I often have people write me an email and ask me for my advice on moving to France, or Paris more specifically. This reminds me that it is not such an easy thing to do, and I have been very fortunate to have been able to find a way to live and work here. It isn’t always easy. Even for those of my readers who come from somewhere as close as England. They have the advantage of being in the EU! this takes one big hurdle out of living in France, but it doesn’t mean it makes it less of a mystery for some. Let’s face it, it is not easy to just displace oneself and live on the other side of the pond. There is a whole other culture over here that one has to adapt to.
I got some advice from a man in the moving business in England, who knows a thing or two about displacement on the other side of the pond. Schepens Removals, an experienced family run company offering moving services within the UK and to the rest of Europe, has been helping people move for over 100 years, with a specialization in removals to France. They have kindly offered to give us their top 5 tips for moving to France from England.
These are the basic steps for level one integration. I especially enjoy that he has included the 14th of July in the top five tips! I also find it very interesting that two of the top 5 concern health care!!!
Top 5 Tips For Moving To France
Sending Your Child To School – If you plan to enroll your child at a school in your commune, initial inquiries should be made at your mairie (town hall), where you will be advised on who to contact and how to complete the various formalities. Children should be enrolled before June to start school in September. Home-schooling is legal, but you must speak to the mairie if you intend to take this route. France also has private schools and some international schools. Prête-Moi Paris side note : There are several bilingual schools in Paris where children can get instruction in both English and French.
Finding Work – If your life in France is dependent upon finding employment, the wisest approach is to land the job before making the move. France’s current high unemployment inevitably means keen competition for jobs, so patience is a virtue and good language skills are desirable. Although you must be prepared to go to France if offered an entretien d’embauche (job interview), viewing vacancies and submitting applications can all be done online, either via the government job search site or through private agencies. You can also send speculative applications to potential employers. Prête-Moi Paris side note : It is not considered uncommon to send a spontaneous candidacy with your CV and a motivation letter explaining who you are and what you can offer to a certain company. If your profile and presentation is interesting enough, it may land you an interview. Don’t be afraid to go beyond the help-wanted ads.
14th July – Without question, France’s biggest national extravaganza is what the British often call Bastille Day, but the French refer to as ‘le quatorze juillet’. Festivities start on the evening of 13th, with truly spectacular firework displays all over France and partying that is likely to continue all night and into the next day. The 14th is a national holiday, when even shops that opened on Christmas Day will almost certainly be closed. Many towns arrange fêtes, parades and all manner of street entertainments, sometimes a whole week of events. If you’re in France at this time, it’s well worth finding out what’s happening near you and going along. France’s 14th July celebrations are not to be missed. Prête-Moi Paris side note : The pompiers (firemen) all throw parties for families in each town or neighborhood. Tickets are usually priced around 2€ and it is a great place to meet people in your eare and have a great time, and the opportunity to see of those fire fighters are as hot as people say they are!
Eligibility for Healthcare – If you don’t intend to work or run a business in France, and are not a dependant of someone who is in the French system, you will probably need a form S1 to entitle you, initially at least, to state healthcare. You should apply for an S1 well in advance of leaving the UK. If you’re retired, contact the DWP Overseas Healthcare Team (0191 218 1999); if you’re going to continue working in the UK, contact HMRC. Ahhhh the paperwork begins!
Healthcare – Carte Vitale – This card contains a microchip which confirms your identity and social security number. When you pay for consultations, treatment or prescriptions, you will be asked for your CV. Your reimbursements will then be refunded automatically into your bank account. If you don’t have a carte vitale, or the health provider doesn’t have a card reader, you’ll be given a document called a feuille de soins. This must be presented to your caisse d’assurance, along with proof of entitlement, to claim reimbursement. Prête-Moi Paris side note : DO NOT lose this card! It seems to have more importance than your credit and bank cards! Of course it can be replaced but not as easily as the other types of cards just mentioned.
And one more little bit of advice from your friendly blogger living in Paris here… <a href="htt