10 December 2012 6:28 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Did the French star buy a house in Belgium to get away from it all, or just to get away from François Hollande's millionaires' tax?

What would Asterix make of it? Actor Gérard Depardieu, the celebrated Gallic hero's cinema sidekick, is leaving France and going north of the border.

The 63-year-old star has bought a house in the Belgian frontier town of Nechin to add to a property portfolio that includes a chateau in Anjou, vineyards in France, Morocco, Spain, Italy, Argentina, Algeria and Ukraine, three Paris restaurants, a fish shop and a motorbike concession.

Daniel Senesael, the mayor of Nechin (population 2,000), announced that Depardieu had purchased the former local customs officer's house and would be moving in immediately.

So what attracted the millionaire actor to an unremarkable property (described by one neighbour as "not that pretty") in a foreign tax haven 10 paces from France and 15 minutes by car »

- Kim Willsher

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