Of course there is a wrong way of moving house to anywhere. And you need to know all the pitfalls of doing that when you are trying to relocate to another country, such as France. You need to be prepared and face the realities instead of going in blind, equipped only with expectations. The main thing you will learn here is to leave the expectations at the door and know the facts. The latter will be your true training for the relocation and you need to be aware of them to know about potential outcomes. And here are the main problems you may face.
‘I am going to wait for all the documents I need to live in France.’
If you are British, then you are already doing it wrong. Google the country’s policies and you will immediately see that you can live and work in France with your own visa. You don’t need to do anything more than your visa and passport, and probably get out documents for your belongings for custom purposes.
‘I don’t know French, but I’ll pick it up.’
Wrong. If you are planning on staying in France, learn the language before you go there. Even elementary-level French will be a good start for when your removal van drops you off at the new home. If you want to mingle with the crowd, don’t try to impose your English, or any sort of ‘imagined French’. Know the language to know the people and enjoy your stay there at a higher level. Not to mention that if you need specialist services, like a mechanic or a doctor, you will have trying time attempting to explain exactly what you want in broken French.
‘I can use the British pound there.’
If you are moving house with the idea to stay in another country, use the national currency. France uses the euro. Visit your exchange bureau and make the necessary changes to your pocket currency and bank accounts.
‘I come from a busy suburb in London, I want to change it to a calm French countryside place.’
No, don’t do any lifestyle changes in a different country. You had your chance to do that while you are in your own country, which you are familiar with. Move to a French neighbourhood that has the same lifestyle as you are used to, because it will be easier to get used to the country that way. If you completely change your lifestyle off the bat, you will be at a loss what else to do while you are there. The best way to become a part of a country is to live it as you would life your own life, and later make any desired changes.
‘I will pick my own house/flat.’
Absolutely not. Always make preparations with a real estate company and do absolutely not try to enter France with the idea that you will seek a place there. You want to know where you are going and you need a professional estate agent to tell you which regions of the country correspond to your financial status. You won’t be a tourist who can go home as soon as the money runs out – you are going there to stay, and you will find it difficult to stay if you don’t know the economical status of the regions.
Avoiding these pitfalls is the best place to start with your relocation to France. Make sure you also pick a good moving company that has the possibility to move you that far – and you have the money to pay it, of course. There are many removal companies that carry out inter-country removals, so you shouldn’t worry about that at least. But what comes after you get to France is all up to you. The best way to deal with such a move is to remember the old saying, ‘When in France...’