10 Reasons Not to Move to France

10 Reasons Not to Move to France

In the course of interviewing new and established foreign residents in France, there are common patterns that emerge as to the main reasons why they chose to move here. What is somewhat less obvious is the reason why the dream isn’t working out. People who have been disappointed are either less likely to share what went wrong because they feel embarrassed, they feel as if it is their fault in some way, or because they can’t really put their finger on exactly why their French experience isn’t quite la vie en rose.

More often than not there is a combination of multiple factors rather than one big reason why the taste of French life has gone sour. I was recently talking about this with Nadia Jordan, a buyer’s agent in the Midi-Pyrénées who keeps a fun and interesting blog on searching for a home in the region, and is a practised hand at weighing out the pros and cons of moving to France for her clients. The following are Nadia’s observations from years of accumulated experience helping people find their dream home and settle here.

The main reasons why people choose to move to France:

1. Better quality of life (of course this depends on your definition of quality but, generally the French have their priorities right when it comes to lifestyle choices)

2. Unspoilt natural environment, fewer people, more space, uncrowded roads, no traffic jams

3. Greater environmental awareness and responsibility

4. Fabulous and varied landscapes and climate

5. Paradise for children with lots of freedom

6. Fantastic hunting, shooting and fishing (if that’s your thing)

7. Stunning old stone houses, beautiful, classic French architecture, and affordable property prices

8. The health service – it is as impressive as everyone says

9. Sense of tradition and identity and strong family values

10. High quality and delicious food and wine with abundant local, seasonal, organic fresh food and wonderful local markets

Ten reasons why a move to France may not be for you:

1. If you are running away from a bad situation at home – it will still be a bad situation in another country

2. If you are determined to believe the stereotypes about the French being rude and arrogant. In reality, they are generally friendly and welcoming but you are a stranger in their country and

must expect to do things their way even if you don’t like it – and you might even get to like it

3. If you’re not prepared to learn the language

4. If you expect American style, in-your-face service – they do things differently in France

5. If you don’t want to embrace French culture – both the upsides and downsides

6. If you are not patient enough to build proper relationships with the locals

7. If you want or expect clockwork efficiency rather than a more latin, laid-back attitude

8. If you expect anything to be open on Sundays (except boulangeries of course!)

9. If you are always in a hurry (to be pressé can be used as a form of insult in France)

10. If you can’t live without your takeaway curry or Chinese meal (you can get a pizza!)

How about you? Do you see yourself reflected in any of these arguments? What were your reasons for moving (or not moving) to France?

•With thanks to Nadia Jordan, property search agent in South West France.
Photo by Zigazou76

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Sylvia is a freelance journalist based in France, focusing on business and culture. A member of the France Media editorial team, Sylvia is a regular contributor and looks after social media across our publications.

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  • aanderson
    2016-01-12 21:02:18
    I'm American. I was married to a French man for eight years and spent a good deal of time in France. I don't know...is this comparing the UK and France? The reasons for moving to France just seem really false to me, in relation to my experience and my life in Boise, Idaho. --We chose to live in Boise because we bought a two-bed, two-bath house with a garage and a garden when we couldn't afford anything but tenement renting in France for the same price. --the American West is way more unspoilt and way less populated --compared to where I was in France, we have better recycling facilities and access --American children have waaaaay more freedom--shorter school days, less homework (I'm a teacher) --definitely better hunting, shooting and fishing in Idaho --my mother-in-law had cancer and when we visited her hospital room in Paris I felt like we were visiting her in prison; the care was top-notch, but American hospitals look like 5-star hotels next to that facility--it rather horrified me --my marriage ended with my husband's infidelity and even though I would like to stay in touch and don't have any ill-feelings or rancor, no one in his family has bothered to speak to me since the divorce--so, family values? Can't agree there either. Compared to the super-Christian values still in mode here in Idaho, France doesn't seem to have great family values. I really like France and can think of tons of reasons to move there. I'm a French teacher! Big time pro-France. I just think it's odd that the writer lists reasons that seem so blatantly false. Unless you're comparing England and France. I can't speak to that. But, really, if what you are looking for is affordable housing, wide-open spaces, hunting and fishing, and playful, free childhoods--Idaho definitely comes in ahead of France on those points.