La Vie Possible
Parler Paris Previews…
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Living and Investing in France Conference
If you’ve always dreamed of moving to France, starting a new life in Paris, enjoying a “pied-à-terre” of your own part of the year or perhaps investing in property in France, this power-packed conference is a MUST. Hosted by Adrian Leeds, Editor of the Parler Paris Nouvellettre® and French Property Insider weekly e-zine and John Howell, lead attorney for John Howell & Co., Law Overseas, London, these two days in San Diego will arm you with all the information you need to make it happen!
Plus, earn $100 for every friend you refer…see the Web site for details.
For more information, visit Living and Investing in France Conference San Diego or email Schuyler Hoffman, email@example.com
Dear Parler Paris Reader,
Someone sent in a really interesting article that appeared on Business Week Online on August 14th titled “La Vie Impossible.” There is no by-line, so unfortunately the writer won’t get his due credit, but nonetheless, it is a topic dear to my entrepreneurial heart and rapidly dwindling pocketbook — how “Paris is encouraging entrepreneurs even as it continues to hinder them.”
The word “entrepreneur” is French, which in English is used to mean “a person who organizes, operates, and assumes the risk for a business venture” (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/entrepreneur), but in French it refers to a construction “contractor.”
“Risk” is a clue as to why there is no word in French for “entrepreneur.” The French are, particularly when compared to Americans, risk adverse. You may think I am making a broad and bold statement, but I’ve lived here long enough to know the signs of a culture seeking security in place of risk. This generalization, however, doesn’t consider that a record number of 322,000 companies were created in France last year.
How many of those companies were created by immigrants vs native French is unknown, but I’ll bet my bottom dollar that it’s a hefty portion. Entrepreneurs are the people you see on the streets of Paris in August, while the “fonctionnaires” (civil servants) and “travailleurs” (workers) vacation at their country homes or by the seaside. While many of the classic French family-owned bistrots are shut for a few weeks, the Asian restaurants are all open and brimming with business. Visit the bourgeois 16th arrondissement and see if you can find a bakery open this time of year, but head to the multi-national 19th and you won’t even notice it’s August.
If you are of the entrepreneurial spirit, in the English/American sense of the word, then expect France to be your biggest challenge. Philippe Block, co-founder and former chief of Columbus Café, a chain of espresso bars in and around Paris was quoted by Business Week Online to say, “You have to be crazy to be an entrepreneur in France.”
Yes, it’s true that France has been trying to make it easier for the energetic entrepreneur that isn’t capital-rich by changing a few laws and regulations to encourage new business start-ups. It wasn’t long ago that the amount of required capital to get a business license was reduced from almost 10,000€ to 1€! That helps, but it’s still expensive to register the company — almost 1,000€ without the help of an attorney. An attorney will cost you a few thousand more, but wading through the bureaucracy and paperwork alone is no simple task, particularly if you’re not fluent in French.
Opening a commercial bank account requires an appointment to your French bank (with whom you already have a relationship), armed with all your company documents. It’s not enough that it’s time consuming and difficult. To add insult to injury, my French company commercial account costs almost 40€ a month in fees!
Registrations and payments must be made to the long list of government agencies that oversee sales tax, health and retirement benefits — URSSA
F, RAM, ORGANIC, etc., and you’ll be expected to file reports and pay taxes and fees quarterly. An “Expert Comptable” (accountant) is required to oversee your accounting and sign-off on certain reports. Don’t think this isn’t expensive, too!
And if you want to hire employees…now you’re really in trouble! Expect an employee to cost another 50% of his salary in social charges. Be prepared to create a contract with your employee that holds you to “life employment or death” (forgive me, I jest). If you hire someone on a project basis, they must be self-employed (“Travailleur Indépendant”) or you can pay them via the “Chèque Emploi” system. And watch out, the “Inspection du Travail” agency with 2,000 inspectors will report you if your workers are working too long or too hard! Or you may spend a fortune insuring you comply with the 2,732-page “Code du Travail.”
By comparison, you can go online today and within a few minutes have registered an Limited Liability Company in any state for about $200. The papers are emailed to you as pdf files. To obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the U.S. government, you can now do that online, too, again, within just a few minutes. If you send those documents to your U.S. bank, by email, they will open a commercial account for you free of charge. Need a worker? Find the right person, pay them for their work at the rate you agreed upon and then turn in a “1099″ form with your tax return reporting that you paid them more than $600 that year (if you did!). You can also order your business cards and have them shipped overnight, so within 24 hours an American entrepreneur can be up and running and in business.
It is thought that an entrepreneur is an unappreciated and disrespected person in France. Self-made men and women can’t compete in stature to their counterparts who have graduated from the “Grandes Ecoles” and landed good, secure, government positions. So, it’s no wonder that many of the young energetic French have headed for more inviting climates — like London, New York and California…and are thriving successfully.
Meanwhile, here we are, we Americans with our entrepreneurial spirits bursting for expression, filled with good business ideas, but who love all that France stands for: the France that doesn’t put standard of living ahead of quality of life; the France that protects both the workers and the consumers; the France that reveres its contributors to culture (writers, artists, actors, etc.)…so what do we do?
We see the hurdles as challenges to be overcome! And I’ll tell you this — we have a big advantage over our French competition. We have the courage to take the risks, the resourcefulness to maneuver any situation and the optimism to envision success and therefore achieve it.
I know this from first hand and from all the North Americans living here who will happily tell you the same tale and their own personal stories on how they survived and prospered.
To read the Business Week article in its entirety, visit: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_33/b3997064.htm
A la prochaine…
P.S. John Howell, co-sponsor of the Living and Investing in France Conference and author of “Starting a Business in France” published by Cadogan Guides, will be speaking on “Earning a Living and Doing Business in France” during the 2-day conference in San Diego this coming September 16 and 17. Register now as the Sheraton Suites group room rates are guaranteed only until August 25th! Visit /frenchproperty/conference/LIF_SD_2006/LIF_SD_2006_home.html for more information or write Schuyler Hoffman at firstname.lastname@example.org
To access the complete Community Calendar, you now have two choices:
1. Click here for the online version with hot links to your favorite sites:
2. Click here for a printer-friendly text version:
We gladly run announcements for non-profit organizations. If you wish your community announcement to appear, please provide the text in ENGLISH just as you’d like it to appear and send it to Lynda Sydney: Calendar@ParlerParis.com
We reserve the right to edit as necessary. We cannot promise it will be run if the information is provided in French or if the format is unacceptable. Please use the following listings as your format guide.
Thank you, Adrian
* Moving to Paris? Our experienced relocation expert will help make your move easy and hassle-free. We offer complete property consultation and search services…visit
French Property Insider Consultation…your complete solution to finding, buying, renovating or renting your new dream home or apartment in France. /frenchproperty/consultation
SPECIAL OFFER — only until August 31! Right now, subscribe to French Property Insider for TWO years and get TWO EXTRA months, absolutely FREE! But hurry…only one week left to take advantage of this deal!
This week in French Property Insider…
Learn how to buy property in France. French Property Insider is an e-mail newsletter from the editors of Parler Paris. Learn all the insights, recommendations, and discoveries about buying and investing in real estate in Paris and France that French Property Insider readers get every week.
Excerpt from Insider Guide to Black Paris
Move your neck according to the music.
Musicians from Africa and the Caribbean often live in their home countries but use Paris as a professional base, thus music from the Diaspora is definitely present in Paris. A number of major record labels have their Paris offices, and the City of Light also attracts independents. You’ll find a good selection of sounds on the charts at FNAC and Virgin stores (International section – “Musiques du monde”), but smaller stores like those listed below, or shops in the Château-Rouge area, are the best places to find authentic, original beats and discover up-and-coming artists…for more about music in Paris, see the guide….
* Join us in Greece, October 15-19, 2006 to find out how to turn simple snapshots into cash. For the whole story visit: http://www.thephotographerslife.com/greece/pp or call (866)415-1425 or local at (831)274-2779. Spaces are limited. Reserve your seat before September 12, 2006 and SAVE $200.
* Rent the personal Marais apartment of Adrian Leeds
Rent it now for this special price — 11 Nights only 1500€!
* “Le Provençal” Studio: Available now…and booking fast!
Located in a very charming and quiet 18th-century building in the heart of Le Marais, this sunny studio is perfect for one or two seeking ultimate Parisian calm, flavored with the beautiful colors of Provence.
Parler Paris Apartments
The next gathering is September 5, 2006
Because Adrian will be traveling to San Diego for the Living and Investing in France Conference the second week in September, the next Après Midi will be September 5th instead of September 12th.
So mark your calendars to be sure not to miss it! See /parlerparis/apresmidi.html for more details.
New to France or just looking to make the most of expatriate life?
At the Expatica Welcome to France fair you will get the information you need from companies and agencies specialised in expatriate services.
You’ll find information on house hunting, finding a job, immigration and permits, staying long-term, and much more.
Meet the people who make expat life great, including the top clubs and associations, travel agents and event organisations.
Welcome to France
Tickets are FREE if you sign-up online before September 15th. For more information visit http://www.expatica.com/welcometofrance
To sign up for your FREE tickets, click here!
*** See the French Property Insider Consultation and John Howell of International Law Partnership booth number 55/56 next to the entertainment area and stay for our presentation, “Getting ready to find your dream home in France…” with John Howell and Adrian Leeds
La Vie Possible
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