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Moving to France

Make your French dream a reality

Relocation to a different country can be a daunting prospect. Although France is one of the top expat destinations in the world, moving to France can be tricky due to the many different aspects that have to be sorted out prior to the move.

At Cadogan Tate we are well suited to take the worry out of managing the move.

We have the expertise to take care of every aspect of your relocation – from organising storage to preparing for the big day. Your personal Move Co-ordinator is always there to help you.

With dedicated European removals and storage depots in Paris and the South of France and regular scheduled European services - Cadogan Tate is perfectly placed to help you.

The first step when moving to France is to arrange a visit from one of our friendly surveyors who will assess the belongings you need to move and advise you on the most appropriate service for your needs.

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When you have accepted your quotation we will assign you a Move Co-ordinator who will be responsible for making sure your belongings are moved to your destination address as smoothly and efficiently as possible. This will allow you to plan all the other important aspects of your move to France, without having to worry about your belongings. Because of Cadogan Tate's frequent overseas shipments and scheduled road transport services, moving to France from the UK with Cadogan Tate is easy and can be as quick as just a few days from door-to-door, depending on location and customs clearance.

In order to help you make the right decisions we have prepared a thorough guide to moving to France. As we are experts in international removals, we have wealth of knowledge of the various aspects of French life. The French section of our website contains practical information on regions, lifestyle, healthcare and other important things to consider before deciding on the move.

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General advice

Moving to France from the UK shouldn’t be difficult when you’ve done your research and confirmed your new destination matches your lifestyle expectations. Yet there are pitfalls that many British encounter when moving across the channel. Read our general advice articles to keep on top of all the important areas to consider as a potential expat in France. We will be covering topics including legislation, arranging the move, to interesting stats related to British and expats currently residing in France. 

Regional information

France is the largest country in Western Europe and it is very diverse both in terms of culture and geographic features. If you compare North of France with South of France, you’d hardly believe it was the same country. The rugged Atlantic coast with its roaring waves and untouched scenery doesn’t even resemble the warm and relaxed Mediterranean coast. 

Consider checking our French regional guides to decide which part of the country better suits your lifestyle expectations. The climate becomes increasingly Mediterranean, warmer and drier, the further south you go, which also determines the characteristics of the local cuisine and lifestyle in general. People in the south are normally more active although life flows in a more relaxed way than up North. France consists of 18 regions and 101 administrative divisions so there is plenty of thinking and research to be done if you’re considering moving to France. 

French lifestyle

If you’re looking to integrate within the French community, you will find that some lifestyle changes will have to be made as the French way of life differs from the typical British lifestyle quite significantly. It includes both general lifestyle choices and little things like daily habits. For example, the importance of lunch to the French. 

The French tend to eat healthily, although at the same time they manage to consume a lot of dairy fat and white bread, and most of them still keep slim and fit. This may be a bit trickier to accomplish for the average expat, especially when the French food is as good as it is. Our French lifestyle articles will give you some idea of what life in France entails. 

Real Estate

France wasn’t spared during the global banking crisis of 2008 and it affected the country’s property market profoundly sending the sector into a freefall. Although France wasn’t affected as badly as Spain and other European countries, the property prices had been declining for several years making France a dream destination for expats and investors. It was a typical buyers’ market with an excessive number of properties available and no real demand. 

This is changing and many French estate agents have reported a slight increase in prices and the number of transactions, particularly in Paris and other developed areas. Many people who move from the UK to France do so because they can get bigger square footage for their money when compared to the UK. Others move with a view to supplement their income (or indeed make it their main source of income) with holiday rentals, particularly in the South of France. 

There have been reports by some expats that they are becoming disillusioned with this business model as there are so many empty holiday cottages in France and renting out gîtes and chambres is not as lucrative as some TV programs make it out to be. The traditional self-catering holidays are not as much in vogue as they used to be a few years ago, so if you are moving to France with the thought of buying a property, make sure you read our French property guides and also do your own research to confirm all the figures stack up. 

Healthcare

The French healthcare system is often described as one of the best in world and although the quality of care will differ from region to region, you probably won’t be too disappointed. Where many British expats come unstuck is assuming they will be automatically entitled to free healthcare just because France is part of the EU. That’s not exactly the truth as the French equivalent of our NHS works under different rules. You will have to pay upfront for seeing your doctor and receiving any treatment. 

Then you can claim the cost back from the state. The amount of the claim varies between 65 and 90% so unless you are happy to stump up the difference from your own pocket, you will need top-up your insurance AKA complémentaire. We try to keep on top of news related to the French social security system so check our French healthcare articles regularly to make sure you’re not faced with a nasty surprise when moving. 

Money and Utilities

Although there are plenty of opportunities for expats in terms of job prospects and business ventures, there are hidden dangers due to the complexity of the French tax system and their red tape in general. The UK’s PAYE system makes life extremely easy for everyone – you know you are paying the tax but it’s taken care of automatically. 

In France you are responsible for paying your own income tax which is payable 9 months after the end of the previous calendar year. It’s up to the individual to keep enough money saved to be able to meet the tax payments. More information on tax and money matters can be found here. There are also differences to capital gains tax so if you’re moving to France with a plan to build your own business, you will need to get familiar with the new system or better yet get an experienced local accountant. 

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