Interview with Concierge Expert Stephane Guillet Dorion

Why are Concierge Services so important?

Concierge expert Stephane Guillet Dorion from ConciergeSVP and Riviera Alliance member shares with us today the important and usually overlooked aspects of when owning a property in the south of France. Read more

Help with French Paperwork

Your smooth relocation to France

by Tracy Leonetti, LBS Language & Business Services

Compile your document list

Anyone who has relocated to another country would agree with me that the key word to remember is PLANNING. And whilst we may plan all the details of the move down to the last detail on our excel spreadsheets and note pads, the excitement of finding your dream home can sometimes be overshadowed when you are blocked in some of the French bureaucratic paperwork process because you can’t provide the document they need.

The French paperwork processes are renowned for being complicated and our objective is to ensure a smooth transition to your new home. So do think and plan ahead, not only about the move, but about the paperwork to bring with you.

Listen to more details from an interview with Tracy on Riviera Radio 106.5FM.

Talking about paperwork on Riviera Radio 106.5FM, Juanita Viale from Nice Properties and Tracy Leonetti from LBS Language and Business Services.

Talking about paperwork on Riviera Radio 106.5FM, Juanita Viale from Nice Properties and Tracy Leonetti from LBS Language and Business Services.


See below a document checklist. Many of which will be needed during the 13 different processes you may encounter in France:

  • Birth Certificates with parental affiliation for all the family
  • Marriage certificate
  • International Health Card for Europeans
  • Private health insurance documents (if needed)
  • Bank account details
  • Tax returns for previous 2 years
  • Bank statements (at least 6 months)
  • Driving license
  • Car insurance documents & bonus information
  • Medical documents
  • Previous years schooling information for your children
  • Vaccination documents for the children
  • Car registration documents
  • Visa’s for non- Europeans

For more information, download Tracy’s Top Ten tips when moving to France here.
If you need some help with some of the processes in France, why not contact Tracy Leonetti at LBS now on + 33(0)6 59 04 01 51 to get a free assessment on your paperwork situation.


Nice Properties goes to London with the Riviera Alliance

Did you know that the largest show about France is actually in London?

Nice Properties has teamed up with several local French Riviera businesses as the Riviera Alliance to provide potential buyers and French property owners a “one-stop” solution for all aspects of owning property in France and will be present at the 2015 France Show in London on January 23-25th, booth #268.

So why is this the ideal time to go to the France Show? If you are planning on moving and investing in France, then why not get all your information and questions answered in one place.

When you move to France and don’t speak a word of French or know anyone, getting things done can be a challenge, especially if you are looking to buy/sell a property or even owning one. Having a trusted team of people at your side will make all the difference and in the end save you time, money and stress-free.

So guess what? We have put an English speaking team together to help you get everything sorted out. However this is not just an ordinary team. This friendly, professional group are people that at one time faced also the same challenges when setting up their lives  here on the French Riviera. So we completely understand all the ins and outs in order to help you get your plan done.

The Riviera Alliance offers key services such as finding the best mortgage, legal/tax advice, currency exchange, finding or selling a property, interior and exterior design, renovation and construction, concierge and property management, legal paperwork and holiday rental programs.

The members of the Riviera Alliance include Callender Howorth Interior Design, Nice Properties, IFA Spectrum Independent Financial Advisor, Currencies Direct, MB Design & Renovation, Concierge SVPShowroom Dedon Monaco, LBS Language & Business Services, and Sunlight Properties with our official radio sponsor Riviera Radio 106.5FM.

So we invite you to come by booth #268 to meet our convivial group and lets get your plans into action!

Nice Properties Welcomes the Riviera Alliance



Nice Properties is delighted to announce our exclusive membership to the Riviera Alliance, a private network of English speaking professionals representing all areas involved in buying, selling and owning real estate on the French Riviera.

Through our years of experience of helping international clients buy and sell their homes, we know that finding the services to help them set up their financial and personal lives on the French Riviera can be challenging especially if they don’t speak French. This is the main reason, Nice Properties wants to take it further to provide easier solutions for our foreign clientele by giving them access to a “one-stop shop” style English speaking professional network that can provide them with every kind of service they need when buying, selling or owning property here in France.

The Riviera Alliance can provide services such as real estate services, interior design, renovation, construction, currency exchange, financial planning and services such as getting a mortgage or retirement and heritage planning, personalized concierge services, translation and administrative paperwork services, exterior garden furnishings and landscaping, rental property management, and more.

You will have a personal team that understands your plans and goals that has years of experience and understands the “ins and outs” of how things get done here in France so that at the end of the day, you save time and money and have the security of dealing with your personal team of professionals to get your affairs in order and get it done!

For more information you can visit the website or email



The Fete de Musique : The places to be!

Celebrate the longest day of the year with music everywhere! Wherever you are in France and regardless of your musical tastes, the 21st of June is one of the most celebrated days in France! Numerous places on the French Riviera offering diverse musical programs, discover our selection via our slider.

saxo2DO NOT FORGET – From 5:30pm, at the Promenade du Paillon, break the record of the biggest human saxophone ever made!

Top Tips When Moving to France

Guest post by Tracy Leonetti. Language & Business Services

Don’t forget to bring all your paperwork: Birth certificates, marriage certificates, tax returns, driving license, medical files, insurance policies, social security cards. You will need these for the different processes in France. For some situations you will need a translated birth certificate. A list of legal translators can be found from the local Town Hall (Mairie).

Set up an International Banking Account: If you are buying in France, you will probably already have a French bank account. But if you are still in the process of looking it is good to find an international bank with online facilities where you can easily transfer from your home country to France. Don’t forget to inform your bank of your change of address.

Transfer your Health Cover: Health cover is not free in France! However, most European countries have an agreement with France and you can transfer your social contributions to France therefore covering you for health care from between 12-24 months (depending if your national insurance contributions are up to date in your home country). For the UK, you need to contact the Department of Work & Pensions.

If you are coming to work for a company in France, your company should do all the paperwork with the local CPAM to ensure health cover for you and your family, managed by Ameli. For more information from

If you are setting up your own business or thinking of becoming an auto-entrepreneur (sole trader), you will be entitled to health cover but this will be managed by the RSI (Régime Sociale des Independents). More information at

Claim Child Benefit: If you have 2 or more children and are a resident in France, you can claim child benefit in France. This benefit is not means tested at the moment and therefore is accessible to any resident. It can be a long process but child benefit is back dated up to two years for those who haven’t quite got round to putting their claim in yet. Before leaving, ask your local child benefit office for a letter certifying that you are no longer receiving child benefit for your children. You will need this for your application here in France. More information at

Your Driving License: If you are non-European, you have one year to transfer your license over to a French one. After that you will need to take the French driving license. Note: For non-Europeans, before you leave your home country, ask your local driving office to give you a letter stating that your rights to drive are not suspended or cancelled. You will need this for your driving license application at the Prefecture.

Since 1st July 1996, it is not an obligation for Europeans to change their driving license and you may continue to drive in France with your driving license. However France works on a points system and if you commit a driving offense where points would be taken from your license, it then becomes an obligation to change your driving license to a French one. Driving license changes are done at the prefecture.

Car Registrations & Insurance: If you are bringing a car over to France, you normally have one month to make the change to a French registration ‘certificat d’immatriculation’ but this can be pushed out to 6 months as this is when one is considered as resident. This process is taken care of the Prefecture and the cost can be a little expensive as there is an import tax plus a pollution tax. Before leaving your home country, ask the garage where you bought the car or the manufacturer for a ‘Certificate of Conformity’, this is a document stating that your vehicle conforms to French standards. You will need this document to change your car registration. More information at

Also check your car insurance policy as most only cover up to 3 months abroad and if you have an accident in France you may find yourself without cover.

Local Utilities: To prepare your move remember that for the electricity and gas (EDF/GDF) you will need to inform them at least 2 weeks before your move to ensure your electricity is switched on. There is a small cost for this. English website:

You should also think about getting your telephone line connected and what internet options you need. The main operators in France are Orange and SFR and provide telephone, internet and TV packages. This can take a few weeks so do some research before you move.

If you need help or advice with any of these processes, you can contact Tracy Leonetti on +33 (0)6 59 04 01 51 or check her website out on for more information. She can help your move to France be smooth and frustration free.

Clean Energy Driving with GreenRent

GreenRent, Nice Properties’ newest official partner, offers you the benefit of a 10% discount on any car rental of their entire fleet of clean energy hybrid and electric vehicles including their popular “Twizy” fun car.

Explore the French Riviera with the ease of these easy to drive vehicles that provide a clean means of transportation with no impact to the environment. The “Twizy” fun cars feature sun roofs and butterfly winged doors and are just about the easiest car you will ever drive and park.

These “petite” sized electric fueled cars can easily be parked anywhere! All you need to do is indicate that you are Nice Properties client when making your car rental reservation with GreenRent and enjoy 10% off your rental rate.

And here is the best part, they will come directly to you with the keys and car! Whether you are arriving at the airport or want the car dropped off at your hotel or vacation home, they will come directly to you.

GreenRent is conveniently located on GreenRent car rental service is located 6 Bis rue Meyerbeer in Nice and is open Monday to Saturday from 8:30 to 6:30pm, Sunday from 10:00am to 5:30pm and can be contacted at +33 983 809 816.

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Discover our exclusive offer with the Hotel Le Negresco in Nice

Take an additional 10% off the lowest rate you find anywhere when booking your stay at the Hotel Le Negresco in Nice.

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Property Forum Q & A : Rentals and property management

Recent questions received through the Property Forum and featured on Riviera Radio 106.5FM Property Thursday.

The first question comes to us from Julie in London:

I am looking at renting a house with 4 bedrooms in or close to Cannes. The rent people are looking for May to August are very high, do you have any advice to help people find value for money in these summer months?

Yes, Julie, it is true, home rentals in Cannes during the peak season do run high, lets face it, the French Riviera is one of the world top leading summer destinations, but there are small pockets of neighborhoods where you can find potentially lower rental rates. If you are looking to be near Cannes, I would recommend looking in Le Cannet which is very close to Cannes and is an area that offers lower priced homes and apartments in comparison to Cannes since it is set back from the beach. Basically, on the French Riviera in summer time, rentals near the beach are prime locations and that comes with a price tag. So try to stay back, even on the other side of the A8 to find lower rates.  But also remember, May and September rentals might also offer some discounts as well as inquiring about any last minute deals.

 The next question comes from Mary Cork in Ireland, and her question is:

I am going to buy a house in south of France, but I don’t know there areas so well. I am thinking of renting for a year in a few different areas to find the one I like best.  I want a secure area, good places to go within walking distance and I want to be close to the sea.Can you help me narrow down the 4 or 5 best areas?

Well Mary, obviously the south of France covers a very large area, but speaking specifically of the French Riviera, you will definitely want to see areas such as Antibes/Juan les Pins, Cannes/Mandelieu, Nice, Villefranche and Beaulieu. These are all areas with many expats who live there and you will be able to have easy access to the beach, shops and restaurants, and more importantly the train station where you can hop on to check out other areas along the Riviera. If you have never been here, I would recommend renting a place so that you can visit all these wonderful small towns and cities to determine where you want to be.

 And the last question comes from Jerome and Angela in Monaco and their question is:

We have had a bad experience with a company managing our property and we want to find a new company to deal with our property. We are starting to feel they are all just after fees and to do as little as possible. We are finding it stressful.  Is there a preferred agency, or a few key questions we should ask of a new agency. We are French but like to deal with a strong company who can deal with English and Russian business.

Your first conversation with a property management is very telling about the way they do business. Can they in fact easily talk to you in Russian and English or your desired language?   You can ask them specific questions about their pricing and what it all includes, But more importantly, always ask what their prices do not include.  Oddly enough, a great question to ask is how much do you charge to change a light bulb? If you get an outrageous price, you can get a quick idea that the rest of their services are probably way over priced as well.

I conferred with the property management company that we use at Nice Properties and they explained that fairly priced property managers is a telling sign that they are looking to establish a long term quality relationship with their clients and not just get the most out of the short term,and for that reason they are usually the ones that have been established for many years with a good reputation that give the best service.

A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words…and more in real estate

There is no excuse for poor pictures of your property.

You know the saying, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ and in selling real estate, a picture speaks volumes of not only the property, but also the agency or person selling the property.

The pictures sent in to us by the listener shows a million dollar villa set back in the hills with a pool and panoramic views.

While the villa itself is a nice villa, the pictures clearly do not capture the true beauty and charm of this property.

Yes you see the pool, yes you see the view, but the angles in which these photographs are taken do not look appealing.

There is even a picture of a the corner of the house on the exterior which actually does not really show anything except grass and a wall.

Real estate photography is meant to do show 2 things, showcase the property in its most appealing sense and provide the buyer with information about the specific details of the property such as amenities, rooms and special features.

Clearly an agency or person selling the property who doesn’t put any time and effort into taking nice photographs and selecting the nicest ones to properly showcase the property is an immediate indication that there is something not right about the person or company your dealing with.

More importantly, you want the best offers to be made on your property and chances are that with poor photography, that will not be the case with yours.

Now more than ever the photography plays a vital role because of the fact that most people now do most of their real estate searches online beforehand.

This is why it is SO important to ask your agent or seller important questions about how they are going to market your property as well as asking to see the pictures taken of your property.