Is life on the French Riviera a pipe dream, or a more affordable alternative to the UK as families try to cope with rising living costs?

Helping us to answer the question are international payments specialists, Clear Currency. Below, they ask which is a cheaper place to live, France or the UK?

Q: What costs will I need to consider when moving to France?

A: One of the costliest purchases when moving overseas will be your new home – whether you choose to rent or buy a property. It’s a good idea to research potential locations and secure a place before moving so you can plan your budget. Remember to factor in additional costs such as estate agent fees, deposits and shipping costs for your belongings.

You'll also need to budget for travel costs, such as plane tickets and visa applications. Following Brexit, you're now required to apply for a long-stay visa if you intend to reside in France for over 90 days. To make your residency permanent, you’ll need to book an appointment at your local town hall or Préfecture, meet the minimum requirements and provide the requested documents (ias services).

Eastern Daily Press: Marseille is one of the cheapest places to live in France. Marseille is one of the cheapest places to live in France. (Image: Getty Images)

It’s also a good idea to set aside funds to support you as you settle in; for car and home insurance, furniture, utility bills and groceries.

Tax laws in France differ to those in the UK, so it’s best to familiarise yourself with how any variations may impact your savings. In France, income tax isn’t taken out of your salary, meaning everyone needs to complete a tax return. Residents can earn up to €10,084 tax-free but will be charged 11 per cent on earnings between €10,085 and €25,710, and 30 per cent for salaries of €25,711 to €73,516 (Expatica).

Q: Is France a cheaper place to live than the UK?

A: Average living costs are 24 per cent cheaper in France than in the UK ( Of course, where you choose to live will impact how much money you spend. Paris is one of the most expensive places to live in France, though smaller cities in the South of France can be much cheaper. However, even in Paris living costs are 14 per cent cheaper than in London (Expatica).

This also includes utility bills. In France, monthly basic utilities for an 85 by 85-metre apartment cost on average £136, compared to the UK, where on average you can expect to pay almost £187 (Numbeo). If you have aspirations to live in the city, it's worth knowing that France has an excellent reputation for its public transport systems, meaning it’s fairly affordable without a car, helping you to save on insurance and running costs (Expatica).

Eastern Daily Press: If you're considering a move abroad, Clear Currency can provide guidance on the FX tools available to mitigate currency risk exposure.If you're considering a move abroad, Clear Currency can provide guidance on the FX tools available to mitigate currency risk exposure. (Image: Getty Images)

Marseille is a popular destination for expats to move to, offering fantastic city living at a fraction of the cost of more expensive French cities like Paris (JTG Travel). Rent prices in Marseille are almost 34 per cent cheaper than in Norwich (Numbeo).

Property prices are also more affordable in the Dordogne (French Connections). The countryside views, riverside walks and medieval architecture in the region's town of Bergerac will appeal to those considering a move from Norwich.

Q: What is the average living cost in France?

A: A couple’s average monthly estimated living costs for an apartment in France in 2022 is around between £1,760 and £2,098 (including rent, utilities, health insurance and trips out - International Living). For a family of four, average monthly living costs total around €4,312 - which at the time of writing equals approximately £3,726 (Expatistan).

Q: What jobs are in demand in France?

A: Popular jobs for expats include teaching English and working in childcare and trade services (FrenchEntree). You can use international employment agencies such as Indeed and Glassdoor to help you search for opportunities.

Eastern Daily Press: In the Dordogne, expats can find reasonable property prices. In the Dordogne, expats can find reasonable property prices. (Image: Getty Images)

Other major industries in France are energy, manufacturing, agriculture and technology (WorldAtlas). This overlaps with many of Norfolk’s key sectors ( which makes finding a desirable position in France all the more possible.

On average, monthly net salaries are higher in the UK, totalling just over £2,245, compared to France, where it’s near £1,984. However, when considering the average lower cost of living in France, this doesn’t mean it’s a loss.

Q: How can Clear Currency help you prepare for a move to France?

A: Once you understand how much your move to France will cost, you can start making financial arrangements, which will probably involve transferring large sums of money overseas. This could leave your funds vulnerable to currency risk and could cause you to spend more than intended.

Clear Currency can provide guidance on the tools available to mitigate this risk and offer cost-effective exchange rates between pound sterling and the euro. Sign up for a free account in minutes today, or if you need to talk to someone, chat to one of their currency specialists.

With Clear Currency's secure online payments platform, you can access live exchange rates and track and manage all your payments in one place. Sign up for a free account today

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