Wednesday, 30 December 2015

THE LAST CURRENCY REPORT FOR 2015: The Pound continues to slide

With Christmas now behind us, we find ourselves in the annual lull before the New Year festivities. Despite the majority of the world enjoying an extended period of rest, the currency markets are still active. With global trade volume significantly reduced, it is during these times that we have often witness heightened volatility.

Just yesterday we saw GBP/EUR rates fluctuate by a cent, hitting a peak of 1.36, and a trough of 1.3498 at the mid-market. With sterling having struggled throughout the morning, only to recover most of the ground lost in the afternoon.

With best wishes for the New Year to all of our customers, from the Allez-Français team. We look forward to seeing you in 2016 – the year to make it happen……….

Friday, 18 December 2015

Guest post: Bringing vintage French decor to your door

France is well known for its flea-markets and ‘bric-a-brac’ fairs where all manner of items can be found for sale. Particularly at a ‘vide grenier’ (literally translated as ‘attic emptying’) in a rural village, there is always the hope that a priceless antique might be found amongst the junk!

Vintage French decor is a much sought after style, with old furniture and accessories being repurposed and repainted - even modern homes and furnishings get a makeover for that ‘shabby chic’ look.

Not everyone has the time to do this themselves, but we offer a ‘Sourcing Service’ for original French furniture and accessories. Based in the Poitou Charentes for many years, we have been running Chateau Chic Direct and we will find and despatch a range of original items to anywhere in the world!

So even if you have not already purchased your dream property in France, you can still give a French feel to your home. All you need to do is contact me with a list of your specific requirements, and I will do my best to find the item for you!

Visit website or email
Sue Paine - owner of Chateau Chic Direct

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

A new region of South Western France

Aquitaine / Limousin / Poitou-Charentes is the new region of South Western France, created by the territorial reform of French Regions in 2014 via the merger of Aquitaine, Limousin, and Poitou-Charentes regions.

It will now encompass 84,061 km2 (32,456 sq miles), or put another way 1/7th of the country - and will have 5.8 M inhabitants.

The new region will be the largest region in France, with an area roughly equal of Austria. Its largest city, Bordeaux, together with its suburbs and satellite cities, forms the 7th Metropolitan area of France, with 850,000 inhabitants.

The region has many urban areas among which the most important are, apart from Bordeaux and its 1,140,000 inhabitants, Bayonne and Limoges (each having 283,000 inhabitants), Poitiers (255 000), Pau (241 000) and La Rochelle (206 000).

Apart from the Ile-de-France, Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes is the first French region in research and innovation, with its 5 universities (Bordeaux, La Rochelle, Limoges, Poitiers & Pau).
The premier agricultural region of Europe in terms of turnover, it will also be the 1st French region in terms of tourism jobs, & the 5th region in terms of business creation (all sectors).

Its economy is based strongly upon agriculture and viticulture (vineyards of Bordeaux and Cognac are of course Internationally famed), on tourism, on a successful aerospace industry, chemical and pharmaceutical industries, plus a financial sector (Niort specialices in mutual insurance companies) and a world renowned ceramics industry (Limoges).

Fact & Figures

Aquitaine Limousin Poitou Charentes
Gironde 1,483,000 Haute Vienne 371,000 Charente Maritime 605,000
Pyrénées Atlantique 660,000 Corrèze 242,000 Vienne 422,000
Dordogne 416,000 Creuse 123,000 Deux Sèvres 363,000
Landes 392,000 Charente 350,000
Lot & Garonne 332,000
 Coastline 720 Km

Monday, 7 December 2015

Guest blog: Gorgeous Gascony

Passing en-route to southern Europe, my partner and I discovered this area purely by chance. Utterly seduced by the peacefulness, the rolling countryside, and the gentle pace of life, we bought a ruin to renovate. Our intention was to live partly here and partly in the UK – but after starting work on our house, we just didn’t want to go back ‘home’. So we didn’t ….

Lovers of France flock to the Côte d’Azur, or Provence, or the Dordogne, and each region has good reasons for its popularity. But Gascony is in an entirely different league. These are ‘the roads less travelled’ that lead to places the crowds have yet to reach. Places that are all the finer for their uninterrupted seclusion. South of the Dordogne, west of Languedoc, north of the Pyrenees and steeped in history, Gascony remains ‘far from the madding crowd’ …. and that is precisely what makes it so attractive.

Gascon villages and towns boast some of the finest examples of medieval French and Renaissance architecture in Europe. At the heart of the region is the Gers département, and at the heart of the Gers is the capital, Auch. Home to the Comte d’Artagnan, who inspired the swashbuckling hero of Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers, and UNESCO World Heritage Site the Cathédrale de Sainte-Marie, Auch is a handsome city brimming with Gascon flair. Weekly markets are an important part of life and the squares bustle with activity … until midday, that is, when everything stops and Gascons get down to the serious business of lunch.

In France, this region is renowned for its first-class cuisine – and a nutritional/medical phenomenon known as the ‘Gascon Paradox’. Traditionally rich specialities like cassoulet and duck confit are perfectly balanced by robust local wines. With the emphasis on the quality of the ingredients, this hearty food, simply served, could explain why life expectancy here is the highest in France.
For anyone who appreciates the gentler, personable traditions of rural life and yearns for a tranquillity seldom found in modern times, the Gers is the Promised Land. There are still property bargains to be found, and the current exchange rate means your pound will go further. Humble cottages, fabulous farmhouses, maisons de maître and châteaux are typically built from local stone and timber-frame ‘colombage’. Further east in the Tarn & Garonne département, the cream-coloured stone gives way to reddish-pink terracotta brick, which earned Toulouse the nickname ‘la ville rose’. The vibrant capital of the Midi-Pyrénées, Toulouse is one of the fastest growing cities in Europe. Despite its rich culture and history, it is today a symbol of modernism and home to the French aerospace industry. Not to mention stunning Romanesque squares, museums, amazing markets, shops for every age group and, of course, gourmet restaurants for every taste.

With low-cost airlines flying into Toulouse Blagnac airport, Gascony is very easy to reach. And there is so much to see and enjoy here ….. with the feeling that there is all the time in the world to enjoy it.

Guest blogger: Lisa Maitland
Managing the Gascony area for Allez-Francais, particularly the Gers and Tarn & Garonne departments.

Contact details : Lisa Maitland 05 63 65 93 37 / 07 86 80 45 46 /

Monday, 30 November 2015

What can go wrong?

Last month we discussed how to successfully make an offer to buy a house in France. As promised, here are a few examples of what may go wrong.

First of all in making a “cheeky” offer, which a few clients find they cannot resist doing, in the event that they then want to make an improved offer, they will sometimes have alienated the vendors so much with their initial offer that subsequent proposals or offers are not possible. So be guided by your agent before you make that low offer.

Moving on, and assuming that your offer is accepted, and a Compromis de Vente is signed then everything normally goes to plan. But there can be problems, and here we look at a few of the most common events.

Probably the most frequent is the refusal of a lender to grant a mortgage. Too many times, lenders provide a positive “in principle” decision, and then when the full dossier is received, they turn the mortgage down. For the buyer, so long as they have had a “suspensive condition” for the loan inserted in the contract, and they are within the set time frame, the letter of refusal from the bank is sufficient for the Notaire to cancel the contract and refund your deposit. Please note, you need a refusal in writing to be lodged with the Notaire by recorded delivery (AR) by the date mentioned in the contract. If not, you are in breach of the contract and your deposit at risk.

Sometimes, it is possible that one of the parties (buyers or seller) dies between signature of the CDV and the Acte de Vente (completion). Because we have all of our contract signed via a Notaire, they always cover this eventuality. Many other agents prepare their own CDVs, and often there is no mention of what happens in such situations. Thus you have a problem, and one that can only be sorted out by going to court. For our clients, there is a clear stipulation – if a vendor dies, the survivor & or the estate of the deceased is obliged to sell; if either of the buyers dies, then on their side, they have the choice of whether to proceed with the purchase or withdraw. In this event, they would get their deposit refunded.

Another stressful situation is that involving the funds for completion. Over 95% of our clients use our dedicated team of currency experts. They always get the money to the right place and on time. But there is always one client who wants to use his own bank for the transfer, (despite the poor rates on offer), because he plays golf with the manager or they have used them for 20 odd years etc. Banks are not used to sending money Internationally. They often leave it too late, and sometimes make a mistake with the Bank details (IBAN numbers) and the money vanishes into the ether.

The best solution is to get the money sent a week or so in advance, to the Notaire, and we will check / confirm safe receipt of the funds. No stress or hassle, and a relaxed time at the étude of the Notaire. Quite the opposite, if the buyer has done their own thing and you are trying to trace the payment at literally the 11th hour …

To receive a copy of our French Property newsletter and The Complete Guide to Buying a Property in France - sign-up here 

image copyright marpalusz

Friday, 20 November 2015

Sterling/Euro fails to hold above €1.43

The last week has been an interesting one for GBP/EUR exchange rates that have been range-bound between €1.42 and €1.43. We have seen the pair test the €1.43 mark several times, but each and every time it has failed to break through, so this could well be the peak:

This is the 5th time this year we’ve seen rates get to around these levels, and each and every time it’s dropped back away. In August when we hit these levels, within a week it had dropped back to €1.36 again. There is of course no way to predict which way the rate will go, however looking at past performance, any clients with Euros to buy may wish to take advantage of the current levels that are close to an 8 year high. It could go higher still of course, but fixing a rate now would allow you to budget and secure a very attractive exchange rate, and protect against a repeat of the trend we’ve seen several times this year when the rate snaps back to the mid €1.30’s. Many of our clients are choosing to make hay while the sun shines, and fix a rate on at least a portion of what they need to buy.

This morning European Central Bank Governor Mario Draghi gave a speech, in which he said that the Economy may need more aid if the recovery is not self-sustaining. This is yet another hint of loosening monetary policy or cutting interest rates next month, and the Euro has weakened further, pushing GBP/EUR to €1.43, but again the pair is hitting resistance at these levels, and failing to break through. In the UK we have Public Sector Borrowing figures, which show the UK deficit. If wider than expected Sterling could weaken.

Written by Adam Bobroff, Director, dedicated dealer for Allez-Français clients at The Foremost Currency Group

Contact Adam on +44 (0)1442 892060

Monday, 16 November 2015

Why you need a personal broker at a time like this

Regular readers of our currency market report will be aware that the currency markets are experiencing exceptionally volatile times. With discussion of interest rates, and a possible extension of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) quantitative easing program grabbing the headlines, focus on economic data, and having a personal broker to translate the jargon has rarely been so imperative.

In the space of just 7 days last week we saw GBP/EUR levels sink to below 1.40, and peak as high as 1.4196.

What caused this movement?

The positive trend for Euro buyers was attributed predominantly to a perceived weakness in the single currency, as a result of a two pronged attack. The week was under way with a speech from ECB president Mari Draghi, in which he began to indicate that the central bank might indeed be willing to cut the base rate even further than the current record low of 0.05%. This insight into the thoughts of the central bank was the cause for an initial rise in rates, and began a trend that was to continue for the remainder of the week.

Alone, you would expect news such as this to create a noticeable movement in the markets, but coupled with the inclusion of a possible extension of the ECB’s quantitative easing program, a doubling up of monetary policy changes resulted in an escalation in the severity of the fluctuations. This was demonstrated during Fridays trading when we saw session swings of over a cent, moving higher, then lower, then higher again, before dropping once more to end the week around 1.4150.


Horror in Paris

Following the atrocities the world witnessed in Paris on Friday evening, it would be expected to see a degree of reaction in the financial markets. The general consensus is, that due to the incident occurring outside of trading hours, any knee jerk reaction has been subdued as the traders and investors have had time to digest the horror. Michael Hewson at CMC Markets expects that “Against such a fragile backdrop, markets generally take the last line of least resistance and given this vulnerability, European trading looks set to follow in Asia’s footsteps and open sharply lower”. However, how long this effect may be due to last is unknown as with “Past experience with terrorist strikes in Europe……financial market impact of even the most severe attacks to be short lived,” said Olivier Adler at Credit Suisse.

Get in touch

With the currency markets being one of the most unpredictable entities known, it is always worth having as many sets of eyes and ears on your side as possible. With our partner / dealers at Foremost Currency Group you will be assigned a dedicated account manager, who will be happy to share their knowledge of the markets with you, and explain all the options and tools at your disposal to help maximise the return on your individual requirement. Ask for Tom Taylor or Adam Bobroff, and quote the Allez-Français Blog to get preferential rates and the very best in service.

Call +44 (0) 1442 892060 or email

Friday, 6 November 2015

Estate Agents Code of Conduct

Estate agents in France are now obliged to operate under a code of ethics that has been enshrined in statute law.

The code is not just about conduct, but is also relates to competences, as there is an obligation to possess the practical & theoretical knowledge necessary, to ensure agents are informed regarding legislative and regulatory developments and to know the market conditions in which they work.

The code is strongly prescriptive about conflicts of interest, requiring agents to ensure that they do not put themselves into a scenario where a conflict of interest arises. This will catch many agents out as often they commercial ties, (typically a partner who is also a builder / plumber / electrian etc. Agents are now required to inform their clients of possible conflicts of interest.

They are also required to communicate with their (vendor) clients on a regular basis about progress on their sale instructions and any problems that they may be experiencing. That will come as a new event for some agents based upon the feedback that we receive from many vendors.

Allez-Français welcomes this development, our team of agents have always upheld the conduct and skills recommended.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Mobile phone roaming charges in the EU to be scrapped

Roaming charges, which mean account holders incur extra fees for using their mobile phones in another country, will finally be scrapped after years of debate and negotiation.

Last Tuesday, Members of the European Parliament finally gave the green light to a ban on roaming charges within the EU.

According to the BBC website, an interim cap on charges will take effect from 30 April 2016, prior to the full ban across the EU which is not set to come into force until 15 June 2017.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Unexpected moves in the currency market

A new week brings a new month and unbelievably there are only eight weeks left until Christmas but there is still plenty for the heads of the central banks to ponder before they can look forward to their winter break.

Last week brought some unexpected moves in the currency market which saw the pound climb back over 1.40 against the single currency. The U.S Federal Reserve interest rate decision on Wednesday evening didn’t spring any major surprises but did lead to GBP/EUR receiving an unexpected boost. Then on Friday afternoon, rather unexpectedly, the pound went a run which saw the currency pair break through the €1.40 barrier for the first time since August, reaching a high of 1.4023.

With a rate hike from the U.S. central back still firmly on the cards in December, investors pulled out of riskier assets and headed into the dollar leaving the pound to take full advantage. However, the euro did manage to claw back some of the ground on Friday morning after some positive eco-stats from the euro-bloc. The unemployment rate in the Eurozone fell to 10.8% while Italian unemployment fell 0.1% to 11.8%. The releases helped the euro gain across the board which briefly saw GBP/EUR dip back below 1.39 to a low of 1.3891.

Glimmer of hope for the ECB

On top of the positive unemployment figures there was also some good news regarding the Eurozone’s inflation figure. Statistics agency Eurostat announced inflation in the euro-bloc had returned to zero in October ticking up from -0.1% in September. According to Eurostat estimates price growth in alcohol, tobacco and food increased but warned energy prices were still considerably lower than this time last year. Although the figures released by Eurostat are only an early flash estimate the inflation reading will give the European Central Bank a small boost following Mario Draghi’s comments two weeks ago. In ECB’s last statement Mario Draghi suggested the central bank could be prepared to extend their extravagant stimulus programme in December because of the Eurozone’s current inflation level. With a small rise in inflation and unemployment falling could we see the ECB hold off from implementing more quantitative easing (QE) until the New Year? Only time will tell but if the ECB don’t expand their stimulus programme in December the euro could start to claw back some of the losses it has sustained over the past few weeks.

Are you looking to purchase euros?

Friday’s gains means the pound has now recovered virtually recovered all the ground it lost last month. The currency pair has risen almost 5% from the low of 1.3387 we witnessed on the 13th October, which means converting £250,000 today will net you nearly €16,000 more than three weeks ago.

If you are looking to buy or sell euros in the coming months and want to ensure you are making the most from you transfer contact our dedicated currency brokers today for a no-obligation consultation. As experts in foreign exchange they can help you achieve a rate of exchange up to 5% better than those offered by the high-street banks, while at the same time help protect you from any potential adverse market movements.

One of the most important actions that a buyer / seller has to undertake is to use a specialist currency broker, rather than a bank when sending money to or from France.   Foremost Currency have been the dedicated and preferred brokers for Allez-Français clients for over 10 years now, and we have known Robin & Adam on a personal level for around 15 years. They secure preferential rates for our clients, and we can testify that they get the money to the right place at the right time. (Not all companies or banks manage that we can assure you). We see Foremost Currency as an integral business partner, and we share a common goal, to provide our clients with excellent levels of service.
For more information, contact : Adam Bobroff 01442 892060

Monday, 26 October 2015

Buying French Property: Costs and Taxes

It is important to be prepared for the various costs that will be incurred throughout the French property buying process.

Deposit: When you sign the Compromis de Vente (the preliminary sales agreement contract) you will pay either 5 or 10% of the purchase price. The deposit is normally held by the notaire until completion.

Notaire fees: The cost of legal fees, stamp duty and taxes on an existing property are generally around 6.5 - 8 % of the purchase price, (plus 0.5% of the amount borrowed for registering the mortgage). Notaire fees are calculated on a scale set by the Government, so they will all be on the same basis, so you cannot “shop around”, for a better deal. You do have the freedom to choose your own notaire, and having 2 notaires involved incurs no extra costs.

Agency fees: Estate agency fees are usually around 5-7% and built into the sales price. Scales do vary quite considerably, and Allez-Français always has competitive fees. There is always a debate about who actually fees (buyer or vendor), but effectively they are paid by the vendor from the proceeds of the sale or global figure paid by the buyer, which includes the Notaire fees.

There are two taxes principal on all residential property in France: the Taxe Foncière (a land tax) and the Taxe Habitation (a local tax). The precise amounts often vary greatly, so check with your agent, and are influenced / depend upon location. I always tell potential buyers that they will not be put off a property by the size of the local taxes. (In other words, if you have to ask how much they are, you can’t afford the house).
image © pgaborphotos

Friday, 23 October 2015

You get more euros for your pounds today

The euro weakened significantly across the board yesterday, and this trend continued this morning after the European Central Bank (ECB) hinted that it may be taking action to try and boost the lagging Eurozone economy before the year end.

The bottom line is that you get more euros for your pounds today.

Take a look at the table below showing how much the cost of your property could have changed in just the last 10 days!

The £ was at 1.34 € on 13/10/15. Today £ = 1.39 €

* Average exchange rates, accurate at 1pm on 23/10/2015

You can take advantage of these great rates by contacting our currency experts at Foremost Currency – ask for Adam Bobroff, Tel 01442 892060, and advise that you are a client of Peter Elias to obtain a preferential rate……….

Have a great weekend!

Monday, 5 October 2015

Non-Farm Payrolls kicks the Euro into Touch

It was all looking so good on Friday for euro buyers; a steady rise throughout the first half of the London trading session was decimated after the key US release- Non Farm Payrolls.

Job creation figures in the States are seen as a key barometer as to the health of the US economy and, therefore, when the US Federal Reserve are likely to begin raising interest rates. The Fed were widely expected to begin raising interest rates in September this year; however, Janet Yellen has been resolute in her stance that interest rates should only rise when economic data supports the change. The expected figure from the States 203,000; however, the US only managed a paltry 142,000 which led to a dramatic weakening in USD crosses.
So why has this helped the Euro?

EUR/USD is one of the most widely traded currency pairs and, as such, tends to have a reciprocal relationship. This relationship means that if the dollar weakens then the euro tends to gain, and vice versa, as the charts below will attest.

GBP/EUR exchange rate

GBP/USD exchange rate

So what does this mean if I’m holding Pounds?

For those looking to sell sterling for another currency it is worth exercising caution. Much of the pound’s huge gains this year were due to market participants expecting the Bank of England to also look at normalising monetary policy. Mark Carney has taken a similar stance to his American counterpart in using Forward Guidance to offer his assessment of the UK’s economic landscape and keep the public abreast of the Central Bank’s views and plans. Carney has been labelled an ‘unreliable boyfriend’ for his propensity to move the posts; however, as he pointed out when destroying a journalist who dared to call him out on this fact, he is a central banker and not a politician and is led by data and not pledges.

The shaky global macroeconomic outlook recently has meant it is more uncertain than ever as to when conditions will be suitable for rates to rise. This has been one of the most significant factors behind the pound’s recent drop. And could spell further trouble for GBP pairs going forward. If you have an upcoming currency requirement then it is worth taking the time to speak with your account manager about the different options available to you. The decline in GBP/EUR means that a €200,000 purchase is over £9,000 more expensive than just a few weeks ago.

Our clients who made use of a forward contract while close to the highs can now call on their euros at any point from now, up to two years in the future, at price above the current mid-market. If you don’t have an account manager at Foremost Currency contact us today for an explanation of how they can help.

By Joe Mayhew Senior Currency Broker, at Foremost Currency

Friday, 2 October 2015

"enjoying the beauty that is France"

Driving along country roads lined and shaded by plane trees is a classic picture of life in many parts of south west France. It is, to some extent, one of the many reasons France is the world’s number one tourism destination.

Tragically, these iconic trees are now under threat - from motorists and the road safety lobby.
photo © Steve Allen

Efforts to remove the trees goes back to the 1970s, when destruction of the trees met a frosty reception by President George Pompidou.

Activists are once more up in arms and have launched two petitions demanding a halt to “arbicide” — or tree murder — as they call it. Their campaign carries more weight than it did in 1999 as new research suggests roadside trees can in some cases be used beneficially in cutting down road deaths.

Speaking in March this year, Chantal Fauché, president of the Association for the Protection of Roadside Trees, accused “successive French governments of creating an anti-tree psychosis among road users. ‘Trees are actually helpful in warning about bends in the road and keeping speed down. People feel they are driving faster if the trees are rushing past,’ she said”.

France is fortunate enough to be the third most forested country in Western Europe with 29% of the country given over to trees. This figure has doubled since 1850. Each year 80 million trees are planted which equates roughly to one tree every 2.5 seconds.

At present a group called the European Environment and Social Committee (CESE) is running a petition to save roadside trees across France. Some 400 motorists a year are killed after colliding with tress and the government has ordered that trees within 1.5 metres of roadsides should be removed. So far some 7000 people have signed the petition.

But as President George Pompidou said: "France is not made solely to allow the French to drive their cars, and regardless of the importance of road safety, this should not result in the disfiguring of the country’s landscape. Safeguarding the trees planted on roadsides – and I think particularly of the beautiful roads lined with plane trees in the Midi (south) – is essential to the beauty of our country, and for the protection of nature and the human environment. Modern life, increasingly surrounded by concrete, asphalt and neon creates more and more desire and need for people to escape to nature and beauty. The rural roads, (as opposed to motorways designed for speed) must become for the motorist of the late 20th century what the country path is to the walker or horse rider: a route along which one meanders without haste, enjoying the beauty that is France. So let us guard against this systematic destruction of that which is (an important) ingredient of this beauty!"

A longer version of this article can be viewed here: "Save Our Picture Postcard – Halt the Mass Cull Of Shade Trees Lining France’s Rural Roads" 

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Keeping your insurance under one roof

One of our jobs as an agent is to make life as simple as possible for you to buy a house in France. There are many aspects where this can be achieved, and most notably, we have a great working relationship with our preferred currency partners Foremost Currency. We have worked with Foremost since their formation, and full details can be found at and there is also a short video about their service at the foot of that page.

There is more service where we offer exceptional added value and that is via our insurance business partner Thierry Marcq. Thierry has been insuring Allez-Français clients since we started in 2002, principally houses of course, but also health top-up plans, cars, caravans, motor homes, motor bikes, children (school insurance) and pets are just a few examples.

All policy schedules are in English, premiums are competitive, and perhaps most importantly, the claims & after service is in in English. Thierry and his assistant Asha are truly bi-lingual, and you will have no problems discussing your requirements with them.

Special deal – for multiple policies*

A 7% discount applies for a 2nd policy
A 10% for a 3rd policy

(Discount applies for all policies)

* one policy must be a motor insurance policy

I think this makes for a great opportunity for buyers to arrange their insurances under one roof, and with somebody that they can feel safe discussing their insurances. In the event of an accident, will your French be up to scratch dealing with your local French agent? The situation is stressful enough without added complications. If you want to obtain a quote for any insurance policy, please contact me in the first instance at and I will arrange to obtain a quotation for you.

US and Eurozone announcements hindering Sterling

Sterling has taken a hit against a host of major currencies over the past week or so providing a great opportunity for anyone looking to purchase the pound. This movement looks as though it isn’t coming from anything that is happening in the UK but rather the talk coming out of the US and Eurozone.

GBP/EUR exchange rates

GBP/USD exchange rates

Last week saw Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank (ECB), state in his press conference that there was no need for the ECB to increase their €60 billion a month asset purchase program.

With inflation and growth in the Eurozone exceptionally low the markets had started pricing in an expansion to this quantitative easing program. Draghi’s comments came as a welcome surprise to the single currency helping it to surge against a basket of currencies, including the pound.

Sterling has also not been helped by all of the talk of an imminent interest rate hike over in the US. With Janet Yellen recently all but guaranteeing that there will be an interest rate hike in the US before the end of the year, the pound has nothing to fight back with.

It was looking very likely that we would see a rate rise in the UK at the beginning of next year but that has now been blown out of the water with the crisis over in China having a detrimental effect on the UK.

Andy Haldane, a member of the monetary policy committee (MPC), has even said that there is the possibility of a future cut to protect the UK economy against negative situations such as China.

Due to this it would seem that investors are taking their funds out of the struggling pound and placing them in to alternative currencies looking for a more likely short term gain. This has in turn had a major effect on the strength of Sterling and helped its major counterparts gain some ground.

Written by Alistair Ryan
Currency Broker at Foremost Currency
T: +44 (0) 1442 892061

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Ad'AP deadline 27 September 2015

An increasing number of properties on our books are ideal for business use, either because they are already established, or have the potential to generate an annual income.

A new legislation in France is currently coming into force that requires all public venues to be accessible. Art galleries, shops, hotels and other buildings listed as an ERP (établissement recevant du public) will need to comply, which might mean structural changes need to be carried out within the coming year.

There has, however, been some ambiguity over how this law applies to smaller establishments; Bed and Breakfasts, Holiday Gites and Villas, and those business properties with 4 bedrooms or less.

Today (27 September) is the deadline for submitting a dossier to your mairie to demonstrate compliance.

All properties and businesses differ, so if in any doubt and to avoid any later penalties, contact the Prefecture for your department to find out how this legislation may apply to you.

Further reading:

An article on this topic can also be seen in French:

Properties for sale with business potential:

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Les Montgolfiades 2015

Rocamadour is a stunning commune in the Lot department of south west France set in a gorge above a tributary of the River Dordogne.

It is a popular destination for visitors and pilgrims, not just for its incredible location, but for its historical monuments and its sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The sacred city also gives its name to Rocamadour, a small goat's milk cheese with AOC status.

Today was the annual hot air balloon festival 'Les Montgolfiades', attracting participants from all over Europe. Watching the balloons rise up from the foot of Rocamadour is truly breathtaking!

Rocamadour earlier today

Image © Andrew Cave - published with special permission

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Discovering Beaulieu sur Dordogne

Beaulieu sur Dordogne, known locally as the Limousin Riviera, since it has a softer micro-climate than some parts of the Corrèze further north. Beaulieu is a medieval town, originally dominated by its great abbey of St Pierre, of which only the abbey church remains, but is a popular attraction.

As is evident from the name, the town sits alongside the River Dordogne, and in the summer months it is possible to take a “Gabarre” for a river trip along the Dordogne. There is a busy weekly market and every 1st & 3rdFriday of the month a large foire, when local producers sell their fruit, vegetables, cheeses and of course the Limousin beef. The town is famous for its strawberry production, culminating each year in a festival, with the largest tart in the world, and a day of activity. Locally, there is also a lot of walnut production, and a special sweet wine, “Vin Paillé”, which is something of a cross between a sherry and a port.

In the town, there is a good mix of independent shops, several bars, restaurants and hotels, plus a tourist office, (with guided tours), and even a museum.

At virtually the southern most point of the department, within 3 Km you actually pass into the Lot (Midi Pyrenees). Within 30 minutes, it is possible to visit no fewer than 6 of the “Plus Beaux Villages de France”, Collonges-la-Rouge, Turenne, Curemonte, Autoire, Carennac and Loubressac, each with its own special charm and character.

Brive is the nearest large town, and airport. Flights to London City and Stansted. Easy access from the north of France via the A20 autoroute, free between Paris and Brive, a legacy of when Chirac was president!

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Why the fuss about exclusivity?

Exclusive mandats for French property: at Allez-Français that's over 10% of the property portfolio (a percentage that is growing).

So why the fuss about exclusivity?
First of all, unlike the UK market which is principally "sole agency", the French market is driven by "simple mandats" which are effectively multi agency. For this reason, almost all properties are on the market with 4 or 5 agencies, (sometimes even more), and because all agencies have different fee structures, the house tends to appear in advertisements at many different prices.

So what are the advantages to the respective buyer or seller of the AF approach?

Benefits to buyers : 

No confusion: You do not have to trawl through websites seeing the same property marketed at different prices. Because only one agent is dealing with the sale, we will always know exactly what the true position is.   In contrast, on multiple agency cases, the seller (and their agent), often do not advise other agencies.

Better visibility: With an exclusive mandat we can disclose the exact location with GPS coordinates and Google Earth street view images before commiting to a viewing.

Benefits to sellers : 

Faster sales: Because we have full control over the sale, we can manage the advertising / marketing of the property more effectively. We are more inclined to use For Sale boards, which can attract viewings. Having the property advertised at just one price results in a more consistent and professional approach. We can also invest more time in our photography and advertising for the property.

We have proven during 2014 & 2015 that houses listed in exclusivity sell faster than multiple agency houses.

Today we have 30 exclusive properties on offer, out of around 250 houses listed, with prices ranging from 150,000 up to 995,000 € for houses.    Take a look at our website page

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

French Property Exhibition

The French Property Exhibition last weekend was a great success. This annual event is a key date in the diary for anyone interested in purchasing property in France. Christian Perron, Director of attended the show on Saturday and helped share information about Allez-Francais properties to many visitors on that day.

The numbers attending the show were as expected, with people seriously looking to invest in French property, or make the move back to France.

Value for money is high on any purchaser's list, but our partnership with Foremost Currency Group helps ensure that even more money can be saved when transferring funds, which in turn maximises any budget when it comes to arranging viewings.

So now the show is over we have many enquiries to follow-up.

Allez-Francais has a special reward in place for clients that purchase a property priced over 250,000€ too, so we are looking forward to a busy autumn of finding and selling!

If you would like to know more about our reward packages, please contact me

Friday, 18 September 2015

Sunday, 6 September 2015

A Place in the Sun: Birmingham 25-27 Sept 2015

A Place in the Sun Live at the NEC Birmingham 25th-27th September is a great place to start or continue your search for property in France.

There is also a chance to meet the stars of the TV show, Amanda, Jasmine, Jonnie and Laura who are on stage throughout the weekend and available to answer your questions. And why not audition to be part of the next TV series?

For lots of advice and fantastic properties come along and see what it’s all about.

For more information and to book your tickets for the show please visit

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Amazing new property opportunity

A new property opportunity has just been released at the Halcyon Retreat Golf and Spa Resort in the spectacular French Lake District.

With a minimum 7% fixed rental returns for 10 years, this magnificent opportunity won’t be around for long and is very much a first come, first served chance to own a property in one of the most exciting premier resorts in France.

  • Property completed within 12 months
  • Enjoy great returns and family holidays every year
  • 150% developer assisted resale available
  • FREEHOLD PRICE £330,000

A 2-bedroom apartment & a superb holiday home investment

Monday, 31 August 2015

Behind the scenes at Foremost Currency Group

Why use Foremost Currency Group?
  1. Get rates up to 5% better than high street banks
  2. High security
  3. Dedicated personable broker
  4. Outstanding market knowledge
  5. No commission
Additional details are also available on our website

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Off to the market...?!

Visiting a French market can be one of the most enjoyable ways of spending a morning in France.

There are so many different kinds of markets and customs, here are some tips and ready-to-use phrases in French that you might find useful on the next visit!

Sunday, 23 August 2015

House-hunting holidays in the Dordogne from £250 per week

Why not combine a house-hunting trip in the Dordogne with accommodation provided?  Dan and Jo  Arnold run a lovely B&B in Montpon, 24700. Ideal for house-hunters looking near Bergerac and the west of the Dordogne.

Prices start from £250 per week for September, October, and November for self-catering in a three bedroom apartment (sleeps 6). Or Bed and Breakfast starts from €52 euros per room per night.

The Pomarede apartment is around 40 minutes from Bergerac airport, and 1 hour 10 minutes from Bordeaux airport. Delicious evening meals can also be provided. Please email Jo at or phone 0033 5 53 82 36 19 or mobile 0033 6 73 06 03 77.

Their Facebook page is here:

For an example of some of the properties in the area visit our blog post here:

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Latest currency update as fears of a "Grexit" are beginning to fade

The £ closed the week at below 1.38 € , having been over 1.43 a month ago, a reduction of 3.5%. So what has caused the change? Here is the analysis of Joe Mayhew, Senior Currency Broker at Foremost Currency Group.

Last week the euro managed to gain on the bulk of its counterparts. There are a number reasons for the Single Currency’s recent gains; firstly, now that Greece are beginning to implement the reforms asked of them by their creditors, fears of a “Grexit” are beginning to fade.

The Greek reforms have been pushed through parliament, mostly by Alexis Tsipras taking a significant U-turn on policy and courting rival parties, which has left him extremely unpopular with his own party. This about-face has driven him to set a snap election that could see him ousted from his position of Premier on September the 30th. Whilst this could cause some uncertainty for Greece, the troubled State paid off over €3.3Bn last week to the ECB and the previous duels and mind games, that had been so heavily publicised, now seem like a thing of the past.

Much of the pound’s strength over the past year has been due to speculation over the BoE raising rates. Yet, with Governor Carney still as unreliable a boyfriend as those on Ashley Madison’s (now public) client list, his so-called forward guidance appears as clear as mud. In short this means volatility; sterling rates could remain range-bound for some time and the swings between the peaks and troughs could either see you make a healthy profit on your exchange or make you as red-faced as a social networking adulterer.

One way to take advantage of these swings is to make use of your account manager at Foremost Currency Group. They can act as your eyes and ears keep you up to speed with your cross’s movements and help tailor a strategy to help make the most of your currency. Get in touch with our dedicated broker today to find out about the different types of contract on offer to you or, if you don’t currently have a trading facility, then simply click here to get registered and learn about the options open to you.

Monday, 17 August 2015

French Property Exhibition 2015


The annual French Property Exhibition will be taking place at Olympia, London from 18-20 September.

If you have always dreamt of owning a property in France, this is the perfect opportunity for you to find out more! 

The event also includes a seminar programme, giving visitors the chance to gain valuable advice from property experts in moving, buying and financing in France.

At this year's exhibition you can discover more about Allez-Francais, our properties and our partner Foremost Currency Group.

Registration is free - sign-up on their website here

Monday, 10 August 2015

Special offer on Fractional Ownership properties

We are pleased to advise that there is a special offer open to our clients for reservations on our Fractional Ownership properties at the Halcyon Resort, near to Limoges.

The properties are built around a Château hotel, with Michelin starred restaurant, your own 18 hole golf course, and an indulgent world class spa, plus much more. A 2 bed apartment costs £30,000 for a 13th fraction, which entitles you to 4 weeks ownership each year. The properties are price in £ not Euros. A one bed apartment costs £18,500 or a studio £11,500. This is a great opportunity!
  • Cashback 5% for 12 months from purchase.
  • Should the property not be completed within 12 months from the date of sale, the developer will pay a 0.5% penalty of the purchase price per month to the client until completion of the property.
  • Rental = 50/50 split on income
  • Rental paid NET (all annual ownership costs, excluding the £100 FOC fee)
  • Purchaser to pay the £100 FOC fee upon completion
  • 125% assured resale – between year 5-9 after completion
  • 150% assured resale - 10 years after completion
  • Free furniture
  • Free completion taxes
Full details upon request via or for a fly through video see

Limited offer – closes 30th September 2015