How much is this beret worth to a Frenchman?

A Basque jeweller is asking an astonishing €8,900 for that most classic of French fashion accessories – a beret.

How much is this beret worth to a Frenchman?
The €8,900 beret in question, available from Origine Ateliers in Anglet. Photo: RR

The ‘Origine’ workshop in Anglet, in the south-western French department of Pyrénées-Atlantique, lists a ‘beret bijou’ among its sparkling wares.

The suggested price for the single black headpiece? An eye-watering €8,900

Look a little closer, though, and it all starts to make sense. Clipped neatly through a hole in the top of the hat is a pin – studded with 188 white gold diamonds. 

As expensive as a car or a trip round the world, but a priceless French tradition all the same. Any takers?

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Timbre fiscal: Everything you need to know about France’s finance stamps

If you're doing a French admin task, you might be asked to provide a 'timbre fiscale' - here's what these are and how to get them.

Timbre fiscal: Everything you need to know about France's finance stamps

In France, you can buy  a very particular kind of stamp to cover the cost of a titre de séjour, or French passport, to pay your taxes, get an ID card if you’re eligible, or pay for your driving licence.

Basically a timbre fiscale is a way of paying a fee to the government, and some online processes – such as the tax offices – now have the more modern method of a bank transfer or card payment.

However there are plenty of official tasks that still demand a timbre fiscale.

In the pre-internet days, this was a way of sending money safely and securely to the government and involved an actual physical stamp – you bought stamps to the value of the money you owned, stuck them onto a card and posted them to government office.

They could be used for anything from paying your taxes to fees for administrative processes like getting a new passport or residency card.

These days the stamps are digital. You will receive, instead, either a pdf document with a QR code that can be scanned from a phone or tablet, or an SMS with a unique 16-digit figure. Both will be accepted by the agency you are dealing with.

Once you have the code you need, you can add this to any online process that requires timbre fiscaux (the plural) and that will complete your dossier.

You can buy them from a properly equipped tabac, at your nearest trésorerie, or online

Paper stamps remain available in France’s overseas départements, but have been gradually phased out in mainland France.