Friday, 6 December 2013

Country in review: France

France is a wonderful country for many reasons, but what is it like for expats? Today, we take a look at just some of the reasons why France should be next on your list.

Image source: Creative Common/Kimberly Vardeman

The weather

The weather in France has something to please everyone. For those expats that like a bit of a change in their wardrobe and yearly activity, France is ideal because it is seasonal, but unlike some other countries, still quite fair.  The amiable weather also means that for much of the year you will be able to live your life outdoors, eating your meals under the blue skies and enjoying a sundowner in the garden. When deciding on your accommodation, try to get somewhere with some outside space, or at least a park in the vicinity, where you will be able to enjoy the different seasons.

Image source: Creative Common/K.Hurley

The vistas

This great weather combined with the open spaces of France, means that it is a wonderful country in which to enjoy the great outdoors. There are some amazing vistas to experience, from the Pyrenees mountains of Southern France to the lavender fields of Provence.   You can also take advantage of the French beauty by surfing in the seaside towns in the summer, wandering the streets of some of the country’s finest cities and hitting the slopes in the colder months.

Image source: Creative Common/K.Hurley

The food and drink

The food in France is notoriously good, from the range of products made, grown and sold in the regions (The cheese! The bread! The wine!) to the chefs that create amazing dishes from them. Eat and enjoy these wonderful foods and maybe even begin the cultural immersion with a classical cookery course or a wine tasting, where you will learn the staples of French cuisine and wine, which are integral to French culture.  What is also so great about eating and drinking in France is that you can do it on the cheap – yes, there are plenty of Michelin star restaurants to frequent when you are feeling flash, but you can also find some real gems of eateries in the most unlikely of places, where you will learn that the simplest foods sometimes are truly the best. You can also buy wine relatively cheaply. The French are so proud of their wine making tradition that very few retailed are actually bad. The lower end wines will still be delicious!

Image source: Creative Common/K.Hurley


In our 2013 Expat Explorer survey, one expat living in France mentioned how important it is to speak the local language saying that “people will love you for it, and do their best to help you.” Being able to communicate with the locals, and not getting tongue tired when ordering from a menu or buying something in a shop will really improve the experience, and help with the integration process. Luckily, French is commonly taught at schools in all countries so many people will have some grounding in the langauge before moving. If not, or if you want to remind yourself before heading off, it might be worth listening to see some language tutorials or taking lessons. 

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