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Living in France 2024: Pros and Cons


Written by Reviewed by Dave Sayce

7th Jun 2024 (Last updated on 10th Jun 2024) 6 minute read

France is an ever-popular destination for British expats. Whether you are retiring to the south of France, seeking out life in Paris or renovating a small château, the lure of France entices Brits every year.

Temptations like better weather, a slower pace of life and a cheaper cost of living are all factors which draw people to France. Moving to the country comes with pros and cons, which you must consider before you begin living there.

Below we’ve looked at the benefits and drawbacks of moving to France from the UK to help you decide what is right for you.

  1. An Overview
  2. Pros of Moving to France as a UK Citizen
  3. Cons of Living in France as a UK Citizen
  4. Find an International Removal Company

An Overview



High-income tax for average earners

Food and wine

French residence tax payable annually

Public transport and French commuting allowance

Older properties

Lower cost of living


Lower crime rates


More paid holidays

Stress of moving


Strong expat community


Pros of Moving to France as a UK Citizen

With 148,300 British expats living in France, it is clearly a popular destination to move to. Below we look at the key reasons why the country has so much to offer expats and why it remains a firm favourite among UK citizens.


Depending on where in France you move to, the weather can be better than in the UK. This is especially the case in the southern regions of the country. The climate of the South of France is the hottest in the country, with average temperatures in the summer above 30°C.

If you are moving to Paris, depending on the time of year you can expect rain just like most cities in Britain. But areas like the famed French Riviera boast stunning sunshine and bright skies for those seeking an escape.

Food and Wine

France is globally renowned for its great food and wine. From Parisian bistros to small family-run restaurants, excellent dishes can be found across the country. French cuisine is vast, with different regions offering their own traditional dishes and recipes.

Boasting vineyards for miles, top-quality wine is also in abundance and often doesn’t cost the earth. From rich red wines to quality Champagne, France is a wine lover's dream.

Public Transport

Not only is public transport in much of France very convenient, it is also affordable. Larger cities will have more options but even outside of these areas, public transport is considered to be very good.

For those who work, your employer has to pay 50% of your commuting costs if you use public transport. This can be a great help financially and encourages employees to take advantage of public transport.

Lower cost of living

Generally, the cost of living in France is lower than in the UK. Of course, large cities such as Paris will have higher living costs, especially rent and mortgages. However, according to Axis Financial Consultants, overall consumer prices are 6.01% lower in France than in the UK. Rent prices are 20.29% lower in France than in the UK.

In addition to a lower cost of living, recent data found that average gross salaries are higher in France than in the UK.

Lower Crime Rates

Depending on the type of crime, statistics have shown that crime is generally lower across France than in the UK. According to the website Nation Master, violent crime, drug-related crime and fear of crime were all higher in the UK than in France.

For major cities, much like the UK, crime will be higher. For example, crime levels in London and Paris are comparable. According to numbeo, Bradford has the highest crime rate in Europe, followed by Marsaille.

More Paid Holidays

For those moving to work, France has more paid holidays for employees than in the UK. Including national holidays, paid holidays in France range from 36-48 per year, compared to the UK where it is 28-30 on average annually.


France is also known for great beaches, ski resorts and a slower pace of life. There is also a wealth of history and culture - from the Palace of Versailles and art galleries of Paris to miles of vineyards and historic towns. This is one of the biggest pulls for British citizens.

Whether you want to embrace the French attitude to life or immerse yourself in history and culture, the lifestyle has plenty to offer.

Strong Expat Community

France has a strong expat community which can be essential for many British citizens looking to settle in the area. They can be your support network and help you settle into French life.

With different groups and the opportunity to make lifelong friends, this is a huge benefit when moving to the country. Some of the best cities for expats include Paris, Bordeaux and Lyon.


Although the UK has a national health service, France ranks higher than the UK for healthcare. In fact, the healthcare system in the country is considered one of the best in Europe.

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Cons of Living in France as a UK Citizen

For those earning an average wage, income tax is higher in France than in the UK. For the average salary in France of €39,300 per year, income tax is 30%. By comparison, the income tax for the average salary of £35,464 in the UK is 20%.

French Residence Tax

Residents must pay an annual French residence tax known as taxe d'habitation. Much like council tax in the UK, the amount will depend on the area you live.

Older Properties

France has many older homes - and these properties are often cheaper to buy than new builds. A new home on average is 40% more expensive according to Affidata. Despite charm and character, older buildings can have their drawbacks. This includes poor insulation, small rooms and older facilities. When buying a property in France, keep in mind that some of these old buildings will require time-consuming and costly repairs.


Although Britain is no stranger to strikes the French are incredibly passionate about strikes and protests. This passion in itself is not a flaw in French society, quite the contrary, it has often been essential to its progress. However, numerous strikes can cause delays and frustration.

According to Euronews, France had the highest number of days not worked due to strikes per 1,000 employees for 2020-2021. Between 2010-2019, 128 days were not worked due to strikes in the country, compared with just 18 days in the UK for the same period.


Although Brexit is not a flaw with France, it has made moving to countries within the EU more time-consuming and costly. Before Britain’s exit from the EU, British citizens had freedom of movement throughout the EU.

As a result, moving abroad to work was fairly straightforward and offered numerous opportunities to move and live in France. Now those looking to stay in France for more than 90 days must apply for a visa.

Stress of Moving

Another aspect to consider is the move itself. Moving house is notoriously stressful and moving abroad can amplify this. You will need to ensure you have a reputable company and budget for the required shipping method. It may take you longer to get settled in your new home while you wait for your items to arrive.

That said, in terms of removal firms and shipping options, it has never been easier to move your items abroad.

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Find an International Removal Company

The above should give you a good idea of living in France vs the UK, with moving to France proving to have more pros than cons. Once you have considered the benefits of life in France, it’s time to look at the logistics of the move.

Here at Compare My Move, we can connect you with up to 6 international removal companies. By comparing companies, you can find the right professional to help you with your removals to France.

By using our international comparison form, you can compare services and quotes, allowing you to save up to 70% on your shipping costs.

Dave Sayce

Reviewed by Dave Sayce

Owner & Managing Director, Compare My Move

Dave Sayce is the owner and managing director of Compare My Move and has over 10 years of experience in the house removals industry.