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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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