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The Best Is Yet to Come

May 2022

The Best Is Yet to Come
Out of the tree of life, I just picked me a plum
You came along and everything started’ in to hum
Still it’s a real good bet
The best is yet to come
Best is yet to come and babe, won’t that be fine? 
You think you’ve seen the sun
But you ain’t seen it shine
A wait till the warm-up’s underway
Wait till our lips have met
And wait till you see that sunshine day
You ain’t seen nothing yet
The best is yet to come and babe, won’t it be fine? 
Best is yet to come, come the day you’re mine
Come the day you’re mine
I’m gonna teach you to fly
We’ve only tasted the wine
We’re gonna drain the cup dry
Wait till your charms are right, for these arms to surround
You think you’ve flown before, but baby you ain’t left the ground
A wait till you’re locked in my embrace
Wait till I draw you near
A wait till you see that sunshine place
Ain’t nothin’ like it here
The best is yet to come, and babe, won’t it be fine? 
The best is yet to come, come the day you’re mine
Come the day you’re mine
And you’re gonna be mine

“The Best Is Yet to Come” is a 1959 song composed by Cy Coleman to lyrics by Carolyn Leigh. It is associated with Frank Sinatra, who recorded it on his 1964 album It Might as Well Be Swing accompanied by Count Basie under the direction of Quincy Jones. It was the last song Sinatra sang in public, on February 25, 1995, and the words “The Best Is Yet to Come” were etched on Sinatra’s tombstone. Although Sinatra made it popular, the song was written for and introduced by Tony Bennett.

Although it is a love song, I find the title appropriate for the times we are living through, as good news is mingled with bad. I do not see the need to specify what I consider to be the good and the bad news. I believe the vast majority of people are trying to be cautiously optimistic. They hope the good news will continue to offset the bad, even though many are experiencing serious hardships. The economy in both the USA and France includes rising inflation but also low unemployment.

Many see the reelection of the French president, Emmanuel Macron, as having averted a serious risk, since the far-right candidate did not win the presidential election. Yet it is going to take more than that to make French people feel safe and reassured.

On a much lighter note, we can count on nice weather coming soon, and many of us are planning pleasant moments during the summer.

I wrote this just a few minutes after the French media announced President Macron’s reelection. The polls had indicated he would probably win. Still, the accuracy of polls can be questioned, especially when they are trying to measure a new situation. It would be a mistake to think that this was just a rerun of the last French presidential election, in which the same candidates ran. The first and most significant difference was that this time there were two strong appeals to voters. One was “Tout sauf Le Pen” i.e., vote for anyone except Ms. Marine Le Pen to prevent France from electing a far-right president. The other similarly opposed President Macron, “Tout sauf Macron.” This was new; such a thing was unheard of in modern French history. Of course, the second round of the presidential election is always particularly contentious, as it is a true duel. In that sense, it resembles the American presidential election. But there is a lot of hatred of President Macron, and the wave of strong anger many French people feel against his policies involves a significant part of the French electorate. These people were ready to vote for anyone, including a far-right candidate, and they did.

Hence there was serious concern about how close the vote would be. French politics would shift considerably if there were just one percentage point between the candidates with a result like 50.5% for President Macron and 49.5% for Ms. Marine Le Pen. The definitive victory of President Macron (58,60%) over Ms. Marine Le Pen (41,40%), indicates a possible continuation of French political life as we know it. This said, winning with such a significant margin says nothing about whether President Macron will continue governing the same way he did during his first term.

One issue many commentators mentioned concerned Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who came a close third in the first round. He is usually described as an extreme leftist by French standards, which makes him too liberal to fit in the American political spectrum. Under normal circumstances, most of his votes would have gone to President Macron in the second round. But polls showed his supporters were split into three groups. One-third was expected to vote for President Macron, one-third was expected to vote for Ms. Marine Le Pen, and one-third was expected to refuse to vote in the second round. It now appears that this projection was pretty accurate. It is hard to believe that such a thing could have happened. It shows two things. First and foremost, in my view, is how incredibly strong the call “Tout sauf Macron” was. Also, Ms. Marine Le Pen has become a highly skilled politician with a lot of experience. She has worked for years to give the appearance of a moderately conservative politician and make her political party seem to fit into the normal French political spectrum. The extent that she succeeded would have been impossible for her father, Mr. Jean-Marie Le Pen, whose political career was anchored on his far-right views.

As I said in my previous issue, this election takes France into uncharted territory. Now there is a possibility that President Macron will not achieve a stable majority in the elections for the National Assembly. This next big test for France takes place in June. The election of députés to the Assemblée Nationale, the equivalent of the US House of Representatives, will again be in two rounds.

The purchase procedure for the apartment project I described in my last issue got under way on April 13th when my wife, Paula, and I signed the preliminary sale contract, the promesse de vente. The closing should occur three months later. After that, the renovations should take about one month. Even though the summer months, and especially August, are not full vacation months the way they used to be, this is not problematic as I assume the place will not be ready to be rented until sometime in September. Right now, I am finalizing the estimate and hoping there will be as few last-minute crises as possible. I am also looking at furniture and appliances, as they are also important to an enjoyable stay for guests.

I plan to rent out this one-room studio of almost 329 square feet (30 square meters). My goal is to rent by the month for between one and six months. Clients sometimes ask to use my address, which they need to give to the consulate and later the prefecture while hopping from one weekly rental to the next before finding a more stable place and settling down with a longer-term lease. This truly unpleasant experience can be avoided now that I have an address in Paris where the person can go straight from the airport. The studio can serve as a place for someone who has either secured a long-stay visa or is submitting a request for one. It will be an interim place for such people to stay. It could also be for someone who is in France on a 90-day visa waiver to “test drive” whether living in France is for them. After 25 years of offering “A Survival Kit for Paris,” I will now also be able to propose “A Survival Home in Paris” for those who need it as an extension of my services.

For those who do not know, my office is located in the 11th arrondissement between Nation and Bastille. It is a real up-and-coming arrondissement, and the property is served by five metro and RER lines.

The new space will need some renovation before clients can benefit from a comfortable and enjoyable stay. Thus I need to set aside some time to work on this project. I might give appointments a month or more later than usual because of it. I will let my readers know when I start taking reservations, which should be during August, once the renovations are well under way.

In many of the world’s cities, rental housing is too expensive for many people. This is one reason the city of Paris has been losing population for years. Among several policies to address the problem, one of the better known is rent control, which took effect in Paris on July 1st, 2019. Now the national government has launched a program that, instead of punishing landlords for setting rent too high, offers a tax credit to those willing to rent below the market rate. I am not sure how successful this policy is going to be, as it may be too complex to be efficient. Here is how the administration explains it:

Loc’Avantages came into effect on February 28th, 2022. Property owners willing to set the rent lower than what is usual in a given municipality sign a six-year agreement with the National Housing Agency (ANAH) and in exchange they receive a tax reduction on the rent collected, ranging from 15% to 65%.

All housing, new or old, is eligible for Loc’Avantages, regardless of when it was purchased. Unfurnished property must be rented for a minimum of six years to a tenant with limited resources who is establishing his or her main residence. The owner may choose to apply a discount of 15%, 30%, or 45% to the local market rent. The lower the rent, the greater the tax reduction on the rent received.

French law requires that foreigners must wait to register their business with URSSAF provided they hold an immigration status that allows this registration. Oddly enough, for many years it was possible to register the creation of a business with URSSAF without having the proper immigration right to do so. This happened only when the business was registered online rather than in person, and I assumed that the URSSAF employees in charge of reviewing these business applications neglected to thoroughly check the cartes de séjour. As long as the ID of the applicant was valid, the registration went through. It is important to note that applicants with completed business registrations needed only one appointment afterwards at the prefecture, during which both the applicant’s project and the URSSAF registration were checked…and generally such applications were approved! To my dismay, personnel at the prefecture were pushing the applicants to carry on with this illegal procedure, apparently in an effort to avoid the necessity of scheduling a second appointment. Several times I asked different civil servants working at the prefecture where thesecarte de séjour requests based on business registrations were handled if it was now established policy to accept an illegal registration with the wrong carte de séjour. The responses I received were affirmative.

I saw a change in January 2022 with the URSSAF online registration procedure. It was no longer possible to complete registration with the wrong carte de séjour. I first tried to register a business online for someone holding a “visiteur” carte de séjour. More recently, I tried with an applicant holding a student visa. In both cases, we were unable to complete the registration. I conclude that the government is now systematically blocking requests made with the wrong carte de séjour. It is going to be very interesting to see how the prefecture is going to handle this change. I will keep my readers updated about this.

On various forums and media targeting the expat community, I see a lot of confusion about a financial requirement that is applied to mostcartes de séjour issued. Applicants must nearly always prove that they earn or at least possess resources equivalent to the French minimum wage (salaire minimum de croissance, or SMIC). For some sub-categories of “passeport talent” cartes de séjour, the requirement is even higher, but always referred to as a ratio of the SMIC. I copied the quote below from the website of a small rural prefecture and translated it. One thing that might surprise many readers is that foreign clergy hold “visiteur” cartes de séjour. The French administration does not consider foreigners holding a religious position to be employed in France. Note that the administration does not differentiate among religions.

“Your total resources must be at least equal to 1.231€ a month. The benefits and allowances that are not taken into account in the calculation of resources are the following: the Revenu de Solidarité Active, theAllocation de Solidarité Spécifique, and the Allocation Temporaire d’Attente.” 

These are subsidies similar to welfare in the USA, which is why they are not included in the evaluation of whether the foreigner has the means to stay in France.

“The applicant must choose as the source of resources ‘Other support (religious function)’ if they are:
– a foreign national who is a minister of religion or a member of a religious congregation or community by his or her diocese, community, or congregation of origin to a diocese, community, or a congregation in France for a fixed or indefinite period;
– or a foreign minister of the Muslim faith seconded to France by his government for four years to exercise religious functions.”

Sadly, whenever there is a program dedicated to people who need it, crooks tap into it hoping to fool enough people to make a lot of money. For a couple of years, people have been contacted in many ways – usually by phone, SMS or email – about financing for continuing education. The communication almost always claims to be official information about your rights, so people pay attention. And the part about the rights is true. French continuing education is financed in such a way that the vast majority of people living in France, citizens and immigrants alike, have rights to continuing education funds. They are financed either by the employer as part of the social charges paid, or by self-employed people themselves when they pay their social charges (it is the last line on the URSSAF form). Pôle Emploi, the French unemployment agency, also has access to this financing to help people get jobs faster. The many ways of financing continuing education include the Congé Professionel de Formation (CPF) and the Congé Individual de Formation (CIF). Which one is appropriate depends on whether the candidate is an employee, job seeker, etc. Candidates can be guided in their search by the continuing education service of the institution offering the training.

If you are an employee, a member of a profession libérale or other self-employed person, a collaborating spouse, temporarily self-employed, or a job seeker, the CPF/CIF is automatically credited at the beginning of the year following the year worked; e.g., the rights acquired in 2021 are available in the first quarter of 2022. The rights remain available even in the case of a change of employer or loss of job.

The way the crooks operate is to get you to provide your full name and French social security number. Then they contact the organization managing the financing of your account and register you with what I would call a fake school, which gets paid without any courses being given and without your knowledge. This can happen without the victim’s knowledge, since people rarely check their continuing education account to see what the balance is.

The first Q/A of this issue goes into detail on the French continuing education system, both its funding and how to become a teacher paid with such funds.

This is a text message I received a couple of days ago that illustrates exactly what I am talking about. Vous allez perdre vos droits à la formation (C.P.F). Consultez votre budget & réclamez votre formation 100% prise en charge :

You will lose your continuing education credit (C.P.F). Check your budget & claim your continuing education rights 100% free:

I continue to slowly move toward working fewer hours in the hope of having a lifestyle more compatible with my age. As I have done in the past, I am once again scheduling an increase in my fees. I expect my assistant to continue to pick up more tasks linked to the URSSAF, CPAM and other public offices procedures. She already handles most dealings with the offices who register self-employed people. 
1st meeting/1st work: 350 euros for 2 hours 
Extra per hour: 150 euros 
Handling mail in my office: 50 euros per month 
Handling mail at my home: 60 euros per month 
Surcharge for out-of-office meetings: 80 euros, assuming less than 30 minutes’ transportation 
Surcharge for meetings and phone calls at the client’s request after 7PM weekdays, all weekend, on national French holidays and during vacations: 30%.

The office will be closed for three weeks over the summer holidays, starting on Friday, July 8th, in the evening and reopening on the morning of Monday, August 22nd. As always, I will be reachable by email for emergencies and important matters. The service I offer of receiving mail for clients will continue while the office is closed. Of course, Sarah or I will honor prefecture meetings already scheduled, as well as a couple of other engagements.

Over the holidays, my assistant, Sarah, took an interesting initiative and created a new Facebook page. It is a good move for her since she and I both moderate it. She can show off her expertise and her ability to give good advice and clearly explain solutions. She does this in French, leaving the queries in English to me.

Since I am already active in a few Facebook groups and my website is my main showcase, I did not feel I needed such a page. On the other hand, it will no doubt benefit her. I do not have the time to monitor this forum and so far, it has been fairly quiet. Sarah is still figuring out how to handle this new task, being quite busy herself. I am sure it will be a great space for exchanges and hope it will pick up soon.

You are welcome to join:

Best regards,


I would like to explain how to be an English teacher in France before discussing the NDA, which is the special status needed in order to be paid with French public funding for continuing education.
First and foremost, anyone teaching in a classroom in France must be an employee. It is illegal for a school to hire self-employed teachers (often called auto-entrepreneurs). A school doing so runs a risk of incurring hefty fines and penalties, not to mention the social charges URSSAF will collect, as it considers the payment made as net salary and will calculate income tax withholding and social charges on it. Thus there is a serious problem with the way the school wants to hire you. Only the school itself, or an independent teacher, can obtain an NDA.
Unfortunately, however, many language schools operate with independent teachers and manage to be fully staffed, so let’s set aside this legal issue and instead review the need to register your teaching activity with URSSAF, as it is impossible to get an NDA without it.
Even though you are laser-focused on being recognized as an English teacher, I always advise my clients to think broadly about their professional activities and register as many different tasks and positions as it is reasonable to claim. Many of the ones mentioned by INSEE do not require a diploma. With a registration specifying only “teacher” as your primary activity, you are in effect creating a school with one teacher: you. You can register this profession libérale activity with URSSAF online.
Once you are fully registered, you need to get to the second level and be recognized as being worthy of being among the teachers offering continuing education. Continuing education financing in France is part of the social safety net and is funded by the social charges that employers and self-employed people pay. French law obliges employers and the self-employed to contribute to a fund that individuals who qualify can use to get further education without having to pay the school. It amounts to a sophisticated and complex system of tax credits to encourage continuing education. This tax credit can only pay for training, courses and schools that have an NDA, which is like a special license. An employee can ask their employer to fund a course given by a teacher or school with an NDA. If the employer accepts, the employee submits a request to the fund manager.

There is a rather strict and complex procedure to be accredited to benefit from this program. Here are the requirements and procedure to obtain this status:
The applicant must provide appropriate professional training. The procedure starts with filing a declaration of activity with the special control office of a regional department known as DREETS (direction régionale de l’économie, de l’emploi, du travail et des solidarités). The file must include a detailed description of the curriculum and pedagogical methods used, along with profiles of the students and their employers. The declaration of activity allows you to benefit from a TVA exemption. The teacher or school must also submit a full pedagogical and financial report every year to the DREETS.

To be eligible, the applicant must carry out one of the following types of skills development:
• training
• skills assessment
• actions allowing validation of acquired experience
• apprenticeship training.
• The application must be filed within three months after signing the first training contract with the client. Once the NDA is obtained, it must appear on all estimates, invoices, training contracts and other documents.

The applicant must respect certain conditions when providing training courses: in particular, a curriculum must be provided to the student and a certificate must be issued at the end of the training. In addition, certain information must be included in the training contracts. It can take several years to comply with all the requirements concerned.
This information can be found on the following French government website.
All this brings me back to my original statement that, as a teacher working for a school, whether as an employee or self-employed, you do not need an NDA. The school should have it. You do not need it at all unless you want to create and operate a school of the size needed to comply with the requirements.
As for applying for naturalization, I believe you have little chance of success because one major requirement is to be perfectly law-abiding. If you are working as a self-employed teacher in a classroom, this disqualifies you, as it is illegal. Be aware that the fact that you were born in France does not grant you any special rights. I assume that you were not a French resident between the ages of 13 to 18, when you could have obtained French citizenship. The important thing is to make sure your work is unquestionably legal before you submit your request, since the process is expensive and takes a lot of time.


I am sorry to tell you that you are running a huge risk of losing ALL your rights to stay in France. A carte de séjour is issued on specific legal grounds that you must comply with. You asked for and obtained the right to run a business as a self-employed person. All you have is the right to be self-employed; it excludes the right to work as an employee. The probable consequence is that you will receive a negative answer from the prefecture, which will include an expulsion order because you signed a CDI. You have a choice: either stop being an employee right away and explain the situation to the employer, or immediately submit a request to the prefecture to change your immigration status to obtain the right to be an employee.

You have completely misunderstood the hierarchy of authorities involved. The prefecture deals with your immigration status, which defines both the right to work and the right to live in France. URSSAF does not have any jurisdiction over immigration. As a non-European foreigner, you must secure the right to do the type of work that you wish to exercise. It is only possible for French people, and foreigners with equivalent rights, to be an employee and self-employed at the same time.

Furthermore, you have added a significant layer of liability by submitting a request for French citizenship. Such requests entail the French equivalent of the FBI doing a complete investigation on you. Any illegal status will be discovered in no time and will disqualify you immediately from being naturalized. Furthermore, the information is passed on to the prefecture, which might not have picked up what you have done yet, but will know for sure once they receive this notification.

The prefecture’s acceptance of your file is nothing more than an acknowledgment that they received it and will review it. The trouble starts once it is opened and a civil servant sees the documents it contains. If these include proof of your income as a self-employed person and your labor contract as an employee, those alone should warrant an investigation. Your only chance to avoid the worst consequence is to get rid of one or the other before the prefecture contacts you. Then at least you can claim to have been an ignorant foreigner who fixed the situation as soon as you learned about its illegality.


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