Auvergne Holiday Cottages view
Auvergne Holiday Cottages Introduction text
AuvergneLarge1 - Visitor Information

We have added useful visitor information to our web site - this is extracted from our visitor information folder you will find if you visit one of our holiday cottages. Use the links on the right for everything from Shopping & Needs to Walks.

Our sincere thanks to all those who have helped compile and add to this folder.

Last amended 14th Oct 2009.


© Di and Peter Scott, 1993-2008
Auvergne, France

Auvergne is a "Region". It has precisely defined boundaries (like Scotland), rather than vague ones like "The West Country". It is divided into four Departments - Allier, Py de Dme, Cantal and Haute Loire - which are equivalent to counties. Condat is a "Commune", somewhere between a parish and an Urban or Rural District. It has a mayor and an elected council. Paris is split into "Arrondissements" which are administrative areas. Each Arrondissement is divided into four quarters - "Quartiers"

There are some 20 regions. Others are Provence, Brittany, Ile de France (Greater Paris), etc.. France has nearly 100 departments, arranged alphabetically and numbered. 01 (Ain), 02 (Aisne)... 14 (Calvados), 15 (Cantal)... 46 (Lot)... 84 (Vaucluse)... 89 (Yonne)... 91 to 95 are Paris departments. The department is shown by the two last numbers on a car registration plate (ours is 5221 HM 15 because we live in Cantal) and the first two numbers in a postcode (ours is 15190).

Cars in France are registered to the owner, so when you buy a second-hand car, you get a new registration number for it, with the last two letters showing the Department you live in. One way to pass the time as you drive through France is to spot where cars come from, starting at 01. Corsican cars are a bit thin on the ground though.
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The French live longer, work shorter hours, have more holidays, enjoy better health especially in old age and have higher disposable incomes than the British.

Income tax is lower and the road fund licence was abolished in 1999, but social security charges are much higher (there are actually three entirely separate charges - health paid to a health fund, pension paid to a pension fund and social security proper paid to the state contributions agency). Someone paying 6% in the UK would pay 23% here. This is offset by a truly excellent health service, an income-related pension entitlement, and cheaper cars/wine/petrol & diesel/food/etc.. Almost half of all households pay no income tax, but it’s hard to make true comparisons. The two taxes introduced to fill the social security black hole (CSG and CRDS) now raise substantially more than income tax (and make me wince when they hit the doormat in October.)

It is illegal to write a cheque if you do not have sufficient money in your bank account...
On more than one occasion we have ordered goods from a firm that had never heard of us and found the goods appeared before the invoice. It is common to write a cheque and not be asked for a guarantee. Our Residence Card (Carte de Sejour) is enough for us to enter most European countries, (other than Britain which requires a passport).

Except for the drivers, France is a good country to live.

A separate note about the health service will be added shortly as so many people ask about how it works and how it’s funded.