Dreaming of leaving behind the humdrum of our daily lives for a romantic getaway to Paris. Imagine exploring the beautiful cobblestone streets in the latin quarter and taking a stroll along the iconic River Seine, then stopping to enjoy  a cafe and patisserie on one of the many picturesque cafes on the boulevards of Paris.   So many possibilities and places and other regions to discover, there are countless things to do in France.

In addition to the famous capital of Paris, there are hundreds of other beautiful cities and villages to explore in France, from the rolling hills of Normandy to the to the beautiful sunny beaches of Nice and all along the Cote D'Azur.  If skiing is your passion, then the beautiful slopes of the French Alps are yours to discover and enjoy.

A true cultural treasure to savour is French gastronomy and wine. One of the most popular attractions for French tourism are their range of regional wine tours - from Burgundy and Bordeaux to Provence and the Loire Valley, and not to mention the Champagne region of Reims.  There is also the best pastries, viennoiseries, and baguettes to appreciate, so it's easy to see that France could well be the perfect place for you!

If taking a short week-long holiday does not seem ample time to truly appreciate all that France has to offer, why not consider moving to France and adapting to the truly French way of life?

This guide has everything you might need to know about living in France.

Note: You can get the best tutors for French courses Montreal on Superprof.

Paris has long been thought of as the cultural centre of the world
France is arguably the artistic and cultural capital of the world Source: Pixabay Credit: Artsy-Bee

What the advantages are of living in France?

If you are fed up with frigid minus zero temperatures and shovelling mounds of snow, then why not live in France.

Probably one of the biggest advantages of living in France is it's moderate climate.  Despite a big difference between living in the North and the South of France, the further South the more moderate and balanced the weather.   North of France, winters are cool but rarely fall below O degrees C and the summers are mild. Whereas, in the south of France closer to the mediterranean, the winters are mild and the summers are hot.  But nevertheless, no more snow storms and freezing cold weather!

Choose where to live in France

As a Canadian living in France, you will have ample opportunities to explore the many different cities around France. Unlike Canadian cities, French cities are much closer together, and housing may be smaller.

You may need to consider whether you'd prefer to rent or buy a property before moving. However, if you aren't sure about your future plans, we do advise renting a home at the beginning while you adapt to the lifestyle, and to fully decide whether you wish to stay for the long-term.

Of course before making a big move to France, you'll want to take into account your professional, personal and family situation. Will there be adequate job opportunities available to you in France? Do you have an adequate level of proficiency to be able to work in French?     Other important questions you may need to consider are:

  • If you are civil union or married, is your partner in agreement with relocating?
  • If you have children, how does this impact their education? Would they enrol in a French school or is there an international school in the city you wish to relocate?
  • If you are single, do you have family or friends living in France that can help you adapt?
  • Do you have enough funds to finance the move?
  • Where in ten years to you see yourself? Do you plan to live abroad or Canada?
  • Does this move fit your future professional and personal goals?
  • What are the personal benefits you may gain in the move?

Start Working in France

France could be a great place to start, if you dream of owning your own business!

According to a study by Ernst &Young,  France is one of the best places within the G20 countries, to start a business with  less complicated procedures and easier affordability.

But it's important to make sure to do your research and what are the necessary work permits and residency papers that will allow you to work.

When moving to France you will quickly see that the French government requires a highly rigorous process in their administration and collection of documents for visas and residency permits.    This is required by the State, whether you are working in a freelance position, like a photographer or artist, or if you have a permanent contract position with a company.

It's imperative before you move that you have all of your diplomas, birth certificates, marriage license, work contracts and any other administrative documents ready,  for they will be necessary in order to obtain your visa, bank accounts, rental agreements for apartment and etc.

You may also wish to consider securing a permanent employment in France.  Bilingual Canadian citizens are often highly sought after, due to their ability to speak both French and English.

One of the greatest advantages of working in France is the number of holidays. In France there are 11 public holidays throughout the calendar year, and in addition there is a generous average of 25 paid vacation days.

You can get the best tutors for French lessons on Superprof.

Get online French courses here now.

Moving to France and Learning French

The language barrier can be one of the biggest obstacles when moving to another country,  making it a challenge to make to make new friends and more so to work in another country.

However,  the best way to become proficient in any language when moving to another country, is to  and completely immersed yourself n the language and culture. It's a well proven fact that the fastest way to learn the French language is to move to a Francophone country!

Numerous  language schools are available in every city in France, from absolute beginners to intermediate students who may already have some proficiency in the French language, to the most fluent speaker. Take the opportunity to join many available language exchange programs once you arrive.  It will help you to learn the language while making new friends, and in getting to know the people and places in your local area.  It's a fun way to improving your French conversational skills while socialising with new friends!

Studying in France

If you plan on pursuing your studies in France, whether at the bachelor or doctoral level,  make sure that you have an adequate level of French so that proficiency in the language is not a barrier to completing your studies. Many universities will require that you pass a French proficiency test, such as the DELF as proof of your proficiency before granting you admissions.

However there are a number of degree programs that may not not require a very high level of French or which are conducted completely in English,  thereby still allowing you to earn your university degree in France.  Check out programs in major university cities such as ParisMarseilles or Montpellier.

If you already have a university degree but still want to take the opportunity to study in France,  why not consider joining a language, cooking or art school?  A fun way to learn and discover your true passion while living in France!

Institut Linguistique Adenet, in Montpellier, is a language school that offers just such a programme.

This institute offers French language courses throughout the year.  There are summer programs available as well as  intensive classes that can help you to rapidly improve your level in just a couple months, if you are motivated.

Intensive language programs, will give you the chance to learn the basics of French grammar,  broaden your vocabulary and allow you to practice your conversational skills. In addition, many French programs also organise cultural outings, sight-seeing tours,  and different social activities, allowing you to explore the city while making friends.

Want to start learning French before your move? Start taking French lessons online today!

Start taking French classes Ottawa here.

Why not get to know the language and culture of France by volunteering?
Volunteering in exchange for room and board, is a fantastic way to discover France! Source: Pixabay Credit: Carla Borella

Top French Phrases To Know

Moving overseas can be daunting,  especially since it will take time to know all the codes of etiquette and language of the culture.  Here is a list of the ten most popular French phrases that are suitable for every level of language and when addressing all ages.

Bonjour and Bonsoir

It's the most obvious on this list - "hello", or "good day" and then "good bye or good evening"!

You can also use the informal  'Salut' for saying both a greetings an farewell, used an informal context- amongst friends and people of the same age as you.

When addressing someone you don't know, a shop or a new acquaintance, it's best to say a formal 'bonjour'.

Merci, De rien, and Je Vous en Prie

Merci means thank and de rien means you are welcome.

Je vous en prie can also have several other meanings:

  • Go ahead – your boss may be acceding your request to speak
  • No worries – please, don't mention it
  • You are welcome - a more formal way to say de rien
  • By all means – perhaps you would try on a dress in a shop
Your French shop keeper will usually tell you bien sûr!
The Floriste may respond with Mais Oui, Bien Sûr! - Yes but of course!!    Source: Pixabay Credit: Nastya_guepp

Mais Oui, Bien Sûr!

This mean Yes, of course! 

You may hear the more formal certainement, Madame/Monsieur.

Younger people may also use 'D'accord' or 'D'acc' just meaning 'OK'.

Excusez-moi, Pardonnez-moi; Desolé(e).  (?)

Sometimes you can pre-fix a question in French.  Excuse me....? or Pardon me....?

For example: Excusez-moi, parlez vous anglais? - excuse me do you speak English?

Desolé (or desolée, if you are female) is used to say 'sorry " or apologise in French. 

Ce n'est Pas Grave; Pas de Problème

This means no worries or no problem in English.

Should you accidentally drop something or get in someone's way on the bus, they may reply ce n'est pas grave (it's not serious).

Pas de problème would be the likely response to express that it's not a problem. 

Can you envision graduating from a French university?
Do you hope to graduate from a French University? Source: Pixabay Credit: StockSnap

Where To Study in France

France is one of the top destinations for Canadian students wishing to study abroad, along with the US, the UK and Australia. It's the number one Francophone country for those wishing to learn French!

So where are all of these students going to study in France?

1. Grenoble is one a top ranked student city in France and considered a city rich in culture and a high quality of life.

2. Montpellier is another popular location for students, with its warm climate and proximity to the beach, as well as for its excellent quality of education.

3. Nantes a smaller university town that is just outside of Brittany, known for Audencia - its reputable world-class business school.

4. Aix-Marseilles University is known for its exceptional graduate placement for students after graduation.

5. University of Bordeaux

Bordeaux is best known for its wine and gastronomy! One of the largest cities in France, located in the Southwest of the country, is also known for it's excellent educational opportunities for international students.

Taking these steps will ensure that your move to France goes as smoothly as possible!

Bonne Chance!

Need a French teacher?

Enjoyed this article?

5.00/5 - 1 review(s)


Yvette is a freelance Canadian writer living in Paris. She spends her time between Toronto and Paris and likes to travel and learn. She's the proud mom of two strong minded women and enjoys her free time giving back to her communities.