As one of the most prominent countries in Europe, removals to France may not feel quite as daunting 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 decide that moving to France is the next step in your life. 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.

Moving to France: Where to live?

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.

Moving to France: 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.

Moving to France: 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.

Moving to France: 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.

Moving to France: Language

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 speak French.

There are no other official languages in 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.

Moving to France: 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.

Moving to France: Visa Requirements

As part of the EU, it’s very easy for many European citizens to live and work in France. Anyone from either the EEA or EU can enter the country to work without requiring any form of visa.

You will find essential links for British Expats in France on the UK Govt website

Outside the EU, there is a large number of countries which also qualify for visa-free entry, such as the US, Australia and Canada. Visitors from these countries should still follow a procedure for obtaining registration documents if they plan a more extended stay and work.

Moving to France: Transport system

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.

You will find essential links for British Expats in France on the UK Govt website

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; you should 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: Healthcare

The French healthcare system, the Sécurité Sociale, is recognised as offering one of the best services of public healthcare in the world. It is a system that works, provides universal cover, and is as beloved by the population as the NHS can be in the UK.

The health care system in France is made up of a fully-integrated network of public hospitals, private hospitals, doctors and other medical service providers. It is a universal service providing health care for every citizen, irrespective of wealth, age or social status.

The French health care system is funded in part by obligatory health contributions levied on all salaries, and paid by employers, employees and the self employed; in part by central government funding; and in part by users who normally have to pay a small fraction of the cost of most acts of health care that they receive.

As of 2016, a new French healthcare system for foreigners known as the Protection Universelle Maladie (PUMA) allows all residents in France – working or not – to have access to French healthcare after three months of residence.

Moving to France: Your removal

Removals to France should be hassle-free providing you choose a recognised international moving company.

Whether you choose our Load & Go or our EasyMoves solution, European Moving can help you with your removal. We shall be able to help you with the full list of restrictions that apply to removals to France and also provide advice on a whole range of removal issues you may not have encountered before.