French Connections HCB was born out of a friendship between two young rugby players playing alongside each other on the rugby fields of South-West France.
12 years later, after travelling the world in successful business careers, French Connections HCB was established, with the purpose of using their local and global experience to assist UK citizens moving to France.
The rugby network continues to be a significant part of our story. Lifelong friendships were formed on those muddy fields and, as each of the players furthered their career in different directions, they have remained steadfastly loyal to each other. That’s why Richard can pick up the phone and talk directly to the local bank manager or insurer on behalf of French Connections clients, cutting through a lot of red tape. We also work closely with the one of the biggest accountancy firm in France (whose manager also played rugby) so our clients have access to the very best tax and business advice.
Today French Connections HCB is a strong network of relocation experts who we are pleased to call friends and we have helped more than 300 people start their new life in France.
Meet The Team
Property & Business Specialist
Richard is a proud Gers native. The son of British parents and naturally fluent in both French and English, he grew up in the beautiful French countryside. After graduating from the University of Toulouse, he worked as an International Marketing Manager for a range of luxury corporate companies in France, America and Britain before returning home to set up his own businesses. Richard has vast experience in the property field - buying, renovating and selling both private and commercial properties – as well as setting up businesses for himself and others. On a personal note, he is currently renovating a 680m2, 300-year-old Manor House. There’s nobody better placed to help you find yours!
Based in the Gers
Diana has spent the past 14 years assisting families from over 80 nationalities to minimise the stress of relocating to a new country. During her career, she has lived in 6 different countries on 3 continents where she didn’t always speak the local language, so she really understands what it’s like to take the plunge abroad! Settled in France for the past 12 years and fluent in both English and French, Diana has a BA in English literature and a Double Masters in Business and Project Management. Diana is perfectly placed to guide you through every aspect of French administration including what type of visa or residency status you need.
Based in Nice
Melanie is a French national who has lived and worked in the UK, New Zealand, China and Switzerland. Business-focused, Melanie has a Double Masters degree in oenology, which means she can talk to you knowledgeably about all the different areas of France, their climate, their landscape, their architecture and particularly their wines! Melanie is fully bilingual and perfectly experienced in the way the property business runs in France, so she’s the ideal person to advise and guide the search for your dream home.
Based in Nottingham
Simon first qualified as a Financial Advisor in the UK in 1991 and has been giving cross-border financial advice to British clients in France for the last 18 years. During this time, he has built up considerable knowledge of tax efficient French investments and inheritance planning. In 2018, Simon also achieved the Chartered Insurance Institute Financial Advisers Certificate and in addition passed the CII Mortgage Advice and Equity Release exams, thus holds the latest UK financial planning qualifications. Clients always comment on Simon’s approach to financial planning, where his calm and professional demeanour gives them confidence in his advice. His understanding of the French financial system makes him an essential person to consult when considering your financial future in France.
Based in La Roche sur Yon
Head of Administration
Laurie is our behind-the-scenes hero. She is an expert at pushing the French administrative institutions to complete documents and give approvals faster, so our customers receive everything they need as efficiently as possible. After graduating in International Trade at the University of Aix en Provence, Laurie travelled extensively for work and to discover new cultures. Her positive ‘can-do’ attitude and well-organised diary makes her a fantastic bilingual team leader who goes the extra mile to help every one of our clients settle successfully in France.
Based in Toulouse
Charlotte, Nicolas, Stephanie and Julie make up our qualified bilingual administrative team and they come with a wealth of international experience. They are adept at dealing directly with embassies, prefectures and high commissions to arrange visas and residency permits. They will also talk to institutions on your behalf to gather all the documentation you need and will keep you up to date with progress at every step of the journey.
Born in the Gers to British parents, Ryan is naturally bilingual and graduated in International Business at the University of Tarbes. He has been part of French Connections from the start. Ryan specialises in new business marketing, helping clients with website designs, social media strategy and digital marketing. Having worked both sides of the Channel, he understands from a first-hand perspective the cultural and administrative differences between the UK and France. If you are thinking of creating your own business here in France, his help is invaluable.