So, you are thinking about living in France and living out your An American in Paris dreams? Good for you! There are tons of wonderful reasons why moving to France from the USA is a great idea.
All the great pastries, cheese, and wine, for example.
But there are bound to be things that aren’t so great too. All the weight you’ll gain from the pastries is a big downside, and living far away from your loved ones is a close second.
It’s important to consider everything when making a big life decision. This guide will help you weigh up the living in France pros and cons and give you great solutions for handling the transition, too.
Skiing down the most picturesque mountains. Sipping chardonnay on a white sand beach. Weeks-long road trips through cornfields conversing with shifty gas station attendants.
Sure, you can do those things in the US, too. But do you? No matter where you are living in France, all these cultural experiences (and many others) are little more than a few hours’ drive away.
As an American moving to France, you will feel more motivated to get out and explore this amazing country because you won’t take it for granted.
Are you one of the 6% of Americans who speak French at home? You are likely not because that percentage includes actual French people living in the US, too.
So, when you are living in France as an American, you will have to learn French. Yes, it will be tough, and there might be tears. But don’t uphold that “ignorant American” stereotype by not at least trying.
Plus, French people are notorious for giving monolingual Americans a hard time, so they might not speak English to you even if they are fluent. Newspapers, signposts, and TV will also be in French (in case that wasn’t obvious).
Whether you like it or not, France will insist on giving you free healthcare, ample maternity leave, and a healthy minimum wage.
How dare they. And they don’t even give you a choice; you have to take it.
The French government also contributes to your pension, and their educational systems are some of the best in the world. France, like all countries, is not perfect. But they have more of a “we’re all in this together” approach to social services than the USA.
But with great social services comes great responsibility… to pay your taxes. And deal with the truckloads of paperwork that French banks, VISA offices, and every other organization in France love to give you.
France is infamous for bureaucracy, and even their flag has red tape on it.
So, if you still need to apply for a French work VISA, make sure you start it yesterday. Expect long lines at any government office. And expect to fill in paperwork three times (and have it rejected three times) before you get anything done.
Moving to France has tons of perks, but one of the best is the work/life balance. In early 2021, France even passed a law banning companies with over 50 employees from sending work emails after hours.
And are you getting a bit tired of eating your sad subway sandwich at your desk in 40 seconds flat? When you move to France, you are in for culture shock. It is not a myth that many French workers take regular 90-minute, three-course lunches with a glass of wine.
Though don’t order the dauphinoise potatoes and chocolate tart every single day. This would be something of a faux pas in France. They eat decadent food, but they are the kings and queens of moderation.
Every other day sounds about right.
Your simple family home in the USA will look like a ginormous McMansion compared to the quaint cottages and shoebox apartments in France. Forget having a laundry room and a hallway; you will be lucky if you find a house that doesn’t have a toilet next to the refrigerator.
Most houses in France are pre-WWII, too. This often means they are beautiful with lots of character. And they come with beautiful plumbing problems and lots of drafty window frames, too.
But if you can stay in temporary accommodation while you house search, finding an affordable and renovated French château is 100% possible.
France does have a lot of red tape, which can make shipping your belongings overseas more difficult. UPakWeShip takes care of most of the paperwork and logistics, but you can lessen the headache further by decluttering as much as possible.
They have ironing boards and air fryers in France, too. So get rid of anything unsentimental and embrace the fresh start. Make sure you don’t pack anything on this prohibited items list either.
Then, you can follow this easy step-by-step guide.
Step 1: Contact UPakWeShip for an affordable quote. Use this volume estimator to determine how much stuff you need to ship. You can choose U-Crates, pallets, and shipping containers in a range of sizes.
Step 2: UPakWeShip will drop off your container and pick it up afterward. We handle the customs documents and insurance to cover your belongings on their journey across the Atlantic.
Step 3: We ship and deliver your belongings to your new (likely smaller) home in France. And that’s all it takes!
Living in France offers far more opportunities than it takes away. Yes, there will always be things you will miss about the USA. But if you try pouring another glass of pinot noir, you’ll find you miss the states less and less with each sip.
One way you can lessen the stress of moving overseas is by choosing a great moving company. A professional, experienced company that handles all the logistics and labor of shipping your belongings for you.