From the lavender fields of Provence to the bustling and beautiful Paris, France has a bit of everything. However, before you put down roots, get ready for a tough housing search. Whether you’re looking to rent or buy, prices are high and the competition is fierce. And don’t forget to set up your utilities!
France is home to some of the most popular and stunning cities in Europe, each with their own individual charm. Whether you choose to settle along the shores of the Côte d’Azur or in cities such as Bordeaux in the West, you will quickly be sure that you have come to the right place. Brittany is very popular with expats due to its comfortable climate and relatively affordable cost of living. Meanwhile, the sunny French Riviera not only offers a range of beaches, but also over 30 ski resorts!
A large proportion of the French population (40%) opt to rent their house or apartment, largely due to the high price per square meter when buying. For example, in Paris less than one in three actually own the property they live in. For an expat who may move again in a few years, buying a property could be an expensive option. Moreover, during the last decade, property prices have increased by around 40%, particularly in larger cities with greater demand. In a small town, you may easily be able to find an apartment at the price you want, but may struggle to stick to your budget in Paris. More often than not, renting is the cheaper and easier option, particularly as expats begin their new journey abroad. If you decide to purchase or sell a home, the property transaction costs can be as much as 16%.
Setting up utilities is an essential part of your move. France offers some of the lowest electricity costs in Europe, with Électricité de France (EDF) being the state-owned supplier of domestic electricity. You could possibly find even lower rates through local co-operatives in rural areas. Depending on where you live in France (i.e. how close you live to England), you may be able to get a UK television signal with a large enough satellite dish. Most internet packages include a certain number of television channels — usually 100 to 200 channels. You may find a better selection of channels in the premium packages or by adding a "bouquet" of additional channels. There is a wide range of water companies to choose from, however prices will vary between regions and depending on whether you have mains drainage or a septic tank.