Our first post & a little advice from Gite owners please :)

Hi everyone - a brief introduction and a couple fo questions.

I am half of a couple in our late fifties and like many others are considering a move to France for all the normal reasons. Unlike many others,I have done this before, in 1990 moved to France with three young children, bought a farm, restored the outbuildings, and rented out three sizeable gites. Was a pretty nice lifestyle until divorce forced it's sale in 2002. Since then have lived in Portugal and for the last five years, back in the corporate rat race in the UK.

It seems that a few things have changed in the time I have been away, although I see that Micro Enterprise is still one of the vehicles we could use to get on the health care ladder, still have an old Carte Vitale hanging around somewhere.

This time around we would be early retirees, so still need a small business to get on to the French system. We are thinking of a small property with a ready made gite, don't really want to do the large complex thing again. The gite would give a little top up to our meagre pensions, and allow us to get on the system. The AE system looks interesting for this sort of venture, some more reading to do.

Looking towards the south west at the moment and are driving over for a stooge around in the coming weeks. My previous gite business was in the Centre 37.

Would be very interested in your insights if any of you are prepared to share them with us. Is becoming an AE for the sole pupose of getting on to the health system a reasonable strategy. Any other major pitfalls we should be aware of.

Thanks for your patience in getting to the end. Bob

Hello Bob,

You're right as early retirees you will need a way to get into the health system. I hope your plan is a reasonable strategy as it's what I'm doing! It has enabled me to move to France a good few years ahead of schedule. The AE scheme has been straightforward so far. Only pitfall with a 'ready made' gite is it may not be as ready as you think - just started to fill our 'ready-made' pool and the liner has come away - grrr! Time and money getting things to standard is not to be underestimated. I am in 09 which is lovely, it's not a big tourist area but I am only looking for a modest income. Good luck,


Hi Bob,

First of all, welcome.

Re carte vitale, that's not a problem as a retiree. More or less automatic.

I'd be careful about micro-entrepreneur scheme, though. This seems to have been suspended, and the auto-version is time-limited before you have to become a 'company'. Gave up my micro-scheme recently because I was being charged exorbitant contributions, suddenly, without warning!

Success with the moving plans, though.

Guy (in 24)