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Relocating to France: myth versus reality

February 21, 2012 2:10 PM
Many Americans, lured by images of the French joie de vivre, dream at one point or another in their lives of spending extended periods of time in France. Be it for their studies, for work or even to retire. What most are unaware of, though, are the intricacies, the bureaucracy, and often sluggishness of the French Administration when it comes to dealing with any type of paperwork! Bienvenue en France!

One person in the Seattle area can guide them through the process and even assist them in filing their paperwork. If need be, she will even make middle of the night phone calls to talk with a representative of les Impôts (French IRS) or any administrative office, usually open Monday through Friday 9 am - 12 pm and 2pm-4pm. (Lunch break is sacred in France). Subtract nine hours to those times if you are in the Pacific Standard Time zone!

That person is Laurence Raybois, a French national who moved to the Unites States over twenty ago. Laurence became a relocation specialist by accident, after buying her house in the South of France. As she shared of experience and knowledge about acquiring and renovating her house with non-french citizens, she realized that people were hungry for information. She self-published the first edition of her book ¨Chez Moi: The Foreigner's Guide to Buying a Home in France¨ in 2002. Two more editions have been released since.

As more and more people starting coming to her with questions, her activity started picking up to the point where she had learned enough and decided to start a business specializing in helping Americans move to France. Laurence Raybois Consulting advises individuals on a variety of topics from assistance to finding suitable employment in France through the carte de séjour, to navigating the French educational system, renting or buying a house. She'll also explain the cultural differences pertaining to such topics.

She's helped so far about 500 individuals relocate successfully and enjoys dealing with the variety of situations her clientele brings her: from securing work permits for mountain guides to obtaining authorization to relocate with pet parrots! While most of her clients come to her through word of mouth, she also regularly gives lectures about living and working on France. The next one is coming up this Thursday!

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