Moving to France advice please

Thank you for adding me to the page!

I’m looking for advice please!

It’s likely we will be moving to Bordeaux from the UK in August/September and are looking to “try before we buy” the lifestyle in France by renting a 2 or 3 bedroom house. I’ve had concerns about how easy it will be to rent somewhere based on the fact we won’t have any French credit history (our credit history in UK is good). I haven’t contacted any agents yet. We will still have regular income as my husband will remain in the UK during the week.

I’ve been reading various blogs, expat sites etc. and this morning I’ve stumble upon information that it’s quite difficult to find fully furnished places to rent and also for an unfurnished place we would need to sign up for a 3 year contract!

My son has just turned 6, he is currently having 2 French lessons per week, I would like him to go to a regular French state school as I believe he is young enough to cope with it with help at home and hopefully school, am I right in saying I won’t be able to apply for a school (via the Marie) until we are resident in France?

We have set ourselves a two year trial period, if we like it and can make a success of it we will sell one of our houses (currently rented for regular income) and buy a property in France!

Does anyone have experience of any of this they are able to share or any advice please?

I’m thinking also if the UK leave the EU I’m guessing it could put a halt to our plans :frowning: but that’s a whole different thread!!!

Thanks in advance


Thank you Karen I may have to contact John! Yes noticed the kitchens on some of the sites - pretty much just a sink in some, worth knowing to check, thanks!

Ahh thank you Suzanne so you rent a gite but managed to get them into school - so I shouldn’t give up hope on that route. Soooo much to think about and sort!

Thank you Nicole I may well be in touch

Thank you Richard I will have a search

Thank you Lance, not sure I will be able to use this route as have a 6 year old I need to get into school so I understand I will need a long term address. I’d dyou have children to enrol when you took this route?
Thanks in advance

This article seems to sum up much of what has been discussed here.

When we moved to France 9 months ago John Dislins at Please Help helped us find a house to rent. We told him what we wanted and he did the search and had 5 for us to view when we came over on a pre move visit. He persuaded the french landlady that we were reliable and didn't need to show tax returns etc. It's an unfurnished house with a 3 year lease but we only have to give 3 months notice on leaving.

Just a word of warning when looking at unfurnished French houses to rent (or buy) that you may find that the kitchen consists of a sink and that's it. You have to provide the rest. If you see a house/apartment that you want to rent you need to pay a deposit as soon as you sign the lease.

We got a french bank account before we arrived so could get the rent standing order and all the utilities set up in our name which is good for your french credit scoring etc. (John Dislins did all that for us to).

We rent a gite and had no issues at all (based in Languedoc), I know many other non french people who have rented houses with no issue - as long as you have a deposit and can prove regular income (salaried ideal) then it shouldn't be an issue. Good suggestion is to join the fb group in Bordeaux and ask on there as there may be other members who know people who want to rent their house out.

As for your little boy, once you have rented a house you can register at the mairie with proof of your address EDF bill, passport. You will also need assurance scolaire which you can get from a broker about 30 euro a year (covers your child in case he injures someone else or someone elses property) and in case he is injured. Its mandatory for school and sports activities.

If he was born in 2009 he will be going into CP - Classe Preparatoire or if 2010 it will be Grand Section (still part of Maternelle).

I have one daughter in Grand Section and one in Classe Preparatoire.

Hi Penny

Just wanted to say that, as a professional who helps ex-pats settle here, I have experience with this situation. Yes, it's hard to rent in a 'traditional' way, being non-French and with no French work contract. The best way around this is, as mentioned, to try and find a long term furnished gîte rental. Often these are owned by fellow ex-pats so the paperwork can be vastly reduced. Note that furnished rentals do not operate on a classic unfurnished 3-6-9 (as in renewable years) rental contract, each side can terminate with a month's notice. It's the perfect solution - if you can find a suitable gite in your required area! There are many sites to look at - it's definitely worth Googling around. Some of the more local sites to Bordeaux may be better as you'd have the advantage of hooking into the local community network. I find this to be the case here in the Hérault. If you need any help with your property rental search, admin such as Carte Vitale procuration, driving licence exchange or anything else, feel free to drop me a line and I'll be happy to help. Good luck with your research and your move! Oh, and by the way, your son is at the perfect age to pick up French very quickly - you'll be surprised! :)

There are a few expat type groups on Faceboook with mostly UK members - some properties are advertised to rent. They may be easier/ helpful in your search.....

We were in the same position when we first moved to the Var in 2010. What we ended up doing was to visit the websites offering holiday homes. Try one like owners direct where you can get in touch with the actual owners. Most of these places rent out for big dollars per week but are then only occupied for three months of the year. You should be able to swing a deal for a whole year that leaves the owners the same or even better off on an annual return. Advantage with this is the electricity, Internet etc will remain in the owners name and gives you time to get organized with French bank account (which you must have to get utilities, phone etc in your own names).
Hope this helps and good luck.

There’s plenty of places to rent in Provence (13-Bouches-du-Rhône) and in (84-Vaucluse)…good luck… :wink:

Hi David

Two thought immediately spring to mind. The post of Penny refers to "one of our properties" which is rented out for income and therefore is likely to be a second property. Secondly if you are living in France in a house and have been for a period of time it becomes your main residence whether you like it or not! This is why I suggest doing the research of individual circumstances before falling foul of CGT and in particular social charges as it it those that are paid up to the 30 year mark.



Pardon my possible ignorance but is it not the case that if you are a tax paying resident of France complete with Carte de Sejour (me) and a spouse (her) that holds a UK Passport that any capital gains of a principal residence are tax exempt?

Thank you Nigel for sharing this warning re capital gains. Hope you manage to get your situation sorted best you can.

Hi Penny

Be sure to check out capital gains tax and social charge implications from selling (before you sell) a property if you become a taxpayer in France. The relief in France is nowhere near as good as the UK. It could ultimately depend on how many years you have owned the property to gain maximum relief (30 years to avoid any charges). We have just investigated this situation via a financial advisor and find ourselves in a difficult position.

Hope this cautionary note helps you to avoid our position.



I couldn’t agree more. I view the move as the first few steps to a better life long term. I see the first 2 to even 5 years being really quite tough, but hope to stick it out and to reap the long term benefits.

Can I ask if there are any particular traps to be aware of about buying a property via Leboncoin or Seloger over and above the usual? - I like some of the houses I have seen.

especially if you're working ;-)