Is it true it can be around $25,000 - $40,000? We have a 2 bedroom (1200 sqft) house but plan to weed through our items. Just wondering the approximate cost. Your actual cost either way to France to USA or USA to France would be helpful.
You need to have some idea of weight and cube. A 40 foot container port to port France / US can cost around 4,000 $. Then there's packing and other ancillary charges. Depends where in the US, and in France, to calculate the extra freight rate. (To give you an idea of the space available, a 20' container is approx 33m3, a 40' container 67m3). But in practice you fit at best 5m3 less in each, even with a load of nothing but cartons that are easy to stack inside.
If you ask a number of companies for quotes to ship a container load of personal effects, 20' or 40', you'll get a rough idea of the going rate. Where did the figure of 25-40,000 $ come from?
The other big variable in shipping costs are the extras, the most important of which is probably the insurance on the shipment, and that can depend on just what sorts of things you're shipping, their age and original cost. Best to get a couple of estimates.
My experience is that European movers tend to go by volume (i.e. the container sizes frogblogger mentioned), whereas American movers want to weigh the shipment after it has been packed up. If you know of a mover back in the US that you have confidence in, you could contact them and ask for their French contact.