There are many pros and cons living in France compared to the USA. As an American living in France, you will find that there are differences from life in the states. Through our many moves, we’ve heard back from customers on things they would have liked to know before beginning their French expat life. To help with acclimating to life in France, we’ve compiled some of the major differences for expats living overseas.
Check out our article on the pros and cons of living in France below!
Living in France: Pros and Cons Disclaimer
To start off, it is important to understand there are differences throughout France. Just like anywhere else, areas are different even within the same country. Living in Paris will be different than Le Havre, Marseille, Bordeaux, etc. For this reason the differences for France vs USA are broad and may not apply everywhere.
Language in France vs USA
One of the most noticeable differences in France vs the US is the language. French is the primary language spoken in France. Even though many French natives can also speak English, they generally prefer to speak in French. Even if you proficient in French from a book, be ready for the speed and slang you may encounter there. Beyond the language there is also conversation customs that are different. Customs like kissing on the cheek or refraining from smiling are both things you will need to watch out for as an American.
Language in France Pros:
- A great opportunity to learn a new language
- Many areas where you can speak English such as expat communities
Language in France Cons:
- Speed and slang can confuse people even if they learned French
- New customs may be awkward for Americans
Cost of Living in France vs USA
Almost everything you buy in France is more expensive than the USA. There are a few cheaper things such as bread or wine, but even those are similar in price. Rent is the largest expense for most expats and natives alike, especially if you choose to live in a place like Paris. Americans living in France find eating and living prices take a majority of their extra pay. On the other hand, social services are free or close to free. This means there won’t be a need to pay for services like healthcare. It is also important to also remember that France has one of highest standards of living. With great work life balance, the increased cost of living in France may pay itself off in the lifestyle compared to the US.
Cost of Living Pros:
- One of the highest quality of life in the world
- Cheap or free social services
Cost of Living Cons:
- Goods are more expensive in general
- High taxes may make wages seem smaller
Service in France vs USA
There is a drastic difference in service between France and the USA. Most Americans will complain at least once they encountered bad service. Though it is important to realize that the service is acceptable for most Europeans and the US is the service outlier. In the USA, waiters generally rely on tips to make up their wages so they may provide better service. Whereas in France, wait staff are paid regular wages and it is irregular for them to receive tips. This leads to American servers being friendly and chatty, while French servers generally leave you alone.
Service in France Pros:
- You don’t have to tip for service in France
- Staff won’t bother you during a meal
Service in France Cons:
- Need to waive down staff when you need service
- Less friendly than service in the states
Want to Live in France?
If you are moving or thinking about moving to France, we at Schumacher Cargo Logistics can help you out. With over 40 years of experience, SCL is the premier moving company to France. From cars to full households, we can ship your goods door to door from the US to anywhere in the country. There are definitely more difference living in France, but we’ll let you experience the rest while you’re there.
To get started fill out our Online Quote Form or read another of our France guides below.
Additional France Guides
- Moving to France from the US
- Shipping a Car to France from the US
- Import a Car from France to the US