12 Tips for Living in Epinal, France
An expat talks about life in Epinal, France, a historic city in northeastern France on the Moselle River. Epinal isn't an expat enclave, but has a lot to offer - low cost of living and lots of clubs and cultural activities. Have a pint at Epinal's Irish Pub and you'll get a feel for the local scene.
Expat Life in Epinal
Mostly for work or school. Epinal is home to the only public timber engineering school in France, and also houses some international companies such as Michelin.
Cost of Living in Epinal, France
Affordable. It's a small town, which means housing and food costs are low, but there's lots of cultural value to be had, which makes the living experience even more valuable.
Local Clubs and Organizations
There are plenty of clubs for sports, culture, and more, listed on the town website. There's also a great association called Epinal en Transition which coordinates various environmentally-friendly activities and offerings (workshops, conferences, an online goods exchange system, social gatherings to discuss new initiatives). The Town Marie also has information about such topics.
Shopping in Epinal
In the downtown area there's a MonoPrix and a Intermarche, and a bit further but still within town is a large E. LeClerq with plenty of selection, There's also a covered marketplace open on Sundays in town, where all the locals prefer to buy fresh cheese, fish, meat, produce, etc. And of course there are plenty of boulangeries for fresh bread and pastries.
Buses & trains are both quite reliable in my experience. Taxis are also available.
Temperate. Winters are chilly but bearable, with not much snow. Summers are lovely.
Restaurants and Nightlife
Mostly typical French cuisine. A few foreign cuisines like Italian, Chinese, Vietnamese. There aren't many bars at all. The main hangout is the Irish Pub, which is really small but a fun place to enjoy a beer.
What are local hospitals and emergency services like?
The hospital is on the edge of town but accessible by bus. Good quality care and the doctors speak English. The hospital is public and very affordable even without French health care.
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Recreational Activities in Epinal
There are several youth and culture centers (MJCs: Maisons des Jeunes et de la Culture) that offer classes and social opportunities on topics like guitar, dance, English, pottery, martial arts, etc. There is also an Olympic pool, great hiking in nearby La Bresse, and several very nice parks within the city (the city rose garden, the park that houses the castle on top of the hill)
Residency and Visa Requirements
Carte de sejour/titre de sejour: residence card. This can be obtained through enrollment in a French university, sponsorship by an employer, marriage to a French citizen, or a few other ways. Details here https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/coming-to-france/getting-a-visa/.
Crime in Epinal, France
Bike theft is very common...be sure to get a U-lock! Apart from that, it's a rather safe town.
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