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France for six months. You then

need to change to French registration,

unless you're prepared

to take your car back for regular

visits to the UK for MOT and

registration purposes.

You can also drive on your

English licence until it expires.

At this point you must apply for

a French licence from your Préfecture

or Sous-Préfecture. Beware:

considerable paperwork

will be involved. We've got full

details of how to go about getting both car registration

and a

French driving licence on our

Leggett website.

TAXING MATTERS

The French tax year runs from

1 January to 31 December.

You'll need to declare your

income each year on the annual

Déclaration des Revenus form

available from your local tax

office. Once you've filled it in

for the first year, it should be

sent out to you automatically

in the following years. You'll be

subject to French income tax

if you:

• live permanently in France

• have a residence permit

• spend more than 183 days

here during the calendar year

• hold most of your wealth

here

• or have your your main

professional activity based in

France

LASTLY... THE LIFESTYLE

There are all sorts of festivals

and events to look out for,

from your weekly market to

the custom of giving your best

friend Lilies of the Valley on the

first of May. Look out for what's

happening in your own village

or town. Most have communal

meals, which are great fun and

a good way of meeting others

in your community !

The French love to faire la bise. But

how many you should give - and when

you should give them - can prove a

mystery to the uninitiated.

First of all, how many: one, two, three or four?

It depends on which part of France you're in

and also on social standing. As a rule of thumb,

the further south you go, the more kisses you

should give. Bear in mind, however, that the

more socially elite tend to restrict themselves

to two. Children will automatically kiss, even

if they don't know you well. Teenage girls kiss

everyone, but boys tend to shake hands unless

they're related. At work, if you are on tutoyer

terms (i.e. using tu, the familiar version of 'you'),

you will kiss. If you use vous, shake hands. Generally,

you start la bise with the right cheek.

The simple rules are:

• Don't kiss someone with a higher rank

(including your boss) unless they initi ate

it first

• Men kiss if they're from the same fami-

ly or good friends

• Even the French don't always know how

many kisses to give

• Upper classes tend to use the two-bises

rule; working class are likely to go for

four

• Make contact: air kissing is considered

rude

And if in doubt, shake hands!

La Bise !

Bank HolidaysFrench bank holidays are different, of course! New Year's Day is celebrated, but you have to wait until Easter Monday

for the next one, as Good Friday isn't a public holiday. May is usually awash with holidays: May Day, on 1 May, is swiftly

followed by Victory in Europe (WWII) day on the 8th. This is taken very seriously, with roll calls of the fallen from each war

read out at war memorials omnipresent in every village. After this you may be invited to the salle des fêtes for drinks. Then

there's Ascension Day and Whit Monday, which, of course, change each year depending upon Easter.

Bastille Day comes on 14 July, with fireworks, while the Feast of the Assumption takes place on 15 August. Towards the end

of October, markets, florists and supermarkets are awash with magnificent chrysanthemum plants, ready to be taken to

cemeteries for All Saints Day on 1 November. Armistice Day follows on 11 November, providing a re-run of VE Day ceremonies.

And last, but by no means least, Christmas Day - but remember that Boxing Day is not celebrated here in France.

If a bank holiday falls on a Thursday or Tuesday, many people take the pont (bridge day) in between. But if it's on a Saturday

or Sunday, like Christmas this year, there's no extra day taken in lieu.

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