Living and Working in France

Living and working in France will be a different adventure for everyone moving there. Each of the 13 regions has its own style and flair, so you will never make the same experience in Normandy that you will have in Provence. It’s hard to imagine how big the cultural differences in one single country can be!


Depending on where you want to move you will lead a different life, experience other rituals and eat different food. This is what expats in France appreciate a lot about this amazing country. And as transportation within cities and across the country is super easy, you can discover all of it. Nevertheless, we have some general information for you, so you get an overview and find out which aspects are the most important for you to consider before moving to France.

Living in France

Let’s start with the one thing people think of at first: money. Having a nice life in the hexagon doesn’t have to be expensive, not every city will empty your wallet in the first two weeks – even in Paris you can learn to live on a budget. The cost of living in France can vary a lot when you compare the capital to smaller cities outside. To give you a better picture: a one-bedroom apartment in Paris can cost you more than €1,000, outside the city centre of Lille, which is around 200 km further north, you can get the same apartment for under €400. And going there by train doesn’t even take two hours. Did you expect that?

Did you know? One of the best benefits if you’re working in France is, that your employer pays up to half of your monthly public transportation ticket.

The differences between French regions are due to the four climate zones and especially the people with various nationalities. You can see influences from other countries everywhere. Because of this, for example, you will enjoy a Mediterranean climate in the south of France and enjoy the relaxed lifestyle you might know from Spain. This will never be the case in the north. Still, the general work-life-balance in France is rather healthy. How could it be different when you start your day with a freshly brewed coffee and a crunchy croissant and finish it with a glass of wine and a local cheese plate?

Speaking of food, the French are very proud of their gastronomy. Did you know that the French cuisine even made it on the UNESCO-list of “intangible cultural heritage”?

Motivational fact: Living in France on a budget is definitely doable.

Working in France

Work in France as an Expat

Now you think that all this sounds super cool, but then you remember one special French prejudice: the French don’t speak English. How can you even work in France without speaking French? It’s easier than you think! There are plenty of jobs in France for foreigners. You could, for example, start working in France but for a UK company. Like this, you will work in English and have enough time to learn French. Another option is to take a look at jobs in Paris or another big city. Especially in start-ups 99% of the employees speak English and therefore, you can easily find English speaking jobs.

Good to know: When you’re from the EU or Switzerland you don’t even need a Visa for working in France.

The main industrial sectors in France are energy, manufacturing and technology, transport, agriculture, and tourism. Due to a lack of skilled workers, finding a job in France should not be very difficult when you have the right skills. On the other hand, getting a permanent contract (which is called a CDI) is not very common when taking a new position. You will rather start with a CDD (temporary contract) for a few months. Even if you struggle a little bit during your job search, in the end, the social security benefits are worth the effort. Keep going!

Interesting fact: With 9%, the unemployment rate in France is better now than in the past ten years.

French Business Culture

Working hours in France are set to 35 hours a week. French business culture is professional and in general you will find a strong hierarchy. Men usually wear conservative suits, nice shirts and ties; women pick elegant suits or dresses. Of course, the dress code is different in start-ups. Unlike other European citizens, French never do business over dinner. This time is rather a social event reserved for nice conversations and good food – and that’s how it should be, don’t you agree?

Now that you know what it’s like to work in France, what do you think? Are you ready to move and start a new life in this country of wine? Yes? Good choice! Working in France as an expat offers so many possibilities! Even if it’s not for a long time, working in France for a year is already an experience you should not miss. It’s time to go! Find a job and live your dream.

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