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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
I am new here and have loved reading some of the questions and answers and will continue to do so.
My husband and I are considering buying a canal boat and retiring in France. I do speak French (here in the US - I would say intermediate level, but when I take a class in France, they say more of an advanced beginner) and will continue to study the language as I love it. My husband can not seem to learn a word from me, so we'll see how that goes.
Anyway, my question is basic as I know nothing of the process. What would we need to stay? Because we would be living on the water, is the process the same? Would we need a physical address somewhere? Would a PO Box count?
I'm sure I will have more questions - but I'll start with these. Thanks in advance.

Karen
 

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Hi and welcome to the forum.

Basically, what you'd need is a long-stay visa. The French system doesn't really break down into distinct "types" of visa - what distinguishes them is what you give as your reason for wanting to live in France. Your reason also determines what sort of documentation the consulate will ask you for.

The latest rules really do seem to lay emphasis on having an address for where you'll be staying on arrival. Also, when you're on a carte de séjour (residence card), you are supposed to report any change of address to the prefecture to which you have moved so they can adjust your carte de séjour to reflect your current address. There are various administrative tasks for which you need to present proof of residence (usually utility bills), and this could be next to impossible if you're on the move or working out of a PO box.

If you're serious about this plan, you may do better to just retire to France to a house with a permanent address to use as a base of operations, then look into buying a canal boat if you like for use as a "holiday home" as you like. But first of all, maybe you should make a holiday trip over here to spend a few weeks on a canal boat to see how you like it (and living in France in general). It would allow you to check into the regulations for long-term living on the canals.

Among the "other things" to consider in retiring to France are practical matters like: health care (you have to provide your own insurance - and outside the Paris area, few doctors are willing or able to speak English), money matters (exchange rate fluctuations take a toll on retirees, how to do your banking from a boat, where to receive your bills, etc.), friends and family (keeping up old contacts, making new ones - friendships in France are made only over time and there is a tendency to avoid "transients" just passing through the area).

Take your time on this one, and make a point of sampling the life in France you're considering.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks so much for the reply. It is a start. I wondered if no address would be a problem. We have taken a trip on a penichette from Locaboat in the south of France and we just loved it. We both love to travel and have been to France many times for one or two weeks, and we thought this would be the perfect way to retire. There are other countries with canals also and planned to motor through them. Maybe doing nothing would be the best thing, but I am always nervous about not being "legal". Speaking of that, 41 years ago, I was arrested for posession of marajuana, never been in trouble of any kind since. The long stay visa wants some sort of statement from "the police" saying you do not have a criminal record. Is that recently - or forever in the past? It seems a shame to be penalized for something you did as a stupid kid.
Karen




Hi and welcome to the forum.

Basically, what you'd need is a long-stay visa. The French system doesn't really break down into distinct "types" of visa - what distinguishes them is what you give as your reason for wanting to live in France. Your reason also determines what sort of documentation the consulate will ask you for.

The latest rules really do seem to lay emphasis on having an address for where you'll be staying on arrival. Also, when you're on a carte de séjour (residence card), you are supposed to report any change of address to the prefecture to which you have moved so they can adjust your carte de séjour to reflect your current address. There are various administrative tasks for which you need to present proof of residence (usually utility bills), and this could be next to impossible if you're on the move or working out of a PO box.

If you're serious about this plan, you may do better to just retire to France to a house with a permanent address to use as a base of operations, then look into buying a canal boat if you like for use as a "holiday home" as you like. But first of all, maybe you should make a holiday trip over here to spend a few weeks on a canal boat to see how you like it (and living in France in general). It would allow you to check into the regulations for long-term living on the canals.

Among the "other things" to consider in retiring to France are practical matters like: health care (you have to provide your own insurance - and outside the Paris area, few doctors are willing or able to speak English), money matters (exchange rate fluctuations take a toll on retirees, how to do your banking from a boat, where to receive your bills, etc.), friends and family (keeping up old contacts, making new ones - friendships in France are made only over time and there is a tendency to avoid "transients" just passing through the area).

Take your time on this one, and make a point of sampling the life in France you're considering.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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It's very doubtful you'd be penalized for an offense 41 years ago when it comes to visas. The US is a little fanatic about "drug arrests" but thank goodness the EU isn't quite so uptight about such things. Depends a bit on what they want - but if you go for an FBI "rap sheet" (which is the only national police record you can get), it's kind of doubtful your old arrest record would have made it onto the FBI radar. If you can get away with a local police "good conduct" letter, so much the better.

Most of the folks I've seen living on barges have a more or less "permanent" mooring - which is what they use for their residence address. There are a bunch of these "boat people" who live along the Seine on the outskirts of Paris. Don't know what the mooring conditions and charges are, but it could be worth looking into.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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