From the NYT: The last time a big star lit up this sleepy village of potato fields and rain-drenched pastures was in 1667, when the Sun King, Louis XIV of France, stopped by for the day. But even he may not have created quite the commotion caused by Gérard Depardieu, the celebrated actor, turbulent bon vivant and, since a visit to the mayor’s office here on Dec. 7 to register as a resident, France’s most reviled tax exile.
“I thought it was a joke,” said the mayor, Daniel Senesael, recalling his disbelief when he was first told that Mr. Depardieu intended to leave his mansion in Paris and move to Néchin, a rural settlement in Belgium with just 2,200 people, two cafes, a fast-food fry shop, a ruined chateau and no cinema.
“Let’s be honest, this is not Las Vegas,” Mr. Senesael said. “There are no lights and no discos. I get flooded with complaints when anyone suggests opening even a wind farm.”
For Mr. Depardieu, and scores of wealthy French citizens who already live here, however, Néchin does have one seductive asset: it is beyond the reach of the French tax authorities but so close to France that an unmarked border running through the village puts the gardens of some properties in France and adjoining houses in Belgium. Continuez ici.