Gérard Depardieu has said he is handing back his French passport and social security card, lambasting the French government for punishing "success, creation, talent" in his homeland.
A popular and colourful figure in France, the 63-year-old actor is the latest wealthy Frenchman to seek shelter outside his native country by buying a house just over the border in Belgium in response to tax increases by the Socialist president, François Hollande.
The prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, described Depardieu's behaviour as pathetic and unpatriotic at a time when the French are being asked to pay higher taxes to reduce a bloated national debt.
"Pathetic, you said pathetic? How pathetic is that?" Depardieu said in a letter to the weekly newspaper le Journal du Dimanche.
"I am leaving because you believe that success, creation, talent, anything different must be sanctioned," he said.
The Cyrano de Bergerac star recently bought a house in Nechin, a Belgian village a short walk from the border with France where 27% of residents are French nationals, and put his sumptuous Parisian home up for sale.
Depardieu has also inquired about procedures for acquiring Belgian residency.
He said he had paid €145m (£120m) in taxes since beginning work as a printer at the age of 14.
"People more illustrious than me have gone into [tax] exile. Of all those that have left none have been insulted as I have."
"Who are you to judge me, I ask you Mr Ayrault, prime minister of Mr Hollande? Despite my excesses, my appetite and my love of life, I remain a free man," Depardieu wrote.
Never seen Depardieu? Check him out in this scene from Cyrano de Bergerac: