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Things to consider when moving to France




Many of us will dream about moving abroad with reasons in mind from increasing our employment opportunities to enjoying our retirement. France has a lure for many especially from England with some 250,000 British nationals living in France (57,000 of whom were pensioners).


There are many reasons for us Brits wanting to live in France which include cheaper property prices, relaxing lifestyle, gastronomy, healthcare, weather and much more. France offers many different options to suit the taste of most from sunny hotspots in the south to the farming regions in the north with mountains, rivers and lakes in between.


Though the life may seem idyllic, I have lived in France twice previously, there are many things to consider and especially if you are looking to make your move permanent. Though I do not wish to put you off la belle France, you must think about the following as these points are likely to effect you at some point:


  • Language: Depending on the region to move to English might not be commonly spoken and you will have to rely on your French linguistic skills. This sounds like a fun situation especially if we think about popping to the bakers to order some croissants, but less so when you are trying to organise paperwork for building regulations / healthcare.

  • Lifestyle: Yes, those relaxing and lazy days in France seem to be bliss from afar, but will you be able to accommodate the change of life that easily? Remember that lunch times (12pm - 2pm) it is generally quiet and especially if you are in a rural location / village then after 6pm you will find most houses with shutters closed and streets deserted. There is never any real urgency, pace of life is much slower, be prepared to use much of your patience day to day.

  • Paperwork: The French like paperwork and that is an understatement. From planning permission to self employment, estate agents to doctors, be prepared for countless forms, letters, emails and much more. It is endless and you will always have to deal with countless departments in order to get things approved / done.

  • Food: Nothing wrong with French food (especially the wine) and you will certainly be eating more healthy, but can you take a total change of diet? Some may think in advance and take over to France certain likely to be hard to find items such as Marmite, Tea Bags and English mustard, but what about the other day to day items we might miss? One of the most frequent topics within expat communities is food and it is usual that anyone going back to England for a short trip is asked by others to bring back foods and will have a handful of shopping lists to take care of.

  • French mood: The French are known for their rather stubborn personalities and this is likely to creep in to your day to day life - There is a certain difference between French and English and how they socialise / communicate etc. If you make a great effort to integrate to the French way of life then you are most likely to be accepted, but the tiniest bit of patriotism, especially towards England, then you might find yourself in hearty conversations. The French love the Scots, they dislike the Americans and England certain can flare up moans and groans from them.


All these points are the negatives and from my experiences. There are many more positives of course. There is a saying in the expat community re the seven year itch which means that most people seem to enjoy France up to and around seven years then the lure of 'home' gets them and they leave.


Title image: Pixabay




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