Finally here, what to do now!

Hello everyone, I have been lurking on here a while and several months ago me and my partner made the final move to the Charente Maritime. Typical story, we are renovating a property and hope to supplement our income with gite income a little down the line…

Now we have been here a little while I was just wondering what we need to do to get integrated into the system. We are not retirement age and we have some income from rental in the uk. I know tax returns are done in arrears so will have to submit a french one next year. But in the meantime how do we get registered in the health system etc as I appreciate it is not as simple as we are unable to get an S1? I have done lots of searching on the subject but it is not very clear how to proceed in our specific situation… Any real life experience would be appreciated!!

I understand that once we have been here 3 months we should have some level of cover and we might need to get ‘top up’ insurance? What do we need to do to get a carte vitale ?

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Welcome to France…

From your questions… I would suggest you browse amongst the topics and replies on the “Health Care & Carte Vitale” section… that should keep you out of mischief for a while…:wink:

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I have no idea what the answer is to your question, I will let others answer that.

But what I would like to know is, why did you not find out what the procedure was before you moved to France ?

Thanks for the welcome Stella, I have had a good look through the section on Health and CV’s (which I have done before) but to be honest there are no posts that are particularly clear what we need to do! We are way off pension age, but will have some income from the UK (a few property rentals) and ultimately some french income from gite rental. The problem being we wont be doing this for a while so won’t be paying into the system just yet. Although from reading through the posts I see we should make first contact with our local Mairie to point us in the correct direction!

Thanks for your response Mark, I had already looked into it a lot previously. But as I said there isn’t a very clear picture of exactly what we should do in our situation. I was fully aware it is complicated and sometimes time consuming, but regardless of how complicated it is it wouldn’t have changed our plans to move here. Sometimes with these things the only real way to find our the process and understand it is by going through it (guess I am answering my own question, I will muddle on!). I was just wondering if there where any other couples that were in a similar situation to ours which might have some advice for us.

I would be interested to know how many people that have moved to France , fully researches and knows ‘exactly’ what they need to do on arrival ! Especially with the seemingly differing processes/procedures in different departments etc!

Anymore advice very welcome :slight_smile:

Well, take yourself off to the CPAM offices… and talk things through… they may be able to point you in the right direction.

When we came over… before retirement age…that is where we went…things have changed since then and you may well have to take out a full medical insurance cover… which can be expensive… until you get into a system… but, take everything a step at a time…and keep smiling. The most important thing is… your are here… :grinning:

good luck…

Here’s your starting point for health affiliation:

It really is pretty straightforward - the application form is at the end of the article. The Ameli site itself will give you lots more info but, as Stella says, get yourselves down to your local CPAM.

As far as tax returns are concerned - your first ones will be due around May next year if you took up residence this year. If you arrived last year then you’ve missed this years declaration deadline!


That is great Simon, I will have a good read through that site! I arrived in feb so it will be next year I need to submit a tax return! That will be the next big challenge! :slight_smile:

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Erm, actually you should have an adequate level of cover from the day you arrive.

After 3 months you can apply to join the French healthcare system provided you meet the conditions for “legal” residence. Those conditions include proving you’ve been living here continuously for those 3 months, proving an income above the minimum threshold for a couple, and if asked, proving that you have both had adequate level of health cover whilst you’ve been here. Living here as inactifs with no health cover in place is strictly speaking not “legal” residence. They don’t always ask for every piece of paperwork, but they can if they’re feeling that way out.

As everyone else has said, you need to go to CPAM if you want to get the ball rolling. If you’re accepted, your contibutions will be calculated as a percentage of the previous year’s income.

CPAM in Saintes is the place to go, they’ve always been helpful and are used to dealing with inactif Brits.

I can highly recommend a very useful person in Royan who should be able to help you get settled with all matters relating to health and finance in France.

She’s excellent, we used her services when we first moved here. Don’t hesitate…

There’s a really good English language newspaper called The Connexion and it covers an amazing amount of information plus has guides you can download for a small fee on taxes, inheritance etc. Here’s the site: - it’s in most newspaper shops or you can read it online.
Also the French Entrée site has good information:
Good luck,

Frankly… you don’t need to pay for any information…

there is a wealth of it available here on the Forum… and we can point-out the websites you may find useful… for free :smile: yippee…


Is that French Entree that promotes France, sells French property and encourages everyone to set up a business in France ?..BUT…operate their business from…Bath…in the UK !!!

If France was so good you would think they would set up their little empire in France themselves. :wink:

I have to admit, I have always wondered why Frenchentree don’t set up their business in France if France is as good a place live as they say it is. Hmmmm

Any ideas ?

I thought French Entrée’s core business activity was publishing glossy magazines to sell mainly in the UK, and putting on the odd trade fair in the UK aimed at Brits living in the UK thinking of moving to France. You may or may not like what they do but there is clearly a market for it - in the UK. Would be odd to set up a business in France to publish English magazines to encourage people who already live in France, to move to France…

The forum and the information sections are, I take it, an add-on to the core business to keep their customer base online after they’ve moved and generate a bit of extra advertising revenue.

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Nonsense, they could quite easily run that business from France.

They won’t do because running a business in France is more expensive than the UK. That what makes them so hypocritical. They encourage everyone to move to France but won’t themselves. Muppets.

Last time I clicked on their website their latest article was ’ The showdown’ Dordogne vs Limousin.

I mean seriously.

I mean seriously, if you were a UK publishing outfit, publishing magazines in English for the UK market with your turnover in sterling, why would you set up your business in France and make life complicated for yourself, except as a gesture to prove a point that very few people care a button about? AFAIK they don’t make any secret of the fact that they’re a UK company.

Yes of course it would be more expensive. Yes of course they encourage people to move to France but don’t themselves. They’re running a business. Do you think everyone who works for John Players smokes 20 a day, do you think that everyone who works for Crapfood Ltd eats crap food all the time? If not believing 100% in the product you make or sell makes you a hypocrite, well the world is full of them.

Last time I had anything to do with the Connexion they weren’t based in France either, it was based in Monaco, and I actually find that more hypocritical because they do give the impression that they’re a French business.


Aren’t you person non grata on their forum page? Under a variety of usernames. Why are you so critical of a site that was once such a magnet to you?

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You make some fair points there Anna.

Why would you set up in France ? Why would you take FE advice and open a gîte in France. You would get better returns in the UK !!! Why make life complicated ?

Cigarette packets having health warnings on them telling you that you are killing yourself.

These numbty magazines should have warnings as well. 'Everything we say about France is complete and utter sh$te" “Take our advice and you may ruin your life”


Please could you stop this now…:angry:

and let us return to the topic of the Original Poster… who has asked for friendly, helpful advice… :slight_smile:

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