The Ultimate Family Guide: Moving to France

MumAbroad has a growing network of families based in some of France’s most vibrant cities including Paris, Lyon, Nice and Toulouse. 


Here we share recommended addresses and resources for families moving to France, including Activities for Kids, Baby & Toddler, Family Services, Healthcare, Maternity Services and Home & Admin. 


Why move to France?


Thinking of moving to France? France holds such a special place in our hearts that French has become known as the very language of love. Its wines captivate connoisseurs and wine markets across the world, while its fashion houses (Dior, Yves Saint Laurent) watchmakers (Cartier) and perfumers (Chanel, Givenchy) are household names in each of their industries.


France was the most visited country in the world in 2018 based on overnight stays, with nearly 90 million people seduced by its charm. Disneyland remains France’s most visited tourist attraction, followed closely by the Louvre Museum (home of the Mona Lisa), the former home of France’s kings in Versailles, the iconic Eiffel Tower and the Centre Pompidou housing Europe’s largest modern art museum. Millions visit the Alps and the world’s largest ski area of The Three Valleys in winter, while southern Provence and the French Riviera attract an equal amount seeking sun, sand and high culture.


Where do expats live in France?


Government statistics say 148,000 British expats were living in France in 2016. A third of these UK citizens were retired and without children, with another third working in skilled jobs in France’s larger cities (Paris, Toulouse, Nice, Lyon) and the final third made up of young expats seeking seasonal work or one of the 86,000 British citizens with a second home in France.


The majority live in sparsely-populated areas of western France (Charente, Dordogne, Haute-Vienne, Limoges) with high numbers on the French Riviera (Nice, Cannes, Saint-Tropez) in southern Occitanie (Carcassonne, Toulouse, Montpellier) in northeastern Brittany (Rennes, Huelgoat) and Normandy (Domfront, Flers) and in Alpine regions in the east (Lyon, Annecy, Chambery, Courchevel). The same spread is true for Belgian, German and Dutch expats, except for these preferring the French Riviera in the southeast above all.


Moving to France: The Ultimate Family Guide & Checklist


Do you crave the heat, culture and blue Mediterranean views of the French Riviera, frequented by the likes of Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Elton John and Brigitte Bardot? Are you looking to relax with your young family or for retirement in the sun-baked south and west of France, with its dazzling summers, fine food and wine? Are you relocating permanently, or just moving to France for year? Perhaps you’re still looking for your je ne sais quoi?


In this MumAbroad Ultimate Family Guide we’ll cover 9 hurdles to moving to France, so you make the best decision for you and your loved ones. For a rapid overview, view the Moving to France checklist at the end:


Relocation services in France
Visas and residence permits
Opening a bank account
Finding a house in France
Healthcare in France
Cost of living in France
Driving in France
French school system
Moving to France with a dog or cat
French language and culture
Moving to France – CHECKLIST