Belves, Dordogne

Bore da from a thundery West Wales😕
Having owned a holiday gite in Creuse for several years, we are contemplating a permanent (post-retirement, post-Covid19) move to France.
Having a long list of requirements for the ‘perfect’ forever home, the shortlist of properties I am currently compiling remains very short! and so we are widening our search beyond Limousin.
One property in the Perigord Noir is of particular interest, but before we arrange a viewing some more information about the area would be useful. The house and its land is near the town Belves.
Does anyone on this forum know the town/area, please?
Merci/Thank you/ Diolch

Post Brexit do you have the requirements for living in France?

Hi Mat.

Main priorities are:

  1. Minimum of 2 hectares of land suitable for equine grazing

  2. Well away from busy roads (cars and cats is not a good combination)

  3. Minimum 2 or, preferably, 3/4 bedrooms

  4. A tower ( my oh has always wanted one!)

  5. An open verandah (I’ve always wanted one!)

  6. Some woodland ( we’ve both wanted one!)

Some renovation acceptable - new kitchen, bathroom, etc. but no structural work - having spent 4 years renovating our gite, no more!!

Regards, June

Sorry June that wasn’t quite what I meant - will you be allowed to live in France after Brexit - will you qualify?

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Hi Mat.

Well that’s all part of the prep - both of us will be in receipt of UK State Pensions, and occupational pensions, so we’ll be enquiring about possible transfer to our Credit Agricole accounts.

Also both have a modicum of French - 3 years school level - and will be rejoining our local classes here as soon as they are re-instated.

Currently reading up on health care insurance options.

Not aware of any other immediate requirements?

Regards, June

sounds like you are getting well organized…

You should have no problems arranging for your State Pensions and any others… paid straight into your CA accounts …

you’ll need to notify your CA branch when you are here permanently, with your new address… and they’ll update your status on their records…

being able to “have a go” in French will get you off to a flying-start…

Re Insurance… there’s a wide choice… take your time and look around.

(Personally, I have used @fabien … he is “tried and trusted” and has helped me and many others on the forum.)


What you have described would have enabled you to move to France before Brexit - ie you had sufficient income as being retired.

Post Brexit this may well be different you will no longer have the right to live in France - it may be possible but not guaranteed.

We have American friends who live nearby in France and they are finding it difficult to permanently stay in France - in future people from UK may be in the same position.

I don’t want to be negative but things will inevitably become more difficult.


Hi June, as long as Brexit is not 100% in effect (31/12/2020) nothing is mandatory regarding medical insurance coverage but I’m happy to go through your situation if you’d like some external advise?

Thank you Fabien, I’ll be in touch if any assistance requured


“Don’t look a gift house in the mouth”

comes to mind here. Insurance in France can be a minefield and every bit of professional advice you can get - and it’s quality - is paramount to your good understanding of the way things work here.
Don’t think English Insurance agents - this is France :wink:
The good council of @fabien is free and comes without obligation!


We all have suffered financial loss because of the exchange rate, that also needs to be taken into account, especially as a No deal seems to be back on the cards again.
Having said that, wild horses wouldn’t get us back to living in UK again.
We live in the Clunysois of Southern Burgundy, a bit like the Cotswolds but with white cattle instead of sheep.
One thing I would recommend if you are coming to live here, is to investigate the medical care available in your proposed area. Rural France can be very patchy, here we have our local sapeurs pompiers as first responders, who will then call the SAMU if necessary.
We have two hospitals in Macon and superb specialist care in Lyon.
I hope you can manage your move, but you will know when you find your house, even if it doesn’t have a tower!

Just out of interest does anyone have a clue if it will be much more difficult to permanently move to France as a Brit post Jan 2021.

One of the biggest challenges for a lot of people is that they will no longer have the automatic right to set up as a self employed business. Up until now that part of making the move has been very straightforward.
There will be fewer additional issues for retirees and some aspects for second home owners might actually improve as they will be able to apply for long stay visas instead of having to respect the 90/180 day Schengen rules.

I saw the word “sapeur pompier” and actually made me think of the funny origin of the word for the French “fire brigade”. The word “sapeur” comes from an old verb “saper” which means undermining or bring down. During the middle ages the firemen used to actually destroy houses to prevent the fire from spreading so they were “sapping” homes and therefore in French they were “sapeurs”… the other word is pretty straightward as pompier = fireman but I thought I’d share the fun fact about the “sapeur” bit :wink:


Yes, they used to do that in all the old medieval towns, create firebreaks.

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Nice :wink:

Yes, the removal of the right to work is a big one. For retirees I think there may be a higher financial threshold than at present, as I believe (haven’t checked) non-europeans are asked to demonstrate greater resources. But 4 pensions ought to be enough even if the pound plummets.

It will be interesting if they make the UK a special case, or ask people to jump through same hoops as the rest of the non-EU world.

The issue for many retirees will be that the S1 will no longer exist so you will have to pay cotisations for health cover. And if your income is enough to be acceptable for entry to France, then it will take you over threshold to be exempt from cotisations… and you will be like other non-europeans and have to pay social charges as well as the 8% URSAFF.

I thought that this issue had been resolved in the WA and that the UK would continue to pay (if only for existing S1 holders) their healthcare cover… :thinking:

All those who are resident by 31.12.20 will retain their right to current S1 and any future ones if pre-retirement age. However people who become resident in France after the UK has left are extremely unlikely to ever get an S1. (never say never, but I wouldn’t bet on it)