A British couple who own a second home in Brittany say they plan to sell their property because of the effect of the 90-day stay rule on their freedom to visit.
Retirees Richard and Susie Thornely have had their house near Saint-Cast-le-Guildo for over 30 years, “and we have been going out there nearly every month,” they told The Connexion.
“If we look at a year, we would probably do a week in January or February, a couple of weeks in March, a couple of weeks in April and May and then probably about six weeks from June to July. We would then go for another couple of weeks in October to November.
“However, on top of that, we would probably normally go to Italy or Spain for two or three weeks, as well as maybe going elsewhere in France.”
Mr and Mrs Thornely had originally thought that the 90-day allowance in every 180 referred to a set period of six months, but then realised that it is a “count-back, a rolling 180 days.
“So when you actually look at our year, come the beginning of September we have to start waiting for weeks to drop off the beginning of those six months before we can go into Europe.”
Pic: Richard and Susie Thornely
The couple would not consider applying for a visa because they do not wish to spend extended periods of time in France at any one time, but rather miss the flexibility of being able to travel there and to other European countries whenever they liked.
“So the spontaneity of thinking: ‘Let’s go over to France this weekend’ has been lost because we have now got to calculate; we virtually have to plan our whole year at the start.”
This, paired with the way in which “British residents just couldn’t come to the country” when the Omicron Covid variant emerged last December, means that “the French government’s attitude hasn’t impressed us.”
“We have spent a lot of money on this house and had planned to spend much of our retirement there, but as it stands this will not happen,” Mrs Thornely said.
“The 90 days has a real impact because we still have the taxe d’habitation and everything else to pay,” Mr Thornely added.
These factors have brought the couple to the decision that the best thing would be to sell their second home.
“It’s devastating. Our children have grown up in that house, as we’ve had it for 30 years. We’ve had weddings there, the children have been going out with their friends. We’re saddened by the whole thing,” they said.