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D12 - Le Petit Bornand - road & skiing

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hello,

We currently live in Hong Kong but moved across from Geneva 7 years ago. Our goal is to move back to live there, but move more into the mountains. Our requirements are decent size house as there's 4 of us, 2 adults & 3 year old twins and three dogs. We want a decent size garden and to be reasonably close to some decent skiing. When we lived in Geneva we'd typically end up around Morzine & only went to La Clusaz once for ski joering.

We've found a place thats on the D12 in Le Petit-Bornand-les-Glières which is very tempting and would suit us nicely, however it's on the D12. The road is apparently quite busy, but its hard to know how busy it would actually be throughout the year and on a day to day basis.

Does any one have any comments on this area in terms of traffic, community, schooling and general living? Also guessing there is reasonable skiing around La Clusaz and can probably ski into other regions easily? We had considered Seytroux / Saint Jean d'Aulps area but this place is really attractive for our needs.

Thanks in advance,

Nick
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Laserblues2 wrote:
Hello,

We currently live in Hong Kong but moved across from Geneva 7 years ago. Our goal is to move back to live there, but move more into the mountains.


Are you planning on working in Geneva 5 days a week?

Can you work non mainstream hours (not easy with Swiss firms)

Do you have a work permit for CH and residents permit for FR or EEA nationality ? Did you consider the effects of Brexit ?

I'll assume you are commuting. I've done that drive in the morning but I used to work at the airport and the drive is about 45 minutes arriving at 9.30 in the morning (so missing big Geneva rush hour which is relatively early). The road is prone to ice and snow but is relatively good for a mountain road that runs through a steep valley. I have friends who commute from Boege to the city center and they abandon their cars in Albertville where they have motorscooters in a lock up garage and continue on their motorbikes. They don't bike all the way because the Boege road is too dangerous in the winter months.

If you really want to check how long it will take check out Google maps in the morning, you'll see all the traffic in real time. You'll need parking in Geneva, which is somewhat scarce, if driving.

Schools for 3 year olds will be the main French schools so no real issues until they reach college level at 11 years old or if you work in CH you'll have the right to put them into Swiss schools somewhere en-route to work. I don't know anyone who does the latter.

Geneva traffic is frustrating but the CEVA opens on the 15th December this year which will change things for commuters from the French side a lot - the Swiss will continue to discourage cars entering Geneva in favour of rail. You should look for somewhere in easy reach of a CEVA station with park and ride.

Personally when looking for somewhere to live I consider
1. schools
2. the commute
3. ski access

unless you remote work then you are probably commuting to work more than driving to ski and even then I wouldn't particularly want to be stuck up a mountain all year round
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Hey David,

Thanks for your reply, my intention is to work from home (as we don't have an office in Geneva / Switzerland / France at present) with occasional trips overseas. So driving to and from Geneva isn't a massive concern.

I'm not sure how good the 'local' schools would be - they'd be 5 going on 6 when we arrived so figuring potentially 5 years before we need to worry about college level. My wife is a teacher and would look for work but at present we have no specific locations in mind for her to work. She currently works in a local school here in Hong Kong so a local school potentially would be fine.

I have considered Brexit but I don't think any one really knows what the impact will be....? Unless you have any insights into this, I was figuring that a self employed person coming to work and pay taxes in your country, with money to buy a chalet etc would be unlikely to be turned away or refused a visa? I may be wrong about that though....?

So my considerations were 1) the schools & how easy it'd be for the kids at this stage 2) how good the local ski zones would be 3) how busy the road is, as we don't want to live on a a really busy road!! The other consideration was internet connection but having spoken to quite a few people they've suggested that mobile internet is very good and the introduction of 5g should be relatively soon. If we could get a fibre optic connection that would be preferable but not the end of the world.

Sorry - I should have made the above clearer in my post.

Where would you be recommending to live?

Thanks

Nick


PS. I used to work in Geneva and work in Gaillard, not entirely sure what happened to my visa when I left 7 years ago but would imagine the accountants dealt with it and its either lapsed or returned due to moving to Hong Kong.
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Used to work in Geneva & live in Gaillard***
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Ok that's clearer. I can only say that it is not too bad to drive to Geneva, I've never lived in the village but it is a nice spot. Most recently I was there on a Saturday (out of season) and there was traffic - like cars going by all the time but it was not excessive. I wouldn't necessarily want to live on the road though. There is someone on this site who lives in le Grand Bornand who might reply.

Is there a reason you want to be that near Geneva?

I can't see the local schools being an issue at your children's age. If you will be there at College / Lycée age I would look into that in detail. The public school system, esp University and Lycée level is severely underfunded and there are a lot of problems generally in France but things may evolve in a positive direction. There have just been big educational reforms which are causing the problems.

As you say, no-one yet knows anything about the situation post-Brexit, if it ever happens.
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I think summer traffic might be your bigger challenge.
A while back, I used to go up and down that road to get to some of the via ferrattas near Thones and St Jean de Sixt.
IIRC the summer traffic was worse, as there were lots of other things in the area that drew people from both Annecy and Chamonix
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@Laserblues2, Our friends @gvj live in Le Petit Bornand. In case he doesn't see your post for a while, I will drop him a quick message and ask if he can give you some pointers.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Laserblues2, Have been in touch with @gvj who will be back with more regular wifi on 16th and able to give you his thoughts then, if not before.
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Davidof - where would you recommend? There's no necessity to be 'that close' to Geneva, but no necessity to be miles away either. If I do fly out every 4 to 6 weeks, then a 40 minute to 1 hour commute would be alright.

SBP - would you mind if I asked, why is it much busier in the summer? What activities or draws are there for people from Annecy / Chamonix?

Great, thank you loatie - look forward to hearing from gvj! Thanks for all your help and advice
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Mountain biking, klettersteig/via ferrata, hill walking, nature trails. anything outdoor and hilly, etc etc
Even before you add exotic things like paragliding, rock climbing, canyoning,
During the summer the barriers for entry to the mountains are much lower/less expensive.
Chamonix is busier during the summer and there is always overspill/drift from locals/others who seek less touristy areas
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Ummmm ... I'm a bit confused, because although you say you want to return to Geneva, you're talking about living in France. Initially, I thought you were going to ask about living in the Vaud or Valais. I'd make two comments.

The first is about Brexit and the uncertainty over what this means for a Brit who wants residence in France and the tax regime that will emerge, which is high i.e. this could be exactly the wrong time to move to France as a Brit. It might turn out fine, but there are some fairly negative scenarios as well. If we No Deal, then all bets are off in terms of the current benign regime for Brits in the EU. If we exit with a Deal, we still face 2 years of negotiations on the new relationship. And even if we Remain, I think there could be fallout - things won't be the same. Much less uncertainty if you moved to Switzerland. But this is just my viewpoint.

The second is that I just wonder if you've considered living somewhere more urban in Switzerland? Central Geneva and the Lac Lémain lakeside are obviously very pricey, but what about Lausanne (much more an international, university town) or similar? Or somewhere in the Rhone valley like Martigny or Sion? Such locations are very central for short drives out to loads of ski resorts and on the railway network. Isn't LPBdG going to be a lot more, sort of, mountain-y? i.e. with a very quiet spring and autumn low season, and neither urban nor resort. Just some thoughts.

Caveat: I'm obviously biased, as we have had a holiday home in CH for 16 years. And have just been told by our bank that if we wanted, we'd have no trouble getting a 'B' Residence permit, which would allow us to buy a place outside a tourist area. This partly because the Cantons get a capitation for each resident - so someone financially independent who is also bringing assets in is very welcome, as it's a net gain for the Canton. But someone else on the Forum who is in France could probably make a good case for residing there - I'll leave that up to them.


Last edited by snowHeads are a friendly bunch. on Mon 9-09-19 15:26; edited 2 times in total
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Laserblues2 wrote:
Davidof - where would you recommend?


My only thought was that as you don't have to travel being close to Geneva would mean housing costs are higher. I was thinking maybe somewhere on the Albertville side of the mountain range would be less expensive if you want to be in that area but I've not looked into costs myself.

Do you need Geneva airport or can you also fly from Lyon or even Turin (you could go to Snowhead's favourite spot of Briancon)

One thing I noticed recently is the Italian side of the Alps is cheaper and... no French! (also I note laForet's reply above).
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@Laserblues2, a few of ex-Hong Kongers (including ourselves) have bought in Les Carroz in the Grand Massif. It has a school in the village that they attend until senior school when they move down to Cluses. Good skiing, an hour to Geneva airport for flight connections. Easy to avoid the main road when buying. Ther are lots of real village sin and around the area. We looked at somewhere in Le Grand Bornand as well, but the proximity to the road put us off 16 years ago.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
LaForet, sorry I thought that had been cleared up - apologies. I used to live in Gaillard (right next to the border) and work in Geneva. We now live in Hong Kong and have for 7 years and would love to move back to the Alps. I have changed company and we do not have offices in Geneva or Switzerland or anywhere in the region so I would be working from home and travelling as & when necessary. We don't fancy being in the town, the intention was to move up into the mountains.

Given there is no idea about Brexit either way - it's hard to know what will happen. I can't see the French wanting to turn people away if they have capital / income, and I would imagine it'll just be a case of getting a visa. I can't see either how they would tax a foreigner differently?

Davidof - I'll take a look, would be happy to move across to the Italian side but not sure the wife would be keen as she was planning on being on the french side. If it made sense then I'm sure it wouldn't be an issue. Turin isn't as international an airport as Geneva tho, I don't believe? So presumably international flights would be harder - will look into that and see.

Cheesie168 - thanks, will have a look. I've been looking for properties for a while and just found this place. Thought it looked perfect for our requirements, but was told about the 'busy' road so thats why I was trying to find out more about it
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Laserblues2, Hi. We’ve lived in Petit Bo for the last few years so if there’s anything you want to know about the village - or the house you’re considering, just ask. We think it’s a great position for the Aravis and GVA access. You can always PM me.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Working from home when "based" in Switzerland is not as simple as one might think.
If you also live in CH I think it's easier, but as a frontalier, it seems that there are some restrictions on attendance.
A friend worked in GVA and was allowed to work from home 25% of the time.
At UEFA you are allowed to work from home 64 days per year as a frontalier.
As for Tax - in Canton Vaud where I work (Nyon), you pay income tax where you reside so for me that's France.
For Geneve - you pay income tax in Geneve.
In both cases you will need to pay social contributions (10% of salary) to CNTFS to cover minimum French healthcare (SECU), as well as LAMAL (Swiss insurance). You are free to take a mutuelle or hybrid frontalier insurance over and above that.
It was pretty easy getting a Swiss work permit G as a UK national (presumably due to UK being in the EU/EEA), and I am reasonably confident that some arrangement will be put in place to facilitate UK nationals working in Switzerland, whatever happens at the end of October / January / Some other time.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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@laserblues2 No need to apologise - it was me being slow. Just a question (no need to answer if you don't want to give too much away on a public forum) but are you still domiciled in the UK or not? If you are, then I don't think you can ignore the potential Brexit fallout (whatever happens) but if you're not, then I would imagine you have much more leeway about where to locate. Obviously, something that I'm sure you'll talk to your tax advisor about.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I left the UK in 2005 and haven't been back for more than a week or so at a time. I used to live in France (not sure if that would help me, and Germany for a couple of years as well as Cyprus for a few years) so have been an EU resident for around 7 years since 2005. I have no idea what'll happen (as I'm sure no one including Boris knows...) but it wouldn't make sense for them to prevent people who'll bring income into the country to come. I'd imagine it'll just be a case of applying for visa's etc.

I do wonder about living somewhere more 'urban' but love the idea of being in a village or community in the mountains. The appeal of this place was it's proximity to Geneva / Annecy if there was a necessity to be there, and not too far from the lake. Another option would be to live in an Evian type area and then maybe have a small ski apartment instead
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@Laserblues2, assuming you are British citizens, you will lose the right to freedom of movement after Brexit. Which means you can only spend 90 days within a rolling 180-day period as tourists in the EU.

Applications for residence/work permits for UK citizens will be the same as for other third country nationals, and varies between EU countries. On the whole you will need qualifications in a shortage industry and a firm job offer, plus no criminal record, ideally aged under 35 and good language skills. British citizens will not acquire any additional rights due to being British.

Either that or move before Brexit happens.

British citizens living in the EU know precisely what will happen after Brexit, we have been kept well informed by the governments of our host nations.
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I suppose I'm echoing @queenie's point, namely that you can't assume France will be happy to welcome a UK citizen for residence, even if they are bringing funds into the country. As with any migrants, the net overall, long-term balance has to work in the host country's favour. People have grown used to Freedom of Movement's associated benefits and reciprocal arrangements: all these could well disappear, and not long after you relocate to France, you might find that the residence 'package' in another Alpine country actually looks much better. Or that the best option is just to come back to the UK and buy a holiday home in the Alps etc. It all depends on what your residence conditions turn out to be, post-Brexit. (Two Caveats: I'm not trying to put you off, just emphasising the likely impact of Brexit, but I'm no expert, so I might be overstating the issue).
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What if you're self employed and have income, will not be working or taking a local job? I don't really know how that changes things or works. My parents live in Cyprus, so not too sure how that would work if we decided to live with them? Or would we not be allowed to live with them?

My wife is a teacher, so would potentially be looking for work but thats undecided at present.

Who knows when Brexit will happen - which is another slight issue! Maybe we would have to live across the border in Switzerland if it came to it...
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@Laserblues2, if Brexit happens then applying for a work permit as a self employed person is pretty difficult AIUI. Certainly for Austria each case is decided on an individual basis and the successes are usually start-ups in shortage industries, especially those that bring employment opportunities to the host country. Your particular circumstances would be unlikely to succeed in Austria, but I can't say for certain about France, the criteria there may be different. Your parents will need to apply for residence permits in Cyprus after Brexit, of course this is far easier for existing residents than for new applicants. If they are retired they will no longer qualify for free healthcare so they will need to pay for and show proof of adequate health insurance. You would be a new applicant if you decided to live with them post-Brexit.
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Laserblues2 wrote:
I have no idea what'll happen (as I'm sure no one including Boris knows...) but it wouldn't make sense for them to prevent people who'll bring income into the country to come. I'd imagine it'll just be a case of applying for visa's etc.


Well Brexit is totally up in the air but you can plan for two scenarios

1. UK remains or remains with something like the May deal
2. UK exits and you can then look into how easy it would be for say, an Australian to set up as self employed in your destination of choice. For employed third country applications it is very difficult in France to get a work permit (note for your wife).

that said even in scenario 2 Macron has said he wants to maintain the status quo and would like to do a series of deals with the UK in the next 12 months covering a range of subjects. Reciprocal rights on employment, health, retirement are at the top of the list because he would like to keep the 200K Brits in France, many of whom are retired and spending in France and he'd like the 300K French working in the UK to stay there because there is not the infrastructure in France for even a percentage of them to return.

[edit]
I looked into the self employment situation for third country nationals and it is complicated for France but their fear are self employed people taking local jobs.

Your situation seems to me to be different. You will be a resident in France but essentially working for a foreign company. I looked at how Americans do this in France (teleworking for US/Canadian firms) and it seems pretty straightforward. You ask for a residence permit showing where you intend to live and where your earnings will come from (this could be a trust fund and not your self employment for example). You will get a 1 year permit which will then be renewed for 5 years then made permanent. You will have to do a tax return for your earnings but there are sections for foreign income and you'll pay social charges/tax as usual. This may or may not entitle you to use the French health service so you may need to figure getting separate health insurance. Is there a French embassy in Hong Kong who can give you more information?

Note this information applies to France only. For other countries there are other rules.

Given Brexit hasn't happened then I would forge ahead assuming all is good then cross the residence permit bridge when / if it comes up. Try and find out more about Petit Bo from gvj. If you rent initially then it is easy to move, very easy to give notice now in France on a rental property. I would advise renting in France anyway, you'd be better investing your money elsewhere.
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