Can we set up a business in France before we start trading to get healthcare?

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My husband and I moved to France in July 2013. We have a flat in the UK which we have been letting out. Our plan had been to buy a property here for renovation where we could incorporate a gite, then to sell our current house. However, this is dependant on moving to a new property, as our current house does not have the necessary space. We have found a place which would work, and are ready to commit to buying - however it is unlikely that we would have a gite up and running in time for the 2015 season.

We have therefore considered selling our UK flat and instead buying a flat here for letting (either full-time or for holiday rentals which we could have ready for letting for next summer. If we did this, could we register our letting business in January, or would we have to wait until we were actually trading?

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