Relocating from the UK to France

Sandrine Germaine and her family will move to Provence in France from Brighton in October 2022.  She was happy to  tell us about her experiences, and offer some essential advice for moving to France.


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My partner is from France originally, but we have never lived there as a family, however we have often visited. But as the children got older we’ve  been talking more and more about scaling down our busy London life styles and relocating permanently to France – for a little more  joie de vivre.

Our youngest child  leaves  for University this year, and she jokes that we’ll be attending her graduation from school with our bags packed and ready to leave for France.

We had planned to spend a lot of time in France building up to the move, and hopefully finding somewhere to buy and move directly into. But then COVID happened and we were only able to travel there once or twice which made it difficult in terms of finding somewhere, organising bank accounts , mobile phones,  insurance etc – so now we are planning to put all of our household goods and personal effects into storage with our removals company Provence Movers – and travel light, renting somewhere for a year, and have a proper look around for somewhere to buy before we move all of our stuff down.

initially we were very worried about how how BREXIT and then COVID would impact our ability to physically move the France. However we were very lucky to be recommended to our relocation specialists Provence Movers  who are a boutique international mover specialising in removal services between the UK and France.   They’ve gave us an all-inclusive quotation for the removal which was very reasonable, and they were able to book us in for the dates that we wanted.   Unfortunately our relocation to France did get delayed for 2 months because the original buyer for our property in the UK fell through, but  Provence Movers were able to re-schedule our dates, so it has all worked out in the end.

As a result of BREXIT there is some  additional paperwork required in order to transport our household goods and personal effects into France – otherwise we would need to pay extra import tax and duty and VAT.    But we’ve now managed to get everything in place before the move starts, and the Movers already have  “pore-approval” customs clearance, so we’re good to go.

The removal service itself is hopefully very straight forward,   we have 3 guys that will come to get everything packed up and moved out into a large truck.  We bought a “consolidated service” which is a bit cheaper than the direct service, and so after our collection, the truck will go  on to make a few other pick-ups also for deliveries in France. We’ve asked for some storage in the UK first before we give the green light for Provence Movers to make the delivery to our new home in Provence. Delivery should be about  5 -6 days after we give the green light which suited us.

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I’ve been asked a lot what advice I would give for anybody that is planning on moving to France, and I would suggest the following. In order to embrace the culture, and the lifestyle you’ll need to  learn the language  – its really not that  hard, 50% of the words are the same as the English just with a different accent. I applied for French Nationality because I have a French husband – but you still need to have a good level of proficiency in the language and so I took and excellent course through the Institut Francis here in London. And if your also considering applying for French nationality you’ll need to take a TCF exam (Test de Connaissance du Francais) which can also be done through the Institute.