Pont Noir

Live Life in Creuse

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living in this area of france
by Babette • Sun 26 Jan 2014 18:43
Hello,(Bon jour ) ! Totally new as all can see !! My husband and I are in the process of selling our farmhouse in spain, we are considering a move to the Dun-La-Palestel area, BUT , What problems would there be ? Is the bureaucracy as bad as spain ,Are there hidden taxes?, We are just to lowly pensioners (state pensions only) could we Actually afford to live in France ? Why does an UK pensioner have to pay something towards health? I could go on , but as it is a sunday will leave it for the forum to peruse !!
Jan 2014
Re: living in this area of france
by virtdave • Sun 26 Jan 2014 23:06
Bureaucracy is basically a French word, but I've not found it worse in France than in the USA. If you have any need to go in person to the préfecture, do use the one in Guéret, not the sous-préfecture in Aubusson, notorious for unhelpfulness. You'd be well-advised to open a French bank account--we use the Crédit Agricole in Felletin after repeated hassles with the BNP. Taxes are quite high in France, tho the property taxes (Taxe d'Habitation and Taxes Foncières) are rather less than in the USA. It's best, we've found, to get taxes and other regular charges, like telephone, electricity, and water, automatically deducted from your bank account. Of course, the sales tax (TVA, or to you lot, VAT) is confiscatory, but that's true all over Europe. It's worth getting friendly with your local mayor and his staff, they can be very helpful. When we bought our place, decades ago, getting hooked up to the electrical grid was a snap--I understand it has become rather more of a hassle, and pricier, since the EDF has been taken over by the ErDF, at least the distribution--the EDF remains the world's largest single producer of electricity (according to Wikipedia), and electricity charges are not too bad in France, probably related to the fact that over 80% of the electricity there is produced by nuclear plants....
It's a really good idea to try to learn the language. We used a set of audio tapes designed for the American Foreign Service, so we quickly learned how to say in French, "He has been posted to London, and we cannot consider a project of such scope in his absence." As well as the rather more useful, "There are too many people at window 13."
Soyez les bienvenus en Creuse....
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Sep 2008
Re: living in this area of france
by dissid32 • Wed 29 Jan 2014 22:42
Moving up North, so to speak, it's probably going to be colder in winter than where you are now. I haven't got central heating, just a couple of wood burners, but I understand the cost of central heating is probably going to be at least a couple of thousand euros a year. You may not have to pay taxe d'habitation if your income is low enough, and where I am, at least, the taxe foncière is quite low compared to some places. I'm not sure that back-up health insurance is actually obligatory, or just recommended. I've had several operations, but they've all been 100% reimbursed by the health service, but you could run into trouble if something wasn't 100% reimbursed, and they always ask for details of your insurance before they give any treatment. I think most of the french people have insurance, so it's not just the Brits who are paying. I've never had any problem with BNP except they seem expensive, I think about 11€ a month! and I have thought about changing to an online bank, but I haven't actually done anything about it.
Just a few comments. Good luck, and do lots of research, unlike wot I done.
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Feb 2006
Re: living in this area of france
by Babette • Sun 09 Feb 2014 17:40
Thank you for the two posts, there is so much more i need to know !, do the gendarmes make up the rules when one is stopped for an offence? (i.e. Wow ex pat ,how much can we sting them for !!) Can ALL paperwork be sorted out in the local town ,OR does one have to drive many km just to get a piece of paper signed,Does a uk pensioner (state pension only) have to fill in an income tax form AND is tax taken from the meagre amount,i have just spoken to a couple that are visiting their daughter here in spain ,the couple live in Brittany,and they are telling me that France is no better than spain!! (i can speak more French than them!!) Surely France is on par with the UK ? (OR BETTER!)
Jan 2014
Re: living in this area of france
by virtdave • Sun 09 Feb 2014 18:28
The cops (flics, poulets, keufs) generally don't invent the laws, but as in certain parts of the USA (Texas, Mississippi, etc.) they do selectively enforce them. Best not to be a Negro in the US Deep South, since 'driving while black' occasionally merits a ticket. I've never had a problem in France, in fact once weaseled out of a contravention by successfully playing a classical Dumb American Tourist....but friends there have warned me about one particularly fascist gendarme in Aubusson, so be particularly cautious driving through/by there.
As far as paperwork goes, you can check with your local mayor's office for any particular item. Many items indeed require a little excursion to the préfecture in Guéret (btw, there's a rather nice restaurant a few meters from the préfecture, much frequented by the ronds-de-cuir (bureaucrats), Le Pub Rochfort, nice for lunch if you're stuck with such an errand). Reservations not a bad idea.
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Sep 2008
Re: living in this area of france
by Jeanne • Tue 18 Feb 2014 23:25
You haven't mentioned social life in your list. If this is important then it will be a lot different to Spain but there is plenty there if you are prepared to try something different. There are a lot of clubs for retired people that do lots of things too. Wouldn't worry about the gendarmes. We have never had a problem with them. Health service here is not brilliant in this area, although many would dispute my comments, but this is from first hand experience. First time I have called in on this site for many months and that was only because a friend did not understand a post that was put up. Yes you can pick up a cheap house but don't go for one that needs renovation because if you cannot do it yourself it will cost a lot due to the taxation system here and there are enough dodgy people working on the black, come to that legal too! So goodnight from me.
Jun 2010
Re: living in this area of france
by Mike • Thu 20 Feb 2014 12:59
It all depends how you approach your life in the Creuse. If you have a "get involved2, "can do" positive attitude, then you will be successful.

Yes it is colder here, especially in Jan/Feb, but the rest of the year is beautiful.

Dun is a nice town and area. There are many activities going on - check out the websites



It is very important to make friends with your neighbours. One of the first things we did when we arrived 8 years ago was to organise a get together in our back garden with all our village neighbours and the Mayor and three of his deputies. We had 40+ people and it was a great success. On the back of this we now have English conversation evenings over winter, every Thursday, in different houses. The neigbours are brilliant, and very helpful.

We have had no problems settling in. The police are very much in the background. If you do not drink and drive; if you carry all the correct documentation (passport, driving licence, insurance, log book, MOT)(they do random checks), you will have no problems.

The health system is the best in the world (we are well travelled). In general it is 70% paid for by the State and 30% top up insurance (if you wish). We are in our late 60s and we pay the top up - 166 euros per month. You do not need to pay for the top up. We know a lot of people who do not pay. In our 8 years here we have broken even. But it only needs a major accident to change this.

We find that the general cost of living is more than in UK.

Next time you are passing through you can call in on us, and we can carry on the conversation.
Feb 2014
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