Transcript for Episode 380: Moving to France on a Long-Term Tourist Visa with a Child

Table of Contents for this Episode

[00:00:00] A conversation about moving to France on a long stay visa type D

[00:00:00] Annie Sargent: This is Join Us in France episode 380 trois cent quatre vingt. Bonjour, I’m Annie Sargent and Join Us in France is the podcast where we talk about France. Everyday life in France. Great places to visit in France, French culture, history, gastronomy, and news-related to travel.

[00:00:36] Annie Sargent: Today I bring you a conversation with Sarala and Thad Terpstra who are a young couple who moved to France with their young daughter. They applied for a long stay visitor visa type D and things have moved along really well for them.

[00:00:53] Annie Sargent: A quick reminder, however that I do not specialize in relocation to France. This is just a conversation on the experience for this particular family. Not advice on how anyone else should proceed. If you’re looking for advice on how to move yourself, I recommend you read the book Foolproof French Visas Complete 2022 Edition by Allison Grant Lounes. She was kind enough to give me a copy of her book and it is really thorough. It reviews all the visa types. So it gives checklists, I mean, it’s really thorough. It’s big book. There will be a link in the show notes. After the interview, I’ll share an update on travel news to France, and also my personal update.

[00:01:38] Annie’s Boutique

[00:01:38] Annie Sargent: This podcast is supported by donors and listeners who buy my tours and services, including my very popular itinerary planning service. You can browse all of that at Annie’s boutique,

[00:01:53] Annie Sargent: And the sales of my VoiceMap tours has picked up quite a bit, this March as well, probably because I have a new tour, but also because people are traveling again, which is wonderful.

[00:02:05] Annie Sargent: You can follow the show on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, and just search for Join Us in France and the episode page as well, where you’ll see Sarala’s notes. It’s going to be at, the numeral.

[00:02:38] Annie Sargent: Bonjour Sarala and Thad and welcome to Join Us in France.

[00:02:44] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Bonjour Annie, thank you for having us.

[00:02:48] Annie Sargent: Lovely to have you. And today we’re going to talk about your move to France on the long stay visa with a child. And this is not something we had done before. We had talked about people who came to France on a talent visa, uh, early retirees, but never somebody who has a young child. And so therefore, I assume, still working.

[00:03:13] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yes, we are still working. Yes, we’re both in our thirties. We’re not retired yet.

[00:03:18] Why did you decide to move to France?

[00:03:18] Annie Sargent: Okay. So tell me about why you chose to move to France and how did that go.

[00:03:25] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Well, we are both long-time Francophiles where an American couple who had spent time in France in the past. I studied abroad here and we’d both traveled to France a few times, and we had rented an apartment here for three months as we were allowed to do that, as Americans for three months. So we absolutely fell in love with France, years ago.

[00:03:47] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: And over the years we always said we’d like to move to France someday. And then during the pandemic, we started thinking really seriously about it because as like everyone else, we had more time to think. So we were like, you know, let’s do this, and now was a turning point. So, we started saving and researching. We applied for our visa, we applied September.

[00:04:08] Annie Sargent: So, September 2021.

[00:04:11] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yeah, September, 2021. We applied for the visa.

[00:04:14] Not allowed to work in France but must prove income

[00:04:14] Annie Sargent: Wow. So you applied for a long stay visa, but do they know you’re working?

[00:04:21] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yes, they do because with the long stay visa the requirement was that we weren’t allowed to work physically in France. We had to actually write a letter for our visa saying promising that we would not seek employment in France, but we had to also prove how we would financially support ourselves. So, because we weren’t retired, we don’t have a pension, but we did build up some savings during the lockdowns and stuff.

[00:04:46] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: We were building up savings. And then I also teach English online. So we used my online English teaching job and contract to prove our income.

[00:04:56] Annie Sargent: And that was sufficient?

[00:04:57] You don’t need to be a millionaire to move to France

[00:04:57] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yeah. And that was efficient. It was surprising actually, because we went into it thinking, I’m not sure if we have enough. But in the end, they approved us. So that was, that was wonderful.

[00:05:08] Annie Sargent: That’s cool because usually people who move to France are fairly wealthy, you know, that’s the typical path. And so that’s exciting that you can do it even if you have, you know, average income I guess.

[00:05:22] Not wanting to wait to move to France after retirement

[00:05:22] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yeah. It was very encouraging to us because we didn’t want to wait until we were retired. I will say we don’t live in Paris. We chose Occitanie. We chose the south of France and we didn’t choose Provence either. We chose a place that’s more affordable to live. If you’re on a budget and you’re a family.

[00:05:39] Annie Sargent: Yeah.

[00:05:40] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: I’m not sure if they factor that in, but we, our dollar goes pretty far in the area that we live in.

[00:05:45] Annie Sargent: So where do you live? Tell me about the area.

[00:05:49] Living in the Pézenas and Béziers area

[00:05:49] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yeah. So we live in Pézenas, which is about an hour from Montpellier about 30 minutes from Béziers. So we’re kind of in a little triangle there and about 25 minutes from the Mediterranean the coast. So we’re in a pretty good spot. It’s a beautiful location. Um, and very well situated, actually. Our town is about 8,000 people and has good connection to Béziers and Montpellier. So either way we can take a bus there and take trains from there. So we’re actually very well situated.

[00:06:19] Annie Sargent: Oh, that’s great. Yeah, Pézenas I’ve driven through there, but it’s been a long time. What’s interesting about the town?

[00:06:28] Pézenas: art galleries, artisans and the Molière festival

[00:06:28] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: It’s a beautiful town. Very well-preserved from the medieval period on. They claim, Molière I think above all. Even though, I don’t think he spent much time here, but they have a big festival for him every year. Um, there’s a lot of things dedicated to him, but it’s a very well-preserved, old town . There’s a lot of art galleries and they’re well-known for their artisans as well.

[00:06:51] Annie Sargent: Very cool. So Thad, what kind of work do you do?

[00:06:54] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Ah, so I’m currently not working. I worked, um, all throughout the pandemic. I had a full-time employment there. I worked at e-commerce. So I’ve kind of taken a break from that. Sarala’s busy with her work here. So I kind of took over the rule of definitely taking care of our, our three-year-old. So I’ve been doing that take care of all the extra, um, things that come along with, with living in France.

[00:07:14] Dealing with French administration is time-consuming

[00:07:14] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: I take care of all the resident permits, going to get appointments done, all of that. So I’ve been kind of handling that in the first six months here. I’ve been fairly busy with that.

[00:07:23] Annie Sargent: Yeah. And that’s a lot of work. I mean, my husband is trying to apply for French citizenship, which he totally qualifies for, cause we’ve been married for a long time. But getting an appointment is a job in and of itself. It’s really hard to get those appointments. Isn’t it??

[00:07:43] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: It is, it is, it’s been very difficult to get them. Um, we applied, I think you have three months to apply for your resident permit and you get your French social security number within the first three months. We’re supposed to have a medical appointment as well. And we haven’t received any of that. I did that within the first week here and we haven’t received anything back.

[00:08:01] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: So what kind of, I’m just going to go to the prefecture and next month, and really try to hammer those out. Uh, hopefully we can get them, but I know they’re very booked up with, with COVID Right. now. It’s really making things difficult to get an appointment.

[00:08:14] Annie Sargent: Right. What my husband’s told me is that there are two factors. There’s the COVID of course, but there’s also the fact that a lot of British citizens who live in France have had to apply to be legal, to stay in France since the UK is no longer in the EU. And that has created a lot of extra applications and paperwork and things.

[00:08:39] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: That makes sense. Yeah. We’ve run into a few um, British expats here. Yeah. There’s a lot in this area. And they’ve said that too, that there are a lot of reapplying, um, cause they don’t get the right away anymore.

[00:08:53] Considering cities in France like Limoux and Montpellier

[00:08:53] Annie Sargent: Yup. How did you get to know the town of Pézenas?

[00:08:58] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Actually we knew we wanted to come to the south because, in the past we actually were near Toulouse last time we were in France, we were in Limoux. And, um, we loved it. We liked, you know, the cost of living there and we liked the culture, but, we wanted somewhere, a little more sunny. We really liked Montpellier, um, when we came to visit here.

[00:09:19] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: And then, so when we started looking for apartments in France, uh, to, to pick a town, we just started looking for, um, towns around Montpellier in that area. Okay. And that’s how we found Pézenas is we were on a website called long-term rentals in France, and we zeroed in on the Montpelier area. And that’s how we found an apartment in Pézenas. And then we saw that Pézenas was a very beautiful town and we thought we’d give it a try.

[00:09:48] Annie Sargent: And you’ve been there since?

[00:09:51] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Three months? Since November. Yes, but actually we are going to re we’re going to try out Béziers next. We’re kind of trying out different towns in the area. To decide what we want to do if we want to live in the city or the country or a small town. Um, so we’re trying out Béziers starting next week, actually.

[00:10:10] Annie Sargent: Oh, you’re moving.

[00:10:11] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yeah.

[00:10:13] Annie Sargent: Oh, wow.

[00:10:14] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: We just had a vacation rental where we we’ve been doing short term vacation rentals.

[00:10:19] Renting furnished rentals in France

[00:10:19] Annie Sargent: Are these furnished rentals?

[00:10:22] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yes. They are fully furnished. The apartment that we stayed in, um, we’ve been staying in Pézenas is owned by a Canadian couple. Who rents it out when they’re not here. Um, which is most of the year, except for summer. It’s very beautiful apartment. They, um, he’s also an artist, the owner, so, um, it’s beautifully decorated.

[00:10:40] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Um, it has everything we could need. We didn’t have to bring anything it’s turnkey. Yeah.

[00:10:45] Annie Sargent: That’s great. And so in Béziers, are you also renting through long-term rentals in France?

[00:10:51] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yes. We’re renting another furnished apartment through long-term rentals in France.

[00:10:56] The lease and bank account catch-22 in France

[00:10:56] Annie Sargent: This is a good tip because people say it’s really complicated getting your foot in the door, getting a lease in France. Because there’s the catch 22 of you need a bank account, but to get a bank account, you need a lease. So how did they handle that? How did they handle that?

[00:11:18] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: I’ve been, that was my struggle. Uh, for the past two months, I’ve been struggling with that. That is the catch 22. Yes, you can’t get an apartment in France without a bank account. And you can’t get a bank account without an apartment. So we find a way around that is there’s you can open up a one, we get the, this one, we have the long-term apartment rentals through, through other ex-pats that live here on properties.

[00:11:43] Getting a certificate of residence from your expat landlord

[00:11:43] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: And it works out great because the one we’re going to, they actually live here as well. Um, so they’re able to write you a. Uh, letter stating that you are an actual resident residing in their thing for longer than, um, occasion period. So you’re able to take that to the bank, um, hopefully, and then they should be able to open an account for you, uh, in that way.

[00:12:05] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: And then the next time we can open up, uh, we can actually get a long-term apartment through a French landlord. So the process, it could actually work in your favor to do it the way we’re doing, just because of that reason. You can work with your landlords if they’re here. Um, and they can work that out for you.

[00:12:21] Annie Sargent: Right. Because obviously if they live here, if they are Canadian or Anglos that live here, they’re aware of this catch 22. French people would look at you. Like, wha why is that a problem? Like. Yeah. So, so that’s, that’s a, a good thing that in a way that they are Anglos and they understand the pain.

[00:12:50] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: They are going through the exact same things or have at some point in there and their time here. So it’s very helpful. Actually. They give a lot of information. It’s a good way to start with long-term rentals.

[00:13:01] Next they’ll go to the bank with their landlord

[00:13:01] Annie Sargent: So have you been able to open a bank account already or not quite?

[00:13:05] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Not yet. No, I’m, I’m working on that because we’re moving. So I didn’t want to redo with the new address trying to change that. Um, I wanted to do it from the next one. I’m going to be in longer. So I’ll apply for that. Probably the next two weeks. I’ll probably start reapplying for the bank account. And our new landlord said that they will assist us. They will come with us. And answer any questions and, and verify that we will be staying there. Um, so this well I’ll address that again. I started off within the first month trying to open a bank account and we, we got rejected. They were helpful, but they, they didn’t really delve too deeply into trying to open it for us.

[00:13:44] Complications for people moving to France

[00:13:44] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah. Americans have all sorts of complications because one there’s the French complications that you don’t have a lease. You don’t have an official address, but then you also have the secondary complication that the U S. Requires all sorts of reporting on what’s in your bank account in France, because you’re supposed to continue filing taxes in the U S as an American citizen.

[00:14:11] Annie Sargent: And so they require French banks to do all sorts of paperwork in English. Obviously that French, French bankers are like, I don’t know what this is. I don’t want to deal with this. I don’t need this customer that badly. You know what I mean?

[00:14:28] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yeah. I didn’t know that I ran into there. They talked about that. There are tax laws in the states are very, um, difficult and they don’t really ply to the French. So when you apply for, they don’t like Americans applying for banks for that reason, it’s just a lot of a headache for them.

[00:14:44] The French banks they tried so far

[00:14:44] Annie Sargent: Right. Yeah. And it creates a lot of paperwork for them and they don’t really want to mess with small accounts that. Now there are some banks, which, what bank did you try that rejected you before?

[00:14:59] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Actually, we did take a. Uh, I tried to do a route that was, uh, made more sense. I tried to go through HSBC, which has banks in the states. Um, I actually opened an account through them online from here, and then you can open an account from there, again in France, but HSBC, um, was going through a transition themselves.

[00:15:22] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: So I’m still pursuing that route, but I’ll probably end up going through like Crédit Agricole. I think.

[00:15:27] Annie Sargent: Exactly. I was going to tell you that forget HSBC. They’re not going to help you. They don’t help anyone.

[00:15:32] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Good to know. Thank you.

[00:15:34] Annie Sargent: No, Crédit Agricole is the way to go at this time in 2022, if you listen to this episode, months and years from now, it might change. But right now, Crédit Agricole actually has people. That you can talk to on the phone who are trained to handle ex-pats.

[00:15:54] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Oh, good to know.

[00:15:55] Annie Sargent: Yes. So if you ask, uh, if you go into the branch and you tell them that, you know, you explained your situation, they might offer for you to talk to one of these people. And I think they offered it to my husband, but he speaks perfect French and he, he didn’t need that. But, uh, Yeah, there are options, but I think Crédit Agricole call is probably the best option for most ex-pats at this point.

[00:16:25] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Okay, good to know. Yeah.

[00:16:27] Opening an account in a French bank in America will not help you

[00:16:27] Annie Sargent: And also applying in a different town will not do you any good because. So Crédit Lyonnais for instance, they are a bank in the U S and you can see sometimes that a credit union is working with Crédit Lyonnais in the U S and you think, oh, I’ll just open an account in this place because then it will transfer to France. It does not.

[00:16:57] In France you have to bank locally

[00:16:57] Annie Sargent: Uh, as a matter of fact, banks and France are very segregated. And so the regional Crédit Agricole the regional Crédit Lyonnais knows nothing about what’s happening in a different region. If you move, they can’t help you with anything. They have no visibility into your account. That’s for safety purposes, which we understand.

[00:17:22] Annie Sargent: So if you, your card would work in a different and in ATM anywhere in the country, but, uh, person. Could not look you up and tell you, oh, here’s how much you’ve got left in your account. They know nothing about it. They can’t see that. So you have to go to your local branch for a lot of things that you couldn’t do anywhere else.

[00:17:45] Annie Sargent: So it’s really important to have a local branch where you live and not, you know, on the other side of the country.

[00:17:52] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Okay. Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. And I’ve heard that, that story before, too, where the next town over won’t even bother cashing a check for you, and they have to go back to where they opened the account to actually cash a check or even look at

[00:18:06] How their application for a Long-Stay Tourist Visa Type D is working

[00:18:06] Annie Sargent: Yup. Yup. That’s how it works. It’s a bit odd, you know, but that’s how it works. Okay. So tell me about the visa that you applied for and how it’s working.

[00:18:18] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yeah. So we applied for the long stay tourist visa that applies as a resident permit. So we applied for the long stay tourists visa saying, we were just gonna come here, visit, um, do research, et cetera. And that. For the long stay, we ended up with a VLS or a long stay visa with a Ts.

[00:18:41] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Uh, so we, I became our resident permit after we got here. That was the, the visa we applied for. And.

[00:18:50] Annie Sargent: Hmm. And so you have to forgive me. I know nothing about these visas. So just like in America, I suppose that France has different visas that can turn into something different eventually.

[00:19:03] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yes, of course. Yes. You’re right. So ours, we can eventually, like ours applies as a resident permit, but there’s other long-stay visas depending on what your purpose of stay is. Um, there could be some. Uh, for a student or a person who’s willing to coming here for, um, to work for a short period of time, you would get along stay visa.

[00:19:25] Applying for the visa you can qualify for even if that means changing it later

[00:19:25] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Uh, you get along state visa with the intent to turn into a resident permit afterwards. Um, most of those will after you’re here, if there’s an issue you can always change. And then we bumped into a lot of people who’ve said that to us too. So that’s what we applied for was what we thought would be the easiest for us to get.

[00:19:43] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: And we intend on changing that in the next year, when we get close to renewing, then we’ll be able to apply for a different one. But for now, for our purposes, it was easy to apply for the tourist visa, um, which is anywhere from because we could stay technically for three months as Americans. But this just extended that up to a year..

[00:20:03] Annie Sargent: Hmm. And how did you find out about this?

[00:20:06] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Well, because we are long-time Francophiles and we’ve been dreaming about moving to France for awhile. We’ve actually been researching this for years, um, and reading all the stories we can find online and listening to your podcast. I’ll say. So we’ve been listening to other people’s stories about how they do it.

[00:20:24] Different visas for different situations

[00:20:24] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Um, the situation with us though, is that, like you said, we’re not retired. Um, and the common way for younger people to move to France is through study abroad or au pair or getting a job in France. Um, maybe even marrying a French person, but for us, those weren’t options. So we just kept researching.

[00:20:43] Moving to France as a freelancer

[00:20:43] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: And then that’s how we found out about from other people who were freelance. That they moved here because of the long state tourist visa, which is just basically allows you to live in France, but you cannot work here. So

[00:20:58] Annie Sargent: So you have to draw your income from some other country. But you still declare it here?

[00:21:06] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: No once, not for the initial visa, uh, you have to prove how much you make to live for a year. If you could be your visa after that. Uh, if we apply for our, um, our resident permit after this carte de séjour, I do believe, and then we’ll have to, I think, prove that we can, we have to pay into the system more, um, with the next one. Which is what we’re planning on doing. Yeah. Um, otherwise you can just extend the, the long state tourist visa again, but this time, thankfully we’re here, you can do it from here.

[00:21:41] Annie Sargent: Right.

[00:21:42] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: So you don’t have to leave.

[00:21:43] Annie Sargent: So the initial application you did from the U S at the French consulate, right?

[00:21:48] Filling out the visa application on-line and working with VFS

[00:21:48] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yes. The French consulate in Chicago. Well, we filled out the application online and then our local consulate was Chicago. But, um, the whole process, uh, has been outsourced to a company called VFS now. So you don’t actually go to the consulate anymore. You go to a VFS office and ours was in Chicago. And then yeah, we filled out the application. We went in for an appointment. After we had the appointment, it took Nine days for us to receive our passport with the visa inside of it, back in the mail.

[00:22:19] Annie Sargent: Nine days.

[00:22:21] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yeah. It was really fast. Yeah, it was great.

[00:22:25] Breaking down the steps they followed

[00:22:25] Annie Sargent: Okay. Okay. Let me break that down. So you applied online,

[00:22:31] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yes.

[00:22:32] Annie Sargent: Then this VFS website gave you an appointment.

[00:22:39] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: The first, very first step is to apply on the French consulate website in the U S or whatever country you’re applying from. Once you fill out your application online, they give you an application number.

[00:22:51] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: You take the application number and go to the VFS website, and that’s where you make your appointment for your interview. And then you go into the VFS center for your appointment. So the consulate and the VFS company worked together on the whole thing, but VFS actually handles the whole interview and the paperwork.

[00:23:13] Annie Sargent: And so w they ask you to gather up all sorts of papers.

[00:23:17] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Un-hum, they give you a list of document.

[00:23:22] Annie Sargent: And once you have all of that, you turn that into VFS.

[00:23:27] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yes. You bring those to your appointment with you and they collect them from you there.

[00:23:33] Annie Sargent: And after that appointment, it only took nine days for you to get your visa?

[00:23:38] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yeah, and actually, technically it took seven, but because our passports were shipped on the weekend, there was a little delay in delivering it. But from the time of our appointment to the time they mailed us back. Cause they give you alerts, um, tracking alerts. The time they mailed us back, our visas was, uh, seven days, exactly seven days.

[00:24:00] Annie Sargent: Wow.

[00:24:00] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: That wasn’t consistent either. Cause I think you received all the notifications randomly and I received them all on one day, the day before we got it. So it’s not consistent.

[00:24:12] Annie Sargent: Yeah, but it was fast.

[00:24:14] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: It was very fast.

[00:24:16] Annie Sargent: If, if you had told me nine months, I would have believed it nine days, it was like, whoa.

[00:24:21] Be prepared with all the paperwork!

[00:24:21] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yeah, but we really we’d been researching for a long time. So we, we came very prepared. We had everything that we thought they could possibly ask for, and then some. So uh, we’ve tried to make an air-tight case. And we had a folder for each of us that had probably our life story and about an inch thick.

[00:24:43] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: They were pretty happy with it. I mean, they went through it and took what they needed and that

[00:24:48] The interview process

[00:24:48] Annie Sargent: And so are these French people that work for VSF?

[00:24:51] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yes, yes. It was the one, the one that interviewed us was she was French. They do it for different countries as well. I think most of them were, um, European countries, but French. I know the lady we interviewed me was French.

[00:25:07] Annie Sargent: And so what did she want to know?

[00:25:09] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Good question. No, she is supposed to interview each one of us in the end. They just ended up interviewing me the entire time I sat. I think I sat there for the entire appointment that took about an hour and a half, but she just asked basic kind of basic questions, kind of feeler questions. What was the purpose of our stay in, in France?

[00:25:29] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: What did we intend on doing while we are here? Um, how, what means that we have to provide for ourselves? Um, it was silent for awhile. And then do you have this paperwork? Whereas the extra paper for this, it was kind of a, just a checks and balances of what, what we had put in and with ours, we were very thorough.

[00:25:49] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: So I think it kind of helped in our interview to have everything laid out very neatly. She had very, very simple questions. It was, yeah, that was about it.

[00:26:01] Annie Sargent: That’s actually good. Um, I’m glad it’s not too painful, you know? Uh that’s. That’s really cool.

[00:26:08] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yeah. No, we heard lots of horror stories, but it was actually, we were very impressed at the. It was very fluid and very straightforward. I was going to say we’ve heard from other ex-pats in France. Who, who applied for a business visa or, Um, a spousal visa that it’s, it’s more complicated.

[00:26:25] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: But it seems like the long stay visa is the most simple, easy one to get. As long as you, the main thing is that you can prove you can support yourself and you won’t be a drain on their system. Um, it seems like if you can do that, it is the easiest route, you know? Um, because that there wasn’t too much to ask us other than what’s your proof of income?

[00:26:43] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Um, there is a list of documents. I don’t know. I’m not sure if you want me to share what documents they actually took from us, but we can share that.

[00:26:50] Annie Sargent: Sure. It’d be interesting to put it, uh, as a, as an appendix to, to this in your guest notes, because some people will want to see the exact details, but overtly that’s going to change. And maybe you made it, I mean, if you’re seriously thinking about doing this, you need to apply anyway, and then they’ll tell you what they want, because that could change, I guess.

[00:27:14] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yeah. That’s true.

[00:27:15] Annie Sargent: I don’t know. So

[00:27:16] Bring more paperwork than they need

[00:27:16] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yeah, very true. And just have more, I think that was our big thing. Have more than what they needed and they asked for, they asked for, and then you had it. So it was important for us to just have way more than they needed.

[00:27:28] Annie Sargent: Yeah,

[00:27:29] Paperwork needed for children

[00:27:29] Annie Sargent: French people love paperwork. We just love that stuff. So did it make any difference that you have a daughter?

[00:27:39] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: I don’t think so, actually we were a little nervous going into it because we couldn’t find stories of people who had done the long stay visa with a child. But, Um, in the end, the only special thing they asked from us was proof of her school registration in France or proof of homeschooling, but she was only two. So we didn’t, she was too young. So we emailed them, um, asking about it and they never got back to us. So we just decided to write a letter and we thought, okay, another signed, personally signed letter can’t be bad. So we just wrote a letter saying that she was too young, but for school, but in the long run we would apply or register in a French school when we had the chance or when the time came and we both signed it as her parents. And they actually did take that letter and submit it to the embassy so that I think that worked.

[00:28:30] Annie Sargent: So was that a sort of Déclaration sur l’honneur or whatever

[00:28:34] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: What was that?

[00:28:35] Annie Sargent: Déclaration sur l’honneur.

[00:28:37] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: I think so I guess just our assigned yes, we declare as her parents. Yes.

[00:28:42] What language did you use for the paperwork?

[00:28:42] Annie Sargent: So do you have to do those in French or can you submit them in English?

[00:28:47] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: We actually we’ve read that you should do a copy in French. We ended up actually submitting all of our documents in English because now that they outsourced to VFS. We had read some recent people’s experience that VFS just handles everything in English. So we didn’t, we didn’t translate anything to French. We just put, submitted everything in English.

[00:29:08] Annie Sargent: Well, that is very different. Isn’t it?

[00:29:13] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: I think things have changed a little. Yeah. I think, I think the pandemic’s brought some changes even here too. You have to used to go to the prefecture to get. After you’re here for three months, you have to go sign in at the prefecture and on police note, everything is online now. They didn’t even ask for anything. You literally go back on there and you read through your paperwork or what you sent them and you approve it. And that was it. They give you a number and pay a little money. And that was it.

Sarala and Thad: Moving to France on a Long-Term Tourist Visa with a Child

[00:29:38] Cost of the long term tourist visa

[00:29:38] Annie Sargent: How much money?

[00:29:40] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: It was 200 Euro. That was. Uh, yeah, quite a hit, we didn’t know right away what was going to cost. So it was 200 year old per person to apply for, or the resident permit number for like your social security number. After getting here yes after getting here. Yes. But altogether from start from the day we applied for our visa to getting to France and, um, reapplying again for the resident permit. It’s about $400 per person. the whole process

[00:30:12] Annie Sargent: For the two adults?

[00:30:14] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: And for the child, each of us cost about $400 from start to finish.

[00:30:20] Annie Sargent: Yeah. I have no idea if that’s a lot or not. I

[00:30:23] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: I don’t think it’s not bad as spread out over weeks and months. So it’s not horrible. It’s not like you’re working it out day one. It’s kind of spread out. So it’s not, it’s not horrible.

[00:30:35] Covid vaccination

[00:30:35] Annie Sargent: So you had to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test at the time?

[00:30:43] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yes, not for our appointment, but as soon as we got to the airport, it was a requirement that was changing rapidly throughout our process.

[00:30:52] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: So we had our vaccinations. That was fine. Um, we also applied for the past sanitaire previous to leaving, uh, the U S you could do it on the French government website and you just send them your picture of your passport, your vaccination card and your travel date. And length of stay and they’d send it to you.

[00:31:14] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: And they sent it within three days after I applied for each of us.

[00:31:19] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Right. And that has changed. You don’t do it that way anymore, but it’s interesting that this was a requirement for flying, but not for applying for a visa.

[00:31:28] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yes. Not for the visa. No, they did. They did have that at the end. I think it was, we had to sign documents saying we would have those gone before we flew. But it wasn’t required for the actual visa appointment. They didn’t ask. They didn’t ask for anything. I think they check our temperature and stuff. When we walked in. That was it.

[00:31:44] No visit to the Préfecture

[00:31:44] Annie Sargent: Hmm. Interesting. And you’ve you, haven’t had to go to the Préfecture yet.

[00:31:50] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: No, it’s not, uh, it’s not required anymore. Uh, unless you need to change something..

[00:31:54] Annie Sargent: And you haven’t talked to a gendarme or anything like that.

[00:32:00] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Nope. Everything was applied online. Maybe when it says on the French government website. Now it just, as soon as you get in within three months, go to the link in there, their website, and to finish, you have to do it’s a process. It’s not horrible, but it’s a process. You have to get, uh, a stamp and exercise stamp, and other things then apply it back into the website.

[00:32:22] Medical appointment

[00:32:22] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: It’s pretty straightforward and it just goes over the information you submitted and then they it’s registers and they’re supposed to send you an appointment for a medical appointment, um, to get an x-ray. I do believe an x-ray and then get your registration stamp, but

[00:32:37] Annie Sargent: Right. You have to show that you don’t have TB.

[00:32:39] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yes. Yeah.

[00:32:41] Annie Sargent: I had to show the same when I moved to the U S so that’s like, that’s old news.

[00:32:48] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yeah.

[00:32:50] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Huh? See, I always say that France doesn’t change fast, but this is a big change. This whole process is quite different from what I had heard of. And of course, I, I had to go through all of that in the other direction because I’m born French and applied for citizenship and, and visa for the U S and that has changed a lot as well over the years.

[00:33:19] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: I’m sure!

[00:33:20] Annie’s husband becoming a French citizen

[00:33:20] Annie Sargent: Yeah, I don’t know how you would do it today. I have no idea because it’s changed so much, but it’s interesting that for my husband, for example, for his application to become a French citizen, they had us go talk to a gendarme about, you know, they wanted to verify that we live together. The gendarme asked us to go to the gendarmerie so we met there and we chatted with her for 20, 30 minutes. And it was really easy. I mean, we don’t like, it’s not like we were sweating bullets. We are married. We have been married for decades. So it’s like, man, what do you want to know? Oh yeah. He snores!

[00:34:05] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Exactly.

[00:34:07] Annie Sargent: Okay. It wasn’t difficult. Uh, and she said, theoretically, she was supposed to visit us at home, but she says, no, I’m not going to come to your home. It’s obvious you’re married.

[00:34:21] Annie Sargent: So, uh, but they didn’t, they didn’t do that for you. So who knows maybe when you apply for citizenship, if that’s the plan, eventually, maybe you’ll have to do I think,

[00:34:32] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: I think when we applied for the card, they so sure that that’s when it starts to change. I think for the long stay, I think they just kind of changed it through, COVID just made it more simplified. Uh, but I, once I think we applied for it and have our actual permanent residence, then I think that will happen..

[00:34:47] Were there any surprises about living in France?

[00:34:47] Annie Sargent: Hmm. So now that we’ve got all the paperwork and stuff out of the way, I want to know, was there anything. You didn’t expect as far as living in France is concerned because I think people who want to move to France, maybe they have an idealized vision of what France is like. And maybe it’s a big letdown. I don’t know. W what did you think?

[00:35:13] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Uh, for us truly, we’re not at that point yet. I think we’re still, we’re still on cloud nine because we wanted to move here for so long. It was such a longtime dream that, um, and we, we had been here before and spent three months living here. So we had a little experience of day-to-day life here. Um, so far, I don’t think there’s anything. That’s been a major disappointment.

[00:35:36] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: I think new everything was a learning curve, but we’ve, like I said, we tried small towns before, so we kind of knew that going and how to work our budget in our favor, um, and where to shop. And I think I wanted to add, I actually do have one, but it’s not, it’s not a France’s fault.

[00:35:52] Fewer restaurant meals since going Vegan

[00:35:52] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: It’s my own fault. It’s that last time we were here, we weren’t vegan and we loved eating out. We love French dining culture. We love just sitting for hours. You know, I’m having a full course meal. And, um, and we knew like we knew that, especially in our area, there’s not vegan restaurants or even that many vegan options, but I think it’s something we miss quite often now that we have, where is, you know, the actually the grocery store options are fantastic, way more than we expected.

[00:36:20] Best vegan cheese at French grocery stores

[00:36:20] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: We can get all kinds of vegan stuff at the groceries stores. But as far as restaurants and dining culture, the restaurant, the vegan restaurants here tend to be more like cafe style, um, and not the nice, traditional, beautiful French restaurants that we love. So we missed that a little bit.

[00:36:36] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Now you say you can get all sorts of vegan stuff at the grocery store. You don’t mean like vegan substitution products, like the faux meats and stuff.

[00:36:48] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yeah, surprisingly, even in our small little town, we can get it at Carrefour at, uh, at E. Leclerc at, um, the Bio store. Um, we, we get the vegan. We can get, you can like chicken out, although we don’t, we don’t eat a lot of that stuff. When we want, when we’re having a craving or you want to treat ourselves, it’s nice to have the, um, the vegan cheeses and the vegan French cheese is like the best vegan cheese we’ve had. And so.

[00:37:13] Have you tried any medical care in France yet?

[00:37:13] Annie Sargent: Hmm. Okay. We’ll probably have to do another episode about vegan because. That’s just another ball of wax altogether, but it, so nothing really disappointed you. Okay. Did you have to go to the doctors yet? Maybe your daughter got sick and how was medical care?

[00:37:33] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: No, no. So far, no, we’ve had no instances. We’ve had to go to the medical care.

[00:37:38] What do you love about living in France?

[00:37:38] Annie Sargent: So what do you love about being in France? What has that made your life any different? What’s what’s it like?

[00:37:47] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: I think, um, especially as Americans, um, France is very, uh, enchanting to us because we don’t have the history right out in front of our faces like you do here in France. The old ancient history and the especially being in the south where we are, the pace of life feels slower here than in the States where where, you know, if you just want to get one thing from the grocery store, you’ll get in your car and you drive 20 minutes, you know, here, you can just go.

[00:38:15] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: We live, we actually live above a SPAR. So we just walked downstairs and grabbed the one thing. And we love getting our bread every morning. We love all, like, we love going for our walk and seeing everyone sitting at cafes and we love that there’s always random stuff going on in the town. Like they will randomly be a parade or like, there’s always a reason to party here.

[00:38:33] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: So yeah.

[00:38:36] Celebrations in villages and small towns

[00:38:36] Annie Sargent: Well, it feels random to you, but it’s not at all. The celebrations in villages and small towns, they just repeat every year. And so people know, you know, so people

[00:38:49] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: We always feel like we missed the memo. Like we been, whereas like what, what is it today? Like what’s going on and look out the window. And there’s a whole band going through the streets. Uh, parade and pass those on. I like, we always feel like we’re missing out. So I think we have to figure out where to go.

[00:39:06] Annie Sargent: No, the thing is okay. Uh, when, uh, when I first moved home to France, I was surprised by a lot of things. As a matter of fact, the closing music for this podcast was complete happenstance. I just happened to hear the marching band going by my house. And I ran out with the recorder and recorded them, playing that. And I loved it. I’ve been using

[00:39:29] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yeah, it’s a very catchy, really

[00:39:32] Annie Sargent: but it was just happenstance, you know? Uh, but now I know that the marching band, they have a set schedule and so I can expect them to be playing. It kind of starts in June and they do two concerts in June and then they will do the 14th of July. And then we don’t see them until September again, but in season we know more or less what’s going to happen.

[00:39:59] Annie Sargent: And around the celebrations, uh, for the end of the first world war second world war, you always hear the band coming out to march and, you know, the mayor will carry a thing of flowers and all of that, you know, but it repeats every year. So you have to be there awhile before you’re like, ah, that’s what’s happening.

[00:40:24] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: That’s the secret there. Like where did we find out about it? But everyone here just seems to know that there’s going to be a parade today or just where our costumes were like, where do we find this information? And I went to the Mairie’s office and they said they don’t, have a list to give me, so I had to come back.

[00:40:42] Annie Sargent: They don’t. And they’re just going to, so in February the little kids are probably going to walk around and there’s going to be to the Carnaval. And I don’t remember what day they do this, but in my village every year, all the school kids, they dress up and they do a March around the village.

[00:41:00] Annie Sargent: And, and it’s just the same day every year. Like, you know, Yeah. So maybe their website, maybe the best in us. Well, you’re going to Béziers anyway, that not that’s a big town compared to Pézenas.

[00:41:16] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: It is. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:41:19] Annie Sargent: What’s the advantage to you of going to a bigger town?

[00:41:24] They don’t have a car so bigger towns are easier because of public transportation

[00:41:24] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Well for us, we didn’t, we don’t have a car as of yet either. So for one, we wanted to do more traveling through all of France and we’d love the convenience here. The public transportation here is phenomenal compared to the states, as you know, it’s, it’s way more easy. It’s easier to get around. Um, so for us Béziers it was great.

[00:41:43] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: We can go from there to a quick train to Narbonne, w we can go wherever we want. Um, and, and it was just a, for us, with a younger daughter, it was great to be in a smaller town, but right where we’re at right now, we kind of want a little bit more, um, to do, uh, yeah, there’s, there’s more to do in, Béziers we would love to go to Montpelier eventually, but Bezier has kind of the same feel and has more activities for us to do. And, um, especially with a young daughter, it’s, it’s a little nicer for that. It’s close to the beach a little closer to the Mediterranean as well.

[00:42:17] Valras-Plage

[00:42:17] Annie Sargent: Right. And so the, the closest beach it used to be to Béziers was Valras Plage.

[00:42:24] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yes.

[00:42:25] Annie Sargent: So that’s the one I went to as a kid all the time.

[00:42:29] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Oh, really?

[00:42:30] Annie Sargent: Yeah. And Valras-Plage has a big campground. It used to be at the entrance of the village, but by now I’m sure it’s grown so much. It’s in the middle of the village.

[00:42:43] Annie Sargent: And they have a wonderful summer program all the time in the summer. They, in the evening they have bands and they have all sorts of things. So all of July and August you’ll have free entertainment at Valras-plage.

[00:42:59] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Oh, wow. That’s good to know. Yeah. it sounds wonderful.

[00:43:02] Annie Sargent: Yeah. And the beach is very nice. They have lots, they’ve added a lot of games and things for kids to do on the beach. It used to be just sand and rocks. You know, that’s what I grew up with, but it’s a beautiful Sandy beach, but now. Yeah, but now they’ve added, you know, like stuff for volleyball and basketball, soccer, all sorts of like toys and things that the kids like you’re a playground, but on the beach, it’s, it’s pretty cool.

[00:43:34] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Oh, that’s fantastic.

[00:43:35] Annie Sargent: And I’m quite sure that there are going to be regional buses Valras-Plage and Béziers

[00:43:42] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: We did read that.

[00:43:44] Annie Sargent: yes. And, and, you know, you really don’t want to be driving into Valras-Plage because parking is a bear. So

[00:43:54] Annie Sargent: I, I believe in it’s always really tight anyway. That’s why we’re kind of happy. We don’t have a car yet until we’re in a more solid place where we want to be. We’re finding a place to park and keep it there. It’s really difficult. Yeah.

[00:44:07] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah. So you’ll enjoy, Valras-Plage pledged this summer and then I think there’s a new one that they didn’t use to have called Sérignan-Plage., uh, Yeah, Sérignan is not quite on the coast, but it’s not very far. And so I think they just developed a piece of the beach that belongs to Sérignan that was wild before and now. Uh, but anyway, I just it’s been decades since I’ve been to that part of the country. So it’s been too long, but yes, I spent many, many wonderful summers in Valras-Plage.

[00:44:47] Beautiful Mediterranean climate

[00:44:47] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: That is so sweet. We can’t believe that we live this close to the Mediterranean, you know, it’s like, no, it’s right there. This 20 minutes.

[00:44:56] Annie Sargent: Yeah. And it’s beautiful in the summer. It’s absolutely fabulous.

[00:45:01] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: And even in the winter here, I think that’s another reason we love this area. I’m not sure about the market in Toulouse, but the markets here are just over, even in the winter, they’re overflowing with like gorgeous oranges and lemons and all the beautiful fruit. Um, and it’s, it’s sunny almost every day. So even if though, if it is cold, um, it puts you in a good mood because the sky is so blue. And it’s very sunny. So it definitely has a Mediterranean feel.

[00:45:27] Annie Sargent: Yes. And that’s very different from Toulouse. I mean, Toulouse gets foggy and yucky, you know, all of January has been foggy and yucky pretty much so.

[00:45:39] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: We’ve had a pretty good January, I guess we can’t complain. It’s sunny today. And we’re from Michigan. So we, we feel you.

[00:45:46] Annie Sargent: Oh, I’m sorry, Michigan. Oof.

[00:45:50] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yeah. So for us that, you know, even if there was three days of sun in the winter earlier, we’re half.

[00:45:57] You can go for it even if you’re not a millionaire!

[00:45:57] Annie Sargent: You’ll get a lot more than that. more than that. All right. So any last words of wisdom for listeners on who would love to do this? What kind of encouragement would you give them?

[00:46:15] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Uh, I would say, go for it. Um, like we’ve talked about. We didn’t have a ton of money. We’re not rich. Um, but we had a little bit of means to support ourselves. And I think you should, if you think that you, you have enough to live here, which I do think the cost of living can, can be a lot lower depending on how you do it.

[00:46:35] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Um, can be a lot lower than the U S or maybe the UK. Uh, I think you should go for it. And also, um, one thing we didn’t cover is right now with COVID the passport, uh, for, at least in the U S Thad had to renew his passport um, because it was running out and that took half a year, six months. So it’s a good thing. He started early. So just a heads up.

[00:46:56] Annie Sargent: yeah. Yeah. Oh

[00:46:58] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: yeah.

[00:46:59] Annie Sargent: That is really, uh, kind of a bright message for people because people think, oh, to move to France, it’s going to be really complicated. Which I thought too, and it’s going to be really expensive. Maybe it’s not that bad. And you need to be a millionaire and be able to buy a Chateau in Provence or whatever, but you don’t have to do it that way.

[00:47:24] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yeah. And I think you should, you know, maybe you’d be willing to compromise to it that we eventually, we would love to have a house and we’d love to have a car and all of that, but we, right now, we live in a very simple but beautiful apartment. We don’t have a car and we have a pretty low cost of living.

[00:47:38] Some parts of France are really affordable

[00:47:38] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: So it’s a, it’s a wonderful trade-off for us. But I think if I could add to that too, is that. It’s going into it with the right expectations. France is very affordable. And even with your, your, your money, I think goes a lot further here too. To me, it feels like any because the public trans is so good and food quality of food and cost of living is fairly lowly.

[00:48:01] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: So we get a furnished apartment for a lot less than what we paid in the states. So it’s a fair trade off and it’s, you can go to the small villages and for people outside, encourage them to go outside of the big. You’ll end up spending way more than you sit. Anyway. Béziers is a city it’s very affordable. It’s on a very affordable apartment furnished. So it’s doable. It’s very doable.

[00:48:23] Annie Sargent: Yeah. I think people also, you know, they think, oh, I want to go to Paris because Paris, you know, that’s amazing. But, uh, Paris is a lot more expensive, probably three, four times more. Uh, somebody on the Facebook group moved to Paris recently. And I think she said she rented a place, uh, in the Saint Germain des Prés area.

[00:48:53] Annie Sargent: So it’s 35, 35 square meters, which is what really small, like it’s

[00:49:00] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yeah, that’s really.

[00:49:01] Annie Sargent: two, 300 square feet and she pays around 1500 euros a month. Right.

[00:49:10] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: That’s a lot. Yeah.

[00:49:13] Annie Sargent: So, and my daughter is looking for an apartment right now and she’s looking in the Gers in L’Isle Jourdain. So it’s another, you know, minor town and she found one for six hundred and twenty four sixty square meters,

[00:49:34] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: oh, wow.

[00:49:35] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: That’s good. Definitely, man. That’s not bad.

[00:49:39] Annie Sargent: So if you get out of Paris, there’s lots and lots of beautiful places in France where you can make a perfectly fine life.

[00:49:49] Annie Sargent: And,

[00:49:50] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: exactly. And it’s very well-connected. yeah.

[00:49:52] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Those small towns have regional buses that will go there every day. Uh, I know we can get from our, our place to Montpellier, which you can get them there anywhere in france, you can get there in an hour and a bus or 40 minutes. It’s very well connected.

[00:50:06] Annie Sargent: Yeah, and

[00:50:07] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: You just don’t have museums and cafes and a lot of the things that draw people to Paris history, they have that all over France.

[00:50:15] Annie Sargent: right, right. Yeah. And if you go to a town that has a train station and a regional train network, then really like, like Béziers, did Pézenas have a train station still?

[00:50:30] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: It’s gone now, but they have more regional buses. Now they have a big bus station that’s here now, which is nice. Yeah.

[00:50:37] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: So it’s always, there’s always a bus going somewhere, so that’s nice, but you can get from Béziers to Paris and like three hours to get from, to promote Lea it’s three and a half hours by speed train.

[00:50:48] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: And I did that recently and it was very easy. I made it, I was in Paris in less than five hours total.

[00:50:55] Annie Sargent: So it’s high speed. Paris, right? Right. So however long it gets you to get to Montpellier. And then, yeah, this is another thing that people need to consider. So for people who want to go to Provence, for instance, it’s high speed until Avignon, but then if you want to go to Nice.

[00:51:19] Annie Sargent: It’s you know, so Paris to Avignon is two hours, two hours and 10 minutes, but then Avignon two Nice is two and a half hours.

[00:51:33] Annie Sargent: Because you’re on the slow train.

[00:51:36] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Yes.

[00:51:37] Annie Sargent: I mean, you have trains constantly. You have trains like 20 times a day, but it takes a long time. So, so if that’s a big consideration, try to go to a city that has fast TGV

[00:51:51] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: The fast trains.

[00:51:52] Annie Sargent: Trains to Paris, because then you’re in Paris in no time.

[00:51:56] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Oh exactly. We took that into consideration. We can, if we have an extra pairs, like we thought maybe we can go for a weekends here and there. We just go to Montpelier, which is an hour. Um, and then we take the speed train or actually Bezier, Bezier also has an airport so we can take a flight too.

[00:52:12] Annie Sargent: Hmm.

[00:52:13] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: yeah.

[00:52:13] Annie Sargent: All right. Well, wonderful to talk to you. Thank you so much for opening my eyes to all sorts of things I didn’t know about. So that’s.

[00:52:23] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Thank you for having us, Annie. We appreciate it. And we love your podcast.

[00:52:27] Annie Sargent: You are most welcome, and I am glad to be sharing good information for people, you know, the, the real stuff that we all have to deal with. Merci beaucoup !

[00:52:37] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Well, thank you very much.

[00:52:38] Annie Sargent: Au revoir !.

[00:52:40] Sarala and Thad Terpstra: Au revoir ! Take care, Annie!

[00:52:42] Thank you patrons and donors

[00:52:42] Annie Sargent: Again, I want to thank my patrons for supporting the show and giving back. Patrons, get several exclusive rewards for doing so you can see P A T R E O N joinus no spaces or dashes. Thank you all for supporting the show. Some of you have been doing it for a long time. I am so grateful for you and a shout out this week to new patrons, Richard Porter, and Mike, thank you so much for becoming patrons and making this podcast possible. Elyse and I will do a new behind the scenes video recording next week for our patrons. And to become a patron of Elyse, go to, E L Y S a R T.

[00:53:39] Annie Sargent: My thanks also to Michael Robinson for sending in a one-time donation by using the green button on any page on Join Us in France that says, tip your guide.

[00:53:50] Annie’s itinerary planning service

[00:53:50] Annie Sargent: Another way to support this podcast is to hire me to be your itinerary consultant. Let me explain how this works. You purchase the service on And then you tell me what you have in mind. I do my research. I write up what I think is best for you. Sometimes I have to pop people’s bubble, but you know, it’s it’s for the better.

[00:54:14] Annie Sargent: And then we talk about it on the phone. You get to ask me all your questions and voila! You’re ready for a great trip to France.

[00:54:23] Uptick in Covid numbers

[00:54:23] Annie Sargent: This week in French news, COVID numbers were plunging in France the last few weeks in a row, and they are now heading back up a tiny bit, again, not by much, you know, 2% uptick week to week. The same is happening in England and possibly in other countries that haven’t verified that.

[00:54:42] Annie Sargent: French health authorities blame it on the BA 2 sub variant of Omicron that can reinfect people. Who’ve had COVID before . And of course these people still aren’t vaccinated. Some of them have had COVID two or three times. But they still hope for natural immunity and it’s really not happening.

[00:55:01] Annie Sargent: It seems like this new variant is not as nasty, but, you know, I wonder how long it will take for these people to realize that vaccination is a wonderfully effective and catching COVID is a bad idea. I don’t know how long it’ll take, but I am hopeful.

[00:55:15] No more mask mandates or vaccine passes starting March 14, 2022

[00:55:15] Annie Sargent: At any rate the French health authorities are not too concerned. We’re still going ahead with removing mask mandates and vaccine passes, except when it comes to public transportation and nursing homes. I’ll keep wearing a mask in stores and at museums and such, but it will not be mandatory.

[00:55:34] Annie Sargent: So, starting tomorrow, France is very much where the United States has been for several months. Most US states had no vaccine mandates and no mask mandates of any sort. Well, now we don’t either. Hopefully it’s not going to lead to a rise in COVID numbers, but if it does, they’ll put the vaccine pass and mask measures in place again. But there is no talk of that at this time.

[00:56:02] Annie Sargent: In France, the number of ICU patients due to COVID is still down sharply. So are deaths due to COVID, but these are lagging indicators. So we know ICU admissions will go up in two to three weeks and, you know, for the number of deaths to go back up and take more or less six weeks.

[00:56:20] Ukraine situation

[00:56:20] Annie Sargent: Everyone in France is still shocked by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia and the terrible human toll taking place there. European leaders held an emergency meeting in the Versailles palace, uh, which meant that the palace was closed to the public for two days with no notice, other than an announcement on Twitter, which I retweeted twitted, but it’s possible for these places to close, especially Versailles, um, with no notice, like they just need the place and they close it down. So, uh, keep an eye on Twitter for last minute kind of notice.

[00:56:58] Annie Sargent: Ukraine would like to join the EU. And you know, this is nothing personal, but joining the EU takes time. Countries need to make a lot of changes to their laws, their taxes, their finances, all sorts of things need to happen before they can join the EU successfully.

[00:57:16] Annie Sargent: So I wasn’t surprised by the decision, but the support of the people of Ukraine is getting organized. France has taken in refugee. Not as many as bordering countries. It starting to happen. France has the capacity to absorb a lot of refugees. Remember we took in half a million refugees from the Spanish civil war.

[00:57:39] Annie Sargent: The need is great here again, and I hope we do it. Most Ukrainians would like to go back to their homes at some point, but seeing the bombing, the death and destruction that Russia is inflicting on the people of Ukraine, it may be a while.

[00:57:55] Annie Sargent: In much happier news. The city of Paris is working hard to remove as many cars as possible from the city center. My friend, Patricia, who lives in Paris, sent me an interesting article, uh, by Adele, uh, Peters in fast company. I’ll link to it in the show notes. Here’s the first paragraph. In Paris, roughly half of the city’s public space is dedicated to cars, but the city has been fighting to reclaim that space, turning a highway along the Seine river into a park and walking paths redesigning intersections to prioritize pedestrians, giving more space on one of the city’s busiest streets, two bikes– that’s rue de Rivoli –banning cars on some streets near elementary schools and planning, dozens of miles of new separated bike lanes.

[00:58:49] Annie Sargent: Now this is me not reading the article. If you let them, and we have cars, we’ll take over the world. And I’m not saying that cars should be banned completely. I use a car a lot, and I like my car, but, uh, some cars need access, like local residents delivery drivers taxis buses, ride sharing vehicles, disabled people, and people going to work in an area.

[00:59:17] Annie Sargent: But people like me driving through Paris because Waze decided it would save me a few minutes. Really? It’s fine for Paris to say, no, you’re not coming in. I don’t need to be there. And every city in France should do that. In my opinion. I think you’d like this article and I’ll link to it in the show notes. So you can see the whole thing.

[00:59:39] Annie Sargent: The French presidential election will take place on April 10th and 24th, the polls are looking like Emmanuel Macron is going to be reelected, but since it’s elections and not polls that decide who wins it’s best wait until it’s done.

[00:59:55] Annie Sargent: We have 12 candidates running, including two nut jobs on the far right. And two, not jobs on the far left, several that you’ve never heard of. And, uh, I haven’t either, uh, well, I’ve heard of ’em, but you know, I don’t really know that much about them. They have no chance of making it. But again, you never know.

[01:00:14] Annie Sargent: Uh, Emmanuel Macron has done something that I think is brave and will serve him well. He’s announced that if reelected, he will try to move retirement age to 65. It’s still at 62 in France. One of the few rich countries to have kept retirement age so low. Of course his opponents are all up in arms about it.

[01:00:34] Annie Sargent: If he gets reelected, he’ll be able to push this reform forward. Having just earned reelection. It won’t stop people from going on strike over it. You understand? But it’ll probably be pass. Unless he doesn’t get reelected. And then all bets are off.

[01:00:50] Annie’s personal update

[01:00:50] Annie Sargent: For my personal update this week. Well, this week was the first time in several weeks where I had reserved a couple of days work free for myself. So I spent three hours weeding my big flower bed and my leg are still complaining about bending down over and over again so many times. I have one of those nifty kneel sit garden tools, but I didn’t use it much, which was a big mistake. Next weeding session I will use the garden stool, even if it slows me down.

[01:01:20] Annie Sargent: And this was a bit shocking to Elise who thought we should have waited at least a few months, but we have reclaimed our daughter’s bedroom.

[01:01:29] Annie Sargent: It was quite empty anyway, because she, when she moved, she took her queen bed and her desk. So without a bed and it’s not a bedroom anymore. So we hired someone to paint it and my husband will move his office into our daughter’s old room, freeing up our guest room just in time for family and friends to visit. Again we hope. When our daughter comes to stay, well, she’ll sleep in the guest room where there’s a bed . Is that crazy? How long did you wait before reclaiming your children’s old bedrooms?

[01:02:03] Annie Sargent: This week, I spent an interminable five hours at Ikea looking for a sofa and shelves for both my house and my daughter’s new apartment.

[01:02:14] Annie Sargent: I found what I needed. It’s good. And I got to work organizing my office better, but it took a long time. I have been collecting a lot of books purchased from museum stores all over the country and they are a handy dandy resource. Uh, but, uh, uh, they need shelf space.

[01:02:33] Annie Sargent: So it’s been a really satisfying week, weeding and organizing, which doesn’t happen all that often for me. Next time I get a day off, I’ll see if I can bring myself to organizing my linen closet. That’s going to be a big job, but it needs to be done.

[01:02:50] Annie Sargent: This week, I listened to two great books, the premonition by Michael Lewis book about the history of the CDC and a few recent pandemics. It’s a really good book. I do recommend it and it’s on audible. The second one is completely different. Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc by the Sieur Louis de Conte. It’s by the great Mark Twain. It’s on LibriVox, and so it’s a free book. It’s read by John Greenman, a lovely narrator who did a great job reading all the French names. He rolls his RS, which is not something we do today, but it really adds to the charm. The story is told from the point of view of Sieur Louis de Conte, supposedly Joan’s page, secretary and childhood friend Twain did an outstanding job with a history and added his witty remarks as well as lyrical descriptions at times.

[01:03:48] Annie Sargent: I think it’s a really enjoyable book for anyone who’s interested in French history. I will link to both of these books in the show notes.

[01:03:57] Annie Sargent: The weather in Toulouse alternates between beautiful days and rainy days, which is normal for March. My daughter was driving to Toulon this morning. She got rain all the way heavy sometimes, but as soon as she got past Montpellier it was full sun and dry. It is true that it rarely rains on the Mediterranean coast. Something to note for those of you looking for sunshine. We are seeing a lot of signs of spring, including weeds coming back with a vengeance and that’s wonderful.

[01:04:32] Annie Sargent: Show notes for this episode are on, where you can see a recap of, of, of discussed as well as links to the things I’ve mentioned and a full transcript of this episode, as well as Sarala’s notes.

[01:04:49] Annie Sargent: If you enjoy the show, please introduce a friend to the podcast and point them to the episode that got you hooked. If you can remember it, maybe it’s been too long.

[01:04:58] Annie Sargent: Next week on the podcast and episode with Elyse about Saint Denis Cathedral of the jewels of Gothic architectures in the world, a beautiful cathedral, not far from central Paris. Send questions or feedback to annie@joinusinfrance.Com.

[01:05:15] Annie Sargent: Thank you so much for listening and I hope you join me next time so we can look around France together. Au revoir !

[01:05:32] Annie Sargent: The Join Us in France travel podcast is written, hosted, and produced by Annie Sargent and copyright 2022. By addicted to France. It is released under a creative commons attribution. Non-commercial no derivatives license. .

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