Moving to France?

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Moving to France

For many expats, moving to France conjures up images of excellent cuisine and wine. But of course, that’s only half the truth! The InterNations expat guide on moving to France provides you with useful info beyond this stereotype: on the French language, popular expat destinations, and more.
Moving to France is popular among people from all walks of life.

Moving to France might require some planning and organization, but the effort will pay off. The country benefits from its central position in continental Europe, as well as its excellent transportation links to all neighboring countries and between French cities.

While most expats moving to France do so for business reasons, the country is also a popular destination for pensioners. They settle in France because of its high quality of life, its social welfare policies, and its good healthcare system. For the same reason, many other European nationals keen on working abroad move to France in order to try their luck — despite relatively high unemployment rates of around 10%.

France: Immigration Issues

A lot of immigrants, mainly from Portugal and Slavic countries moved to France between the two World Wars. More recently, increasing numbers of migrants from North Africa and Asia have started to come to France. Immigration, particularly from some Eastern European countries, has become a sensitive political issue, with some people advocating for tighter immigration laws and some stressing the importance of multiculturalism. The subject played an important role in the presidential election in 2017, and is still a controversial conversation topic!

This is especially the case since the government made the contentious decision to deport Roma in 2010. While there are several legislative measures in place to regulate the numbers of immigrants moving to France, they hardly affect EU expats or skilled professionals coming to France from overseas.

France, Its Territories, and Its Climate

When we think of France, what often springs to mind is the European continental territory, which covers an area of more than 530,000 km² (excluding Corsica). However, France is actually much more than that and has 11 overseas territories around the world, the most well-known being Réunion and Guadeloupe. The country therefore spans a variety of climates, with temperatures in Guadeloupe mostly over 30°C, but often dropping below zero in the French Southern and Antarctic Lands.

When it comes to mainland France, however, the climate is much milder. If you are considering moving to France's central and eastern parts, you will encounter a continental climate, with increasingly hot summers the farther south you go. You should be prepared for an oceanic climate making for rainier and cooler conditions, particularly in the northwestern areas of Normandy and Brittany. Those living on France's south coast enjoy a Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters.

La Population Française

Population estimates in 2016 hovered at around 63 million for Metropolitan France, which consists of 21 administrative regions plus Corsica. Some of these regions are suffering from heavy population losses. More and more people prefer France's vast metropolitan areas, which have developed around the big cities.

This mass exodus to urban centers is a widespread, yet relatively recent phenomenon, which has resulted in about 80% of the total population now residing in towns and cities. Not surprisingly, most expats and immigrants also settle in one of the major cities.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Ruben Barbosa

"After work I enjoy meeting other Brazlian expats offline. We go for a beer together and it feels like home. Thanks InterNations."

Verona Torres

"The idea to connext expatriates in Strasbourg fits perfectly to the city. Both are truly international."

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