It’s not yet too late to make France your longtime home

It’s not yet too late to make France your longtime home

It’s not yet too late to make France your longtime home

Now that some version of Brexit seems to be inevitable, waiting to start a new life in France may well be impossible for many would-be expats.

Even although last week’s election is a done deal, ensuring that Brexit in one form or another is now inevitable, those looking forward to a comfortable retirement in their favourite French holiday destination may be totally out of luck. However, nothing as yet is set in tablets of stone, with the right to free movement supposedly still valid until the end of next year. If this essential right is allowed to continue throughout 2020, there’s still time for would-be UK expats to fulfil their dreams as well as avoiding any likely downsides for the UK which may come to light during the one-year negotiation period.

Even if you’ve holidayed in France for a good number of years, being a tourist bears no resemblance to the reality of becoming an expat and the lifestyle change it introduces. As with most other world expat destinations, it’s easier to retire overseas than to find work and deal with the bureaucratic nightmare of getting a work permit and residency. For expats relocating within a company, it’s all taken care of but for sole arrivals and even retirees on a pension it’s definitely a chore. Believe it or not, almost half of those Britons who cross the channel to a new life return to the home country within a very few years.

One key issue is language, with the average amount of French learned in a British school woefully inadequate for the task of living in the country. Unfortunately, all the chores of home ownership and everyday life back at home are replicated in France, with the difference being that new arrivals normally have no idea what’s going on and can’t understand what’s being arranged. Learning basic ‘social’ French on top of your years in school helps, but dealing with builders, suppliers of fuel and electricity and especially the French tax authority strikes fear into the hearts of even those UK expats who consider they’re fluent.

Command of the language and acceptance within the local French community is essential for a successful transition, as is an understanding of French culture. In France, cultural imperialism won’t get you anywhere except back to post-Brexit UK, with realising and accepting that the French think differently and have different values as well as ways of getting things done the only way forward. After all, it’s their country and their heritage, with British history and heritage meaning nothing to the locals and the French home-grown version meaning everything to newly-arrived expats hoping to make their dreams come true.

Related Stories:

Latest News: