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Living in France: 12 Pros and Cons to Consider as an Expat

living in france pros and cons

Are you considering moving to France? With its rich culture, exquisite cuisine, and picturesque landscapes, France is a popular destination for expats from around the globe. But what is it really like to call this country home? 

From the world-renowned food and wine to the undeniably strong healthcare system, the advantages of living in France are evident. The standard of living here is something many people dream of, with its emphasis on work-life balance, leisure, and the importance of enjoying the finer things in life. 

However, it’s not all sunshine. There are cons of living here that also deserve fair consideration. In this blog, we’ll weigh the key pros and cons of living in France, ensuring you’re well-prepared for your French adventure. Let’s get started!

Pros of Living in France

Living in France has its pros and cons. First, let’s start with the good stuff about making the move to France. France offers some amazing benefits for expats. Let’s break down some of these perks:

1. Affordable Education

We can’t discuss the good things about France without mentioning its education system. Not only is it top-notch, but it’s also wallet-friendly. Thanks to government subsidies, higher education won’t leave you drowning in debt. This empowers you or your kids to build your education without breaking the bank.

2. Comprehensive Social Security Benefits

Another key reason to move to France is their social security system. Covering health care, pensions, family perks, and even unemployment insurance, it’s a solid reason to consider packing your bags. This reflects the French approach to quality of life, giving you one less thing to worry about. 

3. Scenic Beauty and Diversity

Next, the views! From the lavender fields to the sunny French Riviera, France has the kind of scenery that makes every day feel like a vacation. It’s easily one of the highlights of living here. Living in France means that one day you can bask in the sun on its golden beaches, while another day you can hit the slopes in the Alps!

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4. Strong Work-Life Balance

The work-life balance is a showcase of the high standard of living in France. With laws that protect your downtime, you’re encouraged to work hard but live even better. Let’s look at some examples of how France ensures a strong work-life balance:

  • 5 weeks of paid leave: Employees are entitled to 5 weeks of vacation, on top of public holidays! The French government is really encouraging you to rest, spend time with your family and pursue passions outside of work.
  • Right to disconnect: No more late night emails and early morning Slack messages outside office hours! Right to disconnect obliges companies with over 50 employees to negotiate rules about the use of digital devices outside of office hours. Now you can truly separate your work time and personal time to prevent burnout.
  • August holidays: Or les vacances d’aout is a period where businesses, factories and offices reduce their operations or close completely for part of August for vacation. This is a popular time of year to take your holidays in France while local businesses take a break.
  • 35-hour work week: Say goodbye to scrambling to fit the duties of 2 jobs into 1. In 2000, France introduced a 35-hour work week in order to reduce unemployment while increasing downtime for existing employees.

5. Great Public Transport

Another advantage of living in France is the top-tier public transport. France’s transport system is efficient, extensive, and expat-friendly. With fantastic infrastructure for all methods of transport, whether by bus, train, or plane – public transport is a breeze!

6. Strong Expat Community

Now for the final reason to move to France that we will discuss: as an expat, you’re certainly not alone! Feeling at home in a new country is a big deal, and France’s vibrant expat community makes it so much easier. You have an instant network to help you navigate your new French life.

There you have it! Living in France is not just about embracing the culture but also enjoying the benefits that come with it, from education and health care to beautiful landscapes and a strong community!

Cons of Living in France

living in france pros and cons

With the pros come the cons when living in France. Let’s explore the more negative aspects of living here. While it’s a country that may seduce you, there are a few aspects that might make you hesitant. Let’s discuss some of the challenges expats face when moving to France.

1. High Cost of Living

Compared to other EU countries, the cost of living in France (especially in cities like Paris) may come as a shock. Rent, dining out, and even groceries can take a big chunk out of your budget. It’s one of those things about France that can catch newcomers by surprise. Make sure to practice your budgeting skills to avoid being caught off-guard by living expenses in France.

2. Slow Bureaucracy

French bureaucracy – a true test of patience. From getting your visa to sorting out your residence permit, the process can feel long and drawn out. This slow bureaucracy is often cited as one of the biggest cons of living in France. Just stay patient – good things come to those who wait!

3. Frequent Strikes

France is famous for its strikes, which can affect everything from public transport to schools. While it’s a sign of great workers’ rights, it can be a hassle when you’re just trying to get through your day-to-day life. It’s definitely an aspect of living in France that can test your adaptability.

4. Language and Cultural Barriers

If your French is a little rusty or non-existent, prepare for a challenge. Language and cultural barriers can make settling in tricky. It’s not just about speaking French but also understanding French etiquette and social norms. Overcoming these barriers is just a part of the expat journey. But learning a new culture is part of the fun when moving to another country, right?

5. High Taxes

We discussed the great social benefits France has to offer. But one of the biggest cons of living in France is the high taxes. Income tax, social security contributions, and other levies can take a significant slice out of your paycheck. It’s a trade-off for the comprehensive social security benefits, but it can be a bitter pill to swallow for some.

6. High Cost of Childcare

Do you plan on raising a little one in France? The cost of childcare goes hand-in-hand with the cost of living in France and can be steep. There are public options, but the demand is high and securing a spot can be competitive.

Now that you know the top pros and cons of living in France, you’re well on your way to settling in here. Sure, it has its set of challenges, but many find the French way of life, with its focus on quality and joie de vivre, well worth the effort.

Common Visas to Move to France

It’s time to jump into the world of French visas where there is an array of options. Among the choices, two visas stand out for those looking to sample the French lifestyle or dive headfirst into the entrepreneurial spirit of the country: the Visitor Visa and the Entrepreneur Visa. Let’s unpack these visas.

Visitor Visa

This is your all-access pass to living the French dream… temporarily. The Visitor Visa is perfect for those who want to soak up French culture for up to a year without engaging in professional activities. Think of it as a prolonged holiday where you get to explore, relax, and maybe learn some French along the way. 

Here’s the catch—you must prove that you’ve got enough funds to support your stay and health insurance to cover any trips to the hospital.

Entrepreneur Visa

Now, for the go-getters and startup enthusiasts, the Entrepreneur Visa is your gateway to turning those business dreams into reality. France welcomes innovation with open arms, offering a visa for those looking to start a business. 

To obtain this visa, you’ll need to present a solid business plan, prove financial stability, and show how your venture will contribute to the French economy. It’s a fantastic opportunity to launch your business in a country known for its rich history of art, fashion, and gastronomy.

So, whether you’re planning to bask in the French lifestyle for a year or embark on a business adventure, these visas offer a glimpse into the possibilities that await in France.

Just remember, navigating the application process might require a bit of help, and that’s where the Legal Eagles at Lexidy come into play! Be sure to schedule a chat so we can ensure your visa application goes smoothly.

Frequently Asked Questions About Living in France Pros and Cons

What are the best places to live in France?

For English speakers, the best places to live in France include major cities such as Paris, Lyon and Marseille. However, if beautiful weather and authentic culture are what you’re after, cities such as Bordeaux, Toulouse and Nice may suit you.

Where in France do most expats live?

Expats flock to Paris for its vibrant lifestyle and job opportunities, while the sunny French Riviera attracts those looking for a laid-back vibe. Lyon and Toulouse are also popular for their blend of culture and industry.

What is the average rent in France?

The average rent in France varies widely by location. In Paris, you might pay around €1,200 to €2,000 for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center. In smaller cities or towns, rent can drop to between €500 to €800 for a similar space!

What visa do I need to live in France as an expat?

Your visa needs depend on your plans. We recommend speaking to our expert legal team to ensure you apply for the correct visa and have your documentation in order.


Well, we’ve uncovered the pros and cons of expat life in France, from affordable education and strong work-life balance to the challenges of high living costs and French bureaucracy. We’ve also highlighted French visas, including Visitor and Entrepreneur options for those dreaming of a life in France.

So if the French quality of life is calling your name but you don’t know where to start, don’t worry – Lexidy’s team of experienced immigration lawyers is here to help! Whether it’s understanding the cost of living, picking the perfect place to live, or figuring out the visa maze, we’ve got your back. Just fill out the form below to get started!

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