Many thousands of UK residents have made the move to France and not looked back. If you are considering moving from the UK to France, you may be wondering what life will be like there, whether you are moving for work or with your family. There are pros and cons to moving to France, whether with young children, considering the language barrier, or knowing where exactly to move. Our guide covers all this and more to help you make this big decision.
For more details about moving to France, check out our International Moving Guide for France for a comprehensive list of everything you need to know about making the international move.
What is Quality of Life like in France?
The quality of life in France is good, and the majority of expats that move there are satisfied that they made the right decision. Particularly in rural areas, France offers a more relaxed way of life, with delicious food and drink and close social relationships. When moving to France from the UK, healthcare can be a big concern. But the healthcare provided to residents in France is excellent, which you are eligible for after living in France for a certain amount of time. Incomes are generally higher, work-life balance is good, and there is plenty to do in your free-time in France, including many cultural sights and outdoor activities.
Learning the Language
UK residents have become somewhat accustomed to being greeted by English wherever they go. Despite English being widely spoken in France, particularly in larger cities, one of the biggest tips for moving to France is to learn French. Moving to France without knowing French is possible, of course, but it will make joining the local community and making friends very difficult. Most expats choose to learn or are already fluent in French and many say the language is vital if you want to live in France. If you are looking to move to France and get a job, a good level of French is important, both for the bureaucracy involved and for making friends in the local community.
This may be seen as one of the pitfalls of moving to France, but this is not the case. There are plenty of opportunities in France or before you move to brush up on your working French. Not to mention, it’s a beautiful language, and can play a huge part in helping you assimilate into French life.
Where to Move in France
For some people, the city of Paris may be the only destination in mind. But it’s important to remember that the capital is not the only place to settle in France. Deciding where to move in France is a personal decision and will depend on many private factors – your job, where local schools are (if moving to France with children), your budget, and other requirements.
France is a big country, so before deciding where to move to in France, it’s worth visiting a few areas. There are plenty of beautiful coastline areas, charming rural areas, busy market towns, and other lively cities to choose from. Every area of France will have a different landscape, a new dialect to learn, and delicious food to try. Here are some top picks of where to move to in France:
- Paris: As France’s capital and only city with over a million residents, here you will find a faster-paced life with all the charm and style of France. Nightlife and facilities here are excellent, with great public transport.
- Montpellier: For families moving to France, Montpellier is an attractive place. There are excellent schools, many of which are bilingual, and great attractions for kids and family days out. Montpellier is also a very safe area of France, giving you peace of mind. Due to its popularity, however, property can be expensive.
- Luberon: If it’s a more natural French experience you’re after, rural Luberon is a perfect choice. The countryside of France offers endless walking opportunities, stunning natural landscapes, and a slower pace of life. Though facilities and public transport links will be poorer, opportunities for exercise and sport are unlimited.
Moving to France with family
If you are considering moving to France with your young family, you may want to know how life is for children in France. France is an excellent country for raising children, and the healthcare and education it provides young people is of great quality. In addition, there are plenty of things to keep children entertained. This includes not just local clubs, but also museums, sports, and other activities. Schools and outside clubs are also a perfect place for children as well as parents to develop friendships and language skills.
Moving to France for work
Moving to France from the UK will present you with a different experience at work. With a 35-hour working week, UK expats will enjoy a 13-hour reduction in how much they work weekly. This provides more free-time for you to enjoy living in France, creating a good work-life balance as you find more time to relax. Lunch times are very important and can often last a couple of hours in a day, letting you get to know your colleagues properly.
Moving to France for work has the added benefits of higher wages, more public holidays than the UK, and also lots of annual leave. France offers the highest amount of annual leave in Europe of around 30 days a year – so no excuses for not exploring the rest of the country!
While our guide provides tips on moving to France, it’s important that you do your research before making any big international move. There is a lot of bureaucracy involved, as well as the legal and physical aspects of moving belongings between countries. To ensure you have thought about everything involved in an international move, consult our International Moving Advice. We can help tackle legal barriers, financial preparations, and other administrative and logistic factors to ensure your move is as smooth as possible.
*In our blog, we also compare living in France v.s. Germany, which you may find useful for your research.