France | Moving to France

Moving to France Q&A

I’ve set up this page to share my thoughts on the kinds of questions that come up when someone thinks of relocating to France. As my experience was of relocating as a family, there are relevant questions and answers here to my direct experience. Also we came here with a view to setting up our own businesses, so moving for an existing or new job with a company will likely lead to a different set of questions. If there’s anything in particular you want to know that is not covered here, feel free to contact me and ask a direct question.

How much of my personal “stuff” should I bring?

Short answer: All Of It. We left soooo much stuff, and if I had a euro for every time we’ve thought, “if only we had …” since moving here, I could have bought a bunch of it again. Unfortunately, we had to have a major clearout before our move, entirely because we didn’t have a house to come to and had a single room in our rented accommodation to use as storage: we didn’t want to be weighed down by our possessions, so brought only things that we considered to be essential. It turns out there were things we didn’t quite realise were essential until we’d moved. We also, mistakenly, judged that since we offloaded a lot of our gear at rock bottom prices (mostly down to a very competitive secondhand market where we were) that we’d be able to pick up the same stuff at equally low (sensible) prices here. In short (again): wrong. There’s a strange culture here where somehow second hand goods are treated like vintage items and people expect high prices for them, even if they’re old, obsolete, and basically destined for a skip if no-one pays. I truly believe that there are people here who would rather chuck a perfectly good sofa in a skip than charge a low price for it. It’s just one of the many quirks of this wonderful country. C’est la vie!

How did you transport your pets?

In our case we had three cats to bring with us: two relatively young male cats and one older female. We were also transporting two children and a car-load of stuff so we decided to pay a professional pet transport company in order to try and reduce the stress for all of us. The transport company had a specialist vehicle which meant that our animals were safe and able to keep cool for the duration of the journey. It also meant we could make our own journey, stopping when necessary and breaking the journey with an overnight stay, which would have been considerably more difficult with our animals. Read more about our experience here.

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