If you are moving to France with children then you need to to think carefully about what you and your family will want out of your new lives. Here are 5 things to consider before making the move
1. What’s it like in winter?
Many expats who live in France decided to move to an area after visiting it many times on holiday. But living year-round in France is very different to holidaying there during the busy summer season. Plan a trip to your intended area during the bleak winter months to find out what the weather is really like, and find out whether shops are open and local services are up and running.
2. Make group decisions
Involve every family member when making vital decisions such as where to live, what you intend to do when you’re there and how often you’ll come back to the UK to visit family and friends. For example, if you plan to return to the UK regularly, you’ll need to consider transport links. If you’re moving from an urban location to a rural spot in France, think hard about how much you value aspects of city living. If you enjoy theatre trips and shopping days out, you might want to live within an hour’s drive of a large town or city.
3. Research the schools
If you’re taking children to France, or hope to start a family when you’re there, it’s worth researching the local schools. Again, the mairie will have details of the local schools and you can enrol your child there. If you’re moving to a rural location, think about how you are going to get your children to their lessons. Transport is provided for children living too far away to walk to school and is free in most departments.
4. Put the kids first
The old adage ‘we’re happy if the kids are happy’ is certainly true if you are considering moving children to France. You can help your child make friends by introducing them to clubs and activities and make an effort to become friends with other parents. It’s easy to be consumed with the move and paperwork when you first arrive in France, but make time for your family and be prepared for your child to feel unsettled until they have made friends and got to grips with the language. Useful websites include www.expatchild.com, www.france.mumabroad.com and www.expat-blog.com5 Plan ahead
Finally, think long-term. For example, if your children are at primary school now, think about where they will go to lycéeand university. If you plan on retiring in France, think about access to public transport and amenities for further down the line. It’s easy to consider your needs at present, but forward planning might save you having to move again.