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I myself have not yet fully relocated to France. However, the decision has been made for quite some time, so I'll offer up a couple of reasons why I personally chose France:

1. Profession
I've lived till now in the Midwest of the US where my art form (opera) is not a native/prominent part of the culture. It can be easier perhaps in NYC to make a living this way, but in general America's not the best place for it. While being an artist by trade comes with its inherent challenges, it goes without saying that France (a) has a much more vibrant arts culture, (b) supports them with more funding, and (c) is adjacent to multiple countries where the arts also thrive, opening up international work opportunities.

2. Family
This one is obvious. If you have a loved one living in France, you'll weigh out whether you'd like to deal with all the challenges mentioned on this thread vs. being without them. It depends on the individual.

3. Work-Life Balance
This is obviously a more debatable topic and depends on where you're coming from. For Americans, this is a huge draw. Here, we often feel as though we live to work; in France, the general attitude is work to live. For example, my American company starts by offering employees 2 weeks PTO; any additional days which may be accrued with seniority rarely exceed three weeks, even after a decade or two of service. My very same company in France, however, offers a minimum of 6 weeks PTO—4 of which are suggested to be taken consecutively somewhere between May and October. In discussion with my French family and friends, this is their standard.

4. International Travel
Yes, there is plenty to see in one's own country. Here in the US, there is very little opportunity nearby to experience foreign culture, aside from Mexico (for which 'nearby' is relative, because our country is gigantic and the border is comparatively small). What's more, the cost for international flights to and from the US are ridiculously more expensive than those amongst most European countries.
 

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How would you compare your cost of living between Thailand and France? Were you living in Bangkok? We live Bangkok's CBD and are thinking of Toulouse, but haven't made any decision. We like major cities and public transportation.
Hi, Thailand is going to be cheaper. Though housing is really cheap in France when you compare the quality of houses. They build to last centuries, not to shift to expats. There won't be a great difference if you live well in Bk. And eat out at falang places. Cars are much dearer in Thailand. France is full of great seafood at reasonable prices, food is dearer than street food and Thai places in Thailand and BKK. In Thailand you can choose to eat cheaply and live very cheaply. There is not that option in France. Markets seem to be dearer than shops. France is cheaper than a lot of European countries and dearer than others. About in the middle. The real advantages come with housing in rural France, quality of medical services and quality of food at reasonable prices. paying less for a house gives you more to spend elsewhere. Condos in BKK are grossly overpriced. Big houses outside the cities of France can be stunning and relatively cheap.
 

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I have lived in 5 countries, France, Thailand, Spain, UK and Ireland. France seems to me the best. Things I like about France: If french is not your first language you can tune out the racist and reactionary crap you hear in every country on earth. Especially Thailand where a large section of the UK Ex Pats live only to insult their new country. The same racist bigotry is true of UK and France, did not find it as much in Ireland and Spanish spoke too fast for me anyway. The country is varied in climate and geography. It's cheap to buy nice houses in lots of places. I don't get as wound up by local and national politics, because I don't share their history and grievances. The food is high class and the wine is cheap. Supermarkets are not as good as in Thailand but the food available is very good. Markets are great. Architecture is stunning. From a base in France you can winter in Spain or enjoy spring in Switzerland by just driving there. The roads are superb. I love Cyprus, but flying everywhere was a pain.Things I do not like, lack of variety in cuisine. Most 'Thai' restaurants are Chinese or Vietnamese trying to cash in on higher prices. You can't, as you can in other countries, enjoy a wide variety of world cuisine. That's a pain if you are a foodie. They are obsessed with french wine, I once offered rioja to french workmen and they sneered and looked at it as if it were drain cleaner. I love rioja, you can get it in France, but the inherent snobbery of the french regarding their food and drink comes to the fore. They will grudgingly admit Thai food is one of the worlds great cuisines, but genuine ones are hard to find, and expensive. I hate their obsession with set times to eat. I remember an official guide to France which kindly explained that, for health reasons you had to eat at set times. You have to be near a tourist area to get food outside their set hours. I love France, for me it is the best place to live. The major plus overall is the Health Service. If you don't need it now, you will. I have been sick in France and in Spain. In Spain they gave me the wrong treatment which could have killed me and an armed guard followed me to my car and confiscated the crutches the hospital loaned me, only to my car. They told me all medical supplies, even crutches, had to be bought in town next day. France was fabulous, informed there would be a wait for a cat scan, I braced myself for the details, ''They can't see you until the afternoon''. Wow, anywhere else would be ages. And the waiting room was beautiful. Thailand has great hospitals. Health care there would cost me £12k per year and increases of 30% a year past 70. Cancer would leave you penniless. Ireland's health service is nowhere near as good and UK is great if you are dying but terrible if you need an op. For Chrissippus, my wife, who is Thai, loves France. Does not want to go back to Thailand or UK or Spain, and Ireland is too dull and wet. She has found less anti Asian sentiment in France than UK. Her choice to live is France, even though she is fluent in English and has to learn a new language all over again. I love Cyprus, but on balance, dispassionately, France comes out on top, and the trump card is the Health Service, it's properly financed and you will get care and surroundings to equal going private in most countries for very little.
You have reminded me of an experience I had when I was a student doing my year abroad in Paris. I attended an English/French conversation group. One time they organised a meal in one person's flat, where we had to each bring a bottle to drink. I took along a Rioja, and the French attendees handed it round looking at the label and muttering. When it was opened, they made a point of pulling faces and repeatedly commenting, "C'est du vinaigre!". So rude! But then, that's Parisians for you...
 

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Wow - Came here to add my thoughts and was surprised to see 2 other Ex-Thai expats (cnote, kakaste). I too lived in Thailand, for 8 years. Most of that time was spent on Koh Tao, but the last 3 years we divided our time between Koh Tao and Khao Lak, flip-flopping between the two coasts every 6 months, following the good diving season for each (we were scuba instructors). We loved Thailand, and if I were solo I might have stayed, but my wife had wanted to leave years before me and I kept convincing her to stay 'one more year' until we just decided it was time to go. I have such amazing memories of Thailand. Sure there were burecratic oddities you needed to deal with, but that's part of living abroad for me. Even, maybe, part of the charm.

So why France? Well, for me, 90% of our decision is based on family. My wife is French and she's been out of France for about 20 years. We have a kid now and there are relatives in France that want to see him more than once a year. Another driver to leave is wanting to leave the US. Things feel so divided and hateful here right now. I'm sure France has similar issues, but as others in this thread have said, when it's not your own history it's easier not to pay attention to it. I'm addicted to my news feed here and it feels like the pandemic pulled back the curtain on a lot of things that we previously were unaware of.

My wife and I lived in France for one year (2012-2013). We volunteered with WOOF and got to go all over the country, and I really fell in love with the culture and lifestyle. Also, we'll be going from a metro area (Washington DC) to a small town (12,000 people) so I'm looking forward to that change as well. Both my wife and son are excited about the move and it feels good to be excited about something again. The past couple years have been so hard on everyone, that to have that excitetment is a welcomed change.
 

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We very often get newcomers to the forum here who post a brief message asking about how to start preparing for a move to France. Sometimes these folks are pounced upon by some of our more "enthusiastic" forum regulars, challenging them with the same old questions - the first of which is often "Why France?"

Thought we should start a generic thread on things to consider up front when even just thinking about a voluntary move to France. (Assuming that, in a work-related move, you have your employer to fall back on for guidance, or in a student move, the demands of the program will affect your choice of venue.)

So - let's have some ideas about what you should be considering before you decide that you're moving to France. Let the games begin.

(If you have questions related to your situation, please start a new thread for your question. We need to keep this thread strictly generic.)
Cheers,
Bev
Lived in France for 22 years. People will have many reasons for wanting to live here but it all distils down to two things: Finance and communication. A very detailed plan regarding finances should be worked out. All very well buying a cheap property or living on a glass of wine and cheese but life is more than that and if you don't get the financial side right then back you go, worse off than when you arrived! With regards communication: Learning French is extremely important, depending where you live!!! If in an ex pat enclave( God forbid!) then learning French is hardly necessary. Should you not live in an enclave then at least some basic French is definitely required. In any event, it is an insult to the French to at least not try and speak the language!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #126 ·
Learning French is extremely important, depending where you live!!! If in an ex pat enclave( God forbid!) then learning French is hardly necessary.
The need to know the local language comes up at the oddest times. What happens if you notice your neighbor's house is on fire. Chances are the fire station doesn't have someone on hand who speaks English. Or you have an accident and are taken to a hospital. Again, outside the tourist areas, it's rare that the hospital staff will be able to treat you in your own language. You need to speak some basic French and be able to understand responses, even if you find that expat enclave.
 

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outside the tourist areas, it's rare that the hospital staff will be able to treat you in your own language
I have to disagree up to a point. This area does get tourists (almost all French) but when I've been in hospital (several times) there have been a lot of doctors and nurses eager to try out their English (risky; dangerous!). The only one whose English I trusted was a Professor (and surgeon) from Bordeaux who had trained many surgeons in his speciality in UK. So, essential to have decent French or, at the very least some basic vocabulary such as bassin and (exclusively for men) pistolet.
 

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Hi, Thailand is going to be cheaper. Though housing is really cheap in France when you compare the quality of houses. They build to last centuries, not to shift to expats. There won't be a great difference if you live well in Bk. And eat out at falang places. Cars are much dearer in Thailand. France is full of great seafood at reasonable prices, food is dearer than street food and Thai places in Thailand and BKK. In Thailand you can choose to eat cheaply and live very cheaply. There is not that option in France. Markets seem to be dearer than shops. France is cheaper than a lot of European countries and dearer than others. About in the middle. The real advantages come with housing in rural France, quality of medical services and quality of food at reasonable prices. paying less for a house gives you more to spend elsewhere. Condos in BKK are grossly overpriced. Big houses outside the cities of France can be stunning and relatively cheap.
This is interesting. We are looking to live in a middle class urban setting. Here in Bangkok we are some of the amenities of upper middle class life in New York City such as a two-bedroom, two bathroom apartment (132 sq. m.) in a full-service building with a swimming pool for about USD 1800 per month, which doesn't strike us as grossly overpriced. I long ago retired from driving, so country life will not be for us, plus we like the attractions of the cities. Currently considering Toulouse. From apartment listings it looks like we can get a comparable apartment there for 10% to 15% more than we are spending, which is within our budget, but full-service buildings are apparently rare.
 

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Discussion Starter · #129 ·
So, essential to have decent French or, at the very least some basic vocabulary such as bassin and (exclusively for men) pistolet.
I don't think we're disagreeing here. I live in Ile de France (i.e. the Paris region), which is ultimate "tourist area" within France. My one and only (knock wood) hospital experience was for appendicitis and during my (somewhat prolonged) stay, the only staff member who admitted speaking English was an orderly who wheeled me up from the ER to the temporary room they found for me in the middle of the night. (He was from one of the Dutch islands in the Caribbean.) Several of the nurses admitted to having studied English in high school but they wouldn't dare attempt to "practice" with me. (Which was fine by me once I acquired the basic hospital vocabulary.)

When I was in Germany, I had to take a "first aid" class in order to get my German driving license and the very first thing they did in that class was to drill us in how to call in an accident report from the road - all auf Deutsch. That's the sort of basic language skills everyone really needs when they move somewhere with a different language.
 

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I don't think we're disagreeing here. I live in Ile de France (i.e. the Paris region), which is ultimate "tourist area" within France. My one and only (knock wood) hospital experience was for appendicitis and during my (somewhat prolonged) stay, the only staff member who admitted speaking English was an orderly who wheeled me up from the ER to the temporary room they found for me in the middle of the night. (He was from one of the Dutch islands in the Caribbean.) Several of the nurses admitted to having studied English in high school but they wouldn't dare attempt to "practice" with me. (Which was fine by me once I acquired the basic hospital vocabulary.)

When I was in Germany, I had to take a "first aid" class in order to get my German driving license and the very first thing they did in that class was to drill us in how to call in an accident report from the road - all auf Deutsch. That's the sort of basic language skills everyone really needs when they move somewhere with a different language.
I think that German idea is an excellent one. I'm always surprised at the lack of first aid skills people have. As for language, basic 'stuff' is essential.
 
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