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FRENCH PROPERTY

ELECTION

Take a closer look at François Fillon’s manor in rural France

François Fillon may not yet be the president of France, but he is the king of his castle in rural France. Here's a closer look at the manor he calls home.

Take a closer look at François Fillon's manor in rural France
Photo: AFP
Fillon, who is the favourite to become France's next president in spring, doesn't have a big apartment in Paris like typical politicians. 
 
No, this Frenchman has his very own manor, known as the Manoir de Beaucé, a 14th century building in Solesmes, northwestern France (see map below).
 
Here are a few things to know about it, as noted in Le Figaro newspaper
 
Photo: Google Maps
 
It's valued at €650,000
 
The Fillons bought the home in 1984 for €440,000, and it has since been re-valued at €650,000 in 2013 in Fillon's declaration of assets.
 
While this may sound extravagant, it's not much compared to the property portfolio of Alain Juppé, who was his rival in Sunday's run-off primary, Juppé boasts a 90 square metre apartment in Paris valued at €750,000 and a home in Bordeaux valued at €550,000.
 
Photo: AFP
 
Photo: AFP
 
The manor is at least 500 years old
 
Fillon's manor was constructed in the 14th century or possibly the 15th century, and has had extensive renovations carried out in the centuries since. according to France's culture ministry's architecture files.
 
It noted that a chapel and an L wing were added to the building in the 19th century.
 
Photo: France's Ministry of Culture
 
The lavish lifestyle has seen the Fillons mocked
 
Fillon and his family were mocked by the public after letting the French press into their home in 2013. 
 
The Paris Match magazine ran a full page spread with a picture of the entire family in front of their countryside chateau with the caption: “To govern well, you need balance” (see below).
 
A columnist at Nouvel Obs wrote that the spread was like a guide in “how to ruin your image”.
 
“Is there anyone actually steering Francois Fillon's communication team,” the paper asked, noting that by parading his wealth he was “cutting himself off from a huge majority of France's population.”
 
Fillon told the French media afterwards that he had no intentions of hiding who he really was. 
 
“I am not like some people who own a villa on the Riviera but who never lets it be seen,”  he said. 
 
The Welsh woman who might become France's first ladyPhoto: AFP

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PROPERTY

Property taxes: How much will it cost to extend your French home?

Installing a swimming pool, building a garden shed, or adding a conservatory to your French home has become more expensive in 2023.

Property taxes: How much will it cost to extend your French home?

If you are planning a renovation project in 2023 you’re likely looking at rising cost for materials and labour due to inflation – but there is one other cost to consider; taxes. 

In France there is a one-off tax that has to be paid on certain building works, and the government has raised the rate for this.

The taxe d’aménagement, sometimes referred to as the garden shed tax, applies to all property development – construction, reconstruction and extension – of buildings that require planning permission or a building permit.

Garden sheds, swimming pools or extensions with a surface area of more than 5 square metres are subject to the development tax – although a 50 percent reduction is applied to the flat-rate values of certain buildings, particularly the first 100 square metres of main residences.

READ ALSO Everything you need to know about installing a swimming pool at your French property

The tax is collected by local councils, who set their own percentage rates for the tax, working off the base rate set by the government.

A decree published in the Journal Officiel set the base figures for 2023 at the following rates: 

  • €1,004 per square metre in Île-de-France (up from €929 per square metre in 2022);
  • €886 per square metre outside Île-de-France (€820 per square metre in 2022).

The flat-rate values per square metre of building space, which constitute the basis for the development tax, are revised on January 1st of each year according to the latest construction cost index published by national statistics body Insee. 

Additionally, specific rates are set for:

  • €250 per square metre  for a swimming pool (up from €200 in 2022);
  • €12 per square metre of ground-fixed solar panels (up from €10 in 2022);
  • €3,000 per wind turbine more than 12 metres high;
  • €3,000 per pitch for tents, caravans and mobile leisure homes;
  • €10,000 per pitch for a holiday chalet or bungalow.

The amount of the tax is calculated according to the following formula: 

(Taxable area multiplied by the government-set base figure) multiplied by the percentage tax rate set by the local authorities. This gives the total to be paid in cents. Bills are rounded down.

So, the tax for a 30 square metre extension in an area where the combined local and departmental tax rates total 6.25 percent would be calculated like this:

30 (the size of the development) x 886 (the base tax rate outside Ile-de-France) = 26,580

6.25 (local and departmental tax) x 26,580 = 166,125 cents, more usually expressed as €1,661. 

If the total payable is less than €1,500, you will receive a bill in the six months after planning permission was granted, with details of how to pay.

Otherwise, it is paid in two instalments, 12 months and 24 months after authorisation, with a 10 percent surcharge applied in cases of late payments.

READ ALSO The hidden costs of owning property in France

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