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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let me first introduce myself;

My name is Daniel and I currently live and work in Japan. I’m married to Kaori, my wife of 20 years.

I do many things, but 1 of them is online business [via auctions]. More on this later.

In April 2024, we want to move to the South of France, around Perpignan [the country-side, not the city itself].

You will wonder; why Perpignan?​

Well, my mom lives near Barcelona, and she is not getting any younger. Because I live in Japan, it will take almost a day [most likely more] to get to her, in case anything happens. From Perpignan, it’s roughly a 4-hour ride.

You will also wonder; why France [and not Spain]?​

Although I’ve great memories of my time in Spain, business-wise, I have to be in France, as French commodities sell very well in Japan. For now, I have to rely on contacts in Europe, to provide me with merchandise. Needless to say, the shipment costs raise the selling price considerably, and, once I am there [in France], I can buy everything myself, without having to bother anybody else.

I am also a photographer [see my work @ Stock Photo and Image Portfolio by Daniel Rich Japan | Shutterstock] and always on the look-out for interesting, new, environments to shoot in, that’s another reason why I want to be in that region [from the Med, to mountain tops and everything in between].

Kaori had wanted to go to Spain to travel around the country, but she never got to it. So, at least in part, I can help her make that dream come true, as we will be very close to Spain.

Last, but not least, I survived many accidents, but it came at a cost; lots of scars, broken/healed bones, and tons of scar tissue. This makes me very susceptible to the weather, especially the cold. I also worked in The Gambia, Africa and Southern Thailand and I always felt much better working in such conditions [physically].

So, I am looking for expats who live in that region, to help me out with advice [provided they want to give it, of course :eek:]

This is also not a hit-and-run post, because this is a very serious, and well thought through project, not just a spur-of-the-moment thing. We are aware of the big changes it will bring to our lives, and also the impossibility to do everything from this distance. Nevertheless, even though everything is still over 2 years ahead, I thought I would be a good thing to get started early on.

I'm really looking forward to your input.

Thank you for your time reading, and possibly responding to this message.

That is always appreciated.

Most cordially,

Daniel
 

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I can only caution you here that if you are planning to continue your business from France, you will need a visa/residence permit that allows you to work. Unless you can find an employer able and willing to get work authorization for you, you probably need to look into a "passeport talent" visa where you would establish a business here in France to manage your work and your cotisations (social insurances).

The general rule is that you are working in whatever country you are physically located in while doing whatever it is you are being paid for, so you need to be registered in that country for taxes and social insurances.

Start here for more information:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
@Bevdeforges,

Thank you for your swift reply.

I see I forgot to mention that particular important aspect of the plan; yes I want to start a business in France.

FWIIW; I hold a European passport, and am thus a EU citizen.

Also, thanks for the link. I'll have a look at it, after I post this reply.
 

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Sounds a great project, good luck! Toulouse is a couple of hours away from the sector you're looking at but we know that area quite well, and once upon a time looked at properties there until, in the end, we decided to stay put. So in due course I'll be glad to chip in my two centimes' worth if I can, but I'll mostly wait for you to pose the questions ...

For the time being I'll just say that the south-west, especially that region close to the border, has a very 'Spanish', or rather a Catalan / Occitan feel to it. My OH and I both have fond memories and experiences of Spain and feel very 'at home' in the region so there's a good chance of you finding the best of both worlds.

When you have the time I'd recommend searching through this forum for threads replying to other people who are thinking of moving to France. There's a lot of good - general - advice about living here, no matter in which region, and just to take one example: dealing with administrative affairs. I don't know anything about life in Japan but I suspect the differences will be startling, both in terms of the informality and the frustrations.
 

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FWIIW; I hold a European passport, and am thus a EU citizen.
Ah, that definitely makes things a bit easier. Your wife will be able to "join" you on just a regular 90 day Schengen visa as long as she applies for a carte de séjour within the first 90 days after she enters the country. The one "trick" is that you will have to demonstrate that you are "installed" in France - meaning that you have a place to live set up and have a "statut" - which means (for practical purposes) that you should be well underway to register your business (so that you are "employed"). How quickly you can set that up depends on what type of business you start out with (micro-entreprise/auto-entrepreneur or whatever else might apply to your situation). Just to be safe, you may want to check into some sort of interim health insurance cover for your first six months or so, as you'll need to show health cover (for both of you) in order to apply for your wife's carte de séjour.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited by Moderator)
@ ToulouseRob/saffron_gin/Bevdeforges,

Thank all of you for your replies and advice. If you don't mind, I'll use a single reply to address all of you at once.

You are the ones with knowledge of living and working in France. Regardless of the time spent there, your information is invaluable to me. Before I got married, I used to just travel from one place to the next, without so much as a single worry. But now, my responsibility includes 2 people, not just 1.

As per usual, it all boils down to the 'Chicken and Egg' equation. The bank wants an address. The landlord a bank account. That's one of the reasons why I seek your advice/contact now, so I can [hopefully] tackle most of these hurdles up front.

I think the most important thing is, to find a place to live, to have an address and take it from there.

If it's OK with you guys, I'll give you my [portal] email address and deal with this topic on a more personal level.

I will update this thread with relevant advice, once I get it, to help out other inquiring minds.

<snip>

@ Bevdeforges,

As an Administrator, you must have your handful at running this place. May I therefore express my gratitude for your astute and detailed information?

I know these are mere words, but your actions are truly heartwarming.

Kudos to you, good sir.

@ ToulouseRob,

If you'd be kind enough to contact me via the provided email, I'd be happy to pick your brain [so to speak :eek:] If not, I'll keep using this thread.

@ saffron_gin

In the military, you'd be referred to as HUMINT. Regardless of the time you've spent near Perpignan, your knowledge outclasses mine by a mile, so I'd be happy to address you in person [via said email]. Again, if not, I'll use this thread to get more info.

To all of you; thank you so much!

It's appreciated beyond measure.

Daniel
 

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Sorry, Daniel, but it's really not safe to post your email address or other personal contact info on a public message forum like this. Similarly, we don't allow links to other private sites unless in direct response to a query (other than your own).

There are a number of threads here on the forum with information about how various folks have dealt with the chicken-and-egg issue of opening bank accounts and finding a place to stay on arrival here in France. Usually it is some combination of finding a temporary residence (for 1 to 3 months) to start with, and opening a bank account from there while using the time to look for a rental. While you won't have to get a visa, you will need to get yourself "established" fairly quickly in order to register your wife for her carte de séjour. Makes for a hectic first couple of months here - but not impossible by any means.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
@ saffron_gin,

Given the fact we're not supposed to add any links, may I ask you how you succeeded in finding a place outside of Perpignan?

I don't ask this question out of laziness, because I am everything but, but my granddad taught me to look at those who succeeded, and follow their lead, until I found foothold for myself, and take it from there.

I read about cozying up to notaries, to get a fist glance at properties in the vicinity of place X/Y/Z. If so, could you give me possible leads or places/wo/men to turn to?

Thank you in advance for your time and trouble.

Appreciation, expressed in words, tend to come across as lukewarm. Rest assured though, this feeling comes from the heart. Not the mouth.
 

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Just FYI (and that of any lurkers here). There is a private messaging function on the forum here - though it is called "Conversations." Click on your avatar in the upper right corner of the screen - second from the little New bubble and just to the left of the three vertical dots. The drop down menu should include an option for "Conversations" where you can address a message to a particular forum member and enjoy a private conversation with them.
 

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Daniel, just posting so i remember to follow this post. While slightly different, we're embarking on forward planning a similar move, not too far away from where you are thinking. Maybe as plans progress can share thoughts via the chat on this forum.

I can see from your original post you have been around the world so hopefully this isn't condescening. I sometimes think people overly commit when moving, to a town or suburb (even a specific property). I have moved my life internationally multiple times I can say the one thing i've learnt is people spend too much time focusing on trying to figure this out (or get to the perfect place) before they arrive:
  • I would really recommend just framing your 'landing' point as a short term base. Nothing more, nothing less. It's a rental you plan to leave. You have already decided inland of perpignan, so that's fairly narrow. I have spent some time there, i personally love the region up the N116 into the hills, but i have been there as a tourist, not living, so take that with a pinch of salt.
  • Just make sure you are clear on your essentials (e.g. do you need fibre internet, distance to an airport, shops, major city, public transport, schools etc etc.) what must you have. Then just pick something
  • Even just finding an airbnb and negotiating a 3 month deal these days makes life much easier. It's really painful to nail down a property or lease from afar.
  • Then every weekend (or when time permits), leave your base and walk. Walk everywhere you can. Drive/train/cycle to the next town and walk and then the next one. Keep doing it for 6 months (or more!). It's both enjoyable and a great way to get to know a place.
I can't give you specific advice on the practicalities having not moved to france. You probably already know, but moving to a new country is always full of administration. Everywhere i've gone people moan about how slow/painful etc. that is. I think you just have to accept in moving somewhere new, you are learning from scratch what everybody who lives there takes as a given. It's not necessarily even that bad, you just have to accept the first time you do everything, get a tax id, drivers license, buy a car, get insurance, etc. etc. etc. it will take you 5 times as long as everybody else!

Cheers!
 
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