Setting up home in Burgundy
"It's not what you know but what you don't know"
In the spring of 2008 we sold our house in England and realised our dream of many years to move to live in Burgundy.
Unfortunately we had a difficult start because we were let down on the accommodation which we had arranged from the UK and to cut a (very) long story short we (and our Standard Poodle Monty) were about to be homeless just as the major French holiday season was getting under way (we couldn't even buy a caravan !!)
By a stroke of luck we were put in touch with Caroline Gigandet of Burgundy Homes and Services (through the auspices of her huge network of friends and contacts in Burgundy). That was when our luck took a tremendous turn for the better. She speaks excellent English and no sooner had we explained our problem than she set to work. In less than 48 hours she found the most magnificent furnished apartment for us to rent in the heart of the old walled town of Beaune which had not yet even come onto the market. We viewed it and met the owners on Friday morning and moved in on the Saturday afternoon.
Caroline helped us with everything - residents parking permits, Doctors, Dentists, Vets, the re-registration of our cars under the French system (a very long and complicated business!)
She found us a fabulous gite to rent for a month in November because our landlords had a long-standing booking for the apartment for the famous Wine Auctions.
Nothing was too difficult or too much trouble for Caroline - we felt we could call her or email her at any time and she would come back with the answer and all the necessary contact details by return.
By the end of the Summer our plans had changed considerably (due in part to the global financial crisis) and we decided to put our plans of opening a boutique hotel onto the back burner and we decided that we would rent a shop in Beaune (to realise Candida's dream of running her own Interior Design Business) In no time at all Caroline had arranged several viewings of potential premises; she introduced us to the Manager of the local branch of HSBC to help us set up a Business Bank Account, she put us in touch with a local firm of Accountants to help us to establish a French Company to operate the business and she arranged meetings with the Mayor and his colleagues to discuss our Business Plan and recommended a fabulous website designer for our embryo business.
We found suitable premises for the shop and Caroline was with us throughout the negotiations up to the completion meeting with the Notaire where she translated the lease for us. She subsequently helped us with the fitting out of the shop by putting us in touch with a great local Company who painted the facade and the signage and an artisan to make the shop canopies for us.
As a back drop to all this we had decided that we needed to rent somewhere to live which was unfurnished so that we could bring our own furniture and possessions out of storage in the UK and have a more permanent base in Beaune. So again we called on Caroline - with a very tall order - somewhere to rent close to Beaune, with a garden for our dog and sufficient space for our 300m³ of furniture and belongings. Yet again her extensive network helped enormously and she heard about a beautiful house which was about to become available which the owners intended to let by word of mouth. Caroline set to immediately and in no time at all she had arranged for us to meet the existing tenants to see the house and then to meet the owners who agreed to rent the house to us, Caroline having overcome their initial reluctance to rent to foreigners!
We are now very happy and settled in Beaune enjoying our new life in France and it certainly helped a great deal having the professionalism, expertise and network of Caroline Gigandet and for that we are truly grateful.
Graham and Candida (& Monty) T