Germany and France are both very popular destinations for expats across the globe. Germany, with its booming economy and well-developed infrastructure, has a foreign population of 11.82 million (2021). France on the other hand, with its beautiful scenery and unique history, offers a far more relaxing lifestyle and is a popular choice with Britons especially.
If you’re thinking of moving to France or Germany, it is worth considering the different factors that can influence your choice. Moving to any country requires detailed research and careful planning, which is why we’re here to help. Read our blog to discover whether France or Germany is the better country choice for you.
Size: 543,940 km2
Capital City: Paris
France is a beautiful country that is home to some of the most stunning landscapes in the world. From the tall snowy mountains of the Alps to the idyllic sandy beaches of the French Riviera, the French have access to an array of diverse scenery.
France generally enjoys cool winters and mild summers, however, the climate varies greatly across the country. In the Mediterranean region, residents and tourists alike make use of the hot summer months, which can typically reach above 30°C. The Provence and Languedoc regions are also characterised by warm weather, and as such are popular areas for visitors.
The values of French society are reflected in the country’s motto, “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.”. The French take immense pride in their nation and can become offended by any negative comments about their country. This often means that visitors, particularly Americans, can interpret their attitude toward newcomers as rude. Despite this, the French are welcoming to expats, so long as they make an effort to embrace true French culture, even if that means learning the language.
Food and wine are central to the French lifestyle, with so much socialising done around lengthy dinners and drinking events. French cooking is often associated with heavy sauces and intense preparation, with some of the most popular dishes including boeuf bourguignon, coq au vin and cassoulet; all hearty stews rich in flavour and ingredients such as onions, garlic and wine.
The French also are very fond of pastries and fresh bread, which can be sourced at local bakeries and cafe restaurants.
In France, you will find more vineyards than in any other country in the world. French vineyards account for one-sixth of all of the wine produced worldwide, meaning there are countless opportunities to taste delectable wines sourced from across the country.
France’s economy is well-developed and is the 7th largest in the world. The economy is diverse but is dominated by the service sector, followed by the industrial. Despite this, finding work in France can be difficult due to tight employment laws. Employers find it expensive to take on new staff, and therefore France is not necessarily the best option for those looking to relocate for work. In fact, a large portion of Brits who decide to move to France are retired.
Discover everything you need to know about Moving to France in our France Country Guide.
Size: 357,588 km2
Capital City: Berlin
Germany is a highly developed country that is well-known for its great infrastructure. The country is characterised by luscious green spaces, snow-capped mountains, and traditional homes and chalets. There are plenty of historical sites throughout Germany, such as Schloss Neuschwanstein and Heidelberg Castle, perfect for anyone looking to delve into the culture of the nation.
Germany is also well known for its environmental efforts and is currently a pioneer in the development of renewable energy use. Promoting renewable energy since 1990, the country makes full use of wind and water as energy sources; making them a leader in climate protection on an international scale.
The country has a fairly temperate and marine climate, with cold, cloudy winters and warm summers in the southern regions. During the winter periods, many Germans enjoy skiing in the south, when the mountains become coated in snow. Whilst not the top option for ski resorts, Germany offers a great environment for locals to enjoy the colder months.
Germany is known for its long, rich history that has been at the forefront of politics and art for over 1,000 years. The Germans are known to have high individualism and value the political, economic and social behaviour of people. People often perceive Germans as being ‘perfectionists’, who undertake everything with careful precision. At first, their attitude may seem unfriendly, however, there is a strong sense of community which expats often fall in love with.
Whilst there are, of course, regional variations in food culture, many German recipes are considered fairly heavy. There is a focus on bread, potatoes, meat and greens, which can be found in a large number of their dishes.
The most popular foods enjoyed in the country consist of foods such as Bratwurst (grilled sausage), Kartoffelkloesse (potato dumplings) and Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage). Often referred to as ‘comfort foods’, you may find some of the dishes unusual and arguably more stodgy than those in the UK.
The economy of Germany is currently the largest national economy in Europe and the 4th in the world. This makes the country a great place to work or to develop a business.
There are 4 key sectors that dominate the industry in Germany, including automotive, mechanical engineering, chemical and electrical industries. There are plenty of jobs in Germany for expats with specialist skills, so be sure to research the best options for you.
Discover everything you need to know about Moving to Germany in our Country Guide.
Living in France Vs Germany
As highlighted above, both France and Germany vary greatly when looking at the various social, economic and environmental factors. Deciding where to move to will depend completely on your preference when assessing the above information. France is a great location to enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle, and being 10% cheaper than Germany, may be a better choice financially for retirees. Being closer to the UK isles too, it is easier for visiting friends and family members.
On the other hand, Germany is the perfect place for those looking for new job opportunities, or to grow a business. The thriving economy and brilliant infrastructure make travel easy albeit at a slightly more expensive price. Germany is also a great country for families and ranks highly on the Global Peace Index.
If you’re looking for advice on whether to move to France or Germany, we’re here to help. Our teams have extensive experience in handling European moves and can advise you on the best option for your requirements. We can also handle every aspect of your move, with our International Moving Services. Get in touch today to find out more.