Resources For Expats in France
There is a vast amount of information available for expats in France, with all your likely needs catered for. What can be frustrating is the fact that there is no one place with all the facts - you will need to try a number of places before you find what is right for you, although enjoying the journey is part of the fun.
Bear in mind that while a huge cross section of British people, and indeed all manner of other nationalities, move to France for a variety of reasons, there has historically been a greater number of retirees moving, so much of the information was originally offered with that demographic mind.
Since the introduction of low cost airlines flying to many French airports across the country, the availability of broadband in most locations and the recent awareness of a healthy work/life balance, there are greater numbers of new expats across all ages, professions and family circumstances. This has brought with it a better range of suitable information and resources, so you are sure to find a like-minded person providing advice and information.
Websites & ForumsFrom wherever you are in the world, a quick look on any internet search engine will show you just how many websites and forums are dedicated to Brits living abroad. The websites invariably have a section on living in France, the relocation process, property to buy and plenty of adverts.
The adverts can be a useful starting place for services you may need such as English television in France and money transfer brokers. Use the forums as a place to gain personal recommendation for such services.
Once you have got used to the pace and style of the forum, it is worth asking any questions you may have, being careful not to give away personal information, as there is usually at least a couple of experts regularly posting.
Local Twinning AssociationYour home town in the UK is likely to have a twin town in France. Even if you have not been a part of the twinning association, you will usually find that they are full of very friendly people who are passionate about France and happy to help.
These associations will often have exchange visits, may have connections to the local schools and will have useful links. They will be focused on their particular twin tow, but this can be a place to get some general information and perhaps learn some of the language before you go.
English Shops in FranceMany towns and cities in France have shops that focus on products and services for British expats. You will find a number of book shops in particular and they often have book clubs or discussion groups too, which can be a great way to meet like-minded people. These shops can be a meeting place for groups and societies connected with expat living, so you may find visiting a shop like this opens your social circle.
Official OrganisationsAside from the independent clubs, shops and websites set up by Francophiles, there is a good selection of official organisations established to offer a resource to British expats. These organisations tend to have a particular focus, such as commercial interests, tourism or export, so it can be frustrating to find out what you want.
Once you have found an organisation that suits your requirements, they can be very helpful. You can find a list of these organisations by looking at the French yellow pages, a copy of which is delivered to every home, or it can be accessed on the internet.