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Key Facts

Official Name: Republic of France

Capital City: Paris

Official Languages: French

Religion: Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim

Currency: Euro

Time Zone: GMT + 1 hour

Country Domain: .fr

Country Tel Code: 33

Moving to France

With over 12 million in the metropolitan region, the national capital is France's largest city and one of the great cities of the world. Revolutions played out in Paris have affected the entire civilized world. It dominates the nation politically, culturally, and economically. Its industrial importance has declined somewhat with government policies of diversification and the rise of new manufacturing centers elsewhere in recent decades. Nevertheless, Paris remains the preeminent center of business activity and service-oriented business. Financial institutions and almost all major French companies have their main offices here.

The wide boulevards and fin de siécle architecture dates largely from the Second Empire (1852-70), when Baron Georges Eugéne Haussmann, commissioned by Napoleon III, superimposed the pattern of broad thoroughfares on the narrow, twisting streets of the old Paris. In addition to beautification, a primary purpose of this early example of urban redevelopment was to make suppression of riots and rebellion easier by providing troops with clear lines of fire.

In the modern city, the Right Bank of the Seine is the commercial and shopping center, with fashionable streets and shops and many monuments and cultural institutions, such as the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre. The Left Bank is the governmental and intellectual quarter, with most of the units of the University of Paris and parliament.


The French are accustomed to a centralized government providing support and benefits to the people. Governmental power is concentrated in Paris. The most powerful political office is the presidency. Elected for a term of five years, the president is both head of state and executive head of government. He is responsible for foreign affairs, appoints the prime minister, presides over the cabinet, Conseil des Ministres, and may dissolve parliament and call for new elections. The prime minister is responsible to parliament, presides over the administrative bureaucracy


France is primarily a free-market economy, but with an extensive government presence in key sectors. Its central location in a unified European market, productive, skilled workers and reputation for quality products and services are among its many economic advantages which have led to it becoming one of the world's leading economic powers. However, France's economic growth sometimes does not keep pace with other European countries with similar resources.


Many Parisian apartments were built in the late 1800s and early 1900s in the Haussmanian style and they generally have six floors. The ground floors are usually shops; and first floor apartments are undesirable, second floor apartments typically have higher ceilings and a balcony. From the third floor up, ceilings get lower, and rents are less expensive, also most are without elevators. Fifth floor apartments have become popular because they have more light and are quieter being so high above the street, most have a balcony Sixth floor apartments are typically one room studio apartments, students commonly live in these rooms.


All children in France are entitled to a free public education from the age of 6 to 16. Almost all schools are co-educational.

Age groups are as follows:

• écoles maternelles: 2 - 6 years
• écoles elementaires: 6 - 11 years
• Colléges: 11 - 15 or 16 years
• Lycées: 15 or 16 - 18 years

Foreign children living in France have a legal right to be educated at French public school.

Visa & Immigration

Santa Fe offers Visa and Immigration services for France and countries around the world. For further information, please contact your local Santa Fe office.

Contact Us

Santa Fe Relocation Services Paris Office

Street: 6, rue René Razel
Postcode: 91 400 SACLAY
Telephone: + 33 (0) 1 80 38 31 00
Fax: + 33 (0) 1 69 35 02 84
Manager: Céline Delrue
Memberships: Cercle Magellan, FIDI
Accreditations: FIDI-FAIM, ISO 9001 – 14001

Let us assist with obtaining a French Visa, finding an apartment or school in Paris, and more!

"Disclaimer: This information is provided in conjunction with Living Abroad LLC. The information contained in this destination guide is not, and can not be used as, professional advice in areas such as Law, Taxation, Accounting etc. And whilst reasonable commercial efforts have been made to ensure correctness of the information at the time of publication there is no guarantee that the information is free from errors or omission. Santa Fe and it's associated companies disclaim liability for any damage, loss or cost directly or indirectly attributable to the contents of this destination guide."