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Bordeaux, France

Living in France

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Apr 10, 2024

Summary: People often describe life in France as relaxed, romantic, and full of culture. Expats love the food, the wine, the art, the architecture, and the overall atmosphere of the country. The average cost of living for an expat is around $2,000 per month, depending on the city and lifestyle. The population of France is approximately 67 million people, and the largest cities are Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, and Nice. The cons of living in France include the high cost of living, the bureaucracy, the language barrier, and the difficulty of finding a job. Additionally, the weather can be unpredictable and the public transportation system can be unreliable.

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What do I need to know about living in France?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to France, they said:

"Expats looking to retire in France should be aware that the country has a high cost of living and wages may not match those from their home country. Additionally, due to the language barrier, learning French is essential for effective communication. Retirees should also familiarize themselves with the various visa and residency requirements before embarking on the move. It is also helpful to research and know the cultural norms and customs in France as this will help them better integrate into the French lifestyle. Lastly, expats should consider the healthcare options they will have access to in the French system, and obtain coverage to avoid any medical expenses that are not covered," commented one expat who made the move to France.

"Well, firstly - great to hear that there is nothing to wait for. Just start learning some French...take few documents with yourself as France seems to like red tape very much and you need papers for everything! Take some birth certificates for sure. Don't worry about the accommodation because here in Lyon you will get many estate agencies to help you out and they speak English! And mostly...read some blogs, forums, expats websites which will provide you with the up to date info," remarked one expat living in Lyon, France.

"If he has a family it is a good place to live. If he or she is single, I can't advise them since I don't know the single scene here. There is a big university here so they may be able to connect with the students there but I don't know anything about the clubs or other diversions for single people," wrote one member in Orleans.

"Nice town but speaking French is a big advantage as the most spoken languages are French (suprise, suprise) and German. Very few people speak much English that I have found so far," remarked one expat who made the move to Strasbourg.

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We are the best possible negotiator to help our expatriate clients to safely, efficiently and effectively find the right property in the right place in the French Riviera. Whether buying or renting, French Riviera House Hunting's objective is to find the best place for you, making sure that there are no hidden problems in the acquisition or renting process!
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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.

Bordeaux, France

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