Living in France as a US expat

France has always been a great country for expats. People have, throughout the ages, been moving their lives to France in order to experience the culture and the living standard that it provides. But, is France still the expat paradise it once was, or have things changed? Well, let us look into what living in France as a US expat is like so that you would have a better idea.

What to know before you move to France

It is always smart to research a country before going through moving abroad. By doing so you will learn their customs and better understand its people. It is usually the people who don’t travel a lot that think that their way of life is “normal” and that everyone lives and thinks as they do. So, in order to make living in France an enjoyable experience, you need to learn about French culture and history.

History

Without knowing French history you cannot hope to understand French people. And if you do not understand French people, you are going to have a hard time living in France. Now, you don’t have to know every bit of French history before you move here. There is a lot you can and should learn once you come over and start visiting the museums and castles. But, some basic knowledge of French history will do you a world of good. If you understand what they are and what their people have been through, you will realize why the French can sometimes seem overly proud of their country.

A painting of Napoleon

French language

The second thing to keep in mind when moving to France is the French language. French are extremely proud and protective of their language, which is why you should take the time to learn it. There are few places in the western world where people will intentionally avoid talking English with you. Furthermore, don’t think that they will accept broken French either. They think that their language is perfect and that you need to speak it perfectly in order to live here. So, do yourself a favor, and learn as much French as you can before moving here.

What living in France is like

The daily life of a regular French person is pretty similar to the regular life of a US person. The cost of living, the way you get to work, what you talk about with your friends, all are pretty much the same. But, there are some differences that might surprise you once you start living in France as a US expat.

What are you expected to pay

France is much more socialist than the US. This means that a lot of your expenses, like health care, are covered by the government. But, this also means that you will have to pay more for your taxes than you otherwise would in the US. This can sometimes be quite a drag as the French government likes to tax everything. But, once you realize that the tuition for most schools is free or almost free, this doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. Unfortunately, some things can be more expensive in France. Storage solutions in NYC that are free can cost you quite a bit in cities like Paris, which is why we advise you to carefully keep track of your expenses during your first months of living in France.

A person enjoying studying and living in France

What will you eat

Breakfast

French people don’t have large breakfasts. You will most likely pick something on your way to work. Usually, a pastry that is delicious, but small. If you have extra time, you can make yourself a large US breakfast with bacon and eggs. But, don’t expect that you can walk into a deli and order one.

Lunch

For lunch, you will most likely have a sandwich or a light snack. Lunches are usually used as breaks from work. This means that they need to be nutritious, but not too heavy. So, what you will usually have is a light pasta, a salad or a sandwich. It is custom that you eat your lunch with your co-workers in order to build up better connections at work.

Dinner

Now, dinner is where French people shine. This is where you get to experience true French cuisine. And, trust us, it is one of the best things when it comes to living in France. People usually have dinner right after work. They rarely eat alone and prefer to either go out with colleagues or with friends. There are French restaurants for every price range, and you should avoid going to fast food joints for dinner

Once you start eating true French food, you will understand why it is so highly praised. Now, it can be hard to describe what makes French food so good, but we’ll give it a go. Think of it like this. French have spent centuries going around the globe and picking up recipes. 

Once you start eating true French food, youThey came back, gave those recipes to their people, and they perfected them. This is why French food is not only good, but it is simply the best of the best.

French food.

Final tips for living in France

We can go on and on about what living in France is like, but until you start living there you will never really know. So our final advise to you is to try and find the true beauty of France. Remember, France is a big and beautiful country with a rich history. Don’t think that France is only in Paris. While it is true that Paris is beautiful, we feel that the true spirit of France lies in its smaller cities and villages. So, while you stay in France, don’t forget to explore.