Many think that living in France is only for the rich, polyglot American. Truth is, it’s a lot more affordable than you might think, and you don’t have to learn to speak French fluently. Just enough to keep a light conversation.
Here’s what living in France as an American is like…
Living In France On A Budget
Some of the best France has to offer comes free.
Picnics in the Luxembourg Gardens, long walks along the Seine, afternoons lost among the cobblestones of the Latin Quarter… free. Most museums, including the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay, forgo admission fees one day a month.
You may be accustomed to driving everywhere, adding to your cost of living. In France, the Metro will transport you from restaurant to nightclub or from museum to café for less than US$2.
Basic necessities aren’t free, but they are more affordable than you might imagine. France boasts the world’s best infrastructure and it’s a bargain. You can purchase a Cable TV, internet, and phone plan for about US$50. The phone plan allows for free calls to anywhere in Europe and North America.
From English-Speaking American To French-Speaking Retiree?
If you’ll be settling in Paris, most locals will know English, meaning you don’t have to learn French if you don’t want to. A “Parlez-vous anglais?” can carry you a long way. In this city, you’ll find English-language news services, bookstores, religious associations, and a large English-speaking expat community.
If you’ll be living outside Paris or in a rural area, it’s less likely that waiters, shopkeepers, and bank tellers will speak English. To make the most of French country life, learn at least conversational French.
France’s Health Care
Whether you have health issues or are perfectly healthy, needing health care at some point is inevitable.
Many retirees abroad travel back and forth to the States for medical attention because their new homes are lacking on the health care front. In France, you can save yourself the time and money as France has the best health care in the world according to the World Health Organization.
French School System
If you have young children, you’ll want to consider the differences between the French and American school systems.
France has a rigid public school system. The education is the highest quality in the world, but it may not be palatable for kids or parents used to liberal teaching methods. Many American expats in France are vocal on the matter.
There’s a misconception that the French are rude and arrogant, but they’re actually friendly and welcoming. They’re proud, yes, but they have a lot to be proud of.