Top 10 guides to live in France

Speaking French

Like any language, French can be learned efficiently with practice. In addition, living in France will make your learning easier, because you will hear French in all occasions, whether you are at the supermarket or listening to the radio while driving! Moreover, you will surely find helpful individuals who will be delighted to help you to get your bearings at the beginning. You also have the option of choosing one of the many language courses which are also available on internet.


How to Find Someone to Fix Your Property (plumber, builder etc)

You can complete a simple search on the internet or in the phone book. Then, it will be necessary to check the companies reliability considering some of these elements such as name, the hourly rate (including taxes), and the business identification number (called SIREN or SIRET), which can be checked on the website If you do not find this information, do not hesitate to ask the professional when you call him about his services.  Consider that the prices vary according to the region, the city, etc. Before he provides the service, it is better to ask for a quote, as well as an explanation of what he is going to do. Once the services are complete, do not forget to claim a bill.



French people generally like to go to shop in hypermarkets, where they can find all kinds of products within the same store. The main leaders are Carrefour, E.Leclerc, Intermarche, Auchan, Geant and Hyper U. There are also low-cost supermarkets such as Lidl, Aldi or Leader-price and smaller stores in the French towns or the villages.


Finding the Irreplaceable English Products

By leaving the UK, you will probably miss some your beloved national foods. Even though British food consumption is not so developed in France, you may find some products in hypermarkets, which often have a department dedicated to foreign culinary specialities. However, it is quite difficult to get for example Marmite or jelly, unless you decide to purchase if over the internet where various websites offer the possibility to order products online.


Discovering Activities and Festivals

French towns offer a lot of activities due to their cultural richness. Exhibitions, shows, concerts, theatres, festivals, flea markets… there are various events suitable for all tastes. To obtain more information about these activities, you can consult with specialised guides in the kiosks or in the local newspapers. The tourism offices can also inform you about the events of the area.



Everyone working in France must contribute to the French Social Security system. European Union agreements allow you to benefit from the French state healthcare system.   If you become a resident and you register to the French healthcare system, you have to choose a GP that will treat you all the time. The healthcare institution provides you with something call a chip card that you use at the end of each consultation. This allows you to be reimbursed automatically without sending in any sort of form. A basic consultation costs on average €23 and is generally reimbursed at 70%. For the serious health issues, 100% of the treatments are reimbursed.


Night life

Most of the towns have a busy nightlife with their numerous bars and nightclubs. Within these many bars you can savour cocktails and enjoy all kinds of drinks; they generally close at 2am. There are also a few bars that are opened until 4am for those who wish to party a little later. Regarding the nightclubs, some close at 4am but the most part are open during the entire night, all the way until the morning hours. To ensure optimum security on the roads, French police take a lot of blood alcohol level controls, especially during the week-ends.


Driving in France

The roads in France are rigorously controlled, regarding the speed as well as those driving under the influence. The speed limits depend on the kind of road, the vehicle and the weather. They are displayed along the roads serving as a constant reminder. Be careful, as an EU driving licence can be confiscated on the spot by a police if the holder exceeds the speed limit by more than 40km/h.  Regarding alcohol, the French drink-driving limit is 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood.  Furthermore, some equipment is compulsory, such as a warning triangle and a reflective jacket which must be kept in an accessible place within the passenger compartment. If you use snow-covered roads, your vehicle must be equipped with snow chains.  Starting on the 1st July 2012, further equipment will become compulsory: the breath analyser, without which people will be charged a €11 fine.



For your removal, you have the choice to manage it by yourself or you may call a specialised company which will take care of it for you. In the case that you plan to move by yourself, there are some preliminary details you have to consider before doing so, such as the custom formalities or getting a parking permission for your truck if your French property is located in town.  If you go through professionals, the total cost will depend on the type of services provided, which can cover all or just some steps of your removal, including the formalities.


Running a Small Business Activity in France (status auto entrepreneur)

If you choose to start your own business, you can benefit from the Statut auto-entrepreneur (self-employed status), which simplifies all the administration process. The registration is free and can be done online. The accountancy is simplified as well; the only requirement is to record the sales (and the purchases for the retailers). You pay the taxes and welfare costs according the turnover you collect, but if you do not collect anything, you will not need to pay anything.

Tags: , , ,

This entry was posted on Thursday, April 12th, 2012 at 3:34 pm and is filed under Learning French . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “Top 10 guides to live in France”

  1. Jacky collenette Says:

    Please could you inform me of the current sityation with Capital Gains Tax and the period of time this would be charged within and at what percentage? Thanku

  2. Steve Sumner Says:

    A very good introduction, thank you
    More about planning for pools etc. would help to introduce us to how local Mayor and town planning operates

  3. Maxime Says:

    Here is a very interesting link for you Steeve:

Leave a Reply

Join our Newsletter!

For latest news and advice about buying property and living in France. Type in your email to subscribe.