Moving to France
As one of the most prominent countries in Europe, it may not feel quite as daunting moving to France as elsewhere but don’t be complacent about how much there is to organise.
From international moving arrangements to finding a place to live, there is still a lot of work when you choose to move to France. However, the good news is that as it’s such a hotspot for those moving overseas, there is a vast amount of information available, making it easier to research.
Here is an overview of moving to France and the essentials you need to know.
Where to live in France
France is a vast country. The climate and lifestyle you experience will vary significantly depending on what area you choose.
For keen skiers, the mountainous regions (the Alps and the Pyrénées) provide excellent opportunities while those seeking the sun might prefer the warm, Mediterranean climate of the south. The east of the country offers a more continental-style environment with colder winters and hot summers providing the best of both worlds.
The cost of living in France isn’t the cheapest in Europe, but more rural locations will be less expensive than the cities such as Paris. However, much will depend on your reason for moving to France and what amenities you require nearby.
Living in Paris
Paris is one of the most popular choices for people moving to France, offering culture, history and city life which is contemporary and cosmopolitan. As well as providing easy commutes for business, there’s an irresistible romance about living in Paris. If you want to keep the costs down, consider living outside the central districts and using public transport to travel to the centre when necessary.
Living in Rouen
Lying within the picturesque Normandy region in the north, Rouen is situated on the River Seine. The city has its own identity with beautiful churches and of course, the infamous Notre Dame cathedral. A far more relaxed way of life in proximity to the beauty of the French countryside, Rouen offers inexpensive accommodation without being too remote.
Living in La Rochelle
Known as La Ville Blanche – The White City – La Rochelle lies on the Bay of Biscay. A traditional fishing hub since the 12th century, today it combines an authentic atmosphere with the bustle of a modern port. With the old town and port lying next to the more recently built areas, there’s the best of both worlds in this charming corner of France. Prices are reasonable here, and despite its charm, it’s possible to live much more cheaply than in Paris.
French is one of the most commonly-spoken languages in the world. Maybe this helps to make the prospect of learning the native tongue less daunting. Many individuals may even have the basics of the language before they begin, as they took French at school.
It’s fair to say that across France, English is widely spoken, particularly in suburban areas. However, in more rural locations, or to communicate with older generations, it’s advisable to be able to talk French.
There are no other official languages within France other than French. However even if you do speak the language, you may find yourself struggling initially to converse with locals. Local accents, as well as the 75 different regional dialects within the country, will initially confuse you; these are not difficult to pick up if you can speak a reasonable standard of French, though, and after a few months your French will reflect the accent of your chosen region.
The French Working Calendar
France uses the same calendar as everyone else in the Western world. However, in practical terms, there can be huge variances in working practices throughout the year.
If you’re hoping to run your own business, getting in tune with the French way of living and working is essential. It will allow you to maximise your marketing and advertising for the optimal effect.
If you’re expecting to be employed, you’ll notice other differences such as public holidays. If they fall on a weekend, you won’t automatically get the Monday off work. But if they fall on a Thursday, you will find plenty of your coworkers have booked the Friday as a day-off long in advance.
During public holidays and on significant dates (religious, for example), many shops will close. If you’re more accustomed to 24/7 opening, you are in for a mild shock.
Travelling in France
The French drive on the right-hand side of the road, and you can use your domestic driving license. If it’s not in French, you’ll need to get it translated first. And if you’re from outside the EEA/EU, your license will only be valid for one year.
As a vast country, the infrastructure of France is excellent on the whole. In fact, it is one of the best in Europe. An interesting statistic is that there is 146km of road per 100km2. In addition to this, there is 6.2km of rail lines to every 100km2.
French roads, even in rural areas, are excellent but make sure you research the law before getting behind the wheel. The French have specific rules such as no use of the horn in the city unless there’s about to be a collision, a high vis jacket accessible from the inside of the car or a total ban on phone headsets in the car.
Bikes of all kinds are trendy in France. In some cities, there’s a public bike-sharing scheme known as Vélib’ which is both practical and inexpensive. If pedal power isn’t for you, mopeds are also an ordinary means of transport; it is recommended to wear a helmet, and protective gloves are now compulsory.
The metro is available in several cities. Along with other train networks and together with trams and buses, they make up an excellent public transport system. It’s possible to purchase combined travel cards to slash the cost, so check out the cheapest ways of travelling before buying your ticket.
Moving to France: Your removal company
Relocation arrangements to France
should be hassle-free providing you choose the right company to help with your relocation.
Why don’t you get and touch? Quotes are free, and we shall surprise you.