Thanks, everyone, for your advice and warnings. Just to set the record straight, I am not looking for any kind of "scheme" to evade taxes. I just want to avoid a situation when we retire of finding out then that "if we had only known ten years ago..." We just want to handle this as intelligently as possible to avoid paying anything we don't have to pay. This is a pretty complicated area, so it looks like I will need to get some professional advice. But first I'll add the David Hampshire book to my reading list.I realize that taxes might be higher in France, but the object of the game is to live where and how you want, not to pay the least in taxes, right? You're absolutely right, baanista, about testing out the new country before doing anything permanent. I'm looking forward to exploring all of France on vacation time up until we are free of the 9 to 5. The first year or so after we retire will be spent living there full time, but as renters, until we feel ready to buy a home. So far, we have explored Paris and the surrounding area, Normandy, and the Suisse Normande area just south and east of Caen. Our next visit will be to the Dordogne valley, east of Bordeaux. We stay in bed & breakfasts, rent a little car and explore the countryside, stopping in little villages to walk around and, of course, try out the restaurants.Every time we go, we are more convinced this is the country we want to call home. We just seem to love all of the things the French love about themselves, while we don't feel the same affinity for our American cultural heritage. It's just how we're wired. We also have friends in Russia, and living in France would allow us to visit them (and the rest of Europe and Asia) more often, without the expensive trans-Atlantic flights. We're travel bugs, and France's location is a big plus.Anyway, thanks again. This board has helped me believe that this can happen for us much sooner than we originally thought. I am more inspired and motivated than ever! -- Anya
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