Britons move to France by the thousands every year to relish the warmer climate, the gorgeous landscape and the rich culture. Maybe you are thinking of moving there to retire or work, or just to enjoy the laid-back way of life. Whatever your reason, here are some things you should know about life in France.
Firstly, you must accept that the language spoken in France is French. English is rarely spoken, so you will need to have a basic knowledge of the language. French people are extremely proud of their language and will expect you to communicate in their native tongue. Even if your knowledge is minimal, the French people will appreciate that you are trying. In time, you will soon improve your skills.
The culture in France is very different. It can take a fairly long time to form new friendships. Then, there’s office etiquette. It is very impolite to arrive in the morning and simply say ‘Hi’ to your colleagues. You must say ‘Bonjour’ to each person and shake their hand.
If you want to buy a property, make enquiries about a government grant. These are given if you meet with certain criteria. If you purchase an old property with the specific intention of renovation, you might qualify. Buying a property and converting it into a holiday home for rental would also be a qualification.
Other criteria for grants include using the property for business reasons, or converting a house into an eco-friendly dwelling. This would include the installation of solar heating and other ‘green’ elements. If you want to apply for a grant, there are various associations that can be contacted.
Start by contacting the local Mairie or Prefecture. If you want a home improvement grant, bear in mind that these are only given on properties older than 20 years. Also, you need proof that no other grant has been given on the property during the last 10 years. Another stipulation is that you have to reside on that property.
Before taking up residence in France, you will have to learn patience when it comes to bureaucracy. French officials love paperwork and you must be prepared to endure reams of red tape. To eliminate a lot of this, it is advisable to contact a relocation agency in the UK prior to moving.
France boasts a superb infrastructure. The freeway and motorway network is said to be the best in Europe. The high speed trains are also fantastic. For example, a trip from Paris to Marseilles is only three hours. Paris to Bruxelles is a mere hour and a half, while Paris to London will take two and a half hours.
You will be able to take advantage of all the latest technology during your life in France. The telephone network is digital. There are three mobile phone networks, and high speed internet connections are readily available. Satellite television is accessible in most cities and towns.
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