Friday, 30 March 2012

Plant sale in Trévérien this Sunday - 1st April 2012

Like each year, on the first Sunday of April, the Vide Jardin is on in Trévérien.

A Vide-jardin is a car boot sale where you can buy plants/shrubs/flowers and gardening tools. It is not very common in France but this one in Brittany has been organised each year for about 8 or 9 years. It is very successful and attracts a lot of people.

You can get some real bargains there - a lot cheaper than at the garden centres for sure!

It starts from 10am and is on all day.

Free admission.
Trévérien is in Brittany, 20 min from Dinan, near Evran.

Golfing in Brittany

Brittany is famous for to its wealth of golf courses both on the coast and inland. Several 9 and 18 hole golf courses can be found within 20-30 minutes drive from our gite in Evran.

They are just waiting to challenge your skills. You could even try a different one gold course each day!

Golf Le Tronchet,

Golf des Ormes,Golf course near our gite in Evran

Golf de Dinard / St Briac,

Golf de Tremeureuc,

Golf Cap Malo,

Golf de la Corbinais.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Life in the countryside – always full of suprises!

I have just had a visit from my French neighbour, a retired farmer. Well he said he is retired but he works as much as before!

He turned up on his tractor and brought us a cherry tree he grafted himself a while ago. He also had a spade and a shovel!!

Today is apparently a right day for planting fruit trees! French people work the land according to the moon. Farmers definitely use this technique. Unfortunately although we have 2000 sqm of land, we don’t have any more room for a cherry tree. We have already 4 apple trees, 10 pear trees, walnut and hazel nut trees and 3 cherry trees.

He has hectares of land so I told him to plant it on his land and I would go and pick the cherries when they will be ripe!!

Buying a second-hand car from the UK

Some thoughts of a Brit abroad on the advantages and disadvantages of buying a car from UK.


Price! Cars in the UK depreciate much more quickly than in France. Many cars will lose 30% of their value in the first year in the UK.
After 3 years the value will be around 40 to 50% of their original value. Some cars (Fords and Vauxhalls in particular) can depreciate much more quickly. A Vauxhall Astra or Ford Focus may only be worth 50% of its original price by the time it is 18 months old!

A lot of this is caused by the amount of fleet sales in the UK. When these cars are released from the fleets they have to be moved on and because there are so many on the market the price has to be low to sell them.

Because there are much fewer cars on the second hand market in France they keep their value much better. The French tend to keep their cars longer and the fleet market is much smaller than in the UK. So no surplus cars that have to be sold cheaply!

Extras! Cars in the UK often have a better specification than cars in France. Many in the UK come with Alloy wheels, climate control, leather trim and colours other than grey or black! Many French registered cars come with a more basic specification.

Warranty. Cars supplied in the UK usually have a 3 year warranty, most sold in France have just a 2 year warranty. The UK warranty is valid for 3 years even if the car is registered in France later as long as the car is serviced by the dealer at the correct intervals. Some companies offer 5 or even 7 year warranties in the UK. Kia and Hyundai are two that offer long warranties.

Huge choice! Many more cars available in the UK so should be easier to find the car you want. Mileages are often lower than comparable cars in France. Usually have less dents and scratches than French registered cars too!!

So what are the drawbacks??

RHD! Your UK supplied car will be right hand drive. This can make overtaking a bit more awkward. Doesn't matter in Brittany though as there is no traffic!! And what there is are usually tractors! Plus you know exactly how close to the ditch you can get as you are right next to it when that French driver comes around a bend in the middle of the road!

Registering your car in France! You will need a Certificate of conformity from the manufacturer, the original bill of sale, the log book (registration document), Proof of ID, and a utility bill (EDF, Water or phone). Plus some cash for the Prefecture! The amount of cash seems to vary with the size of your engine and the age of the car! If your car is more than 4 years old you will also need a Controle Technique (the French MOT). To get this you will also need to change your headlight for ones made for driving on the right.

See this post about buying headlights from France for a UK car here.

Selling your car. It will be more difficult to sell your car as it is RHD. Prices for RHD seem to be around 30% lower than a French LHD. Your main market will be the Brits living over here.

Apart from that not a lot of drawbacks. You could argue for either option, it is down to personal choice really. Weigh up the pro's and con's of each option and think about what would suit you best, everyone has their own opinion. For me the savings of several thousand euros on the purchase price outweigh the drawbacks and more than make up for the costs of registering the car over here.

And if you are stuck with registering your car in France, contact Rachel here, she will assist you with the forms!

Looking for a second-hand car in France

If you are looking for a second-hand car in France, here are the possibilities:

- Ask your local garage. If he hasn’t got the car you are looking for, he might find it through a dealer he works with. My local garage always finds cars for my English clients. I just need to give him the make, model and the budget (an any other requirements for example colors) and he always find one within a week. You should get a 3 or 6 month guarantee with it.

- Local papers: our local newspaper “Ouest-France” has a lot of adverts mainly in the Saturday papers. French newspapers have a web site where you will find the adverts if you don’t buy the papers.

- A good web site to look for a second-hand car is You will find adverts from private people and businesses.

- Read the adverts at your local supermarkets! Usually supermarkets in France have a big board where adverts can be placed for free.

- If you live in Brittany, visit the car auction in Rennes. See my post about it here.

- See this post here about buying a second-hand car in the UK even if you live in France!

Skip hire near Dinan

I get asked this question very often by my clients when they renovate their houses in France: where can I hire a skip in Brittany?

There is a company near Dinan in St Carné called Romi. You will find a skip there. It is called ‘Benne’ in French, pronounced just like the name ‘Ben’.

You will find Romi in various places in Brittany:

Saint Malo, Dinan, Rennes, Quimper, Lannion, Ploërmel, Redon and a bit further in the Loire Valley in Saumur.

Se their web site for more info here.

Disposing of asbestos waste near Dinan

When you buy a house in France, a report about Abestos is done amongst other reports and surveys.

In Brittany old buildings often have asbestos roofs. One of my English clients had an outside toilet made of asbestos left by the previous owners!

I looked into it for her and found a place near Dinan in St Carné to be précised, called “Romi”, that would take it. We didn’t have to double wrap or package it in thick plastic; it was taken there on a trailer...

They charge €200/Ton.

If you don’t live near Dinan, ask at your local Déchetterie. They don’t recycle asbestos but might be able to inform you where the nearest place for safely disposing of asbestos is to yours.