Cost of living in France
RE. the reader query about the cost of living in France – a key point is income source. Anyone whose income is sterling-based should be aware of instability due to currency fluctuations.
How you find France depends on where and how you live. Cities are more expensive than small villages. If you intend to carry on eating “English”, with lots of imported food, then this will cost more than if you eat “French”. Eating out costs as much as you want to pay.
We find insurances (eg. house and car) considerably cheaper here. Assuming that you have a right to the healthcare system, you will pay 30% of any primary care (GP/physio, etc.) but hospital treatment is free. Top-up medical insurance is a fraction of that in England.
You probably will want to do work to your house and French builders are not cheap. This is because of the huge amount they have to pay in ‘social charges’ (think NIC++++). Do not fall into the trap of thinking English builders (there are many in France) will be cheaper - they operate under the same tax regime with the same obligation to provide (expensive) insurance-backed guarantees.
Everything else is mixed. Paint in France, for example, is expensive and of inferior quality. We cost whatever we are looking for in both countries and then opt for the better deal.
Mary Kennedy, by email