Living France - - The Essentials -

QWe’ve been plan­ning a move to France for some time now and the Brexit re­sult has made us de­cide to do it sooner rather than later. How­ever, we are of course think­ing about the im­pact Brexit will have and whether we’ll be able to earn a liv­ing. Our orig­i­nal in­ten­tion was to set up our own busi­ness, and we won­der if this is still a re­al­is­tic op­tion for us.


think it’s an en­tirely re­al­is­tic op­tion, with I’m go­ing to say, the ob­vi­ous pro­viso that you have al­ready sourced a busi­ness which is likely to suc­ceed in France. I don’t be­lieve that Brexit will make any dif­fer­ence at all to those of us who are in France, with a prop­erly reg­is­tered busi­ness, and pay­ing into the French tax sys­tem.

How­ever, some mis­con­cep­tions still re­main and I was in­ter­ested only a very few weeks ago to talk to a cou­ple who were hop­ing to be in France within a few months and al­ready had an idea of what they might do. They asked me if they should do some­thing else while the new busi­ness took off. That is a hugely dif­fi­cult ques­tion to an­swer with­out sound­ing ei­ther pa­tro­n­is­ing or rude, be­cause the truth is that there is very lit­tle they could do while the new busi­ness took off – far bet­ter to pour their en­er­gies 100% into net­work­ing and mar­ket­ing their new ser­vices in the lo­cal­ity.

There is no ‘shelf stack­ing in a lo­cal su­per­mar­ket’ safety net op­tion in France to bring in some eu­ros while you de­velop your new busi­ness. Un­less you speak flu­ent French you are ex­tremely un­likely to be picked over a French na­tional for part-time un­skilled work, and if there are any op­por­tu­ni­ties to work on a ca­sual labour ba­sis, these will nor­mally have been snapped up by the ex­pats who are in France al­ready and who are now try­ing to aug­ment their de­pleted pen­sions – be­cause of the weak pound they may find them­selves in a dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tion to what they had ex­pected.

What­ever you do, don’t lose heart: work out what busi­ness would work both in terms of your own skills and po­ten­tial de­mand in the area where you hope to set­tle, and re­search the op­por­tu­ni­ties open to you and con­sider a fran­chise. In France these are well reg­u­lated and re­garded as a step-up on the busi­ness lad­der be­cause you have an im­me­di­ate brand, a web pres­ence, and a cer­tain stand­ing.

In the mean­time, as you make your plans, re­gard the in­terim as the ideal op­por­tu­nity to hone your French lan­guage skills and again don’t make the mis­take of think­ing you can do with­out a proper frame­work and foun­da­tion for this. If I had a euro for ev­ery time some­one set­tling here said, “I don’t re­ally need to learn the gram­mar, I just want to make con­ver­sa­tion,” I would be a rich per­son liv­ing it up in my villa in the south of France by now. Once you are here the early months will pass in a whirl­wind of ac­tiv­ity, so if you can crack on with learn­ing more French be­fore you ar­rive, then that’s ideal. So, get crack­ing and bonne chance!


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