Time for lateral thinking. Always been good at that. The best French investment is known as assurance vie - but it's nothing to do with life assurance. No inheritance tax or French income tax, funds grow tax free, and if you're not talking to your children any more, you can leave the money to whomever you wish. Yes, it overrides the draconian French succession laws. Of course, a worrier like me was bound to ask: if the bank or EU goes bankrupt, is my money guaranteed by the State (and if so am I covered as a non-French national)? Interestingly, the bank said yes, you're covered for 100000 euros, but the same question put to LaPoste, and the answer was no.
Nothing comes easy. Him indoors says when he asked the bank manager 'how do I stand for a loan', the reply was 'you don't stand, you grovel'.