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  1. Jardinier

    Le Boat / Canal Du Midi

    Tend to agree that pretty well everywhere en route is stunning! I've never hired a boat, but the Canal du Midi is certainly on our endless list of wannados. Think I'd start at the Etang de Thau, if that's possible. I suspect the base may be at Marseillan or Sète, but I'd definitely have a look at Mèze - our favourite resort down there. (No pretensions, unlike the Riviera). If you can be in any of these seaside resorts when they have their "joutes" (jousting on board rowing boats) it's great fun. Some amateur video here. Look out, too, for the local sport of Tambourin, played with a tambourine-like racquet and a ball sized roughly like a tennis ball. Not so keen on Béziers itself, but that flight of locks is amazing. If you go to Castelnaudary, you have to try the cassoulet dish! All sorts of useful sites to refer to, but here's one. I have a question of my own ... You need a licence to pilot boats over a certain power (6HP). Do the boats available for holidaymakers come below that limit? In 2005 Rick Stein took a péniche from Bordeaux to Sète, and there's a BBC TV series on it ("French Odyssey"), available on Amazon and no doubt elsewhere.. A résumé (with links) of the places he stopped at to eat and/or cook is on his website at https://www.rickstein.com/about/rick-stein/ricks-tv-travels/french-odyssey/. Finally, the history of the Canal du Midi and it's architect, Pierre Paul Ricquet, is pretty fascinating.
  2. Jardinier

    Fuel Crisis in France?

    The blockade of refineries was lifted on Wednesday evening: http://www.lefigaro.fr/conjoncture/2018/06/13/20002-20180613ARTFIG00036-raffineries-les-agriculteurs-decus-pourraient-poursuivre-les-blocages.php (Le Figaro, in French).
  3. Jardinier

    BF Confirm Charter of 'E-Flexer'

    Salamanca's a lovely place, and a fitting name for the ship. For those heading that way who may not be familiar with the territory, Burgos is also an interesting town with a museum devoted to prehistoric man, cave dwellers, etc, and a very fine cathedral.
  4. Jardinier

    Fuel Crisis in France?

    I was in Moissac (Tarn-et-Garonne) yesterday and there were no queues at any filling stations. As to whether a crisis might be looming, it really depends on how long any blocades last. And on that, I have no idea. I did hear some farmers being interviewed on radio, and they sounded pretty upset - and probably with good reason. I don't have much time for the French farming community in general, but this time I think they may have a case.
  5. Jardinier

    moving to france

    There are some Brits living in Europe for whom it is reasonable to feel sorry, Millsy: living on pensions paid in sterling who have already seen a substantial loss of income after the collapse of the pound, for example. Those same people could see their revenue fall quite a lot further. If their pensions produce even fewer euros and their health cover from the UK fails, they have only one solution, really, and it's a very poor one. It's really not a solution, but an imposed course of action. I think Mrs J and I can manage unless the pound falls to very low levels. We moved all our savings to France some time ago, with a view to covering ourselves for nursing home care if/when the time comes. It may turn out that we have to draw on those savings just for living expenses before that time arrives. An interesting possibility then arises: our children can be billed for our health care in a nursing home. I cannot foresee me ever returning to the UK to live. As Gardian says, you just have to accept what life throws at you. Politically, I'm totally with Millsy. What's happening in the UK seems total madness to me. However, I've got my eggs in another basket now and it's not really for me to comment, though I still pay the majority of my income tax in the UK, unfortunately, and on those grounds believe I should still have a vote. Redwards, estate agents over here (especially those catering especially for British buyers) have been saying that there has been an increase in the number of Brits buying property in France recently, in order for people to get out of the UK before next March. Personally, I feel that such a purchase is a big gamble. Could it just be sales talk? Of course, if the pound were to lose another 20% in the near future, that would make a substantial difference to the sterling valuation of property, making a purchase right now more attractive - if there were no other considerations, that is. On the other hand, if after March 2019 house prices in rural areas tumble due to an exodus back to the UK, it may be wise to defer a purchase till then. My own opinion, on reflection, is that if you buy well within your means and if you have substantial savings in the UK which you can transfer to France to cover shortfalls in sterling income until your demise, and if you are prepared to live simply, then your overall quality of life would likely be better in France than in the UK, especially given the expected downturn in the UK economy in the short to medium term. But there is that big risk factor of health cover ...
  6. Jardinier

    moving to france

    There are three Brit couples in our village. Two husbands have acquired French nationality, their wives are applying for a Carte de Séjour Permanent. The third couple we have kept in the loop, advising them, referring them to appropriate websites, etc. However, they do seem to prefer burying their heads in the sand and wishing it would all go away. A hard Brexit is looking more likely as each day passes. I have seen one prediction that the pound would be worth 60p (I presume they meant the equivalent in centimes), but even if it settles at parity, this would be a very big blow to many Brits living in France who depend on pension income from the UK. I presume it's a similar story in Spain - or perhaps worse, as I imagine that the average age of Brit residents in Spain is greater than in France, and we all know that the older we get the more resistant we are to change and to making the effort to deal with it. We've had storms down here recently and two days ago the couple who have their heads in the sand had a huge poplar tree blown down, demolishing a the small building that houses their pool pump and ending up lying across the swimming pool. I went with the mayor to see if we could help, and they were so depressed. The Brexit thing is certainly weighing on their minds. They are starting to feel that it's all too much for them to deal with.
  7. Jardinier

    moving to france

    Yes, that could be what the various leaders might call a compromise. However, if newcomers have no health cover from the UK (which pensioners will have paid into during their working lives, and therefore, one would think, have a right to receive when it's their turn) there will be many fewer immigrants from the UK to the EU. This will mean a glut of housing in the rural and coastal areas where Brits have tended to congregate in Spain and France particularly, and consequent upon that a fall in house prices in affected areas, and indeed some houses may never be sold. In the meantime, when the house owner dies, his/her beneficiaries have to pay the tax on it (sold or not) in France, at least. (There is a tax-free allowance of €100 000 per inheriting child, I believe). But it's complicated!
  8. Jardinier

    moving to france

    You're correct, too, Imprimerie. If the health cover from the UK stops, there will be many Brits across the EU who will have no choice but to return to the UK. I would, in that case, feel sorry for both the NHS who will have to deal with these extra folk, and for the folk themselves, who sadly in many cases will find in the UK health provision that is rather worse than the one they will have left behind. And that is no criticism of the wonderful staff who do their best to make the NHS work, but of those at the top who finance and manage it. Those returning Brits will also need somewhere to live. They may not have been able to sell their properties in their host country and even if they have, may not have the necessary funds to purchase in an expensive UK market. Any social housing available? Well, last I read was that there are already one million people in the social housing queue. And if I understand correctly, returnees need to be resident for six months in the UK before any benefits are payable. Meanwhile, back in the host countries, in counties like the Dordogne which receive a great deal of tax income from Brit homeowners, there will suddenly be a loss of taxpayers, who are also customers of the local shops and tradesmen. Damage to local economies, then. I haven't mentioned any potential failure to index-link pensions, which would obviously add to British immigrants' problems. (I don't like the word "expat", as it implies a degree of discrimination). It is possible: the UK government is finding itself more and more strapped for cash, and the economy is struggling. So I truly hope that local, regional and national governments are thinking seriously about the consequences of their decisions. Hopefully, it won't come to the scary scenario I've deliberately painted here.
  9. Jardinier

    moving to france

    The above edited down to the nitty gritty. The EU rights that you presently have as an EU citizen will be lost unless there are agreements between the 28 countries. Whilst you will almost certainly be able to buy French property after Brexit (in whatever form it takes) you may not have freedom of movement, so travel will be just slightly more taxing as it would resemble travelling to a non-EU country right now - though there has in the past been talk that both sides will require visas, and they will cost, of course. On a house in France, you would have to pay the two local taxes. It may well be that if the French house is a second home, the taxes may be higher than on a primary residence. There are rules and regulations about renting out such a property. You need to spend 183 nights a year in France to be tax-resident here. If/when you are fiscally resident in France, all income, derived from all sources anywhere in the world, has to be declared to the French taxman. All bank accounts in foreign countries have to be declared, too. If your pension(s) is/are taxed in the UK, then the French tax authorities will allow a "tax credit" so that you are not taxed twice on the same money. (This is unlikely to change post-Brexit). Have you considered your health cover? If you're resident in France, working and paying in to the system, you'll probably be covered by the "Sécu" (social security). You would still need a "top-up" insurance. If you're officially retired in the UK, then the DWP pays your contributions to the French health system via a form known as an S1 - an EU document. Post-Brexit, this system may or may not continue. Both sides have, as I understand it, agreed to this in principle, but the proof of the pudding ... If you move to France, don't work but are not officially retired in the UK, then you will have to fund ALL your health care until you do reach retirement age - that is, both the 'top-up" and a primary policy which would replace the portion that the DWP would normally pay. To obtain French nationality, you need to have lived in France (i.e., permanently) for at least five years. Over 60, there is no requirement to take a language exam, but the interview at the préfecture (which for myself and people I know lasted for approx an hour) is conducted exclusively in French. All Brits who don't have French nationality are currently being advised by both UK and French governments to obtain a Carte de Séjour Permanent (which, despite its name, is valid for ten years). It is quite acceptable to have UK and French dual nationality. (Other countries have different rules). At present one of the struggles going on, a little behind the scenes, is for UK nationals living in one EU country to retain freedom of movement to move to another EU country. Without special agreement, this right will be lost after Brexit. It concerns a surprisingly large number of people who reside in a country for a specific job and then have to relocate to exercise their skills elsewhere. What other rights are you concerned about, Redwards? Finally, might I recommend to you that (if you haven't done already) you sign up to one of the fora aimed particularly at British immigrants to France and at those who aspire so to be? There are lots of people on those, all keen and indeed proud to relate their experiences and pass on hints and tips. However, do be careful! I have read some arrant nonsense on those, written by people who think they are fully conversant with all things French. After over fifteen years here, I would advise reading all such material, and then finding out the real facts for yourself by going to the relevant authorities who in my experience, when approached with a smile and decent bit of French, are very helpful and accommodating. (I live in the SW - it's generally thought to be a bit different up north!) When I hear Brits moaning and whingeing about French red tape, it's often (but not always!) down to a failure to communicate properly on one side or the other. Whatever you decide, good luck!
  10. Jardinier

    moving to france

    Please may I just add that, to complicate matters further, whatever "deal" might be achieved between the government and Monsieur Barnier, it has to be approved by the 27 other national governments, and I think by some regional parliaments as well, and in addition by the European Parliament itself - an institution which is doing its best to protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK and of UK citizens in the EU? What are the chances of agreement being forthcoming from all those places? I have no idea.
  11. Jardinier

    moving to france

    The OP's question is impossible to answer as I don't really understand it. What EU rights might be protected? As "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed", none of us has the slightest idea of what fate has in store for us post-Brexit - if it actually happens. If there is a "no-deal" outcome, God alone knows what that will mean. As Ed has said, the opportunity to read the agent's precise words might help us to deduce something, but it is unlikely. We expats may be seasoned, but we don't yet know how our goose will be cooked. Given the schism in the Tory party, no-one, including Mrs May, has any idea of what the final outcome will be.
  12. Jardinier

    Discount Travel

    Last October we had to book a crossing at very short notice - 15 hours or so. Dieppe-Newhaven was quickly booked at much less than other crossings bar the short sea ones. I do quite like the quaint decor of the DFDS ships, but they're not a patch on BF's Saint-Malo crossings on Bretagne or Pont-Aven. But, yes, they're a hell of a lot cheaper!
  13. Jardinier

    Discount Travel

    I can confirm that we live in France but have membership of the UK version of Club Voyage. Mail is posted to our French address. (We don't have a UK one!)
  14. Jardinier

    The French road myth.

    Over here in Gascony, we generally see a day or two at -7°, but it can go down much lower than that. We have seen -14°. Official records go far lower. But winter is short, and the snow doesn't usually hang around for long. We're prone to thunderstorms at the moment, and torrential deluges which are brutally hammering the newly planted summer bedding. It seems to have been like this for days, and is forecast to continue.
  15. Jardinier


    Your post brought me great pleasure SpecialK. As your post suggests, advance planning and experience are supremely helpful in ensuring a safe and pleasant trip for both school group and others sharing the crossing. I was lucky as a young teacher to have learnt the ropes from old hands. I know full well that later in my career younger colleagues had in turn learnt their stuff. Naturally, I have seen school parties, as we all have, who haven't been given "the talk", and therefore don't know how to behave safely and sociably on board. Once the youngsters have the info, the vast majority respect the ground rules. I had many fantastic (if tiring!) holidays in many European countries with lots of different groups. Things changed when teachers were obliged to make advance visits to plot all the potential dangers at all the destinations, etc., (Does this still apply? I wonder) and society became more litigious. There came a time when I decided that the risks to my freedom and career were too great to continue.