Moving to the Dordogne?

21 Replies



Looking in to moving to the Dordogne mid June time this concerned about pretty much everything. We would be living mortgage free with a healthy tax free pension income. My question is....... how expensive is it to live there? I’ve read lots online about people not being able to survive.. would we have to pay tax in France on a tax free UK Pension.also, can anyone point me in the direction of some good blogs or info sites to use for information.we aren’t rushing in to this, we want to do it properly. We, originally were looking at Florida but that didn’t work out. thank you in advance xx

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chèvrefeuille 1515400448

Tax free pension? As a French resident you will have to be complete a tax return and declare all worldwide income and most, except for example UK Government pensions and U.K. rental income will be liable for French tax. 

Im not sure what you expect from the Dordogne but Florida it is not.

Fish24 1515400453

You might like to start here for the basics:-

Josephine-Blogger-853338 1515407105

Once you move to France you will be subject to French tax laws so you need to find out how your particular pension(s) will be taxed in France. It will depend on the source of each pension. But I can't think of any pension that is "tax-free" in France. Pensions are normally either taxed here, or it's taxed in its source country and the DTA, if there is one is applied. Tax perks offered by a country usually only apply to tax residents of that country and you lose them when you move abroad (eg. UK ISAs are not tax free if you live in France).

All the info you need is likely to be find-able on the web. Use the official websites to be sure you get correct and up to date information. The French government has a very good website and that's the first place to look, most things you need to know are on there. 

Obviously there are also some unknowns, for instance, if your pension income is all in £££ then you'll be affected by the £/€ exchange rate and nobody can predict that. Property taxes and lifestyle costs also vary hugely but you do have some control over that, you just need to choose a property and location that's within your budget. No two households will have exactly the same experience because everyone's circumstances are slightly different.

Just one word of warning; as you may be aware, President Macron is making a lot of changes to the entire French tax system at the moment, there will be winners and losers but at present it looks as if pensioners are in the losers category and may end up paying more in the future than they used to. I suggest that as part of your research you keep an eye on Macron's fiscal policy as it unfolds.

kathyc-99557 1515408059

Are you over UK pension age?

Leen75 1515409850

Hi All, thanks for the info. 

I realised it wasn’t Florida but also realised we couldn’t move to Florida. 

We are not of pensionable age yet and will be living solely on an injured veterans service pension (hence it being UK tax free). It is a lifetime pension.

are utilities and food horrendously more expensive than the U.K.? We live quite comfortably here but wouldn’t want to lose that comfort for the way of life over there.

we will be coming to stay again but last time pretty much everything was provided for us. I was just trying to get a feel for it. 

Will definitely keep an eye on Macron’s fiscal policy.

thank you xx

countrydweller 1515415995

LEEN 75 I really do think you need to do a hell of a lot more research before taking the plunge otherwise you will end up in a pickle  Whilst we can help you with a lot of specific things there is only so much we can advise you on as everyones situation is different.In respect of the cost of living it is probably a bit more expensive than the UK at the moment .You also need to find out about your health care and how it will operate Will you be eligible for an S1 if you have an injury in service pension for example? How is your French?

Many of the old hands on here have seen people arrive having not researched their situation thoroughly and they end up having to go back having lost a lot of money so do your preparation and ask on here if you are not sure Being from a service background I am sure that you understand when I say "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail" Good Luck

jessiedog 1515416237

Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but , the war disability pension you/your partner are receiving, whilst it is tax free in the UK is not tax free in France. The only war pension tax free in France is one which is paid by the French government.

I have a friend also receiving this pension who arrived to live in France in June 2016, so when his tax return was due last April/May, we did a LOT of homework on this subject. There is one concession however. Assuming you are a couple, instead of receiving 2 lots of personal allowance, you are allowed an extra half of allowance for receiving a war pension. (There is a box on the tax return which needs to be ticked to claim it.) So you get 2.5 allowances to offset against your income.

Southern Guy 1515416389

French supermarkets have websites with prices. Car, health & home insurance prices are available online as are home prices, yearly property related taxes, fuel prices, car prices, telephone and internet prices, water prices, electricity prices, prices of wood for heating all for the area you want to move to. You just need to search..

chèvrefeuille 1515434276

All I can say re cost of living is that I enjoy a much higher standard of living in France than I could on the same income in the U.K.

chèvrefeuille 1515434461

The Dordogne is relatively expensive for buying property compared to the departments bordering it. It’s worth looking at some alternative locations if you are after value for money.

DAVID-EVANS-896636 1515750138

Hi Just some info really. We have been here for 4 years and operate our 2 businesses from here, they are UK Ltd companies. Personally we would never ever move back to the UK. We came here for the weather; the cost of living we generally find is about the same as an overall view. The social and summer life here is excellant and we have both travelled the world and find France the best. You can't quite put your finger on exactly why. I find the air fresher, pollution lower, road less congested, French people helpful and friendly, health service much better, no litter, wine and food tastes better, water tastes better, eating out cheaper and far better quality of cooking and service. A more outdoor life because the weather although still seasonal, is short sharp winters. Down side; administration levels are higher and can be frustrating as the language barrier can be interesting, but I'm certain that if the French went to the UK the Brits would not treat them as well. The other thing, its not too hot in the summer, compared with say Southern Spain and its very easy and very quick to get back to the UK. I would suggest that you keep the property and garden smallish, near to say Bergerac Airport, train station to Bordeaux, now only 5hr 21mins by train to central London. I hope this help you have a great life in this great country. David

DaisyRose 1515772731

If you live and run businesses in France, you will obviously be paying your taxes in France, how do they compare with the UK?    

Josephine-Blogger-853338 1515777394

@DaisyRose, I have to say that when I moved my business from the UK to France, I definitely noticed the higher social contributions and business charges. Income tax not so much. 

Melou 1515790369

@ David-Evans . . . How really nice to read a broadly balanced overview of life in Dordogne for once - well done! And I couldn't agree more!

It is continually frustrating to read how, so often on this 'discussion' site, people get distracted and bitter about nit-picking details of life here. Always comparing France, and the French, to somewhere else - but get real! This is a 'foreign country'; with a different culture; different weather; different property prices; different bread; different attitude to life; more space; better roads; cheaper wine; better health care; total respect for communal, and family, life; and so on . . . and, if Macron can seduce his way to get the people that matter, to change the things that are stalling France's ability to move forwards, it can only get better! 

The OP, Leen75, has been given some very precise information on the treatment of their disability pension. It will be taxed - but you need to set out on a sheet of paper the total picture. Begin with finding out what tax you will pay - which is, basically, your pension (and other?) income, less the allowances for your 'foyer' (a different concept to the Uk - it is household numbers/income that matters). Then start to offset the income benefits - starting with property at ½ the price of the UK - so, no mortgage must be the objective. 

Then, just enjoy life - the sunshine, less rain, less fog, less traffic jams, less flu bugs, less Christmas stress, less supermarket hassle, less takeaways, less beefburgers, less waiting time for a medical specialist, less 10-minutes-per-appointment when you see a GP, less road licence fee (ie. none), less road-tests, less wheely-bins, less local government intrusion and rules, less expensive dentists, less expensive vets, less gutter press, less need to dress up, less need to keep up, less need to have a new car every year . . . . I could go on! 

Leen75 1515791575

Thank you all!! It is refreshingly to hear the good bits as well as the bad bits.

The good bits that you speak about are the very reason for looking at the Dordogne. 

we won’t be working at all this is an early retirement for us. 

We are getting financial advise regarding the pension issue. Either way the tax won’t be vast enough to change the outcome of us looking to move. 

We can’t wait to come over and spend some quality time relaxing and getting to know the area and find a home.

thank you all xxx

fabouche 1515827979

And just to say....We have Macron....something tells me that he will make some

good changes.

DaisyRose 1515829423

@JB  I guessed as much.  Just interested to hear from someone that has done it. 

countrydweller 1515834423

Melou I could not agree more I am always advsing people to stop thinking like a Brit and to understand there are reasons for the way that things operate here and that you need accept it and actually enjoy your life here And of course it helps immensly if you can speak some French

Josephine-Blogger-853338 1515838612

@DaisyRose - on your question and also picking up on what countrydweller and melou have just said, for me the answer was indeed to stop thinking like a Brit and stop trying to run my business like a Brit. Trying to keep a UK customer base wouldn't have worked because I couldn't have competed on price with UK competitors and made a profit in France. It took me around 3 years to switch to a nearly 100% French customer base and the business, the first couple of years were quite slender but the business is at least as healthy again now as it was the UK. French clients are less liable to buy services purely on price and I find they tend to be more loyal than UK clients. So I would agree that the secret to living here  is to accept the mindset and how things work, and go with the flow. Enjoy.

fabouche 1515851767

What is it that you do Josephine?

I agree with all of you who said think French.....yes, perhaps just be yourself.

But  I am not sure if the French are less likely to be looking at price.

Most people have to be careful and I can see this right across the board.

Josephine-Blogger-853338 1515856291

@Fabouche - FR>EN translation specialising in business and finance (annual reports and suchlike). I've found that both agencies and direct end clients here are more likely to accept realistic quotes without trying to knock your rates down, and once you've done one project for them and they're happy with it they're more likely come straight back to you in the future, rather than automatically putting every project out to tender. I even had a client once who said 'Your rates are too low, I'm prepared to pay xxx', that never happened in the UK in 10 years of freelancing, even blue chips there would try and squeeze me down by a ha'pence a word.  That's been my experience although as you say it won't apply across the board but over the years it's been a noticeable pattern for me

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