A Cookbook For A Move To France
We are fortunate here at the IL Paris Office to be in direct and personal contact with many of our readers…those who have attended our conferences, rented our apartments, visited us during our Après Midi meetings or taken advantage of our one-on-one consultations and property search services.
Just this week, I handed over the keys to Katen Bush from San Francisco for whom I signed the “Acte de Vente” (final deed) on Christmas Eve for her “new” 16th century Marais pied-à-terre. It’s empty except for a couch on which she will sleep while she meets with the architect (Derek Bush) to start the renovation work. We had the good fortune of working with a lovely woman agent at the CIC bank not far from the apartment who willingly opened her bank account. No money was used to open the account!…but the agent at the bank said she opened it because we were “gentille.” (In France, and I know it’s hard to believe, but they really don’t care how much money you have. It’s the relationship that counts!)
At the same time, Jocelyn Carnegie, our Property Sales Manager, was busy visiting apartments with readers from Fresno who had tried previously to find property in France working directly with agencies — and were very displeased. They were hesitant to try again after their bad experiences, but they took the plunge and happy they did. On their second day of apartment-hunting with Jocelyn, they found what they liked (in my own petit quartier) and made an offer to the owner. I await news as I write and I’m hoping they will be my neighbor.
Over the holidays, I had the pleasure of consulting with John Aiken and his partner, Robert Sasser. John had attended a recent Working and Living in France Conference here in Paris with the idea of retiring here (Amsterdam was another contender). This morning, I received this letter he asked me to share with you:
Dear Parler Paris Reader,
Robert and I have decided to take the plunge and move to Paris for retirement. There is no way we could have done it without the help of the International Living office in Paris, Adrian Leeds and all of the referrals she has put us in touch with. It is not possible to write a cookbook for a move to France; everyone’s situation is different and unique but I would like to share some of the hurdles we have been able to get over.
First, a place to live: We chose our target date of July 1, 2004 for the move. We spent a week in Paris over the New Year holiday and met w
ith several people to get help on our p
roperty search. We decided that since we want to live in Paris indefinitely, that we want to get exactly the right place and in order to do that we must be on-site to get to know the districts of Paris and the surrounding areas. We want to get the feel of a neighborhood before committing to live there. We walked all over Paris this past week and took several trips into the countryside by train. We met with Alain and Hervé [apartment rental agents] and shared all of our needs with them. They will then identify properties for us to look at when we go back in April.
Second, is getting through the immigration hoops and Jean Taquet was invaluable in that. He helped us fill out the application for the long stay visa and answered our questions about health insurance. And when we get to Paris he will help us with getting our carte de séjour.
Finally, John Howell in London went over several scenarios for property purchase and structuring our finances to minimize French inheritance tax. This is especially important for a gay couple but the French inheritance tax system will put a big dent in anyone’s estate plan.
Lastly, our trip was particularly wonderful because we found that the weather is very tolerable even in the middle of winter…we had a beautiful light snow on New Year’s Day. And the food is incredible.
John and Robert for Parler Paris
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
E-mail: [email protected]
P.S. Making a move to Paris doesn’t have to be so difficult — not when you have the help of all the wonderful professionals we have come to know and the experience we’ve gained by going through the hoops ourselves. If you have similar dreams and want to know how to start, don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected], come to our next Living and Investing in France Conference (March 19 – 21 in San Francisco), or visit the site at /parlerparis/services/consultationservices.html for more information.