Why Move to France?
France attracts people for a wide variety of reasons. Those interested in finding unmatched cultural opportunities will enjoy France’s many cities steeped in history and art, while those looking for a place to raise a family will appreciate its well-regarded education and the high-quality of life. A strong job market and an excellent work-life balance also attract those interested in professional opportunities.
Let’s explore some of the biggest reasons that people relocate to France.
Vibrant, Historical Cities
Year after year, Paris ranks as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. People come from every country to climb the Eiffel Tower, ride down the Seine, visit the museums, and explore the popular cafes that line the old city streets.
However, Paris is far from the only French city that attracts visitors. Marseille and Nice, along the Mediterranean, offer stunning views, beaches and a culture all their own. Normandy, along the Atlantic, holds a unique place in history as well, and is a vibrant place to call home. Bordeaux, a city that dates back over 2,000 years and plays an important role in the French wine culture, also draws people to the region.
Many people also come to France to experience its stunning landscapes and regions. Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, those who love the ocean can appreciate the coastlines of France. The wine country and provincial areas of France also provide an excellent getaway for those who want to experience French culture outside the cities. Meanwhile, the towering French Alps provide plenty of opportunity for skiing and related snow sports for those who want to make the trek.
Other popular places to visit include: Gaube Lake, Bourget Lake, Verdon Gorge, Cliffs of Etretat, Ille-sur-Tet Organs, and Monet’s Garden in Giverny.
These different destinations help capture the immense variety of landscapes and destinations available throughout the nation. With opportunities for hiking, swimming, boating and simply exploring, France provides something for everyone to enjoy.
Universal Health Care
France offers world-class health care to citizens and residents who meet the residency requirements. To meet these requirements, you generally will need to have lived in the country for at least three months. Sometimes, exceptions can be made for those who have moved with a job that meets certain requirements.
Under the French health care system, most medical costs associated with doctor visits and medicines are covered by the government. This means residents pay higher taxes to cover the system. However, patients pay much smaller fees when they use the medical system.
To help cover the fees that end up falling to patients, some citizens decide to purchase a private health insurance plan, although this isn’t required. If you’re preparing to move to the country, remember that you may not qualify for the universal health care coverage right away. Therefore, you might need to purchase health insurance to cover you until you quality.
Highly Ranked Education
France has a long and rich history of quality education. Paris is home to the University of Paris, one of the oldest universities in the world. This university carries with it an intriguing history, as it has witnessed and played a role in countless events of French history, including being consulted by kings and reorganized by Napoleon.
France’s reputation for educational excellence begins in childhood, with mandatory schooling between 6 and 16 that is divided into three levels: primary school, secondary school and university. The schools follow a preset curriculum set by the Ministry of Education. Succeeding in the French school system requires students to pass rigorous exams. At the end of lower secondary school — what Americans might think of as middle school — students must pass an exam. Those who pass have primary access to upper secondary education.
In upper secondary education, students enter one of three specialties — general studies, technology or vocational streams — for the last two years of the American equivalent of high school. At the end of these courses, students take the appropriate baccalaureate exam, which grants them access to universities.
In addition to French schools, there are a number of international schools found throughout the country. These schools abide by the curriculum of other countries, such as the United Kingdom or the United States, and may teach classes in other languages, like English or German.
A Diverse Nation
France is home to people with origins from all over the world, welcoming those from a variety of cultural and language backgrounds, including elsewhere in Europe, both North and sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Turkey. In particular, it has a large number of immigrants who have come to France from former French colonies. This creates a rich tapestry of residents throughout the nation.
As people from around the world come to France, you will find there is also a wealth of opportunities to try delightful international cuisine through Paris, Marseilles and other major cities. You can also find the impact of this international influx in France across difficult cultural arenas. Athletes like Zinedine Zidane dominated sports headlines during their careers and immigrants have also impacted popular music and foods throughout the country.
Finding Your Place in France
France offers a variety of places and regions for people to consider if they are interested in moving to France. You will want to carefully consider the different areas based on your personality, needs, and what you want to appreciate most about your move to France.
The Southern Part of the Country
The southern part of the country can be an excellent pick for those who enjoy warm summers and more mild winters. It offers picturesque cities, from Toulouse in the west, where people can appreciate unique architecture, to the French Riviera in the east. Many people also enjoy visiting Provence and taking in the stunning Mediterranean views. This region is also popular with French citizens and those from other EU countries seeking an enjoyable place for a holiday.
In and Around Paris
Paris makes for an excellent destination point for many expats, as it offers arts, culture, fashion, and food that many associate with the country. Many fall in love with it the first time they lay eyes on the historic place.
Keep in mind, like many capital cities, the area in and around Paris tends to be more expensive than other parts of France. Regardless, the city offers plenty to see and do, even for those who decide to live elsewhere in France and just visit the famous city.
The Mountain Regions
France is home to a number of mountains, including the famous Alps and Pyrenees, with most peaks along the southern-most border and the eastern part of the country. There are a number of regions around the mountains that offer local cultures more focused on winter sports and the natural beauty that comes with the area.
The Wine Country
For the wine lover, of course, no discussion of French regions would be complete without mentioning the French wine country. You can find a variety of famous cities and regions in the area, including Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Loire Valley. These regions offer delightful food, and the people there take great pride in their wine-making heritage.
South of France
How to Immigrate to France
There are a few ways that foreigners can come to live in France legally. We will discuss some of the easiest strategies that you can use to help you pursue your goals of living in France.
Applying for these different types of visas will require a variety of documentation for non-EU residents. Depending on the type of visa you want to get, you should be prepared to share information like:
- Your tax return
- Your personal qualifications and job information
- Your school or internship information
Here is a snapshot for some of the most common paths people can cross into France.