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The French Property Network

Dec 21

Tips for dealing with the French police

GEN UP ON GENDARMES - 

1. Never laugh at them especially at motor-way pay barriers no matter what size their moustaches are.

2. If they call to check your papers at home always offer them a coffee but never the Calvados your friendly farmer sold you for 5 euros a litre – this is strictly illegal and they'll ask you for its origin.

3. When stopped at a road check always say ''yes'' when asked if you are ''en vacance''. They will then wave you on with good wishes.

4. When calling at the Gendamerie to report an incident or to get help, raising your voice in the hope they'll understand English is not a good idea.

5. Always call a gendarme 'Monsieur' or even 'Monsieur l'Inspector', flattery seems to work.

6. Always let the lady in the car do the talking if at all possible and always smile sweetly – that too works wonders.

7. Always carry your passport and driving licence with you and keep your car documents in the car – although they seldom understand them the production on demand creates a good impression.

8. If you are stopped by the police do not mention your friend the local gendarme. They don't like each other – the police don't have the power of the gendarmes and there's always a certain amount of jealousy.

9. If your neighbour is the local senator or similar dignitary, it's always worth mentioning his name if you are having a contretemps – they are very susceptible to 'who you know'.

10. If you do need help don't ever hesitate to ask a gendarme – they are actually very helpful.

BON CHANCE.

Fraser Blake at home in France  A Rant to Far Book cover  Dear Chips book cover 

Fraser Blake, 70, author of 'Dear Chips' and 'A Rant Too Far?' grew up in Africa, was at school in Scotland, and worked for the British South Africa Police in Southern Rhodesia. He has taught English in Saudi Arabia and sold and renovated hundreds of properties in Northern France.

In 1998 Fraser was selling houses in the Mayenne department of the Pays de la Loire region and so was the obvious choice, when Cle France was started, to be their first agent on the ground in France. In retirement he writes, blogs, cooks, drinks wine, and hosts to dinner unlimited numbers of ex-pats.

Always on hand with a viewpoint, Fraser is going to share his views on France, the French and the British, and other people who buy in France. Sometimes informative, sometimes funny, painfully true, outrageously opinionated but always entertaining so we hope it adds a slightly different dimension to the usual normality of searching through the fantastic properties for sale on the Cle France website.

If you want more? then follow the links above where you can buy Fraser's published books.

Add CommentViews: 4
Dec 14

Essential reading for French Property Hunters

If you are going on a viewing trip to France soon, no matter what region of France you visit, you need to know how to read your French Estate agent, so here we take a light-hearted look at body language:

Will the Frenchman do a deal?

1. One shrug – won't accept your offer.

2. Huff and puff – maybe he'll accept your price.

3. Throws hands in the air and walks away – he believes the house is being 'given' away.

4. If he keeps smiling – keep haggling.

5. If he speaks English to you – it means he feels confident and will drive a hard bargain.

6. Beware the hard sell – the boring 5 minute repetitive sales pitch, just give one word answers.

7. Despite what they say, the French are not yet politically correct - But flirt with his wife and the price will go up. Take your beautiful daughter and he'll be in a good mood.

8. The French usually have two dogs – the big guard dog and the little lap dog. If he brings the former, expect a difficult purchase with little haggling. On the other hand you may well save yourself a bob or two if you show you like his dog.

9. If they don't shake hands – they don't want you to have their house.

10. Get the kissing right – two touches on each cheek is good for Normandy. You should try and be on this kissing basis before the deal is struck!

Good luck and watch for the signs! 

Fraser Blake at home in France  A Rant to Far Book cover  Dear Chips book cover 

Fraser Blake, 70, author of 'Dear Chips' and 'A Rant Too Far?' grew up in Africa, was at school in Scotland, and worked for the British South Africa Police in Southern Rhodesia. He has taught English in Saudi Arabia and sold and renovated hundreds of properties in Northern France.

In 1998 Fraser was selling houses in the Mayenne department of the Pays de la Loire region and so was the obvious choice, when Cle France was started, to be their first agent on the ground in France. In retirement he writes, blogs, cooks, drinks wine, and hosts to dinner unlimited numbers of ex-pats.

Always on hand with a viewpoint, Fraser is going to share his views on France, the French and the British, and other people who buy in France. Sometimes informative, sometimes funny, painfully true, outrageously opinionated but always entertaining so we hope it adds a slightly different dimension to the usual normality of searching through the fantastic properties for sale on the Cle France website.

If you want more? then follow the links above where you can buy Fraser's published books.

Add CommentViews: 2
Dec 9

Why Bagnoles is Unbeatable

BAGNOLES DE L'ORNE in the Orne Department of Lower Normandy

Bagnoles (as it is generally known) is one of the gems of France. Not only is it a beautiful town, but as its name hints, it's a spa town. People congregate from all over Europe from spring to autumn to ''take the waters'' for all manner of ailments.

Situated in the Bocage area of Normandy and surrounded by the considerable forest of the Andaines, it is a holiday area par excellence. With all its leisure activities it is an ideal venue vacance. There is a small but delightful 9 hole golf course, one of the original one's in France, pony trekking through the forest, swimming, both indoor and outdoor tennis, fishing and horse riding to name but a few.

For those who like quieter activities there's a bridge club, slide shows, a cinema, a theatre, regular live jazz evenings, painting and design courses and even a mushroom picking and cooking weekend in September. This includes instruction on which are good and which are not and a thorough inspection of everything you've picked by an expert – just to be sure!

The night life lacks for nothing either. There are first class hotels and restaurants where the evening meal is turned into an art form and most at quite affordable prices. There's a casino which includes ballroom dancing, a disco pub, and a restaurant. And, of course, there's the now famous festival ''Au pays de Lancelot du Lac'' which retells the Arthurian legend by way of exhibitions, concerts and live spectacles throughout lower Normandy.

Finally, it has to be said that Bagnoles is not only a beautiful and rather special town, but it's surrounded by masterpieces such as the Châteaux d'O, Lassay les Chateaux, Sassy and Carrouges. If that was not enough the cathedrals of Sens, Saint Ceneri, Notre dame sur l'Eau and Lonlay are absolutely marvellous and all within easy reach.

Read more about Bagnoles de l'Orne from a previous blog by David at Cle France here...

Property for sale in Bagnoles de l'Orne.

Fraser Blake at home in France  A Rant to Far Book cover  Dear Chips book cover 

Fraser Blake, 70, author of 'Dear Chips' and 'A Rant Too Far?' grew up in Africa, was at school in Scotland, and worked for the British South Africa Police in Southern Rhodesia. He has taught English in Saudi Arabia and sold and renovated hundreds of properties in Northern France.

In 1998 Fraser was selling houses in the Mayenne department of the Pays de la Loire region and so was the obvious choice, when Cle France was started, to be their first agent on the ground in France. In retirement he writes, blogs, cooks, drinks wine, and hosts to dinner unlimited numbers of ex-pats.

Always on hand with a viewpoint, Fraser is going to share his views on France, the French and the British, and other people who buy in France. Sometimes informative, sometimes funny, painfully true, outrageously opinionated but always entertaining so we hope it adds a slightly different dimension to the usual normality of searching through the fantastic properties for sale on the Cle France website.

If you want more? then follow the links above where you can buy Fraser's published books.

Add CommentViews: 2
Nov 25

THE DELIGHTS OF FRENCH LIVING

France is well known for her food, whether buying to prepare at home, or eating out, bargains are always to be had. When buying fresh produce, nothing is nicer than to wander round a small weekly village markets. They always have oodles of local products, usually bio (organic) which would make any culinary expert drool and it leaves the common or garden cook totally spoilt for choice.

Eating out in France is always a pleasurable experience.

You can still get a five course lunch with a bottle of the proprietor's best red or white for between 10 and 12 euros and every mouthful is a delight. There are traditional (and totally erroneous) views of the French held by many English and the word 'boorish' is usually included in them. On the contrary, visitors to this part of the world will be bowled over by the welcome, charm and politeness of the locals.

It's like returning to an age when people had time to stop and talk to each other, whether they were acquainted or not.

People entering a bar or shop will always say a general bonjour to all present.

The lack of crime leaves the local gendarmes with little else to do but patrol the roads and hassle motorists. Having said that, they don't get much joy there either. The roads in France, certainly in this neck of the woods, are empty in comparison to English ones. Driving becomes a pleasure once more, rather than a chore.

You can drive for miles and not see another car, and traffic jams are just unknown to the local populace. On top of that, the French have this charming habit of flashing their lights to oncoming traffic whenever there's a gendarme lurking in the bushes. The result is that cars chug past bleary-eyed, yawning gendarmes at two or three kilometres per hour under the speed limit.

Lower Normandy, Brittany & Mayenne border region.

This region of northern France is definitely for anyone looking for a stress free holiday home or holiday. Bargains in wine and food are plentiful, the air is clear and clean and it's a place of peace and tranquillity. It's an area full of charm and restfulness with an abundance of the more peaceful hobbies like pony riding, fishing and wandering through enormous forests and it's only a couple of hours south of the port of Caen.

Fraser Blake at home in France  A Rant to Far Book cover  Dear Chips book cover 

Fraser Blake, 70, author of 'Dear Chips' and 'A Rant Too Far?' grew up in Africa, was at school in Scotland, and worked for the British South Africa Police in Southern Rhodesia. He has taught English in Saudi Arabia and sold and renovated hundreds of properties in Northern France.

In 1998 Fraser was selling houses in the Mayenne department of the Pays de la Loire region and so was the obvious choice, when Cle France was started, to be their first agent on the ground in France. In retirement he writes, blogs, cooks, drinks wine, and hosts to dinner unlimited numbers of ex-pats.

Always on hand with a viewpoint, Fraser is going to share his views on France, the French and the British, and other people who buy in France. Sometimes informative, sometimes funny, painfully true, outrageously opinionated but always entertaining so we hope it adds a slightly different dimension to the usual normality of searching through the fantastic properties for sale on the Cle France website.

If you want more? then follow the links above where you can buy Fraser's published books.

Add CommentViews: 4
Nov 17

French neighbours are the best

Reports in the British press and on various television channels that the British are getting fed up with the thoughtless, noisy, intrusive, and discourteous people next door, prompt me to list a dozen good reasons why French neighbours are the best.

French neighbours are the best becasue...

1. they always smile, look you in the eye, and say bonjour

2. neighbours in the country will regularly make a gift of vegetables or fruit from their garden - often just leaving it on the doorstep

3. any little disputes are usually settled over a bottled of claret

4. they are always very grateful for any assistance they receive

5. they are always more than willing to help out whenever help is needed

6. they don't laugh at your funny accent and mistakes as you try manfully to master their language

7. they are always delightful company at a soiree

8. they are often a wonderful source of cheap goodies – for example a supplier of excellent Calvados

9. they will keep an eye on your property whether you ask them or not and contact you if ever there is a problem

10. they are always an invaluable advisory service on all aspects of gardening, again whether you ask them or not!!

11. they will always treat a foreigner with nothing but kindness and consideration

12. and finally they are respectful and neighbourly at all times : les voisins parfait!!

You may also like to read "Do the French mind having British neighbours"

Fraser Blake at home in France  A Rant to Far Book cover  Dear Chips book cover 

If you want more? then follow the links above, in the images, where you can buy Fraser's published books.

Fraser Blake, 70, author of 'Dear Chips' and 'A Rant Too Far?' grew up in Africa, was at school in Scotland, and worked for the British South Africa Police in Southern Rhodesia. He has taught English in Saudi Arabia and sold and renovated hundreds of properties in Northern France.

In 1998 Fraser was selling houses in the Mayenne department of the Pays de la Loire region and so was the obvious choice, when Cle France was started, to be their first agent on the ground in France. In retirement he writes, blogs, cooks, drinks wine, and hosts to dinner unlimited numbers of ex-pats.

Always on hand with a viewpoint, Fraser is going to share his views on France, the French and the British, and other people who buy in France. Sometimes informative, sometimes funny, painfully true, outrageously opinionated but always entertaining so we hope it adds a slightly different dimension to the usual normality of searching through the fantastic properties for sale on the Cle France website.

Watch out for more rants and opinion next week or buy the book today for a rollicking good read.

Add CommentViews: 6

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