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How You Move to France

Updated on August 23, 2017

Are you Looking to make a life changing move to go and live in France

Welcome, this is the first in a series of lenses written to help you find your dream home in France, the other lenses in the series for moving to France are included in the featured lenses section at the bottom of the page.

So what qualifies me to write about this subject, well having recently moved over from the UK to France and having faced a few challenges, thought it might be worth sharing some ideas on how to approach a move to France so that you to can be living amongst the sunflowers or buying your bread from the local boulangerie and washing it down with a very nice 'verre de vin' that you got from the local vineyard or degustation.

By the way if you like the idea of creating your own single page website like this then all you have to do is click on I want to make my own HUB

First Things First

Why do you want to live in France anyway

Moving to France to live from the UK should not be underestimated, it is a huge step and one that needs to be thought about very carefully. Here are a few things to consider: -

  • Do you speak the language or are you at least prepared to learn - No.1
  • Do you need to earn money to survive in France and know how you will do that
  • Have you worked out how much money you will need to live on and will your plans support the required amount
  • What family and friends are you leaving behind
  • Have you got any health problems you need to take care of i.e. pre-existing medical conditions
  • Can you finance the move and still have emergency funds to tide you over if needed
  • If you have a partner do you both fully agree on the move
  • Do you have children who need to be convinced
  • Have you got a contingency plan if it all goes wrong

Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to put you off but you will find that during the course of moving to a new country, dealing with the bureaucracy, integrating into a new community and trying to keep your head above water whilst communicating in a different language that your resolve will be severely tested. So you need to be sure you really want to do this and that you have the support of friends and family.

All this is even more important in these times of economic uncertainty. Also if you want to find out a little bit about finances in France it may be worth paying a visit to France Financial for some up to date and regulated financial advice.

A Year in Provence
A Year in Provence

This a very enjoyable book that captures the essence of France


A Year in Provence - Couldn't get a better introduction to France

Let Peter Mayle tell you all about his experience of when he entered into French domesticity. Warm, witty and honest, if you haven't read this before you move to France then all that can be said is you had your chance.

A Year in Provence

If you live in the UK, get your copy of A Year in Provence right here

A Year in Provence

Destination France - get all the information you can - Moving to France, not for the faint hearted

This is a description of the ongoing process for moving to France from finding a location, a house, setting up a business and then just surviving, one of the best ways to get yourself informed is to read a book.

There are a selection of books below to suit everyone, make sure you choose the one suited to you and get reading - IT WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE and make your move easier to deal with.

Region of Choice - The Next Step

Still convinced the move is for you - OK what's next

So having seriously considered if moving to France is right for you, lets go ahead and think about the next step.

Well you will know that France is a very big country with many regions and departments covering a range of different climates, cultures, facilities,industries, natural resources and language differences(yes not all France uses the same dialect and much of it is not what you learned doing your GCSE's).

You will need to decide where it is in France you would like to live and that choice needs to be supported by a number of practicalities which will be both dependent on you as an individual and your family as a unit if you are all making the move. The following are a few things you may want to consider to help you decide where you want to live in France

  • What is the nature of your intended business, and will the area of choice support what you want to do e.g. the south of France is well served by low cost airlines and has a sunny climate ideal for holiday makers but is not good for transporting furniture backwards and forwards over the channel
  • Cost of property, there is a huge range of property available across an even bigger range of prices, you need to balance the facilities available against the suitability for intended use, it's no good buying a large house for next to nothing to start a 'chambres d'hote if there are no tourists or business people in that location
  • What natural resources do you want, the coast, the mountains, inland lakes etc. this can be important with respect to potential customers or for your own leisure time
  • What is the healthcare like in the area
  • If you have children you will need to consider the educational facilities
  • Are there other English speakers in the area
  • What's it going to cost to get all my stuff there
  • Are you just looking for sunnier climes and warmer weather (best avoid the north coast if you are)

So where do you find all this information, well the good news is that it is all available, much of it on the internet, the bad news is that you have to do the research to find it all out.

I am assuming that you have an idea of what you want to do and what you want from the region of choice, so some regions will naturally be ruled out. Basically what you need to do is get a shortlist of potential options and then get as much information as you can about your shortlisted options.

The internet is a brilliant tool for finding information but not all of it will be good and it will be your job to sort the wheat from the chaff.

It is also not the only source of information, try to find people who have already done or are doing what you are planning and talk to them about their experience, where they got it right and where they went wrong. There are quite a few television programs dedicated to the subject that would be worth watching.

It will have been a slog getting to this point and you will be completely fed up of trawling the internet and the mass of information you have had to absorb but you should now be armed with the information you need for the next step

Its time to arrange a visit to the area(s) you have short listed to take a look and see if your expectations can be met, there is no way you can make a final decision on where you are going to live without going there to visit and having a good look around.

You may of course already have a good idea from previous visits or holidays to the area but now you need to look at the place as a potential home, workplace and or business not just a holiday location. So consider the list above get yourself a check list and add your own thoughts to it, no one knows more about what you want than you do.

You also need to be prepared for the region not being what you need, you might well have to cut your losses if that is the case and take a look elsewhere. There will always be plenty of alternatives and if you are lucky they might not be too far away so you could potentially visit straight away. Better to reject a region than end up in the wrong place and committed.

For flights to France and Europe generally you will struggle to find anything cheaper than when looking on Skyscanner for all the low cost budget airlines, check it out here:

But if you prefer to drive then I would recommend Norfolkline, nearly always the cheapest option and the first motorway section from Dunkerque to south of Lille is toll free. Have a look see what you think here:

Also don't forget that my website has even more travel advice, with lots of information about air travel, car travel and rail travel where you can find flights, ferries and stop over hotels and any of the other information you need when traveling in France. We may even have a vacancy for a low season rental at a favorable rate if you want to come for a few weeks house hunting in our area.

French Holidays Aude Is A Large Gite in Languedoc Roussillon

If you are already at this stage it would be a good idea for you to keep an eye on the exchange rate, if you are buying a house in France then the exchange rate level will either save you thousands or cost you thousands and small increments can be very important. Consider signing up to some currency exchange companies to try and secure the best rate.

If you have concerns about the exchange rate for the Pound versus the Euro and whether this puts buying a house beyond your reach, remember that it may be possible to swap your UK mortgage for a French one and finance the deal in Euros rather than pounds, you could consider switching back in the future when the rates become more favorable the other way. Basically what I am saying is that there are options worth considering so take some financial advice and see what's possible.

One final note, if you are looking to start up your own business a great way to let people know you exist is to have your own website. It is an excellent way to market your business in the 21st century and the sooner you get a domain registered and get your website published, the sooner the search engines will start to find you. Establishing an Internet presence does take a little time and search engines like sites that have been around for a while, they then know you are not going to there today and gone tomorrow. For help and advice on setting up a website check out Web Design France

For a flavour of France in our region

To give you a flavor of the region where we live I have included a couple of day out websites for your information.

French History Books - The Lauragais Story

Jewels of French History Books: The Lauragais Story from the South of France
Jewels of French History Books: The Lauragais Story from the South of France

The Lauragais region of the South of France with its capital Castelnaudary and its most important city Toulouse, holds a highly significant postion in French history.


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Destination France - Constructive Criticism

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    • BrianRS profile imageAUTHOR

      Brian Stephens 

      6 years ago from France

      @Li-Li-ThePinkBookworm: Glad you found it useful.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I love all the variety of resources you offer here. I believe I have the book A Year in Provence somewhere. I have been wanting to read it and now I have even more incentive to do so. Thank you!

      Li Li

    • Wedding Mom profile image

      Wedding Mom 

      7 years ago

      This lens is so convincing. I would love to move to France.

    • BrianRS profile imageAUTHOR

      Brian Stephens 

      7 years ago from France

      @Brandi Bush: Paris is a beautiful city and I have been there several times, but I have never been to Nice although I hear it is also a lovely city and visiting there is on my wish list. Thanks for the comment.

    • Brandi Bush profile image


      7 years ago from Maryland

      The pictures of France on this page are beautiful! I'm so jealous...would love to live in France. I visited many years ago and would love to see the countryside...I spent my time in Paris and Nice. :)

    • BrianRS profile imageAUTHOR

      Brian Stephens 

      8 years ago from France

      @anonymous: I agree

    • BrianRS profile imageAUTHOR

      Brian Stephens 

      8 years ago from France

      @ChrissLJ: In the early days before I moved to France, I took a holiday backpacking on my own. I ended up on the south coast having given up on Paris because it was too big to wander around. I met some people from Paris in the south and told them I had trouble when I was in Paris because I didn't really know where to go and they invited me back and gave me a guided tour and put me up in their apartment, I eat with their families and went out with them and their friends. Parisians rude, I think not, it's all down to who you meet, just like any other city :-)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      this is a very informative lens. nicely done. people should be moving to France right about now :)

    • ChrissLJ profile image


      8 years ago

      I spent several months living in Paris. (Passy to be precise.) I remember people telling me how expensive everything was going to be and how rude Parisians are because they hate Americans so much. Not so. My rent was much cheaper than friends were paying in Chicago, and food was comparable to that of the rural parts of the US (ie cheaper than city living). I found the Parisians to be a warm and loving people. The only problems I had was with a rude clerk in Normandy (who was much more respectful once I chewed him out en francais).

      The one thing I had to keep reminding myself was always acknowledge the clerk when you walk into a store and before you leave. In my part of the States, a clerk would be considered overbearing and rude if they were to take the interest in customers that the French take. Once I learned my lesson, it made shopping and asking for directions much easier.

    • SaintFrantic profile image


      8 years ago

      Very Good Lens.Great story.

    • lilmuchang1 profile image


      8 years ago

      You have a lovely gite - is it in Provins? I wanted to go there a few weekends ago. I'm in Ile-de-France by the way :)

    • BrianRS profile imageAUTHOR

      Brian Stephens 

      8 years ago from France

      @lilmuchang1: Hi, no we are located in Languedoc Roussillon near to Carcassonne. Lovely place and we are very lucky to live here. Thanks for dropping by.

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 

      8 years ago

      Lovely and inspiring lens - a move to France is such an attractive prospect but we have deep roots in England.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This is a very nice information. You may also like to include some information on web sites which market property in france and some good estate agent websites like french property for sale.

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 

      9 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      Great Information - What an adventure! Your opening photo reminded me of driving past the beautiful sunflower fields the last time I was in France. I'm not planning on moving there, but found your lens to be very interesting anyway. Blessed by a Squid Angel

    • BLouw profile image

      Barbara Walton 

      9 years ago from France

      What a great lens and full of excellent advice. We moved to France in 2002 and I have to admit, if you need to generate income it is a huge struggle, but we have a wonderful house and live in beautiful countryside in Limousin and we count our blessings every day.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Enjoyed your lens. I lived in France about 10 years ago and found your advice very useful for anyone contemplating this move.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      10 years ago from Canada

      I just stopped by to wish you, and those who surround you with love, a very merry holiday season. Many blessings in the New Year.


    • ssuthep profile image


      10 years ago

      You have got some excellent tips here. Blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I love France. Will love to visit France in life.

    • religions7 profile image


      10 years ago

      France has a difficult culture for foreigners to get into. Learning enough French to converse with your neighbours about more than the groceries is no picknick. And don't think the French will talk English.

      Great lens.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image


      10 years ago

      I would love to visit Fance, but I'm happy in the good ol USA.

      Great lens


    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Nice photos. I found this lens because it was posted in the SquidU forum by someone else who had seen it.

    • alsomelbel profile image


      11 years ago

      Wow, these are some really good lenses! Keep up the good work!

    • Snozzle profile image


      11 years ago

      I love France but don't think I'd want to live there - mind you, the way things are in the UK you never know. Must be a bit more difficult to move from the UK to France now because of the exchange rates.


    • profile image

      Oh Petit Bebe 

      11 years ago

      Comme je vous envie de vivre en France.


    • WritingforYourW profile image


      11 years ago

      Great information! Alas, if I move to another country, I think it'll be some place tropical. ;)

    • delia-delia profile image


      11 years ago

      well we can all dream!...great lens!....5*

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Some really good information in this website, my parents moved to France and would have benefitted from some of the information you provided here.

    • CrypticFragment1 profile image

      Tammy Winand 

      11 years ago from McleodGanj HP India

      thanks for sharing your tips... I have traveled a bit in Provence and Paris and would love to have an apt. there


      would love to have you visit my lenses on Provence, to which I've lensrolled you!

      a bientot

    • starlitparlit profile image


      11 years ago

      I would love to live in France. It is so beautiful there. 5*'s from me

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Great lense. The Firestorm Forum is great for promoting your lenses and blogs. There's a very active Squidoo community there. Hope you check it out. I also have a lense about it at

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Lovely Lens and thanks for submitting it to Travelmania Group 5*.

      Online travel booking and worldwide destination guides


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