road quite regularily, and there are always all kinds of signs of protest - residents worried about increased traffic, noise, etc.  I for one am looking forward to it because of the direct flights to the US that it will likely offer - it's such a pain to have to take the train to Paris all the time with all that luggage, and it would be mille fois easier if I could just park & fly from Nantes.
  12. [quote user="J.R."] Because once the ruin is done up they will not have rent to pay and will have more money to spend on themselves and their family whilst having an appreciating asset to pass on to their children, which is the number one priority of most of my French friends [/quote] This isn't quite true, once the ruin is done up, they'll still have to pay back their loan of 930€ per month until 2025.  They're only currently spending about 300€ per month on renovations.
  13. Rennes is a major student town, and thus has a very active night scene.  The "rue de la soif" is the most famous street, and starts at place sainte anne.
  14. [quote]Obama easy[/quote] Nice try but no cigar! :-)
  15. [quote user="Cathy"]Is this strike nationwide?   [/quote] Yes, it is.  From what I've heard at the two schools I work at, it's going to be fairly-well followed too.
  16. Many American banks ask that you notify them before going abroad so that they don't block your card based upon strange account activity.  I've known people that haven't done this, and their card was basically inusable because the bank thought it had been stolen.
  17. [quote user="Jura"]I'd be interested to know how she managed to remain in France so long when divorcing after just one year of marriage. [/quote] Because at that time, they were giving out ten year cartes de séjour like candy.  So even though they got divorced, her cds was still valid for another 9 years. Thanks to Sarko, nowadays you now have to wait 4-5 years to get it, and they also call you in for an interview beforehand to make sure you speak French, are fairly well-integrated, are up-to-date on current events, etc before they will issue it. Personally, I don't think she will be able to renew it, because if you're not married, in order to renew, you need to show that you have enough money to support yourself so you won't be a drain on the system - since she's on benefits and can't work, she doesn't really have a strong case going for her.  Her best bet would be to apply for French citizenship.
  18. Normally, both you and your husband would need to get visas (him a work one, and you a spousal one).  February seems quite early for the physical, considering that neither of you have visas yet.  And no they cannot be done in the states.  Both of you will need one, but your child won't. The process normally goes: visa from French Consulate in the US -> arrival in France -> application for a carte de séjour at your nearest préfecture -> medical visit -> reception of carte de séjour. One thing to be careful of is not to mention to the Consulate that you've been coming back and forth since May, since that is 100% illegal.  You are not allowed to come to France & work for any time period before getting your visa (nor are you allowed to spend more than 6 months total in France per year without a visa), so that might make them unhappy enough to deny it.
  19. [quote user="Frenchie"]And to be able to take the Capes, you need to have passed a licence first ( 3 years at university).   [/quote] You also have to be an EU citizen.
  20. I teach English in a lycée pro, so I feel somewhat qualified to comment on this.  First of all, I don't think the students are just following the teachers lead - it seems more like going on strike at least once during your lycée career (and again later on at uni) is a rite of passage - it's just something that's done. As to why the lycée pro kids are striking this time around - the gov decided to get rid of the BEP and have everyone just do a Bac+3.  What's the big deal you may ask?  Well, for starters, it's sad to say, but not all French students are capable of passing the Bac.  The BEP at least gives them some kind of a professional diploma to leave school with, whereas if they take that away, those kids will have nothing. Secondly, in the current system, most kids do a 2 year BEP and then go on to do 2 more years for a Bac Pro.   They want to take those four years and cut it down to three.  This in turn will cut a lot of jobs & probably force the closing of some smaller schools (including the one where I currently work).  It will also mean that the students will only have three years to learn what they used to learn in four, which in turn means that some of the subject matter will have to be forgotten.  This will lead to less opportunities for specializations within each of the "metiers" and means that the diplomas will become more generalized and thus worth less to future employers, so either the student will have to pay for a supplementary training course following the Bac, or that cost will fall on the employer. The last issue is that there are currently around 70+ Bac Pro, and they want to cut this number down to roughly 35, which again, will lead to loss of jobs and the loss of some of the more specialized Bac Pro diplomas.  Last Thursday, the gov conceded and said they would keep the BEP (for now), but that they are still pushing ahead with the Bac+3 reforms, which is why many of my students are still on strike (that, and they all had a bunch of exams scheduled for today, LOL!!)
  21. [quote user="Cathy"]Everyone must be having a lie-in because no one has replied.  Mind you, perhpas you lot don't watch the television.  But I have a house full of teenagers so Star Academy is required viewing.  At least I now know who 50cent are/is.   [/quote] LOL, 50 cent is just one guy, not a whole group. As for the best candidate - I quite like Maureen too myself.
  22. [quote user="snorgle"]Not suprisingly, the people at the prefecture haven't exactly been forthcoming with information.  It took a week for them to let me know what documents I need to bring to them!!  ... then another week for them to tell me whose stamp they require on the translated copy of my birth certificate. Also, after my contract runs out in May, my husband and I would like to move to a different region of France...  Does doing so alone mean that I'd have to re-do this process? Thanks again for anyone who can offer any info. [/quote] Hon, a week is nothing - that's actually quite fast for the préfecture!  And moving to another region will only make things worse, and will pretty much ensure that you will have to go back to the US and get a long-stay visa and then redo the carte de séjour process.  Whereas if you stay where you're at, there is a small chance that they will just let you change types of cds's without going back, but again, it will all depend on the person you ask and what kind of mood they're in that day. 
  23. How come you didn't bring this up at the préfecture when applying for your first cds?  Either way, your best bet would be to ask them and not listen to what you read on the internet, as at the end of the day, they will be the ones deciding, and each préfecture tends to have their own way of doing things.
  24. [quote user="The Riff-Raff Element"] For the simple reason, of course, that they may have been pretty good when they were 18 but after 20 years where they've had little or no practice they forget it all. Just like France. [/quote] Actually it's not really like in France at all since there aren't even very many young people that can speak passable English. An example from an 18 year old lycée student I had today: "  'ello, my name Philippe. I 'ave dix-neuf ans. I lie-vuh (city name).   I 'ave got one brothers, he name Pierre.  My 'obbies is foot and surf." And that was from a kid who's been learning English for at least the past 8 years...
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