Moving to France: Remote work, French schools and how much money you'll need

Emma Pearson
Emma Pearson - [email protected]
Moving to France: Remote work, French schools and how much money you'll need
How much will it cost to live the good life in France? Photo by GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP

Moving to France - a country famous for its complicated bureaucracy - can be a daunting task. Fortunately, our new newsletter is here to answer your questions - this month we're looking at remote working options, what to expect when sending non-French speaking children to local schools and the cost of living in France.


Here at The Local we're an Anglo-American team living in France - which means all of us have been through the simultaneously exciting and terrifying process of moving countries. 

Our new newsletter is aimed at people who are in the process of moving, have recently moved and are still grappling with the paperwork or perhaps are just thinking about it - and we'll share a monthly selection of practical tips. Our team is also available to answer questions from subscribers to The Local.

Remote working

If you're not quite at retirement age but your French isn't good enough for most jobs in France (and simply quitting work isn't possible without a lottery win) then you might have thought that moving to France was not possible for you, at least not yet.

However the recent explosion in remote working has opened up new possibilities - offering as it does the option of continuing to work for companies in your home country remotely, while actually living in France and enjoying the French lifestyle.

But if this sounds too good to to be true, that might be because it is.

While it is certainly possible to work remotely from France, you will really need to take expert advice from both an immigration lawyer and a tax specialist before you do - as doing remote work outside France can have important implications for your residency status, your tax liabilities and your ability to access French public services like healthcare and (eventually) citizenship. 


The thing that makes this especially complicated is that visa rules were written before remote working became widespread (they were last updated in 2005) so finding accurate information can be complicated.

Ask the experts: What's the deal with remote work and French visas?

Money matters

While there are doubtless a few lottery winners out there planning a French move, for many people the main question is whether they can afford it.

Certain visa types have financial requirements, especially those for retirees - we take a look at how much money you need for a visa.


And then there's the question of how much you will need to live on in France. Naturally there are big regional variations - Paris regularly ranks among the most expensive cities in the world while rural France is relatively cheap.

We've put together some guides on roughly how much money you will need to live in Paris, the Riviera, south-west France and Grand-Est (the cheapest French region). 

Explained: How much money you need to live in France

Learning French

While plenty of people move to France with only basic French, most people want to improve their language skills once they arrive, and work hard at it.

There's a perception that once you arrive you will simply 'pick up' French as it is spoken all around you. That might be true for a few gifted linguists, but for most people learning French will require hard work (and probably a few tears, especially once you get to the subjonctif). 

Here's an estimate of how long it is likely to take to get your French to a reasonable standard.

Kids are alright?

Speaking of gifted linguists it is true that children tend to pick up languages faster than their parents - often thanks to being at a French-speaking school all day.

We asked some parents who have done it what to expect when sending their kids to French school, and how to go through the process of registering a non French-speaking child in the local school


The Local's Reader Questions section covers questions our members have asked us and is a treasure trove of useful info on all kinds of practical matters. If you can't find the answer you're looking for, head here to leave us your questions.

Bon courage!


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