The population of France is around 65 million and the capital city is, of course, Paris! Tourism is ripe in France and many expats decide to move there for the same reasons: rich history; exquisite cuisine; historical landmarks; and a strong sense of culture etc. Paris is arguably the most romantic city in the world, with cobbled streets, intimate bars, bistros, ‘le Louvre’ and the Eiffel tower to name but a few reasons. Expats in France however benefit from a variety of lifestyle choices with large rural areas that are sparsely populated; the pace of life is relatively slow and relaxed in the countryside and perfect for retirees or families looking to improve their wellbeing. Seaside towns in the South of France offer glitz, glamour and glorious beaches, especially along the Mediterranean coast.
According to a worldwide survey conducted by HSBC, expats in France benefit from the world’s number one healthcare service, considerably better than the UK’s NHS who came in at number 28. The survey also found French expats to enjoy the 2nd best healthy diet, 2nd best local shops and markets, 2nd best integration into the workplace and 3rd best for enjoyment of the local food.
France is the perfect destination for families choosing to raise children abroad, with far more time spent playing outside among a long list of reasons cited by HSBC as they crowned France the king of childcare for expats – perhaps I should say President of expat childcare, considering France has been a Republic since their famous revolution in the 18th Century
France is a massively popular destination for British expats, this is partly due to: the fact that Brits learn French at school and therefore have a direct affinity with the language (or not!); France is our closest overseas neighbour and therefore very easy to access by car, boat, train or plane; property prices are far more stable in France than the UK and buyer protection offers a suitable firewall against foul play; the strong culture remains undisturbed by the many thousands of expats; and the Pound to Euro exchange rate is at a very good level in these times of political uncertainty within the Eurozone – this can get expats more property for their money in France.
France has the world’s 5th largest economy and is the most visited country on the planet with an average of 82 million foreign tourists a year. The standard of living is immense and life expectancy is very high. Although stereotyped for their dishes that include snails and frogs legs, French cuisine marks the country as one of the world’s leading culinary lights.
Art and shopping are very popular in France with many of the world’s most sought-after designers based in Paris. Wine is another artefact of cultural pride, large areas of the landscape are dedicated to vineyards, and Champagne has earned itself worldwide notoriety as the drink to accompany celebrations.