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Everything posted by ckenway

  1. France as you know is divided up in to regions as far as farming goes. Down here it is wine, sunflowers, apples and pears, no dairy farming (well very, very little. I know of two small farms and thats it and they only have about 10 to 15 animals each. Goats might be a better idea. Chris
  2. I don't know about cats but we had to register our dog in France and have a French rabies certificate. Having said that we went to Spain on boxing day (it's only 2 hrs away from us) and nobody bothered us even when we let him out for a pee in the layby at the frontier post. Chris
  3. 1 and 7 - Technically you have to register with Chamber of Commerce as of 1st Jan 2004. On our visit recently they said absolutly yes. 3 - 8 (Recette Locales Des Douanes) this is the Customs and Excise office in UK terms and it's where you get your licence for alcahol from. The Petit and Grant refer to what you can sell, the Grand is for wine with a evenng meal. It's free (well it was 3 weeks ago when we got ours) so you might just as well go for the Grand even if you are not thinking about doing evening meals at present. Theres no renewal required for the Grand, it's for life. The rest is really to ensure you pay your social charges which will be 2538 the first year and 3746 the second after which it is worked out on your turnover. You can appeal against the first two years at the begining and if you are lucky they will adjust down accordingly but if you go over your anticipated turnover then you will have to pay more. I am sure others will have something to add although the other postings you have seen say it all really. I think that you will find Miki's postings just about correct, they worked for me. Chris
  4. Its a bit long this, I scanned it in so forgive the OCR errors but it seems we have all been wrong about a few things (exactly when the law was passed for example 26th Nov 2003 effective 1st Jan 2004) but in some cases backs up what others have said about it being a easy type of ID. I thought the bits on the second reading of new EU law interesting as it the bit on new EU member states. There is also a good artical at http://www.frenchentree.com/fe-lavie/DisplayArticle.asp?ID=693 Anyway enough of that on to the artical, it's long. Daily Telegraph's Expat newspaper It's au revoir to residence permits By Annette Gartland (Filed: 01/03/2004) A huge weight has just been lifted off my shoulders. Under new French law, EU nationals are no longer obliged to have a residence permit to live in France. For me, with yet another one-year permit about to run out, that means a lot less paperwork to grapple with in the coming weeks. Anyone who lives in France will tell you that the food and wine are great, and the countryside is gorgeous, but the bureaucracy can make you weep. Obtaining a residence permit, or carte de sejour, hasn't been particularly difficult for people coming to France to retire. For those who own property, and have plenty of money in the bank, getting a carte de sejour has been fairly straightforward. If you have a full-time contract with a French employer, there's been no problem either. For a freelance journalist like myself, with erratic earnings, and numerous employers in different countries, things haven't been quite so simple. At the local town hall, I'd be told I didn't really need a carte de sejour, so why was I getting into a flap about it, but various administrative offices were asking me to produce one and one employer even insisted on seeing my carte de sejour before I could be paid. It was a classic vicious circle: I was told I couldn't renew my social security cover without a carte de sejour and I couldn't get the carte de sejour without social security cover. I won out eventually, and got my cover, but I had to be persistent. Since I first applied for a carte de sejour four years ago, I've had three one-year ones and, each time, I've had hassle getting the paperwork together. You can take half your filing cabinet with you, but someone will always ask for the one document you left at home, or refuse to accept something because it's written in English. Last year I argued, to no avail, that I was fed up reapplying every year and should now be given a carte de sejour for five years. I really did live and work here, I grumbled. I might not be wealthy, but I paid into the social security system and was eligible for local taxes. Other people I knew fiddled around with their bank accounts to look well off, and were given a five-year carte de sejour, no problem. Some pretended they had jobs here when they didn't, and got 10-year permits. All this palaver should finally be a thing of the past, as long as you don't live in a backwoods where news of the new legislation hasn't filtered through. A spokeswoman for the British consulate-general in Marseilles says it can take time for such information to get through to everybody. Even though the law is clear, there might be some places where cartes de sejour are still being asked for. "Officially, EU nationals never needed a carte de sejour for working. It was always a residence permit, not a work permit, even though it was sometimes looked upon that way. Temping agencies were always asking for it." Previously, EU nationals were supposed to apply for a carte de sejour once they had been in France for more than three months, but the whole issue has long been steeped in confusion. Many Europeans have lived and worked here for years without ever having a residence permit, but others would prefer to keep one. I find it useful to carry around in case I need proof of identity, so that I can leave my passport at home," says Sally Vincent, a former software engineer who retired to the Languedoc. Paul Herbert, who lives in the Dordogne and provides information about holiday accommodation via his company France One Call, also finds the carte de sejour useful as ID. "It gives me a certain degree of security as a resident of France. It proves that you have actually been living here for a period of time and that you are then entitled to certain benefits." Mr Herbert does, though, find France's bureaucracy maddening. "I can remember trying to register with the Chamber of Commerce. I couldn't until I'd got the carte de sejour. When I tried to get my carte de sejour, I couldn't because I wasn't registered with the Chamber of Commerce."
  5. Hi, Welcome to the area. Dr Boudin speaks passable English and is located in the clinic. Some people say he is not the best there but we have never had a problem. There are hospitals at Quillan, Limoux and the A&E is at Carcassonne. Get your topup insurance for your Carte Vital from AGF in Quillan they are very good and all the medical facilities you require know the chap there (admin - not advertising just consumer information). Chris
  6. Don't suppose you have had sight of the rule by chance. It would be interesting to see them if they come from central government. A English translation would also be very welcome. Chris
  7. A great UK export, have a close look at the play equipment outside, it's british. Chris
  8. Just to let you know the south is not always sunny, we too have snow. It's only about 1cm and now the sun is out it will probably be gone by lunchtime (the roads are all clear). The skiers are happy they are arriving in droves again. How much did you get up there? I have an old pair of cross country ski's if you need them. With regards to no shows. As you know we get passing trade so I have taken to telling people if they book and don't either call or arrive before 18:00 we reserve the right to re-let the room. Regards Chris
  9. Just been reading through the thread. It would seem that French Hospitals are related to where you life, perhaps departments get a bigger budget, I don't know. Years ago, in my youth, we used to have things called 'Cottage Hospitals' for rural communities, thay have now all closed. I now live in rural south west France and can drive to 4 hospitals and thats going north (I don't know about south but there is one in Perpignan). We have one in Quillan (5 mins), Limoux (20 mins), Caracassonne (40 mins) and Toulous (1.5 hrs). When we lived in rural England the nearest was 2 hours away and that didn't have a A&E. Also many of the specialists have there own offices, many with the equipment they need to do their job so a hospital visit is not required. Unlike the UK you have access direct to specialists, missing out the middle man (your GP). In France I pay for my health cover and top up insurance and really its not that expensive compared to what I paid in the UK even as a high earner. I know some people (because we have had debates on this (or similar) before) have had excellent service in the UK but likewise many have not. My local Hospital in the UK was Newham General which was only half a mile away, its not funny when you are having a heart attack and have to wait 40 mins for a ambulance. I can tell of my horror story if anyone is interested but its one that goes on and on so I wont bore anyone here. I have attended hospitals in my area (the first three mentioned above) and cant speak highly enough of them, far, far superior to my English counterpart. In fact the quality is as high as the London Independent which is a leading private hospital. My only bad experience is glasses; we had to wait 3 weeks for an appointment with an eye doctor because unlike the UK you cant go directly to an optician. Chris
  10. Try Newham General Hospital in East London, and thats a new one. Old hospitals (London Chest) are even worse.
  11. Some time has passed since this posting was made and everyone has moved on as it were. I for one have spent most of the winter sorting my B&B out ready for the coming season and in doing so learn't so much including a bit of humility and manners. Looking back on some of my postings in this thread I now see I was very rude and thought I knew it all which I didn't then and I still don't now (but I know a tiny bit more). So Miki please accept this as a public appology for my rudeness. Regards Chris
  12. We have an insert which seems to be the more popular type of fire in this area. The inserts can be bought quite cheaply, around 500 although the actual fire surround can be quite expensive. As I have now discovered it's abit more complicated than I first thought, you know, a fire in a stone surround and thats it. We have a Rene Brisach which is expensive but we now know is probably the Rolls Royce of inserts and once you get into it you can see why. Ours produces 19kw of heat and 8kw of radiated heat which is created by air being drawn in from outside, round the outer casing of the firebox and then ducted into the rest of the house. Indead you can actually heat the whole house with this method. We have had ours installed including a new chimney both internal and external, the removal of the old fire and chimney which went up two floors (we have repositioned the new fire in the lounge) all for 6000 and it all comes with a 10 year warranty from the manufacturer who use their own engineers to do the work, not subcontracted. Before I did this I looked at many of our French friends houses and they all had inserts, not all Rene Brisach. When we told them we were having one many said we were buying the best. We had looked into buying a Villager, Waterford or simular but none could prouce the 27kw of heat that this can and none could duct heat to the rest of the house. Is ours good, well let me just say it was -2 the other day so we cranked it up to full power and we are heating about 75m2 of lounge and dinning area (it is also vented to a further 46m2 of downstairs bedrooms and kitchen, we don't bother heating the upstairs we just leave the bedroom doors open) and we had to open the windows. So my advice is before you make any rash decision have agood look around first and ask why the French (particularily in our area) buy what they buy and why don't you see none insert fires around here. Chris
  13. The site seems to have been up and down like tower bridge over the last 7 days. I couldn't get in over the weekend, it was down last night but there was a message saying it was offline and today, well this morning to be exact, no forum again. Is it just me or is there a cunning plan, does it include a turnip (Black Adder pun). If it's not me then, without going into it to much could we have an explaination. Yours, feeling like a mushroom (you know the story I am sure). Chris
  14. We went to the Chamber of Commerce in Limoux today to start the registration process as we are very keep to pay our social charges being that the wife and I need drugs to keep us going. We took a bilingual translator with us who translated EVERY word that was spoken. Well worth the 30 I can tell you. We asked about a Micro Enterprise and were strongly recommended not to go down that route especially as the system is going to change. The only thing he said was that the changes would not be in our favour but would not say more. We will have to have a CDS irregardless of the other information we have read here and has given us a letter to take to Prefecture in Carcassonne. He only wants to see proof that we have applied for one. We will have to pay 43.49 and 40 to join which is compulsory for Chambres Dhote. We will have to pay 2,538 for cotistations for the first year and 3,746 for the second year after which it will be calculated on our profit. We can however write a letter to those who collect the money giving our anticipated profit and have this figure adjusted down or wait till the third year when we can either get a refund or charged more depending on the actual profit over the first two years. This will cover both me and the wife which to be honest is quite cheap compared to the UK except the fact that you have to pay it in one lump sum of course. He then asked if we had a Carte Vital which we did and asked to see the paperwork. Ours runs out in May 2006 and guess what he told us. We are already covered and to come back in 2006. With regards to tax we were told to tell them our profit and we will pay tax on that excluding our tax allowances. I expect to get some comments on this so I will finish by saying this it what happened to me in my area and as always it seems to be different from one place to another.
  15. I believe you require a licence for breakfast (for tea coffee and orange juice), is this true and were do you get it from?
  16. ckenway


    Wrong way round I think, they pay up to 70% but there are cases I believe where they pay it all. Typically a good topup includung dentist and glasses costs around 960 per year for two people. Really it's up tp you if you buy one. I stopped my BUPA because I had had it for about 8 years and never claimed and was paying about 80 per month. Four months later I had 3 heart attacks and had to have surgery which meant a 13 week wait on the NHS and was not allowed home till it was fixed, thats life I suppose.
  17. What I see here is two groups of people regardless of French law and when and where a CDS is required arguing about whether one should carry some form of ID or not. Some people feel that a passport is OK others prefer something a little smaller i.e. a CDS. It really is a matter of choice what you do providing you are within the current framework of French law even if it (French law) is not within the scope of EU community law on this issue with regards to EU citizens. At some stage the EU passport in its current form will disappear and be replaced with something smaller and far more intelligent. More along the lines of smart cards similar in size to current credit cards and combine more information such as social entitlement (health cover etc) and driving licence and even a link to medical history, this is not so much as if but when it happens. The current EU passport is a form of voluntary (there is no legal requirement to have a passport within the EU state) EU identity card although it does not carry your current address which in many cases is a minimum requirement for buying many high value things or services. Which ever way you look at it the EU passport is a form of ID card. So if you get down to basics and accept the current French ruling on CDS we are split into these two groups, those that agree to a EU identity card and those that dont. No doubt the old civil liberty lot will come out in favour of no ID card but I feel that most ordinary law abiding people would find it no problem and possibly an advantage in every day life to have one.
  18. I read your posting and the replies with some interest and to be quite honest I think you are right. As you know I posted some recent figures about the Aude area in your other thread and would like to think the Aude area is not as popular as up north (particularly with Brits) although I dont really know. Based on the published figures in Aude there are 52 beds (both Chambres DHote and Gites) for every person per night in season, could this figure be even higher up in your neck of the woods, I suspect so but dont know. I like you have give a little advice to people in the past and as so many others have said told it like it is but have come to the conclusion that there will be no more Mr nice guy this year. Competition is hard regardless of the nationalities involved (was the friend you talked to English?) and when the chips are down the French will protect themselves first over all other nationalities and rightly so. I say this because of the stupid posting about being typically English, that person needs to wake up and smell the coffee. We are lucky, we dont have much competition in our direct area and I want to keep it that way. I have given help on where we advertise and the results and who we wont be using this season and I think your attitude is right in these matters so I wont in future. Last season we saw many Brits coming here to follow their dream as we did nearly two years back. Paint a room, stick a bed and some furniture in, put a sign up and wait for the money to roll in. When you explain your average day and what has to be done, the work involved and how little time you get to yourself they seem to look at you as if you dont know what you are talking about so in the end I think OK just get on with it and wait and see. So yes you are totally correct, business is business, know body helped us we had to find things out the hard way. Lets not forget the sort of answer you would get if you opened a shop next door to somebody doing the same thing and then ask them how to run it successfully, it wont be very nice should you even get an answer. With regards to being in a competitive market well thats OK if the market is not at saturation point, once it reaches that point people have to cut corners and that is what is happening, to quote from the Perspectives magazine in Aude (Feb 2004) A tough stance is going to be taken by the Department of Tourism and the Conseil General due to the fact that many Campsites, Gites and Chambres DHote fall well below International standards.
  19. Went to Carcassonne today to see what has happened about our CDS as we have not received it yet and we need it for registering our B&B, or so they said. The Prefecture at Carcassonne said they had done nothing because as of 29th November 2003 CDS's were not required by EU citizens. I asked about the Chambres of Commerce so they phoned them and told them we did not require a CDS. Now thats different to what I have read here, I thought it was 1st Jan 2004 the CDS requirement stopped but again I suspect it's down to different departmental interpretation of the law.
  20. Know body really knows in Quillan because of the closure of Formica (and Huntsman) which will be completely closed the first week in April, production has now stopped and there is a skeleton crew on site at the moment to decommission equipment (my mate is one of them). Many of the employees in and around Quillan have been offered relocation to Bilbao (probably spelt that wrong) in Spain and some place in North Wales (bet that went down a treat). Some are going to Spain and others are going on 'the dole'. With no settlement via the unions they only get the statuary redundancy payment. The mayor is concerned that there will be more people around on the streets with nothing to do (bit of competition for the local beggars). However the upside of this it that tourism is being strongly promoted in the area both by the Conseil General and the mayor. A down side is that the mayor is trying to get the area marked down as an economic disaster area so he can get money from the EU. He has lost nearly half his budget with money no longer available from both Formica and Huntsman which was some 800k per year (bet he wishes he hadnt bought those nice new blue street lamps now). Some agents believe its a buoyant market with regards to property sales whilst other more conservative ones believe as much as a 20% drop is on the cards. Certainly not much moved after October 2003 till end of Jan 2004 in comparison to previous years. I have to say that I have seen quite a few people moving out of rented accommodation over the last month or two. Another upside is that there is more restaurants set to open (but only for the tourist season) plus a bar and somebody said (I really hope they are joking and were trying to wind me up) an English bar and fish and chip/curry shop. So all in all it will be an interesting year and if I were you I would sit back and watch what actually happens before making any decision. You know whats its like down here, ask 5 people and get 5 different answers.
  21. Anyone know the French name for Rack of Lamb please. Thanks
  22. Received our Perspectives Magazine yesterday which is given to all households in Aude. There are two very good articles on Tourism in it some of which seems to back up what you are saying. Sixty six percent of accommodation in Aude is in Gites and Chambres DHote with three percent in Camping and only two percent in Hotels the rest is mad up of activity centres with their own accommodation. There are some 19M nights available over a year but only 345,000 people come to the area. Campsites during peek season are running at between 30 and 40% capacity. Gites and Chambres DHotes are running at an average of 13.5 weeks per annum. A tough stance is going to be taken by the Department of Tourism and the Conseil General due to the fact that many Campsites, Gites and Chambres DHote fall well below International standards. Grants will be available for some whilst others where it is no longer economical to renovate will be forced to close. The Conseil General in joint with the Department of Tourism will be investing heavily in advertising for the area both at home and abroad. The above is a resume of the article in Perspective No. 119 Feb 2004 Of course the above information is worked on the basis of registered Campsites, Gites and Chambres DHote. So for all those that are thinking of coming here to start a Gite or B&B business think hard before doing so. The area is generally over subscribed and things are going to get tough. Chris
  23. Thank god for that. I get gallons of them including 3 from Lloyds TSB would you believe. I went to their website where there is a link to the met police so you can forward the email on. Anyone want willy enlargement of Viagra coz I have plenty of adds for that as well. Chris
  24. There is an equivilant to SMAC in France. I can't remember how I found it, probably by looking for the French equivilant of Model Clubs on www.google.fr. Your bigest problem (and expence) will be renewing all your radio TR and R's as they work on 45Mhz here and you can't just change the crystals. Chris
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