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Best value MAPS of FRANCE, and keeping the children amused

Seven things you need to consider when moving to France

By Rob Kay, Senior Partner, Blevins Franks

Thinking of moving to France or buying a property here? Or perhaps you have recently arrived are still in the process of settling in. While foreign bureaucracy and tax legislation may seem off-putting, with early and careful planning you can prevent headaches and make the most of tax-efficient opportunities. Here are seven key considerations.

  1. Where you will pay tax

You need to establish exactly when you become liable for French tax on your worldwide income, gains, wealth and estate.

Generally, once you arrive in France intending to live here permanently, you become French tax resident the following day. But it is not always so straightforward. You could be considered resident even if you do not live in France but your spouse does, or if your main home is in France.

You also need to be wary of UK tax residence rules – you could, for example, unintentionally trigger UK tax residency by spending just 16 days back home.

If you plan carefully and have some flexibility, you may be able to time your residency switch to minimise taxes.

  1. How you will be taxed

French taxation can be complicated… and high. Besides income tax rates up to 45%, you also face social charges on most income with rates generally between 9.1% and 17.2%, depending on the type of income. If you hold Form S1, these charges reduce to 7.5% on investment income and pension income escapes them completely.

France also imposes an annual wealth tax on real estate assets if your property portfolio exceeds €1.3 million, but there is a €800,000 allowance.

But with expert planning, it is possible to structure savings, investments and assets to be tax-efficient – and maybe even pay less tax in France than you did in the UK, depending on your circumstances.

  1. Ways to structure your wealth

Do not assume that what is tax-efficient at home will be the same in France. ISAs, for example, are fully taxable in France.

Your circumstances and goals will change when you relocate too, so you need to take a fresh look at your financial planning to establish if affairs are set up in the most suitable way for your new life in France.

Take professional advice to make sure your investment portfolio is specifically designed around your circumstances today, future goals, income needs and risk profile.  An adviser experienced with French taxation can recommend compliant investment arrangements that provide considerable tax advantages in France.

  1. Which currency works for you

Many British expatriates tend to favour sterling for savings and investments, but this makes income vulnerable to exchange rate fluctuations. Ideally you should hold some assets in euros to avoid this risk.

However, you may also want to spend money in the UK, return someday or leave an inheritance to UK residents. Ask your adviser about investment structures that let you diversify currencies or consider transferring UK pensions to arrangements offering currency flexibility.

  1. Your property options

Research and understand the tax implications before buying and selling property. Are you better off selling UK property while still resident there or waiting until you are living in France?

Note that there are various ways of owning property in France, with different tax and succession implications, so if you have not bought your French home yet do your research first.

The most suitable option will depend on your family situation, what you want to happen to the property on death and how you will use it – will you live there full-time, treat it as a holiday home or rent it out?

  1. What to do with UK pensions

Many British expatriates find it beneficial to transfer UK pension funds into a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) to enjoy tax efficiency, flexibility and estate planning advantages over UK pensions.

Alternatively, you could potentially take out your UK pension fund as a lump sum and pay just 7.5% tax in France under certain circumstances. You could then re-invest the capital into tax-efficient arrangements.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. With something as important as your pension, it is vital to take regulated professional advice tailored for you and your situation.

  1. How your legacy will be passed on

French succession law and inheritance tax work very differently from the UK and can be particularly complicated, especially if you have children from previous relationships or want to leave assets to distant or non-relatives. Succession tax rates can be as high as 60%.

The ‘forced heirship’ rules in French succession law can automatically pass on up to 75% of your estate to your children, regardless of your intentions. You can nominate the law of your nationality to apply instead, but take care to understand all the pros and cons first.

Ultimately, you need professional advice to make the most of tax planning, pension and wealth management opportunities in France, and ensure you use compliant arrangements that suit your specific circumstances.

An adviser based in France, who is up-to-date with the intricacies of French taxation and frequent tax reforms, is best placed to assist you, ideally one who has specific cross-border experience with British expatriate,  Take personalised advice sooner rather than later so you can have peace of mind that your financial affairs are in order and you can relax and enjoy your new life in France.

Tax rates, scope and reliefs may change. Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change. Tax information has been summarised; an individual is advised to seek personalised advice.

You can find other financial advisory articles by visiting our website here

 

 

Your reading for August from Susan Keefe

Mind Home

 
by Joel Ross Whitehead
 

“We’re all on a journey to improve our mental health for peace of mind and soul” thought –provoking words from the heartfelt introduction to this important book by the author Joel Ross Whitehead.
 
The main character is Gosling Wakefield, a man struggling with his life, in his own way. We may not relate to his particular mental health problems, each and every one of us takes their own journey through life, and tackles the obstacles and challenges each twist and turn along the way throws up uniquely.
 
Gosling struggles with voices in his head, and the scenarios they play out before him.  It is in one of these moments that the voice in his head tells him that he must find the room where ‘he’ resides, and then go on to find thalamus. But the question is, how can he do this, and who or what is thalamus?
 
Struggling with inner voices is something everyone experiences in their life. Whether it’s that inner voice that says, “Go on, one more biscuit won’t hurt your diet,” or the nagging fearful voice which haunt the time between an illness and the doctor’s diagnosis. However most of us then let life take over, kick into another gear, and continue on our life’s journey, but not all of us can do this. Mental health is a frail thing. Depression, anxiety, and fear expand out of control. This is the mental state Gosling is in, and it is propped up by alcohol. However, despite regularly looking, Gosling discovers the answers are not found at the bottom of his whisky glass, or the next, or the next…
 
The horrors of his inner torment are compounded one day when in his drunken stupor he realises that the irritating inner voice is in fact the younger him.
 
Things then get worse as his life is played out before him, the night terrors of his youth, the zealousness of the religious teachers at St. Johns where he had been sent for education and rehabilitation, events, people… As his mind tumbles through the memories of his lifetime the reader cannot help but feel a myriad of emotions, torment, loves lost, death, failure, they are all there, and more.
 
Then when his life has been thoroughly exposed, we discover if he found his thalamus. I’m not going to spoil the story and reveal all here, this book is just too good, you will have to discover the answer for yourself. What I will say to future readers of this inspiring, uplifting, and incredibly poignant story is that at the end of his journey Gosling found peace, a way to come to terms with his illness and face the world anew.
 
In conclusion: This book was absolutely incredible, I just could not put it down. It journeys into the torment we can put our mind through, and exposes the real suffering mental illness causes, yet gives hope that life CAN be different, but the changes stem from within.
 
 

If I Were Human 
by Wes Tyler


As soon as I saw this book it instantly appealed to me, not just because I am a dog lover, but because being a mum and nanny I just knew that it would appeal to our little grandchildren.
 
Sure enough, on the cover, the two extremely cute main characters; black (Brina) and white (Winnie) instantly caught my three year old granddaughter’s eye.
 
Anyone who spends time with dogs will instantly be able to relate to the way that Brina watches over her little mistress Genevieve as she is playing a game. You can practically see your dog’s brain computing everything which goes on around him or her, and sure enough it’s not long before Brina’s thoughts turn to what she would do if she were a human. This book is beautifully illustrated and captivated our little one, every page turn brought a different scenario, as we discovered what this little Scottie dog would do with her day.
 
Of course, it’s not long before Winnie is asked the same question, and being a boy dog his day is totally different. Add into the equation a squirrel with dreams of being a MasterChef, and the nosy dog next door’s visions of grandeur, and you have a story which will captivate every child who reads it, or has is it read to them.
 
This enchanting book will stand the test of time, and hold a very special place on our bookshelf for years to come. Highly Recommended!
 


I Believe: I Am a Great Reader and Writer Just Like Jojo, the Talented Horse
by Suzanne Mondoux



The star of this children’s book is Jojo the talented horse. When she meets two other horses, Carlo and Teddy, she invites them to a reading and writing class which is being held at her ranch. Already waiting for the class to begin are four children, Julie, Sam, Paul and Suzie.

 
When Julie reveals that she has a stutter it prompts Carlo to confide in them that he had a difficulty too when he was younger, but he has overcome it. In doing this he gives Julie and the other children confidence that they can overcome obstacles too.
 
Jojo is very pleased to hear the story and decides to set the children and horses’ playtime stories to improve their writing and reading. In the first they are asked to explain why they believe they can be great readers and writers, and in the second they are asked to write about the person who has helped them learn something new.
 
However, this is an interactive book and so the playtimes continues for a further 30 days. The reader is encouraged to write their own short stories each day about any type of animal, and how people can help it. They are encouraged to use their imagination and see where it takes them.
 
My grandson is staying with us, and so we have decided that we are going to do a short story each day.  Kevin is loving the creativeness of this project, and as a parent and grandparent it is amazing to see how his writing and imagination is growing each day.
 
Having belief in yourself and your abilities doesn’t always come naturally to everyone. Each person is different, and sometimes there may be physical, or mental challenges to overcome. This wonderful book is excellent for children, but also a tool for parents and teachers showing them how to encourage their charges to be creative and express their dreams and imagination as stories.
 
I absolutely love this book and its concept. The message is clearly demonstrated to children, practice regularly, use your imagination, believe in yourself and anything is possible. It is also an important lesson to adults that sometimes spending time with your child, giving them the confidence that you believe they can do a task is all it takes to  sow the seeds of success, and these will eventually grow helping your child gain confidence and belief in themselves.
 
Available from Amazon: 
 
 

The Domino Effect 
by Andrew Cotto

The people who shape us, and the influence they have on us is something which we probably only realise when we look back over our lives. There can be no doubt that strong parenting, and the ideals which our family, culture, and the neighbourhood in which we live affect us, either consciously or subconsciously as we grow up.

In this incredible story, which was a finalist in the Readers Favorite Award, the author has written a spellbinding coming-of-age story.

The protagonist, Danny Rorro or Domino as he is known to his childhood friends, is a loveable rogue, a prankster and mischief maker. He lives in Queens, in the neighbourhood his Sicilian mother has grown up in, and he idolises his Italian father who is a musician. His life is good, until the Italian neighbourhood is taken over by the Spanish. Then, Danny quickly discovers that life will never be the same again.
After trouble between the two factions escalates at his school, Danny suffers a savage beating and he ends up in hospital. Distraught, his parents, doing what they think is best, move house and change his school, still Queens but a different neighbourhood. The impact the beating has on him, and the resulting damage to the relationship he has with his father is catastrophic. Resentful, argumentative and extremely happy, Danny is reacting as only children know how, yet it has to stop. After discussion it is decided boarding school is the answer, and Hamden Academy seems just what he needs, especially when he falls in love on the first day with the beautiful Brenda Devine. In his rollercoaster years at this sports obsessed academy, in his own way Danny makes a difference, standing up for what he feels is right, making plenty of blunders, having conflicts with other pupils, and having bumbling attempts at romance along the way.

Throughout this fast paced, exciting story I found myself going through a myriad of emotions. As a mother I felt protective of him and, yet as a parent of a son I saw his parents’ side of things.

In conclusion, this book was a real joy to read, as I watched this young vulnerable boy evolve into the young man he became, overcoming hurdles, achieving more than he could have imagined, and surviving boarding school.

Highly recommended as a wonderful read for all ages.

Kinda Friends II (Super Speed Sam Book 12) 
by Monty J. McClaine


Kinda Friends II (Super Speed Sam)
My family really enjoy the Super Speed Sam series of children’s book and its star the loveable Basset Hound Sam. His family (because all dog owners know that our dogs are sure they own us and not the other way around) are the McClaine family consisting of Jack, Sam’s mischievous human playmate and partner in crime, his little sister Molly, and their mum and dad.

 
This story opens with mum getting ready for a bargain hunting shopping trip with her new neighbour Patricia Goldman, and Jack and Sam looking forward to spending the afternoon paying with Jack’s friend Gary.
 
However, mum is soon surprised to discover that Sam will have to stay outside, you see her new neighbour has a very precious cat called Bella, but she’s not just an ordinary cat, she’s a real film star, and is on Molly’s favourite TV programme The Cat Walk Kittens’.
 
Consequently, having such a precious diva cat Patricia is not sure she wants her upset by Sam , so it is agreed Sam will stay outside whilst the boys play. However when Jack arrives in Gary’s bedroom he is stunned to discover that Gary doesn’t have a computer or games consoles. Gary has instead just put the finishing touches to a space game, played the old fashioned way. It’s not long before the two boys are deeply engrossed in their game, oblivious to the catastrophic events which are happening outside.
 
You see, it hasn’t taken Bella long to realise there is a dog outside and she decides to trick him, much to Sam’s dismay. However karma is a good thing and soon she finds herself making a chain of bad decisions which leaves the diva distraught.
 
The next part absolutely captivated my granddaughter as Sam’s inner voice brings back memories of times long ago and an event which happened to him then – or is he just imaging it did? Anyway, Sam decides he must go into superhero mode and after chanting his special chant he magically saves the diva, even if he does make a blunder on the way. He thinks he has got away with it, but then Bella says something to him which makes him wonder…
 
The Super Speed Sam books have become a firm favourite in our household, each one bringing a different special message subtly woven into their wonderful stories. Highly recommended for children who love superheros, especially the canine variety.
 

Your reading for July from Susan Keefe

A Stranger in Paris: 1 (A French Life)

by Karen Webb

It’s amazing what we will do for love. Its magnetism draws like nothing else, as the readers of this fast paced and exciting memoir will discover.

It is possible to break free from your traditionally expected path in life and live a totally different one. The author, Karen Webb, discovered this when one day when she suddenly realised with certain clarity that she didn’t want to just get her degree, and the settle down with her fiancé Steve to a lifetime of beer and rugby in Neath.

Instead in 1989 this story begins at Aberystwyth train station, where she is saying goodbye to her university life and friends, who all think she is mad. Why, well because running headlong out of one relationship has led to her falling hopelessly in love with David Azoulay, a naturally charismatic French Orthodox Jew. Charming and caring he quickly takes her heart, and then heartlessly tells her that she must let him go. Hurt, rejected, and sure she can change his mind, what does she do, she follows him back home to Paris.

Reckless, impetuous perhaps, however this decision is the first of many she is destined to make. I for one, having become an expat English living in France 16 years ago understand totally the draw of adventure, the wonder of Paris and the wonderful experiences living in France has to offer.

Encouraged by her friend, or perhaps as we discover devil on her shoulder, Jessica, Karen, like many girls before her finds a job as an au pair to a French couple with three children. Settled in their bourgeoise house in Paris she quickly discovers what is expected of her, and to her surprise some amazing insights into the French attitudes to sex, married life, and relationships.

Karen also very quickly discovers how totally lost you can feel when everyone around you speaks French at double time, and expects you to understand them. Her experiences provide entertaining and interesting reading, and gives her readers a real feel for French family life.

However, the appearance of her friend Jessica at her employer’s house one night is destined to change everything, her relationships, career, home, indeed her whole life.

There is so much of everything packed into this story, her life is truly a rollercoaster of an adventure, yet, throughout Karen has the amazing ability to adapt to whatever life throws at her, however the question is, did she get her man?

This is the first of a three part memoir by this talented author and I for one cannot wait to read more of her loves, experiences, and adventures.

Highly recommended – whether you love a great memoir which enables you to peeping into other people’s lives, adore Paris or France, or just want an excellent story you can get totally absorbed into, this is the book for you!

Available from Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stranger-Paris-French-Life-Book-ebook/dp/B07LG8BNBK/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1561478927&sr=8-1

 

Inconvenient Memories: A Personal Account of the Tiananmen Square Incident and the China Before and After

by Anna Wang

In writing this fascinatingly informative book, the author Anna Wang has fulfilled a promise she made to herself long after the terrible massacre at Tiananmen Square, Beijing, a promise to tell her story about the events at that time.

Born in China in 1966, a few years later than myself in England, Anna has really opened my eyes through her memoir to how different life is in East Asia.

The author was abandoned by her mother into the care of her grandmother who lived in Beijing. It is through Anna’s recollections of her childhood and youth, that we discover how strict the upbringing of Chinese children is, and also what living conditions were like in the capital city during her youth. Perhaps the most eye-opening part of this whole book for me was to discover the different ‘regimes’ which Chinese people have to, and still do adhere to, and the class distinctions and restrictions imposed on its people by the government, and their policies.

It wasn’t until she was accepted into Peking University in Beijing as a microelectronics major that Anna experienced protests for the first time. The death on the 15th April 1989 of a former Communist Leader Hu Yaobang, who had worked hard to move China toward a more open political system, and had become a symbol of democratic reform caused the initial uprising in Tiananmen Square. This commenced with the students marching through the capital to Tiananmen Square. From that beginning the uprising grew, hunger strikes, and rally’s caused Premier Li Peng to impose martial law on 19th May.

Anna’s memories of these times are full of fear, with troupes roaming the street, innocent citizens shot, families decimated, and a city in lockdown. On the 4th June, 1989 the demonstration ended when Chinese troops fired on civilians and students. The true death toll has never been released…

At the time of the incident, and after, she worked as a secretary at Canon Beijing, and then went on to have a successful writing career. She has had published other books about her life and experiences, and is married to Lao Xin who she met when he was a student of literature in college. The couple have two children, and with her own vivid childhood memories, their future is paramount to her.

Throughout her extremely interesting life this determined woman, with strength and fortitude, has intermittently lived in Beijing, and also in America, New Zealand and Canada. Through her vividly detailed accounts the author gives her reader a real insight into life in China, and being Chinese. For me, an added bonus was that her recollections of her grandmother’s stories to her during childhood, gives a fascinating glimpse into early 20th century life, including the custom of foot binding.

I would highly recommend this fascinating book to anyone interested in history, memoirs, and life in China through the 20th, and into the 21st century.

Available from Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Inconvenient-Memories-Personal-Tiananmen-Incident-ebook/dp/B07PM9LS25/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=inconvenient+memories&qid=1561478763&s=gateway&sr=8-1

 

Cries of Mercy (Cries Series)

by Angela Beach Silverthorne

Can Bren and Joseph’s love for each other and faith in God overcome all?

Cries of Mercy is the third in the Cries Series written by Angela Beach Silverthorne, a Christian woman whose faith and character shine through in this incredible series.

The story is set in the small town of Silverton, a close nit Christian community, and the chief protagonist is Bren, a young woman whose life the readers have watched evolve in this series. She suffered a traumatic childhood, however found sanctuary at The Haven, where, through the teachings of her grandmother ‘GG’ she discovered her faith in God, and realised that she was a Lighten, which means a warrior of God, and to signify this she carries a crescent-moon birth mark. As a young woman Bren graduate as a nurse, and returns to The Haven to be the village midwife, and then eventually marries Pastor Joseph.

The scene is set at the beginning of this book with Bren reflecting on her marriage, honeymoon and deep endearing love for her husband Joseph. However, their past has also been tinged with great sadness as she has been pregnant three times, and each of her sons have died before or just after birth. These tragedies, although heart-breaking for the couple have united them through Christ and their deep faith in God.

Silverton is thriving and wonderful things are happening in their church and at the New Beginnings Empowerment Center. Some people believe that a jail should be built for troubled souls but Joseph strongly believes that the way through to these people is through rehabilitation. Empowered by His Spirit Joseph wants to increase his ministry teachings, however Bren is afraid initially. For her, memories of past incidents emerge, however, knowing her husband’s resolute faith in his path in life, she relents and Joseph starts doing tours.

As is usual in such a caring community, the residents each have their own stories, and have overcome demons and troubles. However, some of these have re-emerged from the past, and even Joseph discovers some buried family secrets which are set to shake the lives of those he loves. Birth and death are a part of life as we are reminded every day, and when a much loved member of the community and friend is diagnosed with terminal cancer there is much sorrow, yet even amidst the sadness there is joy when Bren discovers that she is with child again, and together the couple pray for a safe delivery of their baby.

As Joseph’s ministry to his flock and tours are increasing, there is unrest and faces from the past arrive in Silverton, bent on causing mayhem. Yet resolute, Joseph finds strength and values the advice of his good friend Dominique a Franciscan Priest, and together they fortify and strengthen the villagers in their fight against the demons of Satan.

As family secrets are revealed, and puzzles from the past are solved, the mysteries unfold, leaving Bren and Joseph looking forward to overcoming everything and being a family unit, but will their dreams come true?

This captivating story, although part of a trilogy can happily be enjoyed alone. It is a wonderful story in which the community of Silverton comes alive, and its characters, their lives, loves and experiences are richly described by the author, making it a truly outstanding read.

Available from Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cries-Mercy-Book-3-ebook/dp/B07RJTDRCB/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=cries+of+mercy+by+angela+beach+silverthorne&qid=1561478831&s=gateway&sr=8-1

 

A Better You in Later Life

by John Molyneux

Like millions of other people I accepted aches and pains as a normal part of getting older, but wow, has this book proven otherwise.

With over 20 years of experience as an accredited sports therapist behind him, the author, John Molyneux has proven to me that aching joints and stiffness are not necessarily an automatic part of growing older.

A Better You in Later Life provided me with all the information I needed to re-educate myself and break my bad habits which have developed over time. I found the way the book is set out perfect as it makes you think about and adjust your posture, and then teaches you how to strengthen your core, by engaging the many muscles involved in it, and this in turn protects your back.

From there the author taught me through clear explanations and photographs, how to start exercising all the different parts of the body. For me, very importantly when to stop, and what not to do, including explaining which exercises and stretches should not be attempted if you have had hip/knee replacements.

This is not a book to glimpse at and do occasionally, it is set out as an exercise programme to be carried out one step at a time, ensuring that each part is successfully accomplished to the readers’ ability and flexibility before moving on.

Near the end of the book there are strengthening and compound exercises, and also some routine programmes which vary in length, however enable you in as little as 5 minutes a day to keep supple and have a better quality of life.

I learnt so much from this book, ranging from my ability to decrease the aches and pains I had taken for granted, to how to belly breath, which noticeably strengthens the diaphragm, helps me to relax, and is good for my blood pressure.

I highly recommend this book to everyone interested in improving their health and well-being. Reading it I have learnt invaluable lessons most importantly how to listen to my body, but also that I can incorporate exercise easily into my daily life, and through doing so increase my quality of life beyond measure.

Available from Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Better-You-Later-Life-ebook/dp/B07RT12BX7/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=a+better+you+in+later+life&qid=1561479083&s=gateway&sr=8-1

 

Manish’s Predictions for July

Cancer ( 21 June – 22 July ) – This is the best phase to fix problems, make plans and deepen your commitment.  You will re-launch yourself, with a wonderful new look, or dramatically different role. The world will no longer see you in the same old way, but your partner will need to be extremely secure, tolerant and flexible to cope. If committed, you will have the courage for a decisive conversation with partners. If single, you will have many people willing to win your heart, but choosing among them will be difficult.  A sense of humor will help. Favorable Dates : July 3, 4, 12, 13, 21, 22 Favorable Colors : Red & Yellow

Leo  ( 23 July – 22 August ) – This is a  time to observe, feel, and process. You may pay special attention to your dreams, and the subtle areas of your lives. Focusing on creativity and artistry can be beneficial. You are looking for more meaning to your lives and especially to your relationships. You seek to make others happy and tend to give others the benefit of the doubt. Your feelings and tastes are grand, and you may be especially extravagant or indulgent. Take time for a healthy retreat in a scenic place with your loved ones for a week or so. Favorable Dates : July 8, 9, 17, 18, 26, 27 Favorable Colors : Blue & Yellow

Virgo ( 23 August – 22 September ) – You could be feeling inspired, and your thinking is inventive. Varying  your usual routine may be rewarding. You take more pride in your tastes, relationships, and personal possessions. You are more affectionate, expressive, and generous, and tend to crave admiration and appreciation. If single, destiny allows you to choose whether to spend the month on sexual adventure, or build a foundation for a lasting union. This is a time of great love and passionate hatred. The married ones may show more tolerance to partners. Favorable Dates : July 1, 4, 10, 13, 19, 22 Favorable Colors : Red & Green

Libra ( 23 September – 22 October )  – There is need to keep balance this month.You may be attempting to please others and ignoring your own needs, or tending to your own needs and alienating others. You can be feeling needy and looking for love.You are thinking about the long view, seeking out security and stability.  You may be committed, focused, resistant to making changes, and stubborn.If you are still single , expect the spotlight to swing on your former partner or a potential new date. Reduce the emotional temperature when making professional decisions. Favorable Dates : July 3, 7, 12, 16, 21, 25 Favorable Colors : White & Grey

Scorpio ( 23 October – 21 November ) – Alternative ideas, innovative approaches and revolutionary u-turns will be  on your agenda. Personal professional skills will help perfectly actualize all plans. New projects, people, hours, equipment or methods will point you in a different professional direction, and in some cases, a total change of lifestyle will be in the offing.Self-improvement endeavors can be in focus and successful as you go forward.Ultimately, you’ll be in a stronger position. Watch for over-spending and overindulgence in general, as there is some tendency to latch onto impractical ideas or ventures. Favorable Dates : July 3, 4, 12, 13, 21, 22 Favorable Colors : White & Green

Sagittarius ( 22 November -21 December ) – While there can be a strong and even consuming desire to throw yourself into work or projects you may not be able to find enough energy to back it up.Your patience may be wearing thin, due to the demands of travel, study, teaching, publishing or people from interstate and overseas.  You are faced with the need to temper your enthusiasm or to slow down to avoid overextending yourselves. This is a time for clarifying and editing projects and goals. You may need to cut back on something in order to grow in another. Favorable Dates : July 1, 2, 10, 11, 19, 20 Favorable Colors : White & Yellow

Capricorn ( 22 December – 19 January ) – It is time to build networks and co-operate. There is a stronger desire to nourish, care for, or tend to favorite people, things, and projects.This is generally a good time for social pursuits, trying something new, joining a group, and networking. You can learn something completely new, and while it may be slightly uncomfortable at first, you can be thrilled that you’re reaching out beyond your usual  bounds.Youneed to make watertight plans for your mind, body and spirit in a way which serves all of them, at the same time.  Favorable Dates : July 3, 4, 12, 13, 21, 22 Favorable Colors : Red & Yellow

Aquarius ( 20 January – 18 February ) – This is a time when it may become obvious where you’ve been pushing too hard, particularly related to a relationship, but for some, this can also be about a project.You need to observe things a little longer before committing, and other times you may have to learn from your mistakes. There can be a feeling that whatever alternative you pick, you won’t win. There could be a minor dilemma between family and friends, or the need for time to recoup and the need to make connections with others.Favorable Dates : July 2, 3, 11, 12, 20, 21 Favorable Colors : Blue & Purple

Pisces ( 19 February – 20 March ) – This is a time for lingering on your feelings instead of dismissing them or tucking them away. This is also a time for a wait-and-see approach to your world, as it’s not a good period for pushing quickly ahead.Social interactions or issues can get in the way of your work, and vice versa. Distractions are plenty, or you are more sensitive to them.This month will see spark in love burning brighter than ever as you celebrate your love. If you’re single, someone in your life could become more than just a friend. Favorable Dates : July 1, 4, 10, 13, 19, 22 Favorable Colors : White & Red

Aries ( 21 March – 19 April ) – This will be especially creative time and you would be able to offer a surprisingly elegant solution to emerging issues thereby pushing aside potential competitors. At work, you will be consistent in your actions and will confidently finish anything started. Financial decisions made will satisfy your head, as well as your heart. Other people’s stake in your money, assets and possessions will be in the spotlight. Perseverance and consistency at work will pay off if supported by like-minded people, and if you do not hesitate to ask for help when the need arises. Favorable Dates : July 2, 4, 11, 13, 20, 22 Favorable Colors : Purple & Yellow

Taurus ( 20 April – 20 May ) – You will achieve unimaginable success in various spheres of your lives, if you channel your energies wisely.  Your vital strength will only increase, which would undoubtedly stabilize your emotions and psyche, self-esteem and inspire confidence. You may join forces with someone who shares your financial, property and business goals and then pursue the outcome when the facts and figures will be extremely clear.  If you’re in a committed relationship, you’ll see it reinvigorated this month. You will find yourself getting comfortable and settled with your partner.Favorable Dates : July 8, 9, 17, 18, 26, 27 Favorable Colors : Blue & Green

Gemini ( 21 May – 20 June ) – Coolness will be an unmistakable sign of success.  Those who worked hard in previous months will be particularly lucky. All prepared projects will suddenly start to develop as if by themselves, without encountering any obstacles. If the world seems like a bigger and more interesting place, it will be largely thanks to an intriguing team effort. This is your best chance for you to get educated and establish links with the outside world.  Romantic events will be activated. This will be an enjoyable time, stormy, and full of passionate declaration of love.Favorable Dates : July 4, 7, 13, 16, 22, 25 Favorable Colors : Red & White

Taking up residence in France?  Take advice early.

By Rob Kay, Senior Partner, Blevins Franks

It is not difficult to appreciate why so many people fall in love with France and consider making it their home.  There are, however, some tax and financial essentials you need to be aware of and plan for if you are to get the best out of living in France.

While you should review all the various aspects of your wealth management when moving from one country to another, in France it is particularly important to look at the tax and estate planning implications nice and early.  The way you hold your assets can make a significant difference to how they are taxed as well as to inheritance issues.

Ideally you should take advice before you buy your property and make the move, so that you do not miss out any tax and succession planning opportunities. However it is never too late to review your position as there are often steps you can take to improve your tax situation.

Property ownership

There are various ways of owning property in France.  There is personal ownership in sole or joint names.  You could have a community marriage contract or insert a tontineclause in the French conveyance.   Alternatively, you could own the property in an SCI, a form of French property-holding company.

When deciding how to own your French property, you also need to take the strict French succession laws into account. The best option for you depends on a number of factors, such as your family situation (particularly if you have an unmarried partner or stepchildren); what you want to happen to your property on death; whether you will be a French or UK tax resident etc.

Tax planning

The French tax regime is completely different to the UK’s, not to mention very detailed and complex.  Anyone moving to France or recently arrived needs to be prepared for this.  There are various tax traps and many people pay more tax than necessary or get their tax planning wrong.  It is usually fixable, but of course getting it right from the outset makes life much easier.

What is tax-efficient in the UK is not usually tax-efficient in France, so you need to review your savings and investment structures.  The tax burden can be high in France, but you can usually take steps to reduce it, sometimes considerably, particularly on investment capital.

So take specialist cross-border tax, estate planning and wealth management, and as early as possible. It will prove invaluable and give you peace of mind that everything is in order as you get on with enjoying your new life in France.

Download a free copy of the ‘The Blevins Franks Guide to Taxes in France’.

The tax rates, scope and reliefs may change. Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change. Tax information has been summarised; an individual is advised to seek personalised advice.

You can find other financial advisory articles by visiting our website here

The new UK tax year: What has and hasn’t changed?

By Rob Kay, Senior Partner, Blevins Franks

The 2019/20 UK tax year ticked over on 6 April 2019, resetting thresholds and allowances for the next 12 months. We explore changes that may affect expatriates and what you can do to make the most of existing rules.

Personal tax

The amount of UK income you can earn tax-free increases by £650 to £12,500. The threshold for the highest income tax rate of 40% rises from £46,350 to £50,000 (different rates and bands apply in Scotland). This represents an annual saving of £130 for basic rate taxpayers and £830 for those with income up to £125,000.

Although previous governments have suggested removing personal allowance benefits for non-resident British nationals, expatriates still qualify today. However, this could potentially change with a new UK government.

Remember: UK source income may need to be declared in your country of residence, even if it is not liable to taxation in either country.

Savings and investments

With no relevant changes here, the band of UK savings income that can be earned tax-free remains at £5,000 and the annual ISA subscription limit stays at £20,000. The dividend allowance stays at the reduced level of £2,000.

Note that investments like ISAs lose their tax-efficient benefits once you are no longer UK resident. Not only are non-residents ineligible to open and save into ISAs, any interest earned may become liable to taxation in France.

Take time to explore alternative tax-efficient arrangements that may better suit your particular set of circumstances, goals and risk appetite.

Pensions

The pensions annual allowance remains at £40,000. Meanwhile, the State Pension increases 2.6% in line with inflation (as defined by the Consumer Price Index), representing an extra £169 a year for those who started drawing benefits before 6 April 2015; £221 for others. Despite ongoing Brexit uncertainty, expatriates who are already settled in the EU should continue receiving these cost-of-living increases in future.

The lifetime allowance (LTA) also increases with inflation from £1.03 million to £1.055 million. This allows you to accrue an extra £25,000 in combined pension benefits before the 25% or 55% LTA tax penalties apply.

Even with this extra allowance, beware that today’s high transfer values for ‘final salary’ pensions make it easier to trigger lifetime allowance penalties.

Transfers to EU/EEA-based Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS) remain tax-free for EU residents. However, following Brexit, it is possible the UK may widen its 25% overseas transfer charge to include the EU/EEA.

In any case, take regulated advice to establish the best pension solution for your individual circumstances and goals – before the rules potentially change.

Inheritance tax

An inheritance tax review is underway, but for now the threshold remains frozen at £325,000 per person (as it has been since 2009). With the lifetime gift allowance also unchanged, you can still pass on up to £3,000 tax-free (without the requirement to live for another seven years).

The residential nil rate band increases as planned from £125,000 to £150,000 per person. This provides extra tax relief when passing on a main UK home to direct descendants, but starts to taper once joint assets exceed £2 million.

The good news for expatriates is that overseas property can qualify, provided it is your main home (although local inheritance taxes may still apply).

Capital gains tax

The capital gains tax exemption continues tracking inflation, increasing from £11,700 to £12,000 (£6,000 for most trusts).

From 6 April, the sale of commercial UK property owned by non-UK residents becomes subject to non-resident capital gains tax (NRCGT), whether it is owned by individuals or through a trust or company structure. This comes four years after UK residential property became liable, now bringing most UK property and land owned by non-residents into firing range for capital gains tax.

Property

Buy-to-let tax relief continues to taper. Now landlords can only deduct 25% of their mortgage interest repayments against rental income (compared to 75% in 2017/18 and 50% last year). Next year this relief is set to be replaced by a 20% mortgage interest tax credit.

In May, the government is due to finish a consultation on an additional 1% stamp duty for non-residents buying residential property in England and Northern Ireland, so there is a chance this will come into force in the near future.

This joins a range of measures targeting UK investment property that potentially make it a less tax- and cost-efficient option for capital. If this affects you, consider restructuring your wealth to reduce your tax liabilities.

While this new tax year brings relatively few changes, it is sensible to review whether you are making the most of all the available tax-efficient opportunities, in the UK and your country of residence. Take personalised advice from a cross-border specialist with understanding of both the UK and French tax regimes for the best results.

Tax rates, scope and reliefs may change. Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change. Tax information has been summarised; individuals should seek personalised advice.

You can find other financial advisory articles by visiting our website here

Susan Keefe’s Bookshelf for your June reading

Bloody Coffee

by Michelle Dim-St. Pierre
Bloody CoffeeIn this traumatic and sometimes heart-rending novel we meet a teenage girl called Leigh, whose world has been turned upside down when she discovers that the man she has always known as her father isn’t actually her biological father.
This traumatic fact was not uncovered as you might think by accident, but as a result of being given by her mother, her own journals of that period in her life.
 
Although Leigh lives in New York, she travels to Tel-Aviv where her mother used to be a nurse to track down and meet her ‘real’ father Dr Ezra Sloan. However, by accident or because of the circumstances, (Who can tell?) this confrontation doesn’t go as planned and instead a distraught Leigh finds herself performing CPR on Sloan as he suffers a heart attack. With the ambulance sirens fading into the distance it is a confused Leigh who is left wondering what the future holds.
 
However, the plucky young lady is undaunted, and despite having to face the wrath of Sloan’s wife and sons, she has the fortitude to continue in her quest to discover the reasons why he is not in her life, and is surprised and confused by what she uncovers.
 
Leigh’s dogged determination means that her life alternates between New York and Tel-Aviv, and as more and more of her mother’s past is revealed the questions mount up, and a tormented Leigh finds herself desperately searching for answers to her questions.
 
Throughout, the reader can clearly see both sides of this very emotional story. Although my heart bled for Leigh at times, and her torment was easy to understand, as the saying goes ‘you have to walk a mile in someone’s shoes, before you can judge them.’ As a parent and a mother Sharon’s decision to reveal the truth was a brave one, and with the resulting emotional backlash and recriminations, one has to admire her ability to support her daughter at times. After all everyone is entitled to their own secrets…
 
The author Michelle Dim-St. Pierre, was born and spent half her life in Tel-Aviv, before moving to America. In this very powerful novel overflowing with emotional turmoil and suspense, she uses her work and life experiences to keep her reader spellbound until the very last page. I highly recommended this book to lovers of fictional human interest stories, laced with intrigue and mystery.
 
Available from Amazon 
 

Anuk: Book of Words

by Suzanne Mondoux
In the author’s first book, The Adventures of Anuk: The First Leap, we meet Anuk on her 16th birthday. At the beginning of the story she is living with her adopted Mammal Beings Julea and Lucca, but she is an Assisi Human.
For those who don’t know, Assisi Humans are very special beings, half animal half human, and they have a very important responsibility, and this is to keep the harmony between the humans and other Beings.
However, on her birthday she is given a book of poems and two medallions with magical powers, and is told that she must follow her destiny and travel to her homeland of Roese.

This, the second book, opens with Anuk living happily on Roese Island, her home for several seasons. It is a time of great joy because she is celebrating her graduation. After causing a sensation on her arrival, now aged 23 she is an accomplished culinary explorer, and the islanders call her the ‘Island Chef.’ Talked about, and an inspiration to the young Being on the island, Anuk is very popular, is loved by her students, and is always welcome into their homes for the reading of poems.

Anuk meets with her Dragon friend Noga, and together they go to the graduation ceremony where Noga reads from the Book of Words. ”We are the last herd of Elephant Beings to walk the Orb.” The words are chilling, and everyone recognises that the book has a significance that no-one has realised before. Contained within its pages is a hidden map which reveals the location of Satao, the place where the last remaining Elephant Beings exist.

At The Round Table Council, Anuk is asked to read from the book. With mounting horror the council members discover how the Elephant Beings had to hide their tusks from the Etani, who were notorious killers of the Elephant Beings for their ivory tusks, and then about their massacre by the Poach under the command of the Empire.

Gradually Anuk understands the significance of the golden elephant tattoo which has been emerging between her shoulder blades. When she reveals it to the council it is complete, and she discovers that the Book of Words she was entrusted with aged 16 was actually written by the Elephant Beings, and it is her destiny to return to them, she is its one true guardian!

With this revelation comes another, the Empress has discovered the Book of Words is on Roese Island and is coming to retrieve it.

With the islands peoples in danger, Anuk is hailed as the ‘Change Maker’ and with Aye, Noga, Kinkajou, and EagleOwl as her companions, she embarks on her quest to return the book to Satao.

This spectacular adventure sees the intrepid troop facing real dangers, strange creatures and mythical beings, both friends and foes. However, together they stand united, listen to advice and have an heroic race against time to keep the Book of Words safe. But will they succeed in their quest, and reach their destination before the dreaded Etani or Poach?

The author’s incredible imagination and gift for writing has produced this second book in the Anuk series. Within, her readers have the opportunity not only to escape into a wonderful, magical, land, but also through its amazing characters to learn valuable life lessons about duty, giving to others and conservation.
 
 
 

Dynomike: Proud To Be Me

by Frankie B. Rabbit 
 
My granddaughter and I are great fans of the Dynomike books, she because of the lovely stories and bright illustrations, and myself because of the skill Frankie B. Rabbit exhibits in managing to put important life lesson skills within pages of a book which easily captures the attention of young children.

In this Dynomike book, Dynomike is visiting summer camp, something looked forward to, or dreaded by children each year. He arrives confident that he is going to have a wonderful time, playing and making new friends.

However, this is before Mr. Pop Sour announces that it’s time for kickball. Eager to play Dynomike is excited until he strips in a puddle and emerges covered in mud.

Poor Dymnomike, and if that’s not bad enough a nasty bully called Freckly Frock picks on him and taunts him, which isn’t very nice at all!

What a nasty character Freckly Frog is! His actions make Dynomike slink away, ashamed, and feeling afraid and insecure. The horrible bully has really made him sad.

Then, sitting in the cabin Dynomike realises that this scared person isn’t who he is. He has come to camp to enjoy himself and make friends. Empowered by this realisation, he decides that he will not be defeated and confronts Freckly Frog. When he does his words make the bully realise how horrible he has been.

This little story holds an enormous message, one of believing in your strength and self-worth. Children reading this will gain courage and learn through Dynomike how to deal with nasty bullies, and importantly, how to show friendship to them afterwards and ‘be the bigger person.’

Not only is this story one which all children will enjoy and learn from in a gentle way, but also the author has also kindly given his readers a free Dynomike book at the end.
 
 
 

A Future With Hope

by Carl S. Armato
 
A Future With Hope – what an excellent title for this book, it sets the tone perfectly for the inspirational and educational content.
 
The author, Carl S. Armato was diagnosed in the mid 1960’s with type 1 diabetes at the very young age of 18 months. However, the knowledge that their son was the youngest child ever to be diagnosed with diabetes in St. Mary Parish, Patterson, on the Gulf Coast in rural Louisiana enthused his parents, Lucien and Leona Armato, with a determination, and that was to change the whole family’s diet and lifestyle to fit in with the diagnosis. Their positive attitude followed Carl through the years and gave him the faith that he was master of his own destiny, not diabetes!
 
Although a pediatrician, Dr. Carmen Posada had an interest in endocrinology for type 1 diabetes and with her support and tutelage his mother learnt how to check and control his sugars, something which he in turn would learn and have to do throughout his life.
 
However, he was determined not to be defined by his diagnosis, and with the support of his family, friends, and wife Christi he has enjoyed his life, and enriched the lives of those he has known over the past 52 years.
 
With a philosophy that knowledge is power, he has become an expert on diabetes, so much so that in 2012 he became CEO of Novant Health, a hospital which outperforms all hospitals in the same data platform in terms of diabetes care. Embracing changes in technology and always happy to offer advice and support, it wasn’t until a few years after becoming CEO that he opened up about having the disease himself.
 
In writing this book, the author has culminated a lifetimes experience with the disease at all ages, which in itself offers the reader a real insight into the dedication to diet and exercise that is critically important to manage the disease, and how dangerous not paying attention to it can be. Throughout he stresses the necessity of having a good support system. Indeed, his family, friends and wife have also contributed to the book which gives other perspectives, and the admiration and respect he has earnt over the years from the medical profession and his friends is to be admired.
 
My husband has type 2 diabetes, and did for a period of time have type 1, so I am very aware of how the disease can make you feel. This book is incredibly uplifting, it is very easy to become depressed about the need to take sugar readings regularly, and the lifelong diagnosis, the positive attitude the author has embraced is an example to us all.
 
Interesting, well written, and full of information and inspiration, this book is a must read for not only those who have diabetes, but also their families.
 
 

Bubbles Galore (Super Speed Sam Book 11)

by Monty J. McClaine
Bath time can be great fun, especially if there are toys, and plenty of bubbles!
Yet again six year old Jack is up to mischief. Its bath time in the McClaine household, Molly is watching her favourite programme, the Cat Walk Kittens, and mum has just run Jack his bath, bubble bath included. However, once mum has left him to see to Molly, Jack decides he wants more bubbles, he concludes that mum must have read the instructions wrong on the bottle, and so he adds more bubblybath, and for good measure turns the taps up too.
Now, anyone who has done this knows just how quickly the bubbles multiply. Very soon the room fills with bubbles. Quickly Jack realises that it’s a good idea to escape, but poor Sam is left inside.
If you, like our family are fans of this series, you will know that Sam is extremely smart and has been given special powers, and it’s a good thing he has!
Thinking fast, Sam springs into action. However he soon discovers that paws are not very good at turning taps, or taking plugs out, and so he uses his special chant to change into his superhero persona, Super Speed Sam. Chant finished, and magically sensibly dressed for scuba diving, he sets off into the murky depths of the bathtub, hoping, now he is better equipped, although looking rather like a frog, he can save the day. It is not long however before he discovers that he is not alone. Incredibly, his chanting has created a magical underwater world, where the children’ bath toys have come alive.
As this adventure unfolds Sam realises that he must use all his cleverness skills to save the day by stopping the bathroom from flooding. The question is, if he succeeds, what will happen to his new bath toy friends when the water they live in goes down the plug hole?
Yet again, Monty J McClaine, the author of this series has written a wonderful story. It was thoroughly enjoyed, and captured the imagination of my granddaughter today, and I am sure it will be loved by all children who read it.

Cries of Mercy

by Angela Beach Silverthorne
Can Bren and Joseph’s love for each other and faith in God overcome all?
Cries of Mercy is the third in the Cries Series written by Angela Beach Silverthorne, a Christian woman whose faith and character shine through in this incredible series.
The story is set in the small town of Silverton, a close nit Christian community, and the chief protagonist is Bren, a young woman whose life the readers have watched evolve in this series. She suffered a traumatic childhood, however found sanctuary at The Haven, where, through the teachings of her grandmother ‘GG’ she discovered her faith in God, and realised that she was a Lighten, which means a warrior of God, and to signify this she carries a crescent-moon birth mark. As a young woman Bren graduate as a nurse, and returns to The Haven to be the village midwife, and then eventually marries Pastor Joseph.
The scene is set at the beginning of this book with Bren reflecting on her marriage, honeymoon and deep endearing love for her husband Joseph. However, their past has also been tinged with great sadness as she has been pregnant three times, and each of her sons have died before or just after birth. These tragedies, although heart-breaking for the couple have united them through Christ and their deep faith in God.
Silverton is thriving and wonderful things are happening in their church and at the New Beginnings Empowerment Center. Some people believe that a jail should be built for troubled souls but Joseph strongly believes that the way through to these people is through rehabilitation. Empowered by His Spirit Joseph wants to increase his ministry teachings, however Bren is afraid initially. For her, memories of past incidents emerge, however, knowing her husband’s resolute faith in his path in life, she relents and Joseph starts doing tours.
As is usual in such a caring community, the residents each have their own stories, and have overcome demons and troubles. However, some of these have re-emerged from the past, and even Joseph discovers some buried family secrets which are set to shake the lives of those he loves. Birth and death are a part of life as we are reminded every day, and when a much loved member of the community and friend is diagnosed with terminal cancer there is much sorrow, yet even amidst the sadness there is joy when Bren discovers that she is with child again, and together the couple pray for a safe delivery of their baby.
As Joseph’s ministry to his flock and tours are increasing, there is unrest and faces from the past arrive in Silverton, bent on causing mayhem. Yet resolute, Joseph finds strength and values the advice of his good friend Dominique a Franciscan Priest, and together they fortify and strengthen the villagers in their fight against the demons of Satan.
As family secrets are revealed, and puzzles from the past are solved, the mysteries unfold, leaving Bren and Joseph looking forward to overcoming everything and being a family unit, but will their dreams come true?
This captivating story, although part of a trilogy can happily be enjoyed alone. It is a wonderful story in which the community of Silverton comes alive, and its characters, their lives, loves and experiences are richly described by the author, making it a truly outstanding read.

This weekend for a Roman extravaganza in Nîmes

From May 3rd Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 500 re-enactors from France, Italy, Croatia and Germany meet in the exceptional setting of the Arènes de Nîmes to take part in the ‘Great Roman Games’, a unique event which has established itself as the greatest historical reconstruction of antiquity in Europe, in the best preserved amphitheatre in the world.

For three days, the Nîmes coliseum offers to relive the legendary ludi as occured 2000 years ago. This will include the Imperial Court, a parade of Roman legionnaires, chariot races and gladiatorial combat.

This edition honours the Barbarian Kings and the invasion of the Cimbri, Teutonic and Ambron that the Romans had to face between 113 and 101 BC. The Barbarian Kings recounts the epic of the barbarians following their victory over the Romans in Arausio,  which is the French city of Orange, and the triumph of General Marius during the famous battle of Aix-en-Provence in 101 BC.

From the 1st to 5th passionate reenactors will live as in the Roman era, 24h / 24h for 5 days, setting up a Roman camp exactly as it was. There is the opportunity to interact with historians and archaeologists in period dress and to participate in several workshops and demonstrations.

About forty AERA specialists will offer a series of workshops, presentations, demonstrations and military trainingon Camp Romain.You can learn how to make Roman military bread and discover military tents decorated by the objects used at the time. The reenactors, in military uniform of different ranks, will present the packages owned by the Roman soldiers of the time. A centurion, a specialized historian, will present the different strategies put in place by the Roman army during their conquests.

The whole town of Nîmes turn out and it becomes taken over by Roman themed events and promotions.Enjoy “Cimbrious Wars and the Battle of Orange”by Alain Deyber, archaeologist and doctor of history and civilization of Antiquity with free conference on registration at info@arenes-nimes.com.

Conference “Marius, imperator of the Roman Republic”by Éric Teyssier, professor of Roman history at the University of Nîmes free registration at info@arenes-nimes.com.

  • Throughout the town there will be marching legionaries and Roman civilians, Celts and dancers
  • Saturday May 4th from 11h to 12h6 different courses in downtown streets.
  • Torchlight Night Paradeon Saturday May 4th from 11h from 21h to 21h30
  • Emperor’s triumphal parade
  • Ceremony of the imperial cult
  • The navy in antiquity
  • Antique marketthat takes up residence on the Esplanade in front of the arena and exposes during the 3 days of festivities, on about twenty stands showing faithfully reproduced helmets, textiles, pottery, antique jewels, belts, coins and other handicrafts.

And of course this year is the 60th, and so the diamond, anniversary of Astérix the wonderfully French protagonist of the Romans. Supported by Dogamatrix, Unhygenix,, Obélix, Vitalstatistix and others – Astérix holds out against the Roman overlords. Watch out as this anniversary promises to be one for the history books with a flurry of exhibitions and celebrations everywhere. For more information visit www.asterix.com.

But if you really want the truth . . . Head down to Nîmes this coming weekend and see how it really happened (well almost!)

Louvre pyramid art was a sorry mess a few hours after installation

from Languedoc Living

Just one day after it was opened to the public the anamorphosisart installation by the artist JR, to celebrate 30 years of the famous Louvre pyramid, had already become “unstuck” and damaged.

The piece, which was due to be exhibited at the famous art gallery from Friday March 29 to Sunday March 31, began to show signs of wear and tear within hours of being created. The artwork had been created by JR and a team of volunteers using a series of long digitally printed “stickers”, which were laid on to the ground piece by piece to create the anamorphosisdesign.Watching this video on www.youtube.com</a>, or enable JavaScript if it is disabled in your browser.</div></div>

“Anamorphosis”art is a style in which the artwork only makes sense from one single perspective.

Some areas of this design appear to have been damaged within hours of being placed, with reports suggesting that the adhesive did not hold in some cases, and that areas with heavy pedestrian traffic began to become damaged more quickly.

Others suggested that some visitors had torn off some of the work, to take home as a “souvenir”. Screens have been set up at the museum entrance, to show the artwork from the correct position, and also demonstrate the behind-the-scenes of its creation.

The artwork was created as part of the 30th anniversary celebrations of the famous glass pyramid designed and installed by architect I.M.Pei and officially inaugurated on March 29th1989.

The photos illustrate what it should have looked like . . . and what it looked like after a few hours.

 

 

Llama Trekking and Glamping in the beautiful Pays de la Loire

By Susan Keefe

Where ever you live in the world news travels fast in small communities. Here in France the same is true, so when I heard that there were llamas in our little village owned by UK expats I just had to meet them and discover their story, and this is it…

On a cold December day in 2017 Sarah & Nigel Young set off from West Sussex in the UK embarking on their French adventure, the adventure being to find and purchase a farm or smallholding with enough land to keep their llamas and chickens as well as future plans for goats, sheep and pigs. Their dream being to run a Glamping Farm stay where guests could come and savour the peace and tranquillity, soak up the Vallee du Loir sunshine, splash in the pool, whilst also benefitting from learning about, handling and trekking with the llamas.

Sarah has a background in hospitality and catering, Nigel worked for Lotus cars for the majority of his career, so it made sense to head to Sarthe, Pays de la Loire… Home of Les 24 Heures du Mans, and steeped in History with Medieval Tours and The Loire River, lined with its awe-inspiring Chateaus, within 30 minutes. They knew this area would offer beautiful rural countryside, lakes, forests, plus lots of activities, whilst remaining one of the least expat populated areas in France. It had the added benefit that it is just over 7 hours door to door from their family and friends in West Sussex.

Whereas many people take an age to find their dream home, not so Sarah & Nigel, on the 4th day, having only viewed about 10 properties, they found it. The farm named La Vente is just on the outskirts of a tiny village called Lavernat. It is approached down a long country track lined on one side with the woodland ofLa forêt de Bercéand on theother, fields, where beautiful white cows graze. As they pulled into the farm’s courtyard, Sarah, being an emotional person, had tears in her eyes and they knew before looking inside that they were home!

Loire Valley Llama Farm Stay is 17 acres of mixed meadows, woodland and a lake. Opening to guests in August 2018 it already has quite a following on social media and many 5* reviews. The beautiful and unusual Lotus Belle Tents are luxuriously kitted out with “proper” beds, a double and 2 singles in each tent, and have eye catching Egyptian cotton bedding, also provided are lamps, USB points and chargers powered by solar ~ no expense is spared to ensure your comfort. Loire Valley Llama Farm Stay opens early in spring each year and continues hosting guests until late into autumn, the tents have wood burners installed and Nigel & Sarah make no additional charge for as much wood as you need to keep snug.

The tents are thoughtfully located within the farm, one being secluded at the end of the fruit tree orchard, named the Tente Peche, as it has an abundantly fruiting peach tree in grabbing distance of the tents decking. All bedding, towels, cutlery, crockery and cooking utensils are included to make this self-catering holiday simple. The outdoor kitchen, under a spectacular flowering pergola, is equipped with fridges for each tent, gas and wood fired barbecues and a microwave and plenty of work surfaces. Shower facilities are plentiful with an outdoor solar heated private shower for each tent or an indoor plumbed-in shared shower.

Sarah & Nigel are happy and proud to share the produce from the potager; carrots, garlic, melons and aubergines to name just a few and encourage guests to pick the fruit on offer, apples, plums, peaches, pears, lemons and figs.

In such a short time, this original Llama Glamping Farm in Loire, is becoming not such a well-kept secret for semi off grid holidays and Llama Trekking excursions.

My daughter and her partner have stayed with them and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. If you would like to contact them information can be found on their website https://www.loirevalleyllamas.com/

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