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Expat Exchange - Pros and Cons of Living in France
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Villa in Ardeche, France


Pros and Cons of Living in France

By Joshua Wood, LPC

French Riviera House Hunting - FRH
French Riviera House Hunting - FRH

Summary: If you're moving to France, it's important to learn about both the Pros AND Cons of living in France.

France, the land of wine, cheese, and romance, has long been a dream destination for many. Whether it's the allure of Paris, the charm of the countryside, or the sun-soaked beaches of the French Riviera, there's something for everyone in this diverse country. But what is it really like to live in France? Like any country, there are both pros and cons to consider. Let's delve into the details.

Pros of Living in France

One of the most significant advantages of living in France is the quality of life. The French are known for their 'joie de vivre' or 'joy of living', and it's easy to see why. The pace of life is slower, and there's a strong emphasis on enjoying the simple pleasures in life. Whether it's a leisurely lunch in the sun, a stroll through a beautiful park, or a glass of wine with friends, the French know how to live well.

Another major pro is the food and drink. France is world-renowned for its cuisine, and for good reason. From fresh baguettes and croissants from the local boulangerie, to the wide variety of cheeses, to the excellent wine, food lovers will be in heaven. And it's not just the quality, but also the culture around food that's appealing. Meals are a time to relax and socialize, and they're often a lengthy affair.

France also boasts an excellent healthcare system. It's regularly ranked as one of the best in the world, and residents have access to high-quality medical care. The system is funded by a combination of government subsidies, compulsory health insurance, and private payments, and it covers a large portion of the costs of care.

For those with children, the education system in France is another pro. Public education is free, and the system is well-regarded internationally. There are also many international schools for those who prefer an education in English.

Finally, France's location in Europe is a major advantage. It's easy to travel to other European countries, either by train or by plane, making it a great base for those who love to explore. Whether it's a weekend in Italy, a ski trip in Switzerland, or a beach holiday in Spain, living in France puts all of Europe at your doorstep.

Cons of Living in France

While there are many pros to living in France, there are also some cons to consider. One of the biggest challenges for many expats is the language barrier. While it's possible to get by in larger cities like Paris with just English, in smaller towns and rural areas, French is often the only language spoken. This can make everyday tasks like shopping or visiting the doctor more difficult.

The cost of living can also be high, particularly in cities like Paris. Rent, groceries, dining out, and other expenses can add up quickly. While salaries are generally higher to compensate for this, it's something to keep in mind.

Another potential con is the bureaucracy. France is known for its red tape, and things like setting up utilities, getting a driver's license, or dealing with the healthcare system can be complicated and time-consuming. This can be particularly challenging for those who don't speak French.

While the slower pace of life is a pro for many, for some it can be a con. Shops often close for lunch, and many businesses are closed on Sundays. This can take some getting used to for those accustomed to 24/7 convenience.

Finally, while France is generally a safe country, like anywhere, it's not without its issues. Crime rates are higher in larger cities, and there have been instances of terrorism in recent years. It's important to stay informed and take precautions where necessary.

Living in France, like living anywhere, comes with its own set of pros and cons. It's a country that offers a high quality of life, excellent food and wine, a great healthcare system, and a fantastic location for exploring Europe. However, it also presents challenges like the language barrier, a high cost of living, bureaucracy, a slower pace of life, and safety concerns. Ultimately, whether the pros outweigh the cons will depend on your individual circumstances and priorities.

Expats Talk about Pros & Cons of Living in France

"Sarlat La Caneda is a perfect living location for those who like history, food, architecture, entertainment and outdoor activities. Health care is great and available and not so expensive. Social activities are ample," commented one expat living in Sarlat, France.

"I spent half my life planning to come and live here, and it's exactly as I expected and intended it to be. It's beautiful, it's peaceful, it's friendly, and there are myriad historical and cultural attractions all around," mentioned one expat living in France.

"the French think of most Americans a rich and easy prey. I am in a situation that requires the need to maintain my property and at the same time try and enjoy the country side. I never have time to enjoy the country side, there is always a need for repairing or redoing something on the houses or property. Many neighbors are not really friendly and ignore me. The ones I have befriended eventually go their own way once I turn them down for favors they ask me to do. Many times I have offered dinner at home, but am never taken up on the offer. I suspect with the Covid-19 virus, I will have to start thinking about selling. France is so far behind in vaccinating people it will be maybe another year before I can go to France. I have friends stuck in Italy now, been one year and now Italy is suffering another set back. WHO has done a lousy job of working to end to reduce the spread of this virus. I think Europe has a long way to go, to be united in fighting during a Pandemic," said an expat in France.

"It is a romantic city with beautiful scenery, good air and convenient transportation.The locals are warm, open and friendly.It is an excellent place for a holiday," remarked one expat in France.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


French Riviera House Hunting - FRH
French Riviera House Hunting - FRH

French Riviera House Hunting - FRH
French Riviera House Hunting - FRH

Villa in Ardeche, France

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SJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
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SJB GlobalSJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
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French Riviera House Hunting - FRH
French Riviera House Hunting - FRH

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