Hello ! looking for new friends/contacts in 16390, near Aubeterre

Hello. We are moving in about 6 to 8 weeks, from Wirral, UK to 16390 - South Charente. We are a family of 4 adults - me, my husband, and our 2 kids, both in their early 20’s.
Do you live in that area ?
We would love to hear from you, with any general advice, or stuff about the area, or just to say hello.
We will be doing lots of renovation/ building work etc on our property, including installing new drains and septic tanks … so we’ll be very confused and in need of advice on specialist trades and general builders.

Welcome to France :fr:
We are actually in 17, on the 16/17/33 border so probably 90 mins from you.
There are quite a few “locals” on here who should be able to help/give advice, since our work contacts tend to just work in our local area.
Funnily enough we are just heading to the Wirral, my oh is from Heswall.

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I live about an hour from Aubeterre, the other side of the N10. It’s a lovely village! I know a few french general builders around here but think they mostly work on the black (which seems to be customary here due to the high cotisations!). Also know a great electrician (english) and an great handyman / builder (english).

My children are younger than yours (14 and 12) so can’t help with your children’s social life!

Good luck with the move!

Hello Eleanor
Our move is still 5 to 8 weeks away… :fearful:
I may contact you about the electrician. My feeling is that
the best way to proceed is with UK builders
who’ve been working in France for a few years.
I don’t want to discuss the intricacies
of roofs and drains in French ! I need to know exactly
what’s going on…especially as we’ll be doing a lot of the actual
work ourselves

Gill… whoever you use… if it relates to electricity, water, plumbing and anything structural etc… do make sure you use Certified workers with a Siret number that covers whatever they are doing… That way… all work will carry a 10 year insurance against back product and bad workmanship.

Friends house burnt to the ground after electrics were done by UK folk “on the cheap”… no insurance cover, no nothing… very bad outcome… so please be aware.

Best of luck

Thank you Stella. I will bear this in mind

Well their work will be insured if they have taken out insurance to cover it. Unfortunately having a SIRET number is no guarantee that they also have insurance to do what they’re doing. Getting a siret number is cheap, taking out insurance for gros oeuvres can cost thousands of euros, the law says they have to but not everybody does.

Fair comment Anna…(though I would not agree about it being cheap )… but, more often than not, asking for a Siret number sorts out the wheat from the chaff… especially when it is so easy to then double-check the info on the government websites etc…

…a detailed written quote rather than a verbal or scribbled note is essential…and if all is agreed and you wish to proceed, the next step is to ask for their Insurance…although, by this time you will probably have the measure of who you are dealing with. However, no bona fide worker will flinch at providing whatever info is requested.


Every quote from an artisan has to give his insurance details ie the name of his insurance company and the policy number. That’s been the law since I think 1st Jan this year, and every quote I’ve seen recently has had this info on it. If it doesn’t then it should start alarm bells ringing straight away because failing to include the insurance details is in itself enough to incur a penalty. At present it’s not actually that easy to check on the internet exactly what an artisan is registered for, infogreffe lists their main activity but not every additional activities they may have registered, but this may be changing in the near future to make it clearer. It’s dangerous to assume that because someone has a siret number he is legit, we’ve all heard tales of people who are registered as plasterers taking on roofing jobs, building jobs etc, but it works the other way round because it’s possible the plasterer might be registered for those other activities. But you can ask to see their trade card and that should have full details.

[quote=“smwsplr, post:8, topic:16684”]
though I would not agree about it being cheap
[/quote]To register as a micro entreprise the only cost is the fee for taking the course, and it’s possible to get out of that if you"ve already run your own business and you can satisfy the chambre de métiers as regards your experience and qualifications. So in effect it can cost 0€ to be issued with a siret number.

Hi Anna… I was referring to roofers, electricians, plumbers et al… who have to prove their abilities… none of the UK folk I have met have told me it was a cheap or easy thing to do… quite the reverse… which is perhaps why so many of them try to avoid it and work “on the black”.

Yes, the new laws are tightening up on things… and all for the better.

You may well chuckle at a happening in our village last year…
Neighbour tells me… this chap is doing my roof and yes, he has a siret… here it is. Well, I checked and the guy’s siret number referred to “hebergement” that his wife was running… nothing to do with roofing. I mentioned this and the possible lack of insurance to the neighbour, who took the matter up with the would-be roofer. Oh that’s alright…I’m getting it changed soon… and I’ll have the Insurance in place before I finish your roof…it will all be OK.

Well, the roof did get done…(not particularly well, but cheaper than French quotes)… and 12 months later still no Insurance… and the guy continues to do roofs and major building works under the umbrella of the hebergement siret…:fearful: UK folk use him because he is English and talks their language… seems crazy to me.

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Well of course one could say that proving abilities and experience you do have isn’t usually so hard, it’s proving abilities you don’t have that’s more difficult… At present it seems relatively easy to satisfy the chambre de métiers and get the siret, but satisfying an insurer of your competence in order to get insured is harder, for obvious reasons - every time you make a balls up the insurer risks having to pay out.
And unfortunately it might get harder all round after Brexit if the EU qualifications equivalence is withdrawn.

Apart from anything else, if your roofer and his wife are both working under a one person registration then one of them is on the black pure and simple; if they’re declaring his roofing income as part of the hebergement income then they’re not paying the correct rate of cotisations on it (but more likely they’re not declaring it at all); in fact they’re breaking about every rule in the book. I don’t know about makes you chuckle, it makes you proud to be British sometimes, they’re so clever at working the system. Not.

Hi Anna…

Sorry… just my weird sense of humour…once I have done my level best to help someone… in self-preservation I laugh rather than cry… as I watch them break all the rules and go against best advice (simply because they do not speak French)… knowing full well that they will be knocking on my door, asking for help, if it all goes wrong…

As for people working on the black. I am with you… totally against it… In days gone by, the Gendarmes would often visit a site and question the workers. (Just a quick check if it was someone they did not know.) Sadly, this does not seem to happen any more, at least not around here.

I didn’t say I was totally against it :wink: but as I see it there are accepted of working on the black and not accepted ways. Very early on after I moved here our mayor recommended an artisan to me, and winked and added 'mais en espèces hein" (doing the rubbing the forefinger and the thumb thing), and I must have looked shocked because he then took it on himself to educate this naive new Brit on how the world turns. His philosophy made sense to me and I’ve pretty much stuck to it all the time I’ve been here.

Phew… is he still in office :fearful:…we managed to oust just such a fellow 9 ish years ago… and everyone sighed with relief… except his cronies. :grin:

Around here, folk work hard just to survive…but they are legal and proud of it…
The “black” workers are very much frowned upon… whilst it is taken-as-read that many Brits will use them, it is certainly not condoned or appreciated.

(I’m not talking about 10 euros as a thank-you sort of thingy)

Yes he’s still there, he has a good head for business and has done wonders for the town whilst managing to reduce property taxes, so generally pretty well liked.
It seems to be tacitly accepted round here that when a good artisan retires after a lifetime of paying his dues, he’s entitled to take on the occasional well-chosen project. I guess every artisan is thinking that one day he too will retire. And usually, son follows father into the business, so they don’t begrudge their own dad keeping his hand in. Seems to work well all round, no-one resents it and no-one snitches. But that’s about as far as it goes.

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Hi Gill. We moved to St. Romain 2km from Aubterre in March - are you here now. Give me a ring and we’ll meet up for a coffee, if you’d like. 0545 785859 as we’re in the market to make new friends and contacts too. We have lived in France for over 4 yrs now - lived in the Dordogne, near St. Emilion running a Chambre D’hote for the first 4 yrs now here… anyway hope to hear from you. Cheers Christine & Nicholas Kavanagh

Hello Christine
We are arriving on the 4th or 5th September, and yes i will call you after that
Thank you for contacting me

what’s your normal email address Gill? - just so we are not contacting via SFN. Mine is candnkavanagh@aol.co.uk

Hi Gill. Did you make it. Hope all went well.

phone me when you come up for air.