Top ten steps to living and working in France

My husband and I want to move, live and work in France.
Can you give me 10 things I must do to prepare.
I am British and self- employed as a retired RN. I now have my own small business as a Foot Health Practitioner. I will be setting up a clinic in the Angouleme area ( we have friends in Riberac).
My husband is a retired draughtsman who was born in Sydney and has an Australian passport although he has been employed in UK since the 1970’s.He has indefinite leave to remain in UK.
We plan to rent a property for a year or so in France before buying.
Can you give me some pointers on legal aspects of living and working in France.
I’m finding that researching these aspects I’m just becoming more and more confused.Obviuosly, Brexit has made it all even harder to navigate.
Thank you to anyone who takes the time to respond!

I am assuming you are planing to move in the next couple of months, so this is pre-Brexit.

First off you need to research your job. Things are more regulated here, so you need to check you have the appropriate qualifications and that they are recognised here, depending in what you mean by foot health. Start here, and then dig deeper

Then you need to look at your finances to check that you meet the grade for being self-sufficient here. If you are under 65 having a stable income of 850€/month for a couple is enough. Over 65 it is 1400€. If you have this then there is less pressure on having to set up a business. So you can move, take out health insurance for the first few months, then wait a bit. Then apply to join health service as an inactif which is very straightforward now, and fill in online request for your carte de séjour. (The insurance link on top banner will take you to Fabien an insurance broker with much experience in newly arrived, and this is link for health service

If you need to/decide to set up a business it gets a bit more complex, but if your french is ok shouldn’t be a problem. The advantage is that you can join health service as soon as you are set up.

That’s about it.


Excellent, that’s a great start!
Thank you.

No 1. Learn some French
No 2. Learn some more French
No 3. Learn to speak some French
No 4. French bank account
No 5. Health cover
No 6. Get car re - registered/buy a French one
No 7. Throw away all your preconceived ideas about living and working in france
No 8. Get used to the French way of doing things
No 9. Get used to the French way of shopping
No 10. Get used to the French way of driving.

In no particular order except 1, 2 and 3

Bon courage


Did you mention learn French?

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Check your qualifications are valid in a France.
Make sure you can get liability insurance to cover you professionally.
What’s your French like ? Don’t try to rely on English speaking clients to keep you going.

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If either of you is of retirement age and currently in receipt of a UK state pension, you need to notify the UK pension authorities that you’re now living (ie are tax resident) in France and request an S1 form to enable you to transfer into the French health system and get the all-importante carte vitale. Important plus is that only one of you needs to be of UK pensionable age - the younger partner can piggyback on the pensioner.

This is probably the most important issue if retiring to France!

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Yes I think he did!


Yes insurance definitely confirmed.
Thank you

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Find the time to talk to people and accept invitations, speak French (however badly). You never know where friendships and help are going to come from.
We arrived in July and spent two months unpacking, OH went back to UK and on my own with some trepidation I went to a local international club in September. Twelve years on, two of my closest friendships came out of that evening. The same month, we met an acquaintance in the street and asked her if she knew of someone who might give us French lessons. Her son had an excellent teacher in the local school. I met her for afternoon tea and our lessons started from then - she and her grownup family are now very special to us.


Don’t close any bank accounts you may have in the UK as once you become French residents it’s almost impossible to open a new UK bank account. Wishing you a good life in France :fr:.


Yes, but are you sure? :upside_down_face:


Thank you, lovely advice.

Ok, thank you, just the kind of advice I am looking for.

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That’s really good to know, thanks.

+10.1 - Must get French mobile phone. Nobody in France (couriers, delivery drivers, shops, artisans etc) will ever phone an international number.

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Absolutely agreed. And show your emotions, even negative ones.

You really DO need to check your qualifications!
As the French are real sticklers for this!

You may just get a few Brits wanting their feet done Who don’t have Carte Vitales but since Podologs fees are reimbursed by the state it’s unlikely they will use your services as they cannot claim back the 60% (and if they have mutuelles may be 100%) of your fee so won’t come to you.

I’m a Podiatrist and although I can give my qualifications (a Degree in Podiatric Medicine)to the relevant organisation pre-Dec and I (may) be accepted, but post-Dec this is unlikely to be accepted for either of us! Also (most importantly) good spoken French is an absolute necessity!

Also this is the translation of the link saying who can work in france and what they need to have…

The professions of medical auxiliaries (nurses, masseurs-physiotherapists, pedicures-podiatrists, occupational therapists and psychomotor therapists, speech therapists and orthoptists, medical electroradiology manipulators and medical laboratory technicians, hearing-aid technicians, opticians-eyewear, prosthetists and orthotists, dieticians), assistants - caregivers, childcare auxiliaries and ambulance attendants (art. 4311-1 to 4394-3).
Certain professions have a codified decree of practice comprising a list of “acts” that the professionals concerned are authorized to perform: this is the case of nurses, masseurs-physiotherapists, chiropodists, occupational therapists, psychomotor therapists, speech therapists, orthoptists, medical radiology manipulators.“

So you could work as a Nurse perhaps?

Not necessarily. I think it is now only for diabetics. My 3 monthly visit to the podologue, despite being prescribed as part of my ALD is not reimbursed at all by the state.

But despite that your point is correct since most French people have mutuelles which do pay for podologues then they will only go to one who is registered fully.