Friday, October 20, 2006

Some things to think about before moving to France

Thinking of moving to France? Here are some things that might be helpful, based on my own experience.


Many people would like to watch English TV when they get here. If that is the case with you then a little preparation could help. With a Sky Digibox you can watch the channels that you get in the UK in France. The digibox connects to the TV with a scart lead so any TV, UK or French will work with it. You do not need to bring the dish with it from the UK as a French dish works fine and they are cheap here. If you have not got a digibox, then ebay is the place to buy one secondhand.
Do not bother bringing a freeview settop box with you as they will not work here.

Car Insurance

In the UK many people have maximum no claims bonus. That equates to 4 or 5 years over there, but in France the discount is given for driving experience. The maximum discount requires around 12 to 15 years experience. If you produce a NCD certificate with 60% or 5 years on it, be prepared to pay loads of money. The best thing to do is look for all your insurance renewal certificates going back as far as you can, this will prove the years of driving experience that you have and will ensure a decent discount. If you want to continue with UK insurance then read the small print, as they often say that you must be UK resident.

Bringing a car with you

In my opinion it is better to sell your UK car over there and buy a LHD here. If you want to bring your RHD car with you and it is later than 2002, then ask the UK dealer for a Certificate of Conformity, this is normally free. Cars older than 2002 were not required by the EU to have one, and life could become difficult when you come to register it here.
The same goes for motorbikes, except for the power limit here. The French insurers won’t like anything over 100bhp. We changed both of our bikes to 99bhp BMWs and have now got them on French plates.
There is no road tax on cars or bikes here and no CT (MOT) on bikes at all.

Household goods

Fridges and washing machines will work just fine here the voltage is just about the same as the UK. You will need to change plugs on them , but it can be useful to bring some 4 gang trailing leads from the UK, that way you need only change one plug for a few appliances. If you need a new fridge anyway then I would advise you to leave the old one in the UK and buy new here in France as there seems to be more choice and they seem to be cheaper. There is also the availability of spare parts should you need something.

Mobile phones

If you have a mobile in the UK and are coming here, then have the phone “unlocked” at a small independent phone shop or market stall in the UK. This means that when you get here you just need to get a SIM card for your phone and you will have a French mobile number. If you are living in both countries, you can change between both SIM cards to have a UK service in the UK and a French service here.


You will need to contact the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in the UK a few months before you intend to move. They will supply you with a form E106 or E121 to cover your healthcare in France. The health system is, in my opinion, much better than the UK. For example; I was diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism in the UK. My doctor told me that waiting lists were now only 6 months. He booked an appointment with a consultant for 6 months time and said that I would gat an appointment for a scan 6 months later and have a small operation 6 months after that, total 18 months! I came here, went to a French doctor who arranged for the scan in 12 days and told me that if I needed the operation it would be about 3 weeks after that. As luck would have it I did not need the operation.

Note: The above information is by no means comprehensive as this is a very large and detailed subject, I would advise anyone who wants to understand more about the health system to joint the France Forum in the link to the right of the blog to find further information.


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