As you prepare for your move to France, it will be helpful to know some simple and yet interesting facts about this European country. Every country has its own set of rules and ideas. And each country has characteristics that make it different from others. Here are some things you need to know about France…

1. Of course, the capital of France is Paris. Paris is also the largest city in France with over 2 million people. That figure rises to 12 million people when the population of the Paris suburbs is included. The Seine River runs through the oldest section of Paris and is divided into two sections, the Left Bank and the Right Bank.

2. There are amazing things to see in Paris. The Eiffel Tower is the most famous landmark in Paris, built in 1889 by Gustave Eiffel. Built originally for a fair, the French government originally planned to tear it down, but its popularity changed their mind.

3. France is a member of the European Union and has been one of the world’s most powerful countries since the end of the 17th century. It is the most common tourist spot in the world, with nearly 82 million foreigners visiting each year.

4. Moving to France should take some time and foresight. The best thing to do is to visit beforehand so you can explore the area, check into housing and transportation and get a general feeling of the culture of the area. Because every country is unique, it’s always wise to visit first to make sure you will be happy there.

5. The French people love papers. So, when you make your move to France, you will need to show them many documents. Some of these will include: birth certificate, marriage certificate, passport, international or European driver’s license, insurance documents, bank references, education records, payroll slips, and more! In other words, if you have a piece of paper that proves anything about yourself, you may want to place it in a folder for your move. Of course, if you are not a European citizen, you will have to apply for a visa.

6. You will need to arrange to have your belongings shipped to France. It is best to choose a moving company that specializes in international moving, rather than one that usually does national moves. International moving companies are more up to date on laws, regulations and things you need to know before moving internationally. Many local companies will advertise for international shipping, but it’s not their specialty and they will not have all of the information that you need in order to make have a successful overseas move.

7. If you want to take your pet with you to France, there is good news. Unlike some other countries, France is quite compliant about allowing cats and dogs into their country. You will probably need vaccination certificates and records and a certificate of origin and health, proving that that your pet has lived in a country that is free of rabies for at least three years.

8. If you plan to move your car to France with you, there are some important things to consider. First of all, be sure that the brand and model of your vehicle are sold overseas as well. It can be very difficult in France to get a foreign car approved for driving in France. Secondly, leave the existing license plates on the car. This will make it much easier to get car insurance. Last, but not least, the location of your steering wheel can make a big difference. If it is on the right, you will have trouble with the many toll booths located along the highways.

9. When moving into France, every item has to go through customs and be declared. There are certain documents that you will need including: a letter from your employer in France or a certificate stamped by the French Consulate or Embassy of original country, an inventory list of all items in both French and your own language, a document verifying that all items are for your personal use and not for selling, and receipts for all expensive items such as jewelry, electronic equipment, etc. Be sure to make copies of all documents for your own records as well.

10. You will find that the climate of France varies depending on where you are locating. The Atlantic Ocean affects the weather in the north and west. In the east, the winters are fairly cold and the weather is generally fair. Summers are generally hot with many rainstorms. Southern summers are drier and also quite hot, while winters are cool and wet.

France continues to be the place of choice for many vacationers and those looking for a new lifestyle. The magnetism, just as it has been for generations, is the astonishing quality of life the common person can enjoy. It’s true that France is both modern and old-fashioned and while their science and technology equals those of any country, the people of France appreciate fine food, a slow lifestyle, and the fine things in life. There is a French phrase that describes it best: joie de vivre (joy of living)

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Written by Einat Mazafi
Einat Mazafi is the owner of NY International Shipping, an International Shipping and moving company based in New York. She is also a specialist in providing the best relocation solutions to clients worldwide.