‘Don’t do it!’ – Expats share tip of one thing to avoid when living in France

Brits in France: Expats discuss pool maintenance business

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Estimates suggest that around 400,000 British people live in France, with most settling in the areas surrounding Brittany, Calais or in the south. The country was found to be one of the most desirable expat destinations in the HSBC Expat Explorer survey.

While relocating to live a new life abroad presents many exciting opportunities, there are also often a few challenges for expats.

France is no exception and expats shared their top tips for settling in the Expat Explorer survey.

A few expats agreed on the top thing that potential British expats should avoid doing in France.

One said: “Don’t only socialise with other expats, but instead mix as much as possible with your local community. And introduce yourself to your local mayor.”

Many expats mingle with their own community as they find it easier, especially if there are language barriers.

But doing so could mean newcomers miss out on integrating with the local community and lose the chance to build connections with residents.

Another expat added: “Integrate into the local community at all opportunities. If you are seen to be making an effort, local people will help you.

“Even if you don’t know the language well, attending events will help with the language, you’ll get to know other people and you won’t be isolated.”

The expats recommended that newcomers attend as many local events as possible to avoid becoming isolated.

Moving abroad can be hard and expats said local people would be more prepared to help people who made an effort.

While some expats might struggle learning French, people recommended making it a top priority.

One said: “Learn French, watch iconic French movies, only hang out with French people to quickly improve your language and cultural knowledge.”

Watching tv shows and movies is often recommended by experts to people who want to get to grips with the language quickly.

Expats moving to a rural area of France will probably need to drive to get to shops and restaurants.

In another helpful tip, one expat said: “Swap your home country driving licence with a French one.”

British expats will need to provide some documents such as proof of identity and address to qualify for a French driving licence.

Despite the challenges, most expats were really positive about their decision to move to France.

One Irish expat said: “A life change we wish we’d made years ago, France is so much better in terms of career, finances and children’s education.

“We feel we’ll retire here and have no reason to ever go back to Ireland.”

Another enjoyed their life there but said: “France is very rich in cultural places to visit and food to experience, but the cost of accommodation can be high and work hard to find.”

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