Montmarte in Paris
Montmarte in Paris
Montmarte in Paris

Living in France

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Nov 29, 2021

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees discuss what it is like to live in France: Cost of living, Finding a home, Meeting People and more.

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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:

"Check out nancy.OnVaSortir.com to find out about events that are planned by locals (and therefore not promoted by any public methods), and follow the city on Facebook to get updates about festivals and other happenings around town," added another expat who made the move to Epinal.

"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! And if you have any question or want to explore more, have a look at my blog: shopaholicfromhome.com where I continue discovering France & Lyon," explained one expat living in Lyon, France.

"This is France as you see it in black and white movies, it's like going back in time fifty years ago, sales people in stores always take the time to chat with you, the pace is not hurried, everybody takes a 2 hours lunch break. Serene, peaceful, beautiful, no tourists, not on the map, I love it," mentioned another in Moulins.

"It is a big city and finding a place to live is fairly tricky (rent). However the weathers great and it is a nice place to live," explained one expat who made the move to Toulouse.

"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," said one expat living in Orleans, France.

"Be aware of the housing costs - extremely high by French standards, and most companies base their salaries and relocation offers on the standard French cost of living index. That might be fine in rural France, but housing and food costs here are astronomical by comparison with everywhere except Paris and Lyon. Be sure of what you're accepting before you accept it! The city is great if you like cities! The surrounding areas are beautiful and inspiring, and much less polluted. If you have children, I would avoid the city as it's unpleasantly hot and polluted in the summer. Don't go too high up the mountains into the middle of nowhere, though, or you will feel pretty isolated when the snows come. There's a reason why the towns of Meylan, Biviers, St Ismier etc are the most expensive - they're pretty, less polluted, good schools, and still completely accessible when the bad weather takes hold. The French take a while to get used to, and the bureaucracy can be overwhelming at first. Once you've got everything sorted, though, their systems are very efficient and the health care is excellent," explained one expat living in Grenoble, France.

Need health insurance in France? William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a Quote

Need health insurance in France? William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

How do I meet people in France?

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William Russell International Health Insurance

Need health insurance in France? William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite).

Learn More Get a Quote

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000. Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Some of Joshua's more popular articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 8 Best Places to Live in Croatia and the Living in Mexico Guide. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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Get a quotes for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
Get a Quote

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France Forum France Forum
Join our France forum to meet other expats and talk about living in France.

Contribute to France Network Contribute
Help other expats and newcomers by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in France.

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Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in France.

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