July 26, 2016

Relocating to France: What International Assignees Need to Know

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Relocating to France: What International Assignees Need to Know

Our latest On the Ground with Cartus video focuses on international assignments in France, a frequent destination for expatriates.

In the video, I share my best practice recommendations for international assignees in France, including housing, schooling, language, and cultural issues. Here are a few top tips:

  • When conducting a property search, be aware that an ‘unfurnished kitchen’ usually only includes a sink, whilst an ‘equipped kitchen’ will generally include some furniture and appliances.
  • Once a property has been found, the assignee needs to prove to the landlord/real estate agent that their net monthly pay is at least three times the monthly rent. Regardless of how generous their housing allowance is, if their monthly pay isn’t at least three times the monthly rent, they won’t be allowed to sign the lease agreement.
  • In Paris, most apartments have one or two bedrooms, some may have three, and very few will have four.
  • Moving to Paris? The market is very fast moving in the city, so don’t wait to start looking for properties online just a few days before your scheduled home search trip, otherwise the ones you find may have already be taken.
  • Looking for a school? Then make a list! Relocating families should shortlist two or three schools in case their first choice has no places available. That way, we can make applications as early as possible.
  • Assignees can drive in France with a European driving license. And they can use a foreign license for up to a year only, which is good news for those relocating on a short term assignment. If the move is longer than 12 months, the assignee needs to find out whether the issuing country allows them to exchange its license for a French one. If it doesn’t, then they will need to complete a French driving test.  
  • In business, networking is really important and often meetings will be held over lunch or dinner. (And don’t be surprised if dinner starts as late as 9pm!)
  • Compared with other western countries, France can be expensive, with fuel, food, and clothes particularly pricey.
  • Remember the August shutdown. During August, many businesses close for the holidays for up to four weeks. This includes estate agents, so consider this when scheduling home search trips.
  • Enjoy the world renowned food and wine! From breads and croissants to pastries and cheeses, be sure to visit your neighbourhood boulangerie and pâtisserie to really feel like a local.  

For more information, be sure to watch our latest video on relocating to France. If you are interested in relocation to other European destinations, see our new videos on Germany, Switzerland, Spain, and many more.

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Posted By

Isabelle Grimbert

About Isabelle

Isabelle, who has worked in the relocation industry for 17 years, is in charge of the Cartus office in France as Director, International Assignment Services. She has lived in Hong Kong, Australia, New York, and Puerto Rico.

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