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Thinking of moving from U.S. to France - Need advice on my stuff

Thinking of moving from U.S. to France - Need advice on my stuff

Aug 4th, 2007, 10:32 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 739
"If you move somewhere near Paris, you will trade your 2500 sq ft $300,000 home for an 800 sq ft apartment at similar cost, without an elevator or AC."

Actually, you're more likely to get about half that area for that price.
Toupary is offline  
Aug 4th, 2007, 10:41 AM
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hi, bunkerboy,

apologies if I repeat something already posted but I just found your thread and am too lazy to read it all!

echoing a little of what Ira said [as usual] I would consider renting. at the same time you could rent out your US property as furnished, putting your treasures in store /giving to family to look after.

this way your boats are not burnt, and you retain te hoption of returning home when/if you become less active, which is something many ex-pats find themselves wanting to do.

also, difficult to think about, but important, the one of you who is left [and you are unlikely to die simultaneously] might very well want to return home.

finally, particularly in france, there are good reasons for not buying due to their inheritance laws.

good luck with whatever you decide,

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Aug 4th, 2007, 04:41 PM
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I'm wondering, have you ever been to France?
Askar is offline  
Aug 4th, 2007, 05:02 PM
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I'm also wondering if you've been to France and if yes, which areas and how long you stayed. I still can't quite grasp the reasoning behind the move, and why it has to be "overseas".
smartcookie is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 06:28 AM
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" I still can't quite grasp the reasoning behind the move, and why it has to be "overseas".

I don't think BunkerBoy has to justify to us why he wants to move and certainly why he wants to move overseas. That's his choice, live with it.
JoyC is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 07:40 AM
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Out of respect for the host of this forum, whose rules of conduct discourage discussion of "politics, world history and religion", I'll keep many of the reasons for my infatuation with France to myself.

Other reasons revolve around considerations over how I want to spend the rest of my life. Right now, the idea of retiring to a rural location with a friendlier climate where we can relax, read, recreate -- and one that we can use as a home base for jaunts to the parts of the world we'd never get to see if we remained in the U.S. -- has enormous appeal.

Presently, we're in the information gathering stage of the deliberation. The decision to register at Fodors and pose the questions I have is just part of the process. The information and advice I've received here has been invaluable, and will help ensure that whatever decision we make will be a reasoned one.

And no, I've never been to France. Our daughter, who is fluent in the language, spent some time there two summers ago, and absolutely loved it.
BunkerBoy is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 08:17 AM
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Here's a good site for weather in France. I set this for Paris but you can select whichever place you want to check.


I find this site is fairly accurate. At least they look out their window to see if it's raining or not.

You can give good information for selections for moving.

During the first post you mentioned a few cities/villages. The cheapest area in France is supposed to be the Creuse (spelling??). I've seen TV articles about Brits are looking for a nice house with property for a reasonable price.

Overall, the higher prices can be nearer to the Med.. Of course the nice weather always costs extra.

Get prepared and then do-it. You'll love living here.

blackduff is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 10:09 AM
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Interesting thread. And coming along nicely, BunkerBoy. As people pointed out figuring out your legal options is the first practical step imo, so glad to see you're researching visas and necessary paperwork.

Getting dual citizenship is difficult and likely not practical. The only people I know who have this personally are women who married European men and moved there.

As far as all your 'stuff', I would be prepared to let most of it go. All the electronics, furniture, etc. Whether you sell it or put it into storage (maybe for the 1st year in case you change your mind about France?). To me, a move like this is about "starting over", why pay "tens of thousands of dollars" just to cart along a bunch of possessions?

Lastly, what is the longest time you have spent in France. If it is not at least 3 months at one time... I would do that next before you go any further.

Living somewhere is NOT the same as vacationing there.

suze is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 10:10 AM
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Oh dear, now I read you have never been to France!!!

I take back everything already said, I think the first thing you need to do is go there. Fantasy and reality are two extremely different places.
suze is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 10:13 AM
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It might be worth trying a specific forum for expatriates in France, e.g: http://my.expatica.com/c:fr/forum/index.php?c=4
Nonconformist is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 10:15 AM
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If you have never been to France - suggest that you visit several times, at different times of year and checking out different parts of the country.

Also - living there (anywhere, but esp in smaller towns, where epenses ar elower) you will need fluent French - so I suggest you start taking lessons now (assuming you're not already fluent).
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 10:17 AM
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Great suggestion above. French classes, for both you and your wife so you can practice together, is an excellent place to start!
suze is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 10:53 AM
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You said you wanted to use France as a base to explore the world. In this case, pick a location near a major airport. Creuse, Auvergne and Limousin do not fit in. Besides they can be very hot in summer and extremely cold in winter.

You'd have to know French. If you find a cheap property in a little village in Auvergne or Limousin, you will not have any link to the outside world except TV.
I am not sure you can get cable YV in the middle of Massif Central.
Pvoyageuse is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 12:05 PM
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Oh dear is right! BB, while I applaud, and appreciate, your enthusiasm, it's sheer madness to start this exercise by oohhing and aahhing over pictures of properties on the internet. You have WAY more useful things to do before you get to that stage, trust me!

I had made 20+ trips to France before I contemplated purchasing a property there, and 20+ years studying the language. I STILL encountered, and still do, challenges of all sorts that require real resourcefulness, a good deal of cash, and a determination to succeed. It's NOT a piece of cake. And I'm in a region where there are lots of English speakers and it's not remote.

Forget the power tools and the shipping costs and the pretty photos of darling little stone houses nestled in the valley. Plan a trip, or two, or three, to France - LONG trips - and see different regions at different times of year. Learn the language (good for you for getting started on that) - not just tourist language, but how to say things like "I've got a house maarten in the attic. How do I get rid of it?" and "The septic tank's backed up again. Can you get here by noon?" Stuff like that, ya know?

Then when you're back from your travels go have a long chat with the folks at the nearest French consulate and find out what's involved.

Oh, and suze, there are ways of getting dual citizenship (not French-American necessrily, but EU-American) other than by marriage. I have dual EU-American citizenship through the Irish Foreign Births Registry act of 1951...but there are reams of paperwork associated with that, too, and I'm not sure they're even offering it anymore.

StCirq is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 12:38 PM
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#I am not sure you can get cable YV in the middle of Massif Central.#

Plenty of people who have cable TV are absolutely unaware of world events.
If you really need to get 200 TV channels to feel connected to the world cable TV is also accessible via a satellite dish.
Askar is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 02:00 PM
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Fodor's friends:

Believe it or not, I am considered by family and friends to be quite cautious and risk-averse. I'm the guy who spends weeks, if not months, doing research before buying a new car, a guitar or even golf clubs. I realize this trait was well masked given the nature and tone of my first post.

I also realize my thought processes on this matter may seem out of order/out of whack, but ultimately I do plan to cover all the bases. My intro post was designed to find out what people who relocate overseas do with their stuff. Answer: Get rid of it and start over. Okay. Now, is that something we're prepared to do? Not sure just yet, but it's become part of the overall deliberation.

I guess what I'm saying is, to me it makes more sense to discover the "show stoppers" first, rather than spend months in France, fall in love, and then find out my multiple convictions for check fraud will prevent me from ever acquiring a visa. (<--humor)

Thanks to everyone's help, I have a pretty good idea of what some of the bigger challenges and risks are. We will need to ask ourselves if we're prepared to give up most of our stuff and start over. Are we committed to becoming totally fluent in the language? Can we persevere through all the hassles and red tape that will accompany such a move? Are we equipped to deal with a cold reception from the locals should it occur? Can we roll with the culture shock and eventually acclimate ourselves to a totally new way of life? As I've learned over these past few days, the list of questions like this is extensive. If after a period of intensive introspection, we find the answers are "yes", my next steps are clear. To quote StCirq:

"Plan a trip, or two, or three, to France - LONG trips - and see different regions at different times of year....Learn the language....Then when you're back from your travels go have a long chat with the folks at the nearest French consulate and find out what's involved."

P.S. After having visited several other forums dealing with foreign travel and living in recent days, I'm glad I posed my questions at Fodor's. Please know that the kindness, patience and support you've shown me is much appreciated.
BunkerBoy is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 07:41 PM
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BB~ Add to that long list of very good questions... "Do I even want to move to France?"

Seriously I don't know how you can possibly know the answer when you have not been there yet.

StCirq, Sorry I meant to be clear that marriage was how the people I happen to know personally ended up with dual citizenship; I realize there are other ways.
suze is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 10:51 PM
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One other point.

I don't know whether you were serious about the value of your current property, but you can still get quite a lot of space for that in the Limousin.

The problem, though, is that most French rural property prices haven't grown in the past 20 years at anything like the rate in Anglo-Saxon countries.

BUT, within an hour's drive of any airport (even Limoges) with flights to the London area, they all got a spurt when the flights started. And that growth just hasn't been sustained since.

So anywhere near an airport, French retirement-style properties are currently driven by London prices and Londoners' formidable purchasing power. But they're dependent on the vagaries of the London market and the sustainability of the extraordinary range of dirt-cheap flights from practically every strip of tarmac in France to an airport somewhere near London.

I've no idea whether London prices or the low-cost airline industry will remain buoyant for the next 40 years. But if they don't, and a French property inflated by the assumption they will is your major asset, you might find your net worth is a lot less than you expected.
flanneruk is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 10:55 PM
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>>>after a period of intensive introspection, we find the answers are "yes" ...<<<

Honestly, I don't see how you will find those answers that way. There is no substitute for spending time in the country, and not just on holiday. I have many English friends who own homes in France, living there several weeks every year. Most of the ones who decided to settle in the country are now back in England.

On the other hand, many people who relocate to France love it and stay there. I hope you are one of them. Still, I can't help thinking that as you grow old you will begin to wish you were nearer to your family.

Good luck, and best wishes for whatever you decide.
Heimdall is offline  
Aug 6th, 2007, 01:16 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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You might find it useful to investigate the subjects covered by The French News (www.french-news.com). Although a lot of it consists of British expats whining about things that are different from back home, there is still quite a bit of useful information in it.
kerouac is online now  

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