Yes it is David and I have indeed been on the train to the south of France several times always changing at Lille as it’s easier to change platform rather than stations in Paris. Lille is also familiar to me having taught English as a Foreign Language there for 18 months nearly 17 years’ ago and I have also been there several times since returning. It’s not a part of the country I would want to buy a house though. Thank you for your comment.
Sorry, replied twice as it didn’t look like my first reply went through!
Not trying to push you towards Burgundy, Barbara, honestly :-), but there’s a direct Eurostar from Ashford International to Montbard. There is a lot of comparatively inexpensive property around Montbard. See here:
and for examples of property prices, google “immo Montbard”
Barbara, before you take the plunge to live here permanently, it is vitally important that both of you want to do it. If there are any doubts, please take your time. We have seen so many couples split up, divorce, abandon partners and even children because they don’t want to live here anymore. It’s not for everyone.
Lille is brilliant. A couple of months ago I dropped my son off there at about 8.30 in the morning and her arrived at his work in London only a little bit later than usual.
Did Barbara say she was considering living here permanently? I thought she was just thinking about a holiday home!
Barbara - if you like Brittany, buy in Brittany! Everyone thinks their bit of France is best, but IMHO there are loads of places in the Grand Ouest that are very hard to beat.
Obviously the criteria for a holiday home will be rather different from if you were looking for a permanent home - you can go with your heart more and not have to worry too much about the practical aspects, because who needs to be practical when they’re on holiday.
Sorry, that will teach me to read things, including the title, properly.
Thank you Marc - I hadn’t realised there was a direct train there!
Thank you Anna - as I said I will end up going with my instincts if and when I do it. One place I did pinpoint in Brittany, especially as it is near to St Malo and Caen for links to the UK, is around the River Rance up from Dinan. Plouer sur Rance is very pretty but property very thin - and more expensive - on the ground. It is also not too far to drive from Calais especially if I stop off at my friends’ house in Normandy.
And Mark, thank you for your input. I would probably love to live in France permanently but there are too many financial and health care issues to take into account on what would not be a very big income. And I certainly wouldn’t do it with a partner who is half hearted about it.
Barbara… not wishing to rain on your parade… but… if your partner is only lukewarm… this must raise some questions…
Just think about the running costs etc of a holiday home in France that your partner may not wish to visit ?
Bottom line is… you may be holidaying alone… is it worth it ??
Also, if you change your mind, you could be stuck with the property for a while, as the market is very slow (years sometimes) in France.
Is your partner lukewarm about France or Abroad in general ??
Why not make as much use of your brother’s place as you can for the moment… with your partner along… coax/wheedle as may be necessary…things might improve… and it won’t involve actually buying (just yet).
best of luck
I love how quick that journey is too but with friends returning to the UK from there soon it wouldn’t have the same ‘pull’ as it has in the past. Still a great place to visit though for the odd weekend here and there when there are Eurostar bargains to be had!
As others have said there is no particular requirement for proving income to have a second home in France although when we bought the estate agent wanted proof of income, as did the bank when we opened an account (slightly lazily we used Britline to cut down on the hassle).
Don’t forget that you will have running costs though - probably €2-3k per year depending on location and size of property.
We chose south Brittany having visited the area about once a year for donkey’s years and always getting drawn back but a big factor was ease of access - if needed we can get a useful amount of time at the property on a weekend “emergency” visit without taking time off work. The Dordogne is lovely but it’s just a bit too far to do that without flying which isn’t overly convenient as we don’t live close to an airport in the UK. Also - sorry chaps - it’s a bit too full of Brits
That’s all useful to know thanks Paul. And yes I realise that the running costs per year can be quite high. I don’t think my brother had quite bargained for travelling costs etc. when he bought his second home. These things always seem to go above the budget one has set!
Hi! We bought a small property four years ago as a second home, we spend our time between Wales and france.We’re both retired and didn’t have to show proof of income. However, when we opened a bank account, we had to show exactly where our money came from, how it had been exchanged etc.
The questions on opening a bank account are related to money laundering or rather the prevention of that. There is a law in France (which no doubt is european wide) called Tracfin which states that every organisation ‘handling’ money must vouch for the origin of funds it receives / handles. Nothing do do with any authority querying your income related to whether or not you are or should be eligible to live or spend time here.
Hi Hanneke and Dolores, yes I thought it might be something to do with money laundering. Well no doubt if and when I decide to buy I shall find out the actual ins and outs. Thanks for your input.
My sister and I with a couple of friends own a house in Brittany which is a holiday and explorative base but we didn’t have give any financial details.
Actually one of our friends is looking to sell their share of the house for family reasons.
We’ve found it an excellent way to have our 2nd home but without the full annual maintenance cost of a house which we can only use a few weeks a year. .
Just wondered if you had thought of this option and if you’d more information.
Thank you for the thought Andy but I tend to think sharing finances with anyone, even family, could turn out to be a tricky business. I’m not that adventurous but I do hope you manage to find someone that would like to join in with you and your sister.
Hi. We thought like that too so we sent up a UK limited company which has the house as it’s asset and we are equal shareholders in the company .
Its all done properly via meetings and majority vote. So there’s no acrimony etc…
Anyway hope you find something nice.
This an interesting and timely post, Barbara. I’ve just settled on a house and the purchase transaction is in progress. The notaire confirmed there aren’t any restrictions or financial tests to purchase in France (I live in Canada), possibly because we don’t want a mortgage.
I opted to buy in Brittany to keep the cost down, but also because it has a slower pace that I find really appealing. After yearly trips to the south for the weather, I travelled to the west and haven’t looked back. I found that everything looks good on the internet so a trip right to the area to see various towns in person was critical to narrowing in on a location. Google Streetview has been invaluable too, although there aren’t images for some of the smaller streets. Not having the address in the listing is frustrating but the listing agents will provide it if asked.
I’ll admit the search was pretty fun, but I’m really looking forward to the next phase.