Moving to France
If you’ve ever considered relocating to Europe, France should really be one of your top choices.
It offers centuries of vibrant culture alongside every possible advantage of modern life. As well as world-class opportunities in the country itself, France offers excellent connections to the rest of Europe and beyond. The only difficulty will be in deciding which region to choose. Will you head for the bustle of Paris or the lively port of Marseille? The busy farmer’s markets of the Dordogne, or the turquoise waters of the Côte d’Azur? Whether you’re relocating to take advantage of new career opportunities, to enjoy the excellent quality of life or just to bask in the climate, you’re sure to find the perfect location. From rolling vineyards and spotless beaches to quiet villages and vibrant cities filled with commerce, culture and glittering nightlife, there’s something for everyone in France.
Finding an accommodation is very easy, especially in the cities where there is a large Anglophone presence. Many hotels and pensions offer extended stays of a month or more so it’s easy to find a temporary dwelling while house-hunting. Bear in mind that much of the housing on offer may be fairly old, with a certain amount of ‘character’ in the form of smaller rooms, scanty insulation or limited mod cons. That said, it’s easy enough to find well-appointed dwellings with modern appliances – just avoid making assumptions and check the details of the property before you commit.
Compulsory education starts at age 6 and ends at 16 in France, although most children attend nursery school first and stay on until aged 18. There are plenty of private international schools in France, including British and American institutions. Fees are quite reasonable when compared to private schools elsewhere in the English-speaking world, although smaller schools that lack state funding may require more substantial contributions. It’s worth considering the French state school system, however, as their schools are generally very good. Enrolling in a French school is an excellent way to become fully immersed in the French language and culture.
French culture emphasises quality of life more than many others. Family life is very important, as is leisure and recreation. Holidays tend to be quite long and the overall pace of life is slower: longer lunch-breaks and more frequent breaks in general are the norm. Stores close in the evenings and on Sundays, which may be frustrating for those used to a 24-hour city. During the summer, specifically in August, many businesses shut down and people often go on holiday in the cooler climate of the Alps or in the southern regions of the country.
Good to know
Urban transport in France is very good. It’s convenient and inexpensive, with excellent metro, bus and other services. If you’re moving to a more rural area, you may need a car. Connections between cities are generally very reliable and cost-effective, as is the air travel.
France is rather notorious for its bureaucracy. You will need time and patience when dealing with officialdom, as everything you do will tend to generate additional paperwork.
France is famous for its food and wine. While there are plenty of large supermarkets and department stores, small markets offering locally produced goods will often be the best option.
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