International moving guide to France from UAE

Moving to France

In Moving Guides by Steven Kane

We are pleased to provide you with our guide on moving to France from Dubai, UAE. Please make note of the special links at the foot of this page.

Capital City: Paris
Population: 65 million
Official Language: French
Currency: Euro
Time: GMT +1
Internet domain: .fr
International dialing code: +33


Despite having a population of almost 65 million people, large areas of the countryside remain sparsely populated, making it popular with expatriates looking for a quieter life or indeed a place to retire to. Paris is the capital city and as one of the most famous cities on earth attracts millions of visitors every year who soak in the culture, history and romance of the city. Other major cities include Bordeaux, Lyon, Nice, Marseille and Strasbourg.

France is divided into 26 regions, with each region quite diverse in terms of culture and character. However it is important to understand each region has its own councils and local authorities. Many aspects of moving to France revolve around the local authority and Town hall.

As part of the EU, France’s official currency is the Euro. The official language is French although in border areas German, Italian and Spanish is widely spoken. Regional dialects exist in certain areas although this is becoming less common the more France integrates.

France was a monarchy until the 18th century and following the famous revolution the country became a republic, governed by the president along with his Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Expats in France

The expatriate community in France is estimated to be over 4 million and the French are generally welcoming to foreigners/expatriates. There is a misconception that the French can be rather aloof or unfriendly. However if efforts are made to communicate with locals in their own language you will quickly be welcomed into the community.

Northern areas of France such as Brittany and Normandy have a mild climate similar to that of the southern UK. Further south the weather is much warmer and can result in hot summers with very mild winters.

In most parts of France especially rural areas the price of property is relatively low and in some cases extremely food value. A lot of people have reconstructed and restored properties for big profits.

When combined with the culture, history, Food, and general pace of life, it is not surprising to see why France is such an appealing place to live.

Cost of living

Whilst Paris is quite expensive, by European terms, the cost of living is reasonable and in the rest of the country cost of living is relatively low. Local fees and taxes are generally lower than the rest of Western Europe especially the UK.

A meal at the standard restaurant is likely to cost around €10-€12 per person with a beer costing around €4-5 and soft drinks around €2 per can. Local wine is of course very good value with a good bottle costing approximately €4-€5.

At the local supermarkets you would expect to pay similar prices to the UK and US with the loaf of bread costing around €1.50, a litre of milk around and a dozen eggs roughly €3.

Public transport is good and relatively cheap. Taxis start around is €5 and then roughly €1.50 per kilometer thereafter. Petrol is approximately €1.25 per litre.

Typical 1-2 bedroom apartment in the city would be around €700-€900. Outside of the city rent would reduce to roughly €450-€500

Basic utilities for an average two-bedroom apartment will be around €120-€140 per month. Prepaid mobile phone charges are roughly €0.19 per minutes and broadband Internet us around €25-€30 per month.


Children in France age between six and 16 are required to attend school. State schools are free to attend. Private schooling is available and in some cases the cost is subsidised by the French authorities making this cheaper than many other European countries.

This school year begins at the start of September, with 2 to 3 week breaks for Christmas and Easter and too short half term breaks (this can vary based on the region). Many schools children do not attend classes on Wednesday afternoon in this case the school day is slightly longer beginning at 8:30 AM and ending at 4:30 in the afternoon.

Nursery school is widely available for toddlers birth certificates vaccination records address are some of the documentation which is required for Primary and secondary education.

Whilst bi-lingual schooling is available parents who want an English language education for their children should seek specialist international schools who are able to teach an American or British curriculum.

Homeschooling is an option in France with children needing to be registered each year. School inspectors may visit the home as much as once per year to ensure the standard of education is adequate for the child.

Useful Resources
France International Schools Directory
French Ministry of Education

Moving Documents

When moving to Canada from Dubai, importing Household Goods and Personal Effects

  • Passport copy
  • Visa, (if applicable)
  • Packing List
  • Detailed Inventory valued in Euro. Signed by the owner of the goods
  • Certificate of change of residence by the French Consulate at origin
  • Certificate of Transfer
  • Non-resale attestation
  • Proof of residence in France
  • Bill of lading / AWB
  • Sales receipts/invoices for items purchased within 6 months prior to import

Helpful Websites:

Note: This document is provided as a guide for people moving to France from Dubai, UAE and for information purposes only. Customs regulations can and do change at any time, usually without notice. Your mover will provide you with more information.