Written by Alex Bach
Just as there aren’t cheeseburger-eating cowboys shooting guns on every street in America, not every street in France is lined with baguettes, not every Frenchman is anti-American, and not all sparkling wines are Champagne. Knowing what to expect when moving to France is crucial if you want to get the most out of your stay. Here are some of the things, both good and bad, that you can expect to find when you begin your French expat journey.
And if you need help with the logistics of your journey, we’ve helped hundreds of families relocate all over the world and can make your move to France as painless as possible.
Managing Your French Expectations:
- The bread really is as fresh as everyone makes it out to be. Made daily, your bountiful bread options in France are going to be better than almost anywhere in the world. Ditto their pastries.
- French women aren’t necessarily the friendliest towards female expats–possibly because they feel all their french men are out to woo them. As with any move, you should try and find a community of other expats to help cut down on the loneliness from time to time.
- Shorter workweeks! In France, the national full-time work week is 35-hours. If you work any longer than that you automatically get paid overtime–which you can spend on more crepes, wine, and cheese.
- Speaking of which…the food really is just as good as its made out to be. Seriously, even the smaller, street fair could pass for Michelin-rated cuisine in America. Part of that is due to the abounding freshness of the ingredients as they joined with many other European countries in banning GMOs.
- Speaking of “speaking,” you will need to know passable French in order to enjoy your stay in France. Remember Ted Nugent’s infamous quote from a while back “Speak English or Die,” it’s kind of like that, but with French! France’s aversion of catering to your linguistic needs (even if they speak English) is probably the most realistic stereotype you’ll encounter. But don’t think of this as a downside: the more French you learn the more you’ll feel at home and the less you’ll be treated as an outsider.
- Lastly, moving to France will not be easy. There are a lot of hoops to jump through to get legal clearance to move to and work in France. But know that once you do you will truly be in for one of the greatest adventures of your life.