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My wife and I do. At least we work in the UK, via the internet & telephone. On the occasions we need to visit the UK, we fly & drive (airport is about 20 mins from us). Regardless of the expense, any more frequent visits would be impossible or impractical.

Unless you live in sangatte (?sp) and work in Folkstone or at a push London I doubt whether it is practical to "commute". I know of a few people who commute weekly (mostly to London), but they don't really qualify, as their place in France is just a weekender and they are "resident" in the UK.

If you work in the UK, then it is best to live in the UK (you will pay alot less tax!).

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A friend who lives on the Causse de Gramat is a weekly commuter to Watford. Catches dawn flight from Toulouse Blagnac to Gatwick, then various trains to Watford and travels back on Friday afternoon. It is not prohibitively expensive or he would not do it but cost was quoted as £1,000 per month (though I'm unsure if this includes b&b). Newbie who only started this in June.

Another acquaintance lives on the Lot just west of Cahors and spends 10 days working in London and then 4 days at his home here - he has been doing this for 3 years or so. Rumoured to spend £700 per month.


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If you work in the UK (i.e. all your income is UK

generated) then you pay UK tax. We know quite a few

people who commute: near neighbours of ours in France, for

example - he works Monday-Wednesday in Kent, Thursday

-Friday from home: he gets a great travel rate via his

company - I think it's something like £52 return.It seems to

work for them & others. I guess one might experience some

form of resentment, as in the person who wrote something

on another Forum about living in France & benefiting

from the excellent Health & education services, but

paying not one penny towards them (still getting UK

Child Benefit,for example..)

In fact we are thinking of upping sticks ourselves - our

house in London is on the market & we may live in our

little weekend house in France whilst we look for

something bigger.Only real problem is UK accommodation

for the 3 days of UK work - our neighbour has a family

connection & address in Kent, we don't have

anything similar in London (where husband works)

so we have to deal with that. However, moving to

France would mean being mortgage - free. I'd be most

interested to keep in touch with anyone else

who's in the same boat.
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Rule 1 - find a French accountant.

Agree that earnings whilst yr botty is in England are subject to UK tax & Soc Sec BUT if you and yr family live in France and you send yr net earnings to France then I SUSPECT that you will be taxed etc in France. Double taxation agreement will limit the damage but there may still be something to pay here.

Rule 2 - find a French accountant.



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Iceni's right.  If you're resident in France, you have to do a French tax return, and in that you have to declare worldwide earnings.

If your family's living in France, that's your "centre of interest",  and the French Impots might well ask for their share.  Which is where an accountant comes in!!

Anybody who blithely tells you "but we're all in Europe now, it's easy" is talking out of somewhere other than their mouth!

Residency affects your access to health services, replacement passports, driving licences, everything.

As somebody said, there are ways round all of these, but I'm glad to be out of it.  French admin only from now on!


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A thought: If you shift the balance of residence the travelling partner  spends the majority of time in France, then our Super-commuters' would surely fall into the regime of contributing to the French health system in addition to any contributions in the UK.

Logic : they would no longer be temporary visitors to France hence the E109 would not cover them. The presence of the family in France would add further weight to this argument. Hence the cost would be health cost (8% less allowances), mutuelle, and any levies on unearned income, this on the assumption that any income tax liability would be covered by the higher deductions in the UK.  Worst of Both Worlds? Any thoughts?

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It's actually quite simple & you don't need to pay an

accountant a small fortune to tell you: Work only in UK

but live in France = tax payable in UK, fill in a

French tax declaration but dual treaty stops you paying

twice. Entitlement to Health cover = E106 provided

you have sufficient payment record - this enables you to

have a Carte Vitale. All works perfectly simply for the

many people we know who are doing it.

Excellent education - well I'm sorry it was not for you,

but all those I know of (totalling some 11 children aged

between 4 and 16) seem very happy with it, parents

& children alike. It has to be better than what's on offer

here, that is if your kid, like mine, is not one of the

108 who managed to get 324 marks in the 11+

(out of 1,785 who sat the exam...)and if what you were

offered is, as with us, a Comp where the feral youth

attend sporadically and achieve around 2 Grade E GCSE

passes each at best!

I was myself educated in France from age 2 - 11, and I

have done pretty well - managed the 11+ here after 3

months of English, went on to University, M.A. etc....

I'd like my kids to have the same grounding in 'real'

subjects as I had, together with good manners and

respect,both of which our local UK schools have ditched

in favour of 'knowing your rights' and

'self expression.' BTW I'm a teacher so I do know about

these things...
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Better here?

 No, my kids have gone through the full system here and it has little to recommend it. I'm one of those people who is actually  interested in education anyway and not simply what concerns my own kids, as the years went by the feeling of profound disgust with 90% of the teaching staff here was a terrible thing to feel, which I never expected. And this disgust was not necessarily to do with my own kids, but other poor kids who needed a teacher to teach them and to encourage them.........  and not put them down all the time and make them feel stupid, (usually these kids weren't).......the encouragement was purely for the petit choux (always the bright kids), not for those who really needed it.  I agree some kids do well here and I have always said that, that top group, bright, who fit into the system, but for the rest, it is lamentable.


My youngest is now getting his qualifications in the UK ( he was with the one with the problems, very bright but dyslexic). The eldest for the time being absoluley refuses anything to do with education what so ever any where, a pity, in a proper system adapted to a child's needs, and a little encouragement he would have done more than OK.

And the difference in attitude alone between the many many many teachers I have met in one way or another in both countries is radical. They are a wonderful and obviously underrated group of people, UK teachers, well the ones in the NE are, when I read threads like this, it just feels like some mythical thing is being perpetuated about french education and quite unjustly.

And even now I look around me and see my son's friends and friends kids. Bright kids shouldn't have doubled twice before they sit their BACS.


I realise that EVERYONE, well almost everyone on here may wax lyrical about the french education system.  However, I'm not surrounded by brits, but french people and I was on school councils for too many years. I've seen it, I hear it. And had the greatest bad fortune for my kids to live it.I've looked at the Education Nationale stats and it has confirmed what I have seen in this system.


TU, in yet another region that thinks that dyslexic kids should go to schools for the deaf...... such an enlightened and modern system!

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Excuse me, but I am very interested in

education in general and I would say that

'profound disgust' just about sums up how I feel

about the UK system! You get what you pay for,

basically - if you can afford £13,500 a year you

will get a wonderful education - if you can't, then

you are stuck with .......... where pupils spend their

days insulting the staff,*****ing in the back row,

beating up fellow pupils and learning nothing.

Encouragement for bright kids? I wish, I wish - all we

encourage in the state system here is playing it for

the maximum benefits you can get, and all that

happens to the bright ones is they are bullied

for being 'boffins.' I would love for my bright 12

year old and my bright 6 year old to be encouraged, but

they are not, most of the time in their schools being

given over to those with so-called 'Special Needs.'

I would far rather have what's on offer in France.

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TU - We have had this discussion before, but my son's experience in the UK education system (he's also dyslexic and very bright) is a replica of what happened to your son.  He didn't fit in and the UK system has failed him.


PS. I have been in to my daughter's school to help today with Year 10 pupils age 14/15.  They are preparing to sit a GCSE oral module in French towards the end of this week.  The noise level in the classroom for those who wanted to work, and I would say that was maybe 50% of the class was unbelievable.  I would not like to have to try to learn a 4 minute presentation in those conditions.  When I commented to the teacher about this, she said the next class would be even louder.


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"If you can't, then

you are stuck with .......... where pupils spend their

days insulting the staff,*****ing in the back row,

beating up fellow pupils and learning nothing.

Encouragement for bright kids? I wish, I wish - all we

encourage in the state system here is playing it for

the maximum benefits you can get, and all that

happens to the bright ones is they are bullied

for being 'boffins.' I would love for my bright 12

year old and my bright 6 year old to be encouraged, but

they are not, most of the time in their schools being

given over to those with so-called 'Special Needs.' "

I try not to get into arguments about education and I know this is well away from the origin of the thread, but I really cannot let this go unchallenged.

I am aware, of course, that there are some poor schools in the UK, perhaps particularly in London. It really is not fair though to make such sweeping statements as this about the whole of the state system.

This year over 80% of the pupils in the school from which I recently retired achieved 5 or more grades A - C at GCSE. The school population includes about 50% of children from ethnic minority backgrounds and others with “special needs”. What we did for those children as with all the others was to try to tailor their education to their needs - I am proud to have former pupils with dyslexia who now have degrees.

This does not blind me to the fact that there are many schools with problems - I just ask that you don’t judge the whole of the system from one example.

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I find the phrase 'some poor schools' absolutely

delightful in the face of all the overwhelming

evidence that it is the majority of state schools

which are failing pupils who want to achieve!

I do not judge from one example but from some 50+

examples in 4 separate areas, schools all intimately

known to me either by teaching in them / asssisting

in them / visiting them on my own children's behalf.

Well done for getting 80% through with 5 GCSEs, but in

my considerable experience of how these things are

assessed, most of these passes tend not to be in real

subjects at all, but in bogus coursework-assessed

modules of little or no use in the future. I'm sure that

was not the case in your school but I guarantee that it

is in most others.

And that leaves entirely aside what the experience of

state schools is like here for the minority who want to

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Certainly, but I'll keep it very short since we're

really off topic (mostly my fault). I mean a type of

education which is formal rather than casual,secular

rather than religious, subject-based rather than 'child

centred' ( a bogus term anyway) and which promotes

values such as respect for family,self and home.
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I can see why it sounds good, Eskenazi, when you put it that way.

Secularism yes, I'm with you 1000% of the way.

Formal?  Sometimes "rigid" might be a better description!   There's certainly not much leeway in the system to cope for a child who's in any way not "normal".

Also, French schools have (I think) the longest school days in Europe.  Today, my son has classes from 8.30am till 5pm, and then he'll have homework this evening - that's a long day for a 10-year-old!

Respect.  I can see a huge difference between the attitude of French children towards adults and the attitude of UK children towards adults, and I do much prefer the French one.   But amongst themselves children are children the world over, and there's a huge national effort in France just now to do something about the problem of bullying in schools.  

This excerpt is old, but clearly nothing has changed, because in the last couple of weeks it's all in the news again, with the school buses being destroyed and the violence continuing:

D'autre part, depuis le 6 janvier, les enseignants et le personnel de soutien du collège des Aiguerelles de Montpellier sont eux aussi en grève pour protester contre le climat de violence. Dans le cas du collège des Aiguerelles, c'est la violence entre élèves qui a fait sauter la vapeur, une majorité de parents a décidé d'appuyer le personnel en gardant les enfants à la maison. Tous exigent des mesures supplémentaires de sécurité.

Lest you think I'm being negative , here's a link to an article about la guerre between parents and profs - long, but reasonably interesting because it's a side of the education system that people in Britain don't see - and indeed, how would they!  Aiguerelles college even gets another mention!   Happy reading!



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  • 2 weeks later...

My husband works 8 days in the UK.  He is based in Southampton and door to door, takes three hours to get from Bergerac to work!  His employer has allowed him to work 12 hour days and he manages around half time of his previous full time role.

We still get child benefits and tax credits and an E106 to cover health in France.

It works well for us.

To chip in on the education front - our youngest has not setled at school well - one year on.  It is the socialisation with the village children that has been a problem.  We happen to live in a pocket of Brits and this has led to discontent locally with some villagers.  My daughters hears very negative comments addressed at her from children who apear to be speaking the words of their disgruntled parents.  It is not only the English children who can find it hard to integrate.  We know a french family who moved here and their children have had trouble.

The fli side is my other daughter is doing very well.  Interestingly, she is at aschool with no other Brits.

School is tough here - very academic - no room for the arts which can be tough on children who do not shine academically.


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Oracle - that's sad to hear about the village kids.

In 'our' village, I get the feeling that the

Brit kids were really wanted to add to the numbers -

certainly there is no resentment & over Hallow'en

ours + Brit friends + 3 sets of French friends

(including the Mayor's 3) are all going off 'trick

or treating' together. Perhaps it's just one of

those things - it's not as if all is perfect in every

all-English village...
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