Moving to France

Rookie mistakes & survival tips

Moving to France

Ah, la France! The land of good wine and cheese, the cradle of impressionism, adopted home of some of the greatest artists of the 20th century. If you are moving to France, chances are your life will be pretty interesting. Between breathtaking landscapes, world famous museums and great food, you will always have something to do. Before enjoying yourself on the French Riviera though, here is some advice on the things to know when moving to France.

Take care of the practical stuff

The first thing to take care of is that all your belongings arrive safely in France and in one piece. While it’s tempting to attempt the packing and organising of the move yourself, you’ll save an incredible amount of time and aggravation by choosing a professional removals company. Experts from AGS Movers  advise checking that the company you choose is a member of a recognized moving association; confirming quote accuracy; and the presence of extra services and their additional costs, in particular insurance and storage services.

Look at the Just Landed France guide for details and information on everything that needs to be done to immigrate to France. You can find information on visas, permits and all the documentation required to settle in smoothly. Start early with arranging these matters and keep good track of them! Remember that the French like their paperwork, so get all your documents in order and make many copies of it.

Avoid culture shock

Make yourself familiar with some of the main features of France’s culture. The French have their own customs and etiquettes and you probably don't want to start off by offending your new neighbours or colleagues! There are many things you would normally do in other countries that are considered rude in France: for example, never address a new acquaintance with tu or use first names with someone you have just met. Monsieur and Madame will do. At a restaurant, never, ever address the waiter with “Garçon!”, it is considered incredibly disrespectful.

It is not customary to tip servers in France, as a service charge is generally included in the bill. It will also do you good to have some prior knowledge of the language before you arrive in the country, because the French don't tend to speak much English. Putting the effort in to speak French is also warmly appreciated by locals.

Settle in!

Settling in a new place and creating a new social circle is one of the biggest expat challenges. Fortunately, there is a foolproof way to get acquainted with new people: go out and about! Join a gym where they offer group workouts, a group sport, a course or a language exchange event (you even learn the language!), or just strike up a conversation with someone.

On the practical side of things, if you come from an Anglo-American country, remember that France uses the metric system, so that speed limit that seems a little high is actually in km/h, not mph. And if you want to relax and spend a night at the movies, remember all films are dubbed in French, so you have to specifically look for a cinema that shows films in the original language, which can be easily found in most big cities but is not common in smaller ones. On the other hand, you can see it as an opportunity to learn the local language!

Finally, enjoy the amazing food France has to offer, including its almost 300 types of cheese! Every region in France has its typical traditions and cuisine, so wherever in France you end up, apply these simple tips and you will be in for a great adventure!

Further reading

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