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Discover France

Prepare for expat living with our handy guides to life, work and managing your money in France.

Want to move to France?

Expats certainly make the most of their time in France, immersing themselves in the country's rich heritage and lively atmosphere.

Money is not usually the main motivation for moving to France. New arrivals don’t expect a large salary boost, instead they take advantage of France's location on the doorstep of some of Europe's most famous sites. For international workers, the French working culture provides them with the work-life balance to enjoy their travels.

While a relaxed approach to life can be part of France’s appeal, this can be a source of frustration when you first arrive. But once you slow down and embrace the ‘c’est la vie’ attitude, you’ll start to appreciate the Gallic lifestyle – and make the most of your money.

Given everything the country has to offer, it is no surprise that more and more expats are choosing to make the country their permanent home.

Working in France

France is dominated by agriculture, fashion, and tourism, with Paris being a prime global tourist destination. It’s known for its work-life balance, with shorter office hours and long vacations. But despite its 'work to live' mentality, France is a key global economic player. 

Starting a business in this heavily government-regulated economy is easy, backed by a strong legal framework for investors. 

French, the primary language, is a must in business circles. Work hours generally span from 08:30 to 17:30, Monday to Friday, with a government-mandated 35-hour week and flexibility for shorter hours. Gifts are minimal, with appreciation expressed through hosting social events. Expat salaries align with Western Europe, albeit lower than Asia and the Middle East.

Explore life in France

What's on your moving abroad checklist? We break down the essentials including salaries, education and accommodation in the UK to help you prepare. 

France offers an exceptional quality of life, boasting a robust infrastructure, top-notch educational system and one of the world's leading healthcare systems. It's also the French lifestyle that attracts many, rather than high incomes.

Should you get an offshore bank account?

An offshore account can be useful for expats looking to keep some money in a central location, rather than one specific country or region.

Our Expat Bank Account is an offshore account that comes with a range of benefits, including:

  • A Global Money Account - Make quick and easy payments across borders.
  • Relationship manager - Someone to help you and your family manage your money.
  • Online and on mobile - Manage your banking, FX and investments wherever, whenever.

You can set your account up in USD, EUR or GBP and you can hold it alongside accounts in the country you're leaving or the one you're moving to.

Top tips

Here's what expats have told us about living in France.

Integrate in to the local community at all opportunities. Even if you don't know the language well, attending events will help with the language, you'll get to know other people and you won't be isolated. If you are seen to be making an effort, local people will help you.
France is very rich in cultural places to visit and food to experience but the cost of accommodation can be high and work hard to find.
A life change we wish we'd made years ago, France is so much better in terms of career, finances and children's education. We feel we'll retire here and have no reason to ever go back to Ireland.

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Read our 10-step guide to moving abroad to make sure you've got everything covered.

Additional information

    All Expat Explorer survey data, including the tips in quotation marks, is provided by HSBC.

    All other content is provided by, Globe Media Ltd and was last updated in July 2023. HSBC accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of this information.

    This information is purely for orientation and to inspire further research, it does not constitute advice and no liability is accepted to recipients acting independently on its contents. The views expressed are subject to change.

    Always remember to ensure you're aware of and comply with any laws in your host country or country of origin that apply to gift giving and bribery.

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