Almost everyone dreams of visiting or living in France. French life, with picnics under the Eiffel Tower, glorious nights in Montmartre, and tasting French cuisine while sipping rich wine, is perfect. Living in Paris is a dream, and the way of life is laidback and less stressful.
France is a good destination for expats not just because of the employment opportunities but also because it provides a healthier environment. But like all countries, France also has its good and bad, so before moving there, be well aware of the possible compromises you’ll need to make to enjoy the joie de vivre!
Pros Of Living In France
1. Convenient And Reliable Public Transport
Riding public transportation in France is not a game of chance. The buses and trains are reliable, with pocket-friendly one-way tickets and monthly transit passes. Some applications even offer discounts to reduce transportation expenses.
And if you need more than that, if you are commuting to go to work, your employer is mandated to shoulder 50% of your monthly transportation expenses. This is a significant perk for those stretching their budgets and trying to save.
2. World-Class Healthcare
The French healthcare system is one of the best in the world. Assurance Maladie, France’s healthcare is for everyone, regardless of employment, income, or pre-existing conditions, and it is highly affordable.
To be eligible for this healthcare, you must have lived in France for a minimum of three months. Then you will need to process your registration at your Caisse Primaire Assurance Maladie or CPAM. Upon approval, you’ll receive your French card, also called carte vitale—this contains all the necessary information for healthcare reimbursements.
When you go for a check-up, for instance, or fill a prescription, you’d have to pay a small amount, which will then be reimbursed. A doctor’s visit, which costs €23 ($24.52), will be refunded up to 75 to 100%, so your total expenditure will only amount to €0 to €6.
3. A Model Place For Work And Life Balance
The French approach is to work to live rather than to be imprisoned by work; as a result, they have a well-balanced work and life balance. And if you have worked in another country, like the US, you will experience the difference.
The standard number of paid vacation days in France is 25, but some companies and positions can offer up to 40 days. Additionally, 11 public holidays are also removed from your work schedule, allowing you to plan a week of family vacation without worrying about not getting paid in full by the end of the month.
But, despite a standard 35-hour work week, the French are not lazy workers; if overtime hours are needed, they are well compensated for it.
4. Job Security
France has labor laws in place that are designed to make its workforce feel secure in their employment, which is another benefit of working there. Every hired individual is bound by a contract that guarantees the promotion and observance of all worker rights.
There are two contracts in France—he contrat à durée indéterminée or CDI (permanent contract) and the contrat à durée déterminée or CDD (fixed term contract). Both have pros and cons, but all workers can be assured that it is always in their favor. So, in France, you can’t simply be laid off or, worse, fired.
5. Variety Of Landscapes
Are ski slopes, valleys of lavender, or pristine white beaches what you are after? France has it all and more. You don’t have to leave France to get your adventure fix. Outdoor recreation opportunities abound in this European nation’s natural landscapes.
Cons Of Living In France
1. High taxes
France is one of the nations with the highest taxes, with tax rates that are as high as the Eiffel Tower. Yes, social security, housing, and the tax on goods must still be factored into the income tax, which is 46%.
However, this astronomically high tax benefits France and its extensive social programs, such as healthcare and unemployment. So while it is true that taxes are high, the money is actually returned to the country’s citizens.
2. Complicated Paperwork
Another fitting adjective to describe France is “bureaucratic”. Even the seemingly straightforward process of registering a new address can take weeks or even months.
Additionally, there is a waiting period before receiving a response, advice, or recommendation after submission. The waiting period depends on the person handling your file. If a clerk is handling it, it can take two interviews and a month’s waiting period, but if someone else is handling it, it can take nine interviews and three months for an update.
3. French People Aren’t That Welcoming
It can be intimidating to move to a new country. You’ll have to deal with adjusting to the new culture as well as making friends with strangers. Unfortunately, French people aren’t the type to welcome you with open arms, especially if you can’t speak French.
Before you are accepted and treated like a local, you’ll need to become familiar with a number of unwritten rules and social customs. You’ll be surprised to learn that there’s always the French way of doing things, and that’s the only way.
Even finding housing can be frustrating because, despite a landlord being aware that you are an expat, they would require you to be in France for at least three months before leasing a property to you. Some even need you to show a work contract or a bank account—things you won’t have on hand when you arrive in France.
Cost Of Living In France
The cost of living is relatively high, especially in the city. The amount you spend in France depends on your lifestyle because, like in any country, a high life in New York or Paris will put a hole in your budget.
If you only consider the prices of groceries, dining out, and overall consumer prices, it’s easy to conclude that the US is cheaper compared to France because you’ll be paying about 7% less in the US. But you will change your mind if you include rent in your computation.
In the US, rent is almost 40% higher, so your savings on groceries are still reallocated to rent, making France a more affordable place to live.
Here is a comparison of the prices in France and the US in their most prominent cities:
|Basic Monthly Utilities inclusive of electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage||$216.02||$177.57|
|Private childcare for preschool for one month||$778.04||$2,264.64|
|Meal for one in an inexpensive restaurant||$15.96||$25.00|
|Three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant||$63.83||$100|
|1 liter of gasoline||$2.12||$1.09|
|Rent for a one-bedroom apartment within the city||$1,368.56||$3,793.47|
|Rent for a one-bedroom apartment outside the city||$1,017.21||$2,380.18|
|Rent for a three-bedroom apartment in the city||$3,053.27||$7094.09|
|Rent for a three-bedroom apartment outside the city||$2,061.30||$4,107.47|
|Purchasing price – per square meter for an apartment within the city||$13,363.81||$14,277.91|
|Purchasing price – per square meter for an apartment outside the city||$9,371.21||$9,275.19|
|1 liter of milk||$1.23||$1.24|
|1 kilo of rice||$2.32||$8.01|
|One dozen of eggs||$3.76||$4.63|
|1.5 liter of water||$0.86||$2.45|
The Most Interesting Cities In France
You definitely can’t miss Paris when you are in France, but did you know that plenty of underrated cities in this country can spark your interest and give you a different French experience?
Yes, so here are three French cities you should explore once you have settled in France.
A cheaper city than Paris, this is a must-visit if you are after a French gastronomical experience. This is where the gourmet palates meet the historians, as it was the heart of the French Resistance during WW2.
This charming historical city offers you the quintessential French experience. If you’re here, don’t miss the Cité de Carcassonne, or Carcassonne Castle, a UNESCO-protected fortress that has become an icon for Europe. And spend the afternoon at the Château de Quéribus, a ruined castle that provides the best view of France.
This port city is vibrant and refreshingly unique from the other cities in France. It is connected to the rest of the country through trains, and being in this city is like being in another country thanks to its Vieux-Port (Old Port) and the diverse Panier District. Also, it is home to the Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica and the Cathédrale La Major.
Tip: Interested in buying a property in France? We have created money transfer guides for the France – USA and France – UK corridors, guides that showcase the top companies to work with if you need to send large sums of money to and from France.
Living in France is a chapter that will alter your outlook. It is a safe, beautiful, and conducive environment to grow individually and settle down with your family. After all, living the French lifestyle is all about living life to the fullest.
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