15 December 2015 - Mortgage France News |

10 years in France: The planning starts

The second article in a series written by Tony Bayliss, the founder of Mortgagefrance.com. The series will centre on his love of France, and experiences there throughout his time in the country.


If it was going to be at all possible to move to the South of France it was going to be necessary to find a means of earning a living. In the UK I was working as an IFA on my own and earning a reasonable living. Carole was working as the PA to the MD of a construction business and was doing well although she was not happy.

On one of our visits one Sunday morning we were just parking the car in a car park in St Paul de Vence, listening to Riviera Radio when an interview started with the manager of one of the financial services companies operating in France. He was talking about what he does and his life in general. Our ears pricked up and we sat there hanging on to every word emanating from the radio speakers. It was very much a sales type interview, as he was seeking some prospective clients, and his telephone number was given at the end of the item.

I naturally called it on my return to the UK. After a few conversations with the person who knew many of the same people as me, I got an interview with the MD in London, which I am afraid did not go well. I was placed at one end of a long table with the MD interviewing me at the other. His chair was noticeably higher that mine (an old trick) and my normal self-confidence left me. The following morning I received a letter of rejection through the post along with a cheque for my expenses. Back to square one.

I did however pick up the name of another firm operating in the South of France. I called them and once again travelled to London for an interview which, this time, went much better. Shortly afterwards I received a call from the interviewer who told me that he was leaving and setting up a new venture and asked would I be interested. It would be a commission only position which was normal for the financial services industry. He had a person in mind to head the operation on the Riviera and would I like to meet up in Antibes, with Carole, to discuss it.

We met up in Antibes and over lunch in one of the many restaurants discussed the situation, the largest one being my withdrawal from the UK.

One of my previous employers had heard on the grapevine that I was planning this move and eventually a company was jointly established whereby my clients were looked after and serviced and I would return periodically to manage some of them.

Slowly the pieces of the jigsaw started to fit and we had targeted a date for moving down to be September 2000. The memories of the summer of 2000 will always be with me as Carole commenced selling off our worldly goods in an effort to raise some much needed cash. It was as if each time I came home another piece of our life had disappeared and whilst I didn’t show it, insecurity had set in.

We still however hadn’t yet found anywhere to live. We were in Antibes looking around estate agents looking for somewhere to rent and were sitting in a street cafe looking at brochures over a coffee and croissant, when we heard an English voice say “if you are looking for somewhere to rent I have a property I am try to let”. The agent with whom he had the property with was a few metres away, we went there with him and then visited the apartment which was in Antibes.

We piled into two vehicles and off we went to view this property. When we saw it, it just took our breath away. It was an apartment on the hill going out of Antibes and in a complex of two blocks with its own pool and very well maintained gardens. The flat itself was on the ninth floor, on one side the kitchen and the living room looked east across to Nice with magnificent views of Nice airport. On the other side which faced south you could look down into Antibes and across towards Cannes. It was nicely furnished with faux antiques. It had two bedrooms and a large bathroom with separate toilet. We were captivated, the price was a little above our budget, but we went for it.

We had now found somewhere to live. I had found an opportunity that should enable us to earn a living. The dream was becoming a reality!

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