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Moving to France from the UK

Martha Lott

Written by

8th Sep 2021 (Last updated on 8th Sep 2021) 5 minute read

Moving abroad is no small challenge, so ahead of booking your international removals to France there is a lot to consider. Where to live, where to work, how to get around and how the healthcare system works are all points we consider in this article. Plus, we explore what Brexit may mean for those living in or hoping to live in France.

For people seeking a better quality of life, the country of France has some serious appeal. Many who visit for holidays become intrigued with the relaxed way of life, great food and passion of the people. This is why many Brits decide to uproot and begin moving from the UK to France to build a new life.

This article will cover the following:
  1. Where to Live in France
  2. Where to Work in France
  3. Healthcare in France
  4. Getting Around France
  5. Driving in France
  6. Moving to France After Brexit

Where to Live in France

With recent statistics showing that 148,800 British expats live in France, you are likely to find some in whichever corner of the country you travel to. However, some areas have a greater appeal to Brits and you will find a greater concentration in certain areas of the country. Unsurprisingly, many of these areas are in southern France where they benefit from stunning weather most year-round.

The first and most popular area for Brits moving from the UK to France is that of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, with the popular city of Bordeaux at its centre. The appeal of this area is primarily due to its famed wine and food, as well as their relaxed way of life. Property in the area ranges from pretty flats in the historical centre through to grand chateaus in the surrounding country.

The region of Occitanie is also highly popular with expats, including the city of Toulouse. This area benefits from stunning coastal views, colourful food and a historical background. Housing in the area ranges from small city apartments through to large country and coastal houses away from the bustle of the city.

Finally, the Île-de-France region of France is a hit with Brits, primarily due to this area being the location of the capital of the country – Paris. There are many reasons why Brits move to the Paris area, not least because it is a hub of business and culture which draws them in. Housing in Paris can be very expensive and like most cities range from tiny apartments through to grand mansions.

Where to Work in France

With 52% of expats living in France being employed it's clear that there is a big market for British citizens skills within the country. Understanding the opportunities available to expats in the area is a key to helping you understand your potential career path in the country and how you may seek to pay the bills.

Although there is no solid data available on what British expats are doing for work in the country, studying popular opinion goes some way to explaining opportunities. As native English speakers, there are likely to be a great number of opportunities in the country for teaching English as a foreign language. Equally, in the south of the country where the population of Brits is high there is a buzzing tourism trade, which likely means opportunities for working in hospitality are high. Finally, arguably Paris is a hub of business in Europe and many business opportunities are available in the city.

Healthcare in France

France is renowned for its excellent healthcare system. If you plan on moving to the country you will want to make sure that you know exactly how to tap into this system should the unfortunate occasion arise that you need it.

Access to the healthcare system in France has actually recently become a lot easier for expats that reside in the country. This is because in 2017 the government institutionalised the Protection Universelle Maladie (PUMA). This is a new system which grants automatic healthcare to anyone who legally resides in France, this is based on the requirement that you have lived there for three consecutive months and are a permanent legal resident.

If you do not meet these requirements for some reason, then you will either need to pay for private healthcare insurance or alternatively pay for all of your healthcare needs in full.

Getting Around France

How you are going to get about is an important consideration when you move to any new area. When moving to France it is a good idea to understand what options there are for public transport.

Transport links, especially in the major cities in France are considered excellent. The major cities including Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Lille and Toulouse all have smooth running metro systems to take advantages of. In other cities such as Bordeaux, Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Nancy, Nantes, Nice, Reims, Rouen and Strasbourg there are modern tram systems which also work seamlessly. Tickets for these services can be purchased for a single journey or in booklets of 10, which saves you money.

There are also excellent rail links between cities, although most are Paris-centric, running to and from the capital.

Driving in France

If you choose to live in a city in France it is unlikely that you will need a vehicle as the public transport links are so good. However, if you live outside of city centres then you may choose to run a vehicle.

Your British vehicle can be imported to France for up to 6 months, although it may need to return to the UK or additional taxes paid if kept in the country past this date. You can also drive in the country if you have a valid full EU driving licence, so your UK one is ok for this. To be able to drive you will need to carry your licence, proof of valid insurance to drive in France and proof of ID such as a passport.

You will also need to carry a number of items required by law including a reflective jacket, warning triangle, headlight beam deflectors, breathalyser/alcohol test, a GB sticker (or euro reg plate) and spare bulbs.

Moving to France After Brexit

Many of those living in or planning on moving to France may be concerned about the impact Brexit will have on their decision.

As we are still currently undergoing negotiations, it is too early to say what will happen once Britain leaves the EU. Little has been said by the French government specifically on what they plan on offering Britain should a deal not be struck. However, it is likely that France will still want to trade with Britain and make it as easy as possible for their nationals to live in the UK, so there is every possibility that terms will be reasonable.

Martha Lott

Written by Martha Lott

Having written for Huffington Post and Film Criticism Journal, Martha now regularly researches and writes advice articles for everything moving house related.

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