So you're moving to France? Or considering a move to France? And the time has come to start thinking about practicalities.
France may only be a hop across the Channel, but as with any international relocation, you may find your excitement and enthusiasm countered by a sense of overwhelm. You have no end of things to think about, decisions to make and preparation to do.
But one aspect of your move is about to become easier than you dared hope. Put your move from the UK to France in Cadogan Tate's hands and you can immediately take a huge weight off your shoulders.
We've helped thousands of people turn their dream of moving to France into reality. We're well aware a move to Normandy or Languedoc is a far cry from a move to Norfolk or Lancashire. And we're totally au fait with the idiosyncrasies of relocating to French soil.
We know what to expect, how to guide you through every stage of your move and how to prepare for the unexpected. We have dedicated European removals and storage depots in Paris and the South of France and operate regular cross-Channel transportation and removal services.
In short, our many years of experience in international removals is your ticket to a simple, stress-free relocation. So if you're looking at moving to France, take the first step to making it a smooth move – fill in the form for a free no-obligation quote.
The key to a trouble-free move is to plan and manage the entire process with absolute precision. At Cadogan Tate, this begins from the moment we receive your request for a quote. We'll arrange for one of our friendly relocation surveyors to visit you and assess the extent and nature of your belongings. This will help us allocate the most suitable resources, including any specialised packaging and storage, for a safe and efficient move to France.
From this initial assessment, we'll provide you with a detailed, no-obligation quote. On go-ahead, we'll assign one of our specialist Move Co-ordinators, whose role is to plan and manage the transportation of your belongings to your destination address. This leaves you free to focus on other important things in preparation for your relocation to France.
With our extensive experience of international removals, plus our frequent overseas shipments and scheduled cross-Channel road transport services, we can usually count on completing a move to France from the UK door-to-door in as little as a few days, depending on location and customs clearance.
No doubt you've already done some research into the ins and outs of moving to France from the UK. There's certainly a lot to take on board. While our main aim is to co-ordinate the move itself, we also like to play our part in the bigger picture.
To this end, we have a growing collection of articles about relocating to France and a concise but informative guide on some of the most important things to bear in mind as you plan your move. The guide covers such essentials as regional differences, real estate, healthcare, lifestyle, tax and income.
Prior to January 2016, France comprised 22 regions; now, following a governmental reorganisation it has 13, with several of the new regions bringing two or three formerly autonomous regions under a single administrative umbrella. France is the largest country in Western Europe and has considerable diversity in both its culture and geographic features.
The climate becomes increasingly Mediterranean, warmer and drier, the further south you go. This inevitably has an impact on everything from lifestyle and employment to social behaviour and local cuisine. On the whole, Brits get along just fine with French people whatever region they're in. But there tends to be a view that those who live in the North of France are more affable and open than those who live in the South of France.
Of course, the decision as to which part of France you end up living in may not be yours alone to make. But for anyone thinking of moving to France, it's worth doing a spot of homework and exploring the differences across the various regions. Our French regional guides are a good place to start.
As with any country, France has its own way of life, much of which is deeply ingrained in society and permeates rural and urban communities alike. Perhaps the most inescapable observation is how the working day and business opening hours revolve around an extended lunch. Eating out, and doing so at a leisurely pace is the norm.
The French tend to eat healthily, with fresh meat, fish, salad, vegetables and fruit in abundance. That said, the typical diet is fairly high in dairy fat and white bread, and the numerous patisseries do a roaring trade in what most Brits would consider a lavish treat.
French cuisine is, of course, famous the world over and home cooking remains a national pastime, despite the frequent patronage of local restaurants. Next to food, as natural an inclusion with every meal as cutlery, is wine. The French pay far more attention to selection than most of us are accustomed to, and wouldn't dream of uncorking anything at the dinner table without first knowing what it's going to be served with.
Here, we've given you just a taste of the kind of lifestyle differences you'll need to be prepared for on your move to France. For a more in-depth look at these and countless others, see our French lifestyle articles.
The global banking crisis of 2008 affected the French property market profoundly, sending the sector into freefall. Property prices had already been declining in France for several years. So, although values weren't hit as badly as in Spain and some other European countries, the downward spiral continued.
As a result, British expats and investors rubbed their hands with glee. They had an excessive supply of properties to choose from and no real demand to thwart their dream of buying that longed-for house in the middle of nowhere to renovate at their leisure and turn into a holiday rental business.
In recent years, there have been warnings from some quarters that things aren't as rosy as they once were. First, with the proliferation of newly renovated gîtes and chambres d'hôtes on offer, anyone entering the market now faces ever-stiffer competition. Second, the perennial appeal of off-the-beaten-track self-catering holidays seems to have finally started to wilt.
That aside, the big attraction for many people who move from the UK to France is how much more house and accompanying land you get for your investment. You also have a far wider range of properties to choose from. Even with steady stream of British expats over the past 30 years or more, the French countryside remains peppered with run-down farm buildings ripe for renovation.
Although, it's still commonplace for rural property to take as long as 12-24 months to find a buyer, some French estate agents are reporting an upturn in prices and completed purchases – particularly in Paris and other urban areas with plenty of work and commerce. As always, change is never far away.
Whatever your motivation for moving to France, it'll pay you to invest some time researching your options and making sure the figures stack up before you invest your hard-earned cash. For help with that, see our French property guides.
The French healthcare system is often described as one of the best in world and with good reason. Where many British expats come unstuck is assuming they will be automatically entitled to free healthcare just because France is part of the EU. Not so. The French equivalent of our NHS operates under different rules. You pay upfront for a doctor's consultation and any treatment – then you claim the cost back from the state.
The amount you can recover ranges from 65% to 90% of the total cost. So, unless you're prepared to make up the difference from your own pocket, you'll need to top up your assurance complémentaire (free health insurance).
Keeping up with the intricacies of the French social security system can be a challenge. We regularly publish updates and health-related articles, so to make sure you're not faced with a nasty surprise, do have a look at our healthcare news section as part of your preparation for moving to France.
Although France offers plenty of job opportunities and considerable scope for business ventures, you'll need to navigate the complexities of the French tax system and a depressing amount of red tape.
It's easy to take things for granted in the UK. Our PAYE system makes tax affairs straightforward for everyone in salaried employment – you know you're paying tax on earnings, but it’s taken care of automatically.
In France, you're responsible for paying your own income tax, in much the same way as a self-employed person in the UK. The due amount is payable nine months after the end of the previous calendar year. It’s up to the individual to set aside enough money to meet the tax payments when they become due.
Capital gains tax is another potential minefield as it's calculated differently in France from how it is in the UK. With finances so critical to the success of whatever new future you've lined up for yourself, it makes sounds sense to get up to speed with the French tax system. You might even think about appointing a local accountant to manage your affairs.
The different regions and cities of France offer a lot of variety. The climate, local food, wine and culture can be quite different from east to west and north to south.
We have provided guides to popular cities and regions that will allow you to explore the different areas of France in more detail.
With offices and storage facilities in Paris and Nice, Cadogan Tate specialise in home moves to and from France.
Our regular shuttles between the UK and France and local storage facilities make us well placed to support you with your move.