The must-have moving to a new city checklist for French residents

Getting Around By Roshnara Corby January 7, 2020

This article was created in partnership with Western Union.

Whether you seek the entrepreneurial effervescence of Lyon, the booming aviation industry of Toulouse, the seaside douceur de vivre of Montpellier and Marseille, or simply the myriad opportunities available in Paris, it’s clear that France’s major cities have much to offer for those looking to make a smart career move.

Although transitioning from rural tranquility to the big city is an exciting process, it comes with its share of financial challenges, as well. This moving to a new city checklist will help you find the best approach to budgeting for your move and establishing financial stability once you’re there.

1. Know what you’re looking for

You may know why you’re moving, but have you thought about what you hope to accomplish once you’re settled? Getting started in a new city is a fun but potentially stressful time, and it’s easy to lose focus once you’re sitting on the floor surrounded by boxes. So, before you actually book that moving company, take a moment to consider your personal and professional goals and how you can make them happen in your new location.

2. Set up a moving budget

A dedicated relocation budget will help keep the financial impact of your move to a minimum. This should include the following: your moving company expenses, agency fees, the cost of setting up utilities such as electricity and internet access, your deposit and month’s rent, as well as new furniture and business attire. If you’re moving for a salaried position, you may be eligible for a relocation bonus (check your collective labour agreement). In some cases, the French state offers relocation subsidies under its Fonds de solidarité pour le logement and Action logement schemes.

3. Research your new cost of living

Cost of living varies from city to city, but if you’re moving from a rural area, you’re probably facing a higher level of expenditure than what you’re used to (but hopefully, a salary hike to go with it). Rent will likely be your biggest expense, but you’ll also need to take into account transport, food, entertainment and health care costs. Again, some advance budgeting will be a big help here. Create a spreadsheet outlining your anticipated income and forecasted monthly expenses in your new city to better prepare.

4. Get organised

This is probably one of the least exciting aspects of relocating, but it’s nonetheless essential in a comprehensive moving to a new city checklist. Make sure you cancel utilities, notify your bank of your new address (or switch agencies), redirect mail, find housing insurance and register your car, among other administrative tasks — either before or soon after you move.

At the same time, look into your options for money transfer, which can be undertaken via a physical agency or directly from your bank account. Using the Western Union® app can help make this process simple and convenient.

5. Identify your ideal neighbourhood

Paris may offer unparalleled networking, culture and nightlife, but it’s also the most expensive city in France to live in. However, more affordable rents can be found in less central (but nonetheless vibrant) areas of the city, such as the 20th arrondissement. The same goes for most major French cities, so it’s well-worth setting out your priorities (transport hubs, safety, outdoor areas, shopping, etc.) and doing some preliminary research.

If feasible, spend a few days in your new city ahead of your move. This will enable you to scope out your future neighbourhood, check out the local rental market and — safety first — look before you lease.

6. Consider your transport options

Living in a rural area often means being on intimate terms with your car, but this is likely to change with your move to a larger city. Major French cities offer highly efficient public transport systems (and if we’re honest, less than stellar parking options) alongside bike and scooter sharing systems to incentivise you to leave your personal vehicle at home. Though public transport is usually affordable, it nonetheless needs to be factored into your monthly budget (unless, of course, you’re moving to one of the cities currently experimenting with free transport, as reported by Forbes).

With a little preparation, your move to the big city won’t be a hassle — it will be the first stage of an exciting new chapter.