Living in France : your pathway to the ‘Joie de Vivre’

5 min read

If you’re thinking about moving to France and want to know more about life on the other side of the English Channel this article is for you. Long walks in beautiful countryside, whiling away the afternoon in a shady square and daily access to some of the most delicious cuisine in the world… life in France is tempting.

Which is why so many expatriates have made France their home. It offers the perfect lifestyle for families, couples or digital nomads. Read on to learn more about life in France and how it could suit you.

Enjoy the ‘Joie de Vivre’

Living in France offers a more relaxed way of living and embracing the French ‘Joie de Vivre’ – enjoyment of life. This means spending time outdoors, exploring the breathtaking countryside and coasts of France and appreciating what’s important – family and friends.

Good to know

The most up-to-date figures published by the National Statistics Agency (2021) showed approximately 7 million foreigners living in France, which is almost 10% of the total population.¹ 

Cultural immersion – discover the real France

Whether you’re visiting a French chateau, joining in the festivities in your village or dining with friends in a local restaurant, immersing yourself in the culture will be a rewarding experience.

If you can speak a few words of French, even better! This will be appreciated and show your commitment to becoming part of the community. From buying fresh produce at the local market or croissants from the bakery to conversing with parents at the school gates, attempting to join in will help you experience the real France.

Buying property in France

Property in France can be cheaper than in the UK and there are still bargains to be had in the countryside or if you’re prepared to carry out a renovation project. Depending on where you choose to live in France you could find a much more spacious property than in the UK. The beauty of buying property in France is the choice available, from rustic French farmhouses to beachside homes or architecturally splendid city flats French property is full of character.

The key is to do your research and weigh up the cheaper cost of living in France with the price of the property you want to buy. Living costs (accommodation, utilities) are currently 23% more in the UK, making France an attractive option.

The table below² is the current situation, based on average property prices:

Type of property UK price - € equivalent France price - € % Diff
Monthly rent 1-bed city apartment 1,969 1,486 +33%
Monthly rent 3 bedrooms outside city 1,553 1,173 +33%
Price per square metre to buy city centre 4,885 6,904 -29%
Price per square metre to buy outside city 3,617 4,697 -22%
Good to know

Are you ready to start hunting for your dream home in Provence, the Pyrenees or Bordeaux? At iad Overseas we have a vast selection of properties to buy in France and our experienced property consultants* can guide you through the purchasing process.

How to work remotely in France and enjoy life

The charm of the French countryside and coast

From the rolling vineyards of Burgundy to the lavender fields of Provence, rural France offers picturesque landscapes and pretty villages. Whether you enjoy exploring new places, hiking or cycling, French has plenty to discover.

One day you could be canoeing on a lake, the next picnicking on a Mediterranean beach or surfing the Atlantic waves – there’s plenty to do for all ages in this diverse country. Skiing fans will love the easy access to the Pyrenees and French Alps, while nature lovers can discover the amazing countryside of the French National Parks.

The steps to buying your dream home in France

The French healthcare system

When moving to France you’ll want to know that your family has access to a reliable healthcare system. Whether you’re an individual, family or retiree you will have a certain right to healthcare in France. The level of access will depend on whether you are employed or self-employed in France or retired.

Education in France

From preschool to university, children in France receive quality education from an early age. Many French children attend preschool (école maternelle) from the age of 3 in France, until they reach 6 when education is compulsory.

Although preschool is paid for, it is much cheaper than in the UK. The average price for UK childcare is £1,230 per month while in France the equivalent is £580³.

State education is free in France and the ideal way to help your children become bi-lingual. Alternatively, you could select one of the private schools in France that offer the British curriculum which is also cheaper than UK private school. The average price in France for a Year 1 child is £8,600 per year, compared to £14,500 in the UK⁴.

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The delectable French cuisine

French cuisine is known for its flavours, fresh ingredients and regional specialities. From buttery croissants and creamy cheeses to decadent pastries and robust wines, every meal is a feast, and the French treat it that way.

Food is not to be hurried in France. Meals are a social event to get together with family and friends and chat, connect and savour the delicious tastes.

If you live in the countryside you could even set up your own organic garden and grow your own organic fruit and vegetables.

The varied climate of France

France’s climate offers something for everyone, from the sun-drenched beaches of the French Riviera to the snowy peaks of the Alps. The country’s temperate climate makes it an ideal destination if you enjoy spending time outdoors.

The north coast tends to be cooler and wetter than the South of France, which offers long hot summers and mild winters.


Living in France is a way of life that many people only dream of. If you want to make this a reality get in touch with an iad Overseas property consultant* who’s experienced in moving expats to France. They’ll be able to give you a wealth of advice and information, from where to buy a property in France to the requirements for British citizens moving to France after Brexit.

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