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  • Writer's picturechris walsh

Moved to the Cevennes part 1

I have been meaning to include in my blog a more personal and light hearted account of the trials, tribulations and multi faceted joys of moving from England to France.

You can tell how long I hae been procrastinating this by the fact that actually we moved in August 2020.

As soon as the first COVID lock down was finished we packed it in and moved to the cottage we had bought over 35 years before and which led to me meeting my wife as her parents lived in the same small village. It was long my dream to retire here but when my wife got her ( small) redundancy payment and as we were fed up of lock down in London we packed up our things and moved ( with a later shipment of furniture and other bulky items by 2 men and a van).

The freedom of being able to walk alone in the wooded hills of the Cevennes was at the time mind blowing. Instead of cooped up in a house surrounded by very uptight locals we were able to enjoy great weather, views and the calls of birds, frogs, toads and cicadas. When the lock down came around again it was still easier that in London so long as we obeyed all the bureaucratic rules and had all our papers with us, but were able to go ( masked up) to the supermarket.

Our great worry was being able to get my residency permit ( as my wife is French and we had arrived just in time to beat the Brexit deadline. This took over 6 months with a lot of forms, worries but actually very sympathetic city authorities who dealt with all the English (many of whom could only speak basic French) in a cheerful and amused manner. Once that hurdle was passed the rest fell into place, get our 'Carte Vitales' ( which gives you the right to free basic health care) and also the ability to buy a reasonably cheap additional 'assurance medicale '( around 50-90 euros a month|) which meant that for most of the additional stuff ( like consultants, scans, dental and eyesight) the costs were largely covered- which matters if you are of over pension age and getting a bit less healthy can be expensive.

We also were then able to register with the French tax authorities to pay French taxes in accord with the UK authorities . However getting the 2 fiscal bodies to agree who receives what in the way of taxes is still something they are resolving.

Anyway to finish of this introduction, what we discovered over those first months was that people are very friendly, there are a lot of opportunities to volunteer and / or join local groups, that the easy going life of markets and fairs and walks and swimming in rivers extended at least till late Autumn so it was like an extended holiday. We also realised that when you become a 12 month a year resident instead of another second home owner you get respect from locals who also weather the harsh climate of winter country living

More another day

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