A new life in France

Hello. I am new to the forum and I am hoping to learn more about living in France. We’ve been regular viewers of programmes like ‘A Place in the Sun’ for years which have made the prospect of moving to France increasingly appealing. Recent events in the UK mean that we are now seriously thinking of making a dream a reality. We are learning French and reading books on France and the French. We would consider any area that enjoys frequent good weather, where property is good value and not too far from a rail or air connection. Perhaps near Limoge for instance or in Occitanie. We enjoy the outdoors. I realise that many otherwise idylic rural locations lack any sort of social hub ie a cafe, bar. I also know that moving to France before December would be very much in our favour. I need to learn more about what I need to do to get ‘my foot in the door’! In our favour, my wife also is a EU member country national.
I will read further on here and I would be grateful for any suggestions on making the move, locations etc.

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Hi! Glad you found us. Welcome!

Please can you do me a favour and add your full real name to the relevant bit on your profile page :slight_smile:



But just to be clear…your wife has another european nationality?

If this is the case then yes, you still have freedom of movement I believe. However, I think the issue you will need to investigate further is healthcare if you move to France after the 31st December 2020. Those of us older people who are already here were mightily relieved to find that current system will continue for us which means that the UK pays the bulk of the healthcare costs of those in receipt of a UK state pension. However it is entirely possible that this will not be the case after transition has ended. You will need to find this out. Not insurmountable, but potentially expensive as either you will have to have private medical insurance or pay contributions of 8% of your income above approx 10k€. But one to think about carefully.

Apart from that to get foot in door you need to be here, with a proper address either rental contract (not holiday let) or purchase, and the various trappings of a resident. Not massively complex. Opinions vary as to whether you can do this on 30th December, or whether safer to ensure you have at least a full three months of living here in “a stable and regular manner” which is what often defines residency here for things like ability to subscribe to health service for retirees.

The other thing to me is that the TV programmes are really not a particularly accurate reflection of life here unless you are planning to live in a UK bubble.


I appreciate your helpful comments Jane. As for the UK bubble, we are both keen to live where the majority are natives and we will do everything possible to integrate. I always try in any case to spend time with locals when we’re on holiday.


Good! Then the best thing you can do is learn French… I would suggest you rent somewhere this year (on a proper contract), and use the time to explore where you might like to live permanently. Also gives you a chance to see if France suits you especially during winter (when many of the lively places in summer are dead).


I have found the 90s Linguaphone courses very good and I have their French offering now.
Is it correct that property rentals in France are a minimum one year contract? I am also wondering whether regular visits home will count against me when I am trying to establish a presence. I will need to visit relatives.

Others will correct me if I’m wrong, but the authorities are likely to be less persuaded that you are a serious resident if you are in holiday lets which are max 3 months (and presumably will still have UK home). So the next step up is one year short term contracts.

You can pop backwards and forwards, and there is not AFAIK a fixed amount of time from French perspective (there is from HMRC perspective). But to me this is likely to be considered part and parcel of showing that you mean (or don’t mean) to be resident. This is all a bit unknown as up ‘till now UK citizens have had freedom of movement, but it crosses my mind that the closer we get to the shutters coming down the stricter the French might be about the detail of what it means to be in a regular and stable resident.

Hi Catherine,
I didn’t realise that my full name would be viewable to forum users

Those are users who have been removed or asked for their accounts to be deleted.
Do you wish me to delete your account too?


I replied to Stella on this. I certainly want to continue as a member on here. The information offered by contributors is invaluable and I have areas of expertise I like to share too.

I’ve searched on the subject on here and I see some members are keen on full names and even photos but I saw a comment from a lady worried about being stalked. I am a member of tens of forums - electronics, hifi, travel and I’ve never seenfull names displayed on any.

I am also worried about data security and hacking where people collect information from comments to help them answer security questions or apply for documents. I wonder if people understand the risks.

If I have no option I’ll comply but I would be much more at ease giving my first and middle names.



Full name please - thanks!


The Withdrawal Agreement was a totally separate Legal Contract, which even BoJo cannot hope to get out of.
We will keep our status quo with regard to the UK paying 70% of our health care, which is much cheaper for them than if we all took advantage of the NHS and our pensions will be uprated as though we had remained in UK.

For today at least!

Yes of course. That is what I said. I merely raised the question that I don’t believe this applies to those who move to EU countries after the end of the transition period. Do you know different?

I don’t think it applies to people who move after transition. But I think I read that anyone who moves here during transition but is below UK retirement age, can still apply for an S1 on the same conditions as at present once they reach UK retirement after the end of transition.
Could be wrong cos it doesn’t affect me so I didn’t look that closely, but I remember thinking it seemed surprisingly decent.

@anon27586881 Yes it was a massive relief, and makes big financial difference. I also doubt it will apply to those who move here after the end of transitions, but have not seen this in writing. Other Jane seemed to be repeating what I had said originally, or perhaps I misunderstood and she does know something more definite perhaps.

When trying to decide where in France we wanted to settle my wife and I took several ‘house-sits’ in areas rather than renting. This enabled us to live more realistically amongst French people and find out if we would be happy to settle in the area before we were ready to take on a long-term rental contract. Eventually we were able to discount several of the regions we had originally considered and find our preferred location. We are now happily settled here in the Gard .

House sitting is not onerous. All one is required to do is to keep the house and garden clean and tidy and look after any pets - much as the householder themself would do. You don’t get paid for doing it but neither do you pay for the accommodation. There are two main sites for finding places - Trustedhousesitters.com and nomador.com.

Good luck!

Hi Michael

congratulations on making the decision, we made the permanent move only 6 months ago but we absolutely love it and will never go back to the UK,
perhaps consider Charente maritime area where there are reasonable properties either in deeply rural areas or near towns and or seasides, the climate is also good as it has its own micro climate and today for example it is 13 degrees and sunny, the summers start early and end late with high temperatures.

I would encourage learning as much french as you can as it is quite difficulty without it, but not impossible.

good luck with your potential move .

Thanks Angela. I will check the map and details for the area. As for the French - I am at this moment sitting with my Linguaphone books open. I’m pleased that you are happy there.

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But did this count towards the 90 day rule? 31/12 is looming. If house sitting doesn’t count as having an officially acceptable address, I doubt there’s time left to do that, especially 'several house-sits in areas’ you were road-testing.