We’ve had a lot of questions about what it’s like to live in Champagne, so I thought I’d do a blog post to answer them for you. So here goes…
What are the costs of running the house?
There are three charges to pay that are relatively fixed:
Taxe d’Habitation (residents’ tax) which is approximately €80 per month
Tax Fonciere (property tax) again about €80 per month
Assainissement ( Local water cleaning services ) around €430 per year
Variable running costs
The house is heated by gas, and including electricity,costs approximately €330 per month
The water supply is metered and costs approximately €77 per month
Keep in mind that the approximate costs mentioned above include the costs of running the whole house including the B & B.
I work from home. What’s the Internet access like?
There is broadband service to the house which is reliable and comes in at around €36 per month
There is reasonable coverage for mobile (cell phones) which can vary in different parts of the house, but it is generally reliable. SFR is the best service provider for the village
I don’t have much experience of driving in France. Is there any public transport?
There is little in the way of local transport. A car is necessary. The huge advantage though, is that there is very little traffic and driving around here is still pretty enjoyable.
What are the neighbours like?
In general people are very family-oriented and tend to keep themselves to themselves. Nevertheless we have never experienced anything but kindness and helpfulness from any of the villagers. We’ve made some great friends here.
The house itself is one of several in the centre of the village with adjoining walls and/or gardens. As happens the world over they occasionally have parties, but these are once or twice a year and not a problem. The upside of that is whenever we have a party, no-one complains. The French really do “live and let live”.
How easy it is to set up a business?
This is an area in which you need to take specialist advice but our own experience is that there are two main options:
a)You can register as an auto-entrepreneur (self-employed sole trader).
This does not require any capital investment however there are certain limits to the turnover you are allowed before you have to register as a company. No bookkeeping is required; you simply report your turnover each month or each quarter and pay a percentage of tax on that amount. At the moment, the flat rate is 15%.
b)If you register as a business you will need to invest a capital amount. In this case complete bookkeeping is needed to record income and expenditure. Tax is paid on the net profit.
The current upper income limit for a B & B is €81,500 per year
Note that a B & B may have up to 5 bedrooms. More than that and it is classified as a hotel which brings with it a lot more regulations and costs.
Will I have to learn to speak French?
That depends on you, and what you want to get out of your experience in France. You know when you see foreigners all grouped together in your country, how does it make you feel that they don’t speak your language, and yet they are living in your country? If you want to get the most enjoyment and the best experience of France, then you’ll need to be able to speak a little French. And when you try to speak French, they will help you, (except in Paris of course!)
Are there many English speaking people living there?
Yes, in fact there’s a small but growing, supportive ex-pat community in the region, and we get together regularly to do silly anglo-saxon things, like carol singing, bonfire night etc. The French think we’re mad, and we probably are!
Do you have some more questions? Simply drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to answer them