Gérard Depardieu's tax move to Belgium divides France

Wealthy taxpayers' desire to flee tough fiscal policy has sparked a debate about patriotism and personal gain

Graphic: the high profile figures leaving France

France is discovering that, when it comes to wealthy taxpayers, you win some – and you lose some.

As the country's celebrities have lined up to defend or denigrate actor Gérard Depardieu following his self-imposed fiscal exile in neighbouring Belgium, the French have just welcomed back prize-winning author Michel Houellebecq after more than a decade living abroad.

The tax row sparked by Depardieu's departure has divided France – and not simply along traditional left-right, north-south or rich-poor lines. Fans and critics have spent the last week fretting over the morality of his decision and whether concepts of patriotism and solidarity outweigh those of personal gain and perceived greed.

Even after weeks of speculation, the announcement a fortnight ago that Depardieu, 63, was moving to Belgium to take refuge
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