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Saturday, June 26, 2010

10 Things to Know Before Moving to France

[Opera House staircase, Paris, France] (LOC)Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

Moving to France will be a life-changing experience. It will be easier if you can learn as much as possible about this exciting European country before making the move. Below are some interesting things to know about moving to this beautiful, cultural country.

1. Of course, the capital of France is Paris. Paris is also the largest city in France with over 2 million people. When the population of the Paris suburbs is added, that figure rises to 12 million people. The Seine River runs through the oldest section of Paris and is divided into two sections, the Left Bank and the Right Bank.

2. Paris offers a myriad of exciting sites. The Eiffel Tower is the most famous landmark in Paris, built in 1889 by Gustave Eiffel. The French government originally planned to tear down the Eiffel Tower, as it was only built for a fair, but due to its popularity, they changed their minds.

3. France is a member of the European Union and has been one of the world's most powerful countries since the end of the 17th century. It is the most common tourist spot in the world, with nearly 82 million foreigners visiting each year.

4. Moving to France should take some time and foresight. The best thing to do is to visit beforehand so you can explore the area, check into housing and transportation and get a general feeling of the culture of the area. Because every country is unique, it's always wise to visit first to make sure you will be happy there.

5. The French people love papers. So, when you make your move to France, you will need to show them many documents. Some of these will include: birth certificate, marriage certificate, passport, international or European driver's license, insurance documents, bank references, education records, payroll slips, and more! Quite simply, any document that proves anything about you will probably be helpful or necessary during your move, so set it aside. You will also have to apply for a visa if you are not a European citizen.

6. You will need to arrange to have your belongings shipped to France. It is best to choose a moving company that specializes in international moving, rather than one that usually does national moves. International moving companies are more up to date on laws, regulations and things you need to know before moving internationally. Many local companies will advertise for international shipping, but it's not their specialty and they will not have all of the information that you need in order to make have a successful overseas move.

7. If you want to take your pet with you to France, there is good news. Unlike some other countries, France is quite compliant about allowing cats and dogs into their country. You will probably need vaccination certificates and records and a certificate of origin and health, proving that that your pet has lived in a country that is free of rabies for at least three years.

8. There are some crucial things to consider if you plan to move your car to France. First of all, be sure that the brand and model of your vehicle are sold overseas as well. It can be very difficult in France to get a foreign car approved for driving in France. Secondly, leave the existing license plates on the car. This will make it much easier to get car insurance. Last, but not least, the location of your steering wheel can make a big difference. If it is on the right, you will have trouble with the many toll booths located along the highways.

9. Each and every item going into France must go through customs and be declared. Some documents you will need include: a letter from your employer in France or a certificate stamped by the French Consulate or Embassy of original country, an inventory list of all items in both French and your own language, a document verifying that all items are for your personal use and not for selling, and receipts for all expensive items such as jewelry, electronic equipment, etc. Keep a copy of all document for your own records also.

10. Depending on where you relocating, you will find that the French climate is fairly the same, with slight variations at different locations. The Atlantic Ocean affects the weather in the north and west. In the east, the winters are fairly cold and the weather is generally fair. You can expect hot, wet summers. Winters tend to be cooler and wet in the south, along with drier and hotter summers.

France continues to be the place of choice for many vacationers and those looking for a new lifestyle. France draws people because of it's high quality of life available to everyone. The French enjoy fine food, a leisurely lifestyle and the finer things in life. France remains both modern and old-fashioned, making it appealing to newcomers. There is a French phrase that describes it best: joie de vivre (joy of living).

Are you ready to move to France? Don't forget to make moving and shipping plans ahead of time. We are a family-owned international shipping company in New York, certified by FMC as worldwide movers. Before moving to France, visit our website for more information!


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