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France

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  • droopsnout
    droopsnout Posts: 3,620 Forumite
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    Interest rates are lower in France. In the three years during which we have been paying a mortgage on a variable rate through a French financial institution, our monthly repayments have not changed at all.

    So when seeking savings accounts, you are probably best off leaving your money in the UK!!!

    Otherwise, as chessfou suggests, ING offer the most attractive conditions. An account can be opened with ING in France through a third party to gain some sort of brownie points ... Not worth much, though!
    Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good. - Thomas Sowell, "Is Reality Optional?", 1993
  • droopsnout
    droopsnout Posts: 3,620 Forumite
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    This is a truly international field, as the some of same sites which operate in the UK also tout for business in France.

    For general searches, try:

    https://www.kelkoo.fr
    https://www.pricerunner.fr

    Our experience is that there is very little price difference between one supplier and another, except when a given retailer has a special promotion.

    The law in France forbids the use of loss leaders, so I'm afraid the 19p loaf from Tesco is out of the question.

    Of much more help are sites that provide comparisons of insurance costs, like

    http://www.assurland.com/

    There are numerous very poor sites that try to publicise offer codes ("codes promo"). None of them comes anywhere near to UK "freebie" sites, especially not MSE.
    Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good. - Thomas Sowell, "Is Reality Optional?", 1993
  • droopsnout
    droopsnout Posts: 3,620 Forumite
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    As we are retired here, we have only a few fairly worthless shares left, as we are unwilling to have assets which may suddenly lose value. So, sorry, I can't be of any assistance on this topic.
    Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good. - Thomas Sowell, "Is Reality Optional?", 1993
  • droopsnout
    droopsnout Posts: 3,620 Forumite
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    Following that little lot, there remains a HUGE amount unsaid!!

    As chessfou said, no individual can possibly hope to acquire and disseminate for France all the info that there is on MSE for the UK.

    I cannot stress enough how important it is to consult all sources of info WELL BEFORE you ever decide to buy a property abroad.

    We all know that the internet is a wonderful place to pick up knowledge and tips, and I can think of no better use for it than to inform your choices when buying/moving abroad.

    But a word of warning ... Internet fora are made up of many people, some of whom know what they are talking about, but many don't. You don't know me, and you don't know if I know what I'm talking about!! (Very often I don't know if I know what I'm talking about!)

    So read everything, watch everything, listen to everything. Only then will you have the slightest chance of making a move without some kind of disaster or heartache.

    Take house prices mentioned on TV programmes like "A Place In The Sun" with a very large pinch of salt.

    Consult all your friends, and especially your families before moving abroad. Don't rush into anything. Consider the unthinkable, like illness (yours or a loved one in the UK). Consider that air routes that exist now may not exist in the future.

    Consider how far it is from the south of France (and beyond) to your native area in the UK. Consider the rising price of fuel and how much travel is gong to cost in ten years.

    Consider your old age, and what you would do if your partner were to die whilst you live abroad. How would you cope? Where would you continue to live? As house prices rise faster in the UK than in France, would you be able to afford to move back to the UK to live?

    Moving abroad is a minefield, and you need nerves of steel to accomplish everything properly.

    But it is well worth doing, if you have given everything the proper consideration.
    Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good. - Thomas Sowell, "Is Reality Optional?", 1993
  • droopsnout
    droopsnout Posts: 3,620 Forumite
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    And I should have said ...

    Consider also your will(s). Different countries have different laws regarding inheritance. Take country-specific advice from local legal people and/or UK-based solicitors experienced in foreign transactions and legalities. It will cost you very dear, but it could cost you very much more if you don't prepare, and especially (in France) if you have been married more than once with children from a previous marriage.

    There are probably ways around all problems, but you have to know that the problems exist before you can deal with them!
    Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good. - Thomas Sowell, "Is Reality Optional?", 1993
  • Edinburghlass_2
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    WOW, droopsnout you have been busy icon7.gif

    Perhaps the powers that be could think about trying a trial "child board" for living abroad on the Travel Boards or maybe even its own board as the Travel Board already has two child boards.


    icon7.gif
  • droopsnout
    droopsnout Posts: 3,620 Forumite
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    Wherever you may move to, there will be Brit ex-pats there already, somewhere or other. And for most of us, moving to France, Italy, Spain, etc., there will be a lot of help available from Brits already there and who have done it all before.

    Many of them will have little or no command of the local language, but they manage, and have fun.

    But it does pay very rich rewards if you are able to get to know your native neighbours, and to join in with your village/town/etc social activities. That becomes so much easier, as does the whole process of buying a property, then maintaining it and generally coping with life, if you have some mastery of the language.

    I was wondering what chessfou meant, though, by "My French is more-or-less adequate and my wife is just about fluent". What is "fluent"?

    Whatever you think you know, it will be insufficient. I say that as a French graduate with over thirty years' experience of living and working in France, on and off. Buying a house, finding materials to maintain and/or improve it, talking to tradesmen, etc., made me only too aware of how much specialist and technical language I didn't know. Local words and accents, too, will test your comprehension to the full, as at school in the UK we are taught a sort of "received pronunciation" in French. Imagine being an Anglophone French person, trying to understand a broad Geordie!!

    All that said, there are hundreds of thousands of Brits enjoying new lives abroad, and coping very well! Just make sure you're not one of those who gets ripped off. Make the effort to learn the language and the customs!
    Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good. - Thomas Sowell, "Is Reality Optional?", 1993
  • droopsnout
    droopsnout Posts: 3,620 Forumite
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    TV programmes tend to make everything sound just wonderful, especially the house prices.

    But what is it really like once you have made your purchase, settled your legal fees, got your mortgage, insured your house, car, etc., re-registered your UK vehicle in France, etc., etc?

    In general the cost of living is probably not all that much different from in the UK. However, many things will cost you more, but sometimes, as "at home", you have to shop around.

    You won't pay less than around a euro (70p) for a cauliflower, for instance, and usually it'll cost you 1.50 euro (£1).

    Whilst Granny Smith apples were 2.20 euro a kilo yesterday in one hypermarket, they are available on our local outdoor market for 0.90 euro. On the other hand, the market is not cheapest for everything.

    Like a nice bit of cod? Fresh cod fillets were on sale in our market last week for over 15 euro a kilo - £4.55 a pound approx. But we have seen it in the past for around 7 euro: £2.12 a pound.

    When all on MSE's "Grabbit" board will be chasing the bargains and misprices at Boots, Argos and Tesco, you'll be out of it. And you need a UK address if you want to send for freebies, maintain a Sky subscription, etc. (There are naughty ways around the Sky problem ...)

    There is no real equivalent of Wilkinson's/Wilko's, all the pound shops, Home Bargains, etc. There's no PC World equivalent, and much of your more specialised shopping will have to be done at small local firms who actually charge enough for them to make a living rather than at giant sheds who can cut prices to the bone.

    Part of what you lose on the swings, you gain on the roundabouts. But the swings tend to be more expensive!!
    Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good. - Thomas Sowell, "Is Reality Optional?", 1993
  • droopsnout
    droopsnout Posts: 3,620 Forumite
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    WOW, droopsnout you have been busy icon7.gif

    Perhaps the powers that be could think about trying a trial "child board" for living abroad on the Travel Boards or maybe even its own board as the Travel Board already has two child boards.icon7.gif
    Yes, it could be worth a try. I doubt that many people looking for this kind of info would look in this forum!
    Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good. - Thomas Sowell, "Is Reality Optional?", 1993
  • droopsnout
    droopsnout Posts: 3,620 Forumite
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    Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good. - Thomas Sowell, "Is Reality Optional?", 1993
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