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The guide to moving to France?

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Ready to move to France? Read on... Photo: Bryce Edwards
Ready to move to France? Read on... Photo: Bryce Edwards

By Bryan Pirolli in Paris—

What’s the biggest expense for anyone coming to Paris? Usually, the plane ticket. If you’re looking to trade in that round trip for a cheaper one-way ticket to the City of Light and start up a life here, it’s harder than you think—but not impossible.

Expat Aurelia D’Andrea, a California native, literally wrote the book on moving to France, “Living Abroad in France,” published by Moon Guidebooks. It’s a handy resource for those dreaming of living among baguettes and cheese shops more permanently.

Living Abroad in France, by Aurelia d'Andrea

A guide to moving abroad

Travelers dreaming for a more permanent stay will find plenty of details on how to move to France, including practical information for the move and a breakdown of some of the country’s best regions. D’Andrea sat down with us recently over some café allongé to discuss how she met her deadline and what budget tips she picked up along the way for potential cheapo expats.

D’Andrea set out to write “Living Abroad in France” in a stressfully short four months. A whirlwind trip to every corner of the Hexagon landed her back in Paris where she penned the book to help fellow Francophiles looking to move abroad. “I want to help other people who have the same sorts of dreams to bypass a lot of the trials and tribulations,” she explained of her motivations.

Even though she chose to live in Paris, her ideal city, D’Andrea has fallen for the food of Nice and the quaint towns of Dordogne. If forced to move, she’d venture towards the Mediterranean for some Italian inspiration, great cuisine and sunshine. But expatriation can be a pricey affair that needs careful planning and consideration to make sure there are a few euros left over for a decent bottle of wine and a baguette or two.

Cost cutting

Finding a legal way to move to France is a headache and a half, with no secret recipe for success. Once you find the right situation, start-up costs are one of the biggest concerns for anyone moving abroad. Between finding a place to live and filling it with one’s possessions, the bills can start to soar. Shipping a container of personal items and finding temporary housing while finding a permanent solution are concerns that should be priced out in order to minimize costs.

While furnishing a home, heading to Paris’s Bon Marché or even BHV department store is not the best idea for cutting costs. But buying quality products can pay off in the end, especially for highly-used items like kitchen appliances. “I won’t have to replace my espresso maker while here,” she said

D’Andrea also said that taking castaway items from other expats is a great way to save money and to be green-minded. She suggests scouring the internet to find great used items looking for a home. “Using Craigslist, for example, is a great way not to reinvent the wheel,” she said.

More handy information on the process, from A to Z, can be found in the Moon guide, “Living Abroad in France.” Take a look and then let us know any other cheapo-friendly tips for starting up a life in France!

About the author

Bryan Pirolli

About the author: With his college diploma fresh off the press, Bryan Pirolli headed for Paris and four years later he’s still there. A journalist and a tour guide, his main M.O. is pursuing a doctorate degree in communications at the Sorbonne Nouvelle. Bryan regularly travels on a budget, experiencing the best of European culture while still trying to make rent.  So far, so good. You can follow his adventures on his blog: www.bryanpirolli.com.

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8 Responses to “The guide to moving to France?”

The ‘Moon’ guides are great. I’m an American in New Zealand and I’ve just checked out the NZ edition. It’s incredibly useful.

N- says:

After having moved to Aix en Provence, the best thing you can do when moving to France is to buy a big loose leave arch file and put all of your official documents into it, just put everything and anything. Whenever you need to go to any type of French bureaucratic institution or administrative building always take that file. It will save you so many headaches and run arounds by the French admin.

I agree with this, but in Spain! I do the same thing. It sounds crazy but it works. Save everything!

Bryan Pirolli Bryan says:

It’s absolutely true — the “dossier” is one of the most important things to any expat. Paperwork is basically like currency :)

Brad says:

With the current economy, how are Americans applying for permission to stay longer than 3 months, getting along with local authorities?

Are certain countries, France, Spain, more open to American applications for longer stays? Are some countries not?

I really like the UK. France is on the map for next year. I’m in Berlin now, but sad that the TV only has one channel in English, and that’s the dry BBC.

Thanks in advance,

Bryan Pirolli Bryan Pirolli says:

Well you’ll be happy to know that France has several channels featuring Englsih-speaking shows and news (not many, but more than one!).

Regarding permission to stay longer, Americans applying to stay for a long time, unless they are married to a French person, need to justify their stay including providing stable financial resources and a solid reason why they should be allowed to stay longer than 3 months. It’s not easy, but it’s possible…

Adam Oakley says:

Always declutter when moving to France. And thing very hard on exactly which items you are going to relocate. A good International removal company should be able to give you a rough cost per item for shipping. This will allow you to compare the price of shipping against the price of purchasing new in France. Think do i really need to transport all the bottle’s of wine? It’s a bit like transporting sand to the desert !!. Better to invite a few freinds over for a farewell and drink it. And always obtain at least 3 quotes. Also look at the service levels as cheaper prices can be found on groupage shipments if you do not mind waiting for your items. If time is an issue and you have to have your effects in a rush go for a dedicated container service although it is more expensive.

“Whenever you need to go to any type of French bureaucratic institution or administrative building always take that file. It will save you so many headaches and run arounds by the French admin.”

The French love to rubber stamp everything so the above comment is sound advice for sure.

Best regards to all

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