Normandy Property Blog: News and Information from the region

SUISSE NORMANDE – Swiss Normandy, hilly part of Calvados …


Even the French are sometimes amazed by its unexpected beauty and the variety of outdoor activities on offer in this part of Calvados. Craggy ravines on the banks of the river Orne are perfect for climbing, abseiling and paragliding enthusiasts. Enjoy trekking on horseback, Kayak or polo-kayak along a stretch of unspoilt river, hiking and picturesque villages straddling the river Orne.

All this in under one hour from the ferry!

Corey Koch.

No need to live beside the sea – find a beach near you!

No need to live beside the sea









France is renowned for it’s wonderful bathing lakes which are found throughout the countryside and are a welcome relief from hot weather whilst being close to home.  Throughout Normandy there are gems to be found – at La Ferte-Mace in Orne (see picture) and also Pays de la Loire – at Sille le Guillaume in Sarthe and just south of Jublains in Mayenne.

The beaches are open to the public all year round and often feature sandy beaches, childrens’s play areas, bars, restaurant/snacks, lifeguard, pedalos and sailing and general bas de loisirs often with bike and go cart hire or just to take a stroll.  They are lovely spaces which we often go to for the evening after school as well as throughout the summer and well into Autumn.

A selection of properties by the Lakes

By Kate Rose

Le Mans is here! Why not buy a French Property

le Mans

Le Mans time of year again!

Enjoy your drive to and from the race?

So why not look to buy a property in Normandy – so next year you can extend your trip.

At Leggett-Normandy we have a wide selection of properties from Renovations to Chateaux


By Emma Nicholson

Are you looking for a career opportunity in French Property Sales?

We are looking for highly motivated people to join our award winning team of over 200 agents across France. Rewarded for our dedication to customer service, innovation and overall excellence we offer excellent rates of commission and an unrivalled access to the international market.

  • Are you looking for a career opportunity in French Property Sales?
  • Do you love people and property?
  • 1 in 10 UK buyers of French property bought through Leggett Immobilier last year

Join our team of independent Agents in Normandy. Especially around Lisieux, Caen, Evreux, Falaise, Deauville, Avranches, Rouen.

We offer our agents:

  • Excellent rates of commission
  • Unrivalled access to international buyers
  • Training with professionals
  • Support from our in-house contracts team
  • International & National Marketing
  • A complete package to ensure success

In return Leggett needs you to be:

  • Organized
  • Positive
  • Focused
  • Professional
  • Able to communicate in English & French
  • IT literate


Festive Normandy!

It’s that time of year again and a great time to get out and about throughout Normandy to see the illuminated villages of the area.  Many of the villages in the area make an extra special effort with their Christmas and end of year celebrations by putting on themed festivities to delight visitors and locals alike, some displays more Christmassy than others, but all worth a visit!


The official dates of ‘lighting up’ are 5th December 2014 – 3rd Januray 2015, normally from 17:30 each evening, and you can download a full itinerary from your local tourist information – for the Domfront and surrounding areas available at:

Don’t forget to watch out for other activities near you from Christmas markets and brocantes to visits from Pere Noel and the essential winter warmer of a glass of vin chaud!

by Kate Rose

posted by Stephen BUSS

I’m looking for a bargain property in Normandy…

Is it really a “bargain” property or a “cheap” property you’re looking for? We have many cheap places on offer, take a look at our Cheap Normandy Properties – there’s around a hundred of them. Many of them need work or total renovation, so it’s a good idea to do some homework before you arrange a viewing.

We’re more than happy to send you extra photos & information and answer your questions, so please ask. We know these properties well, and the vendors, so it’s not like we’re just listing another agency’s portfolio!

Here’s a few for you to look at –

I’d count many of these to be real bargains as well as low-priced, and there are many bargains to be found all over Normandy in the higher price ranges too. Take a look at all of our Normandy properties with bargains amongst them, there’s almost 600 to choose from.

posted by :-

Stephen Buss. Covering Bayeux, D-day beaches & Calvados Area.

My Properties and Houses for sale in Normandy
Tel: 06 85 39 21 15. Email:


La Rentree – Time to take up a new hobby?


This week marks La Rentree when schools throughout the Normandy region go back after the long summer holiday, it is also the time of year when local associations, from basketball to bridge, are looking for new members to join them.

So why not look out for local Forum des Associations where demonstrations and exhibitions of every kind of cultural, social and sport based club are showcased and you can sign up for something new.  Improve your French and make new friends by taking the plunge!

Open days are also a great way to see what’s available in your area.  Perhaps with the added interest this year of the World Equestrian Games being held in Normandy, on September 21st various riding stables and pony clubs are holding open days and some are even offering free rides with courses available from beginners ‘debutants’ upwards to match your experience, see

By Kate Rose contact details here

Broadband wherever you live no matter how rural!


Having persevered for years with slow internet via a dial-up service because of living in an area of rural Mayenne with no broadband ADSL available through the phone line, I have recently upgraded to a satellite provider which has completely changed my life!

Often the case in rural areas throughout France and the UK the satellite option was reportedly unreliable, sometimes not working in heavy rain, snow or fog, with variable upload and download speeds, but I can testify that the newest system is working beyond my expectations with no loss of service due to the weather and fast!

The initial outlay seems to be approximately the same at around €400 for the equipment, but if you live in a ‘zone noir’ in France and it’s your primary residence then you may be eligible for a grant or ‘subvention’ from the Conseil Generale to cover the cost – ask at your commune Mairie in the first instance to see if you qualify.

You can choose a UK provider which gives you the backup of a technical service in English however you should check with them whether you are then covered under the French grant scheme. I am with NordNet, France Telecom’s satellite wing, you download the form, fill it in with your choice of service and tarif, send them a cheque and they send you the hardware, very straightforward. Installation is either by a local installer, at a fee, or you can do it yourself as we did, but be warned it takes two as the dish and receiver are quite heavy!

There are companies advertising throughout the English language press who offer an all inclusive service, and installers working throughout Normandy and Pays de la Loire. Some even offer a ‘pay as you go’ type service for second home owners. Otherwise it’s a monthly subscription just like the traditional phone line services. You also have the option of receiving internet phone and TV services if you wish.

So if you’ve just had to wait 5 minutes to be able to read this because you’re still battling with dial-up then pull your hair out no more!

By Kate Rose contact details here

Working in France – The AutoEntrepreneur system explained

Autoentrepreneur Changes 2013

Many of us when we move to France will want to work in some shape or form. The simplest method of registering for a sole trader type business is through the autoentrepreneur scheme, which was started in January 2009 by Nicolas Sarkozy’s government as a means of simplifying the registration and admin of a small business. It is a pay as you go system with easy online registration and no need for an accountant or large start up costs. The scheme has been very successful with hundreds of thousands of registrations since the it started. I recently attended a workshop organised by the Francobritish Chamber of Commerce based in Caen and wanted to share some of the information we were given:

What is an Autoentrepeneur?

It is a sole trader small business that is easy to register and where you pay your taxes and social charges on an “as you earn” basis. If you do not earn anything, you do not have to pay any charges. You need to declare your earnings either monthly or quarterly and pay tax and social charges as you go. You can register online and you will receive your SIREN number via INSEE. There are specific rules attached to the scheme. I will outline the basics here:

If you are over 18 you can become an autoentrepreneur. It can be your main job or as an add on if you are a salaried employee or maybe you are retired and are looking to supplement your pension income?

There limits to the annual turnover you can declare under the scheme:

81,500 if your business sells goods

32,600 if your business provides services

You cannot be VAT registered if you are an autoentrepreneur. You cannot add VAT to your invoices or claim it back.

You cannot deduct any business expenses from your turnover.

Not every area of business is covered under autoentrepreneur status.

If you wind up your business you should not owe anything.

You pay flat rate social charges via RSI as follows:

12% for businesses selling goods

21.3% for businesses providing services

You can also pay tax on top of your social charges on a fixed rate basis of 1% if you sell goods and 1.7% for services. Certain services attract a 2.2% tax rate. Tax can be paid as you earn when you make your declarations to RSI.

In May 2012 France elected a new president Francois Hollande and with any new government, there are inevitably changes in law and taxation. On 17th December 2012 the French Parliament passed a reform of the autoentrepreneur system to bring the level of social charges paid in line with other micro-social businesses. This is supposed to eradicate any unfair advantages compared to other business regimes. From 1st January 2013, the rate of cotisations/social charges for autoentrepreneurs will increase as follows:

14% for businesses selling goods or 2% increase on 2012

24.6% for businesses providing services or 3.3% increase on 2012

There are lots of websites to help you and here are some useful links in French:

This is the official autoentrepreneur website

This is an accounting website, but there is information here to download for autoentrepreneurs

More information and downloads are available on this site also

There are other ways of registering a business in France and if you are in doubt on whether your business will meet the autoentrepreneur turnover limits or if you think you will outgrow these limits, then there are other options. More to come on this, but always remember to seek expert advice if you are unsure as to your options or liabilities when you are thinking of setting up a business.

By Rebecca Larkin

An idiot’s guide to re-registering a car in France – part 3

An idiot’s guide to re-registering a car in France – part 3

By Rebecca Larkin

Now, you must bring all original documents as copies will not be accepted and you have checked when the prefecture is open in advance.

Information on opening time for departments 50, 14, 61, 53 and 35 are as follows:

Department 61 – Prefecture Orne, Alencon

Address: 72 Rue St Blaise, 61000 Alencon
Opening Hours Vehicle Registration and Driving Licences:   Mon-Fri : 8.30 – 12.15, closed afternoons
Driving Licences : Tel: 00 33 (0), From: 08.30 -12.15
Vehicle Registration/Cartes grises : Tel: 0033 (0), From: 14.00 -16.00

Department 50 – Prefecture Manche, St Lo
Address: 3 Place de la Préfecture CS 10419, 50009 Saint-Lô Cedex
Tél : 00 33 (0) 2 33 75 49 50, Fax : 0033 (0) 2 33 57 36 66
Opening Hours Vehicle Registration:    Mon-Fri : 08.30-12.30, closed afternoons

Department 35 – Prefecture Ille et Vilaine Rennes
Address: Avenue de la Préfecture,
35026 Rennes Cedex 9
Opening Hours Vehicle Registration: Mon-Fri : 09.00 – 13.30, closed afternoons
Tél : 0033 (0) 2 99 02 10 35     Fax : 00 33 (0 )2 99 02 10 15

Department 53 – Prefecture Mayenne, Laval

Address: 46 Rue Mazagran, 53015 LAVAL     Tél : 0033 (0)2 43 01 50 00
Opening Hours: Monday and Thursday Morning: 09.00 – 12.39
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 09.00 – 12.30 and 13.30 – 16.30

Department 14 – Prefecture Calvados, Caen
Address: Rue Saint-Laurent, 14038 CAEN
Tél. : 00 33 (0) 2 31 30 64 00
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 08.45 -12.45

We are now on the last hurdle. When you go to the Prefecture for your area to re-register your car, please make sure you go in plenty of time. What do I mean by this? Do not go 5 minutes before they close for lunch. We all know that lunch in France is sacrosanct. Most Prefectures operate a ticket system for car registrations and they are often busy. You go to the department that is dealing with Cartes Grises, which is of course open to all who wish to re-register a vehicle, not just us foreigners importing vehicles, take your ticket and wait your turn. When you are called, the person behind the counter will check your documents, enter your vehicle’s information into their system. This part of the process is quite quick and they will take your original registration document and your precious certificate of conformity as I mentioned previously. You will then be given a temporary Carte Grise pending receipt of the original by post. I received mine within 3 days, but was told 3-5 working days. You will have to sign for your new Carte Grise when the original arrives by post, so bear that in mind as well. Hip, hip hurray I hear you cry, aren’t we done yet?

Not quite, you will also be given a ticket to pay for the regional taxes applicable to every vehicle registered in France and you will need to wait again to pay this before you can go because you will not be issued your Carte Grise without the fee being paid. The regional taxes vary from department to department and details can be found online if you look up your local prefecture under carte grise. The tax depends on the engine size and emissions of your car, so for a Mini Clubman Diesel in Manche (Department 50) it was €181 for a power level 5 on the system. The cost for their registration can vary from vehicle to vehicle, depending on this power number.

Important note:

Once you have paid the tax to re-register your car, you will not be required to may any other taxes again for your vehicle while it is in France, unless you re-register the vehicle again for any reason; if you moved departments for example. You will need to make you have a valid CT in place if your car is over four years old and this needs to be renewed every two years. Rules are slightly different for commercial vehicles such as vans and I understand a CT is needed every year for them.

Most departments offer online services for car registration, but I have found that often it is not possible to use the online system, even if you can navigate it in French, for the import and re-registration of foreign vehicles. The process may vary slightly from department to department, but the basic principles remain the same throughout.

You have paid your money and the Carte Grise is in the post. Once it arrives, you will need your new number plates. Any local garage will fit these. Costs vary from anywhere between €20 and €40 in the south Manche area. They will take you new registration number and it make take a day for the plates to be ordered and arrive. I understand there are also “plates as you wait” places. You will often find these in the key cutting places, you can find in large supermarket complexes, but you will still need someone to fit your plates. Number plates have to be riveted in place by law in France. UK plates are often screwed on. I kept my old UK plates because you never know.

Voila, congratulations, you have now re-registered your car and are driving 100% legally in France. Of course, this means you are now in the system, so always drive responsibly and keep to the speed limits etc. You don’t want fines or anything like that and Gendarmes can be scary.

Bon courage mes amis!