According to numerous reviews of tourists, Paris is the most beautiful city in the world, about 30 million people come to admire it every year. And hundreds of thousands of foreigners from different parts of the world dream of contemplating the Eiffel Tower and walking along the Champs Elysees every day.
According to official figures from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), France is the most visited country in the world. Last year, the flow of tourists almost reached 90 million. Next, let’s talk in more detail about prices, taxes, in-demand professions, salaries, higher education, medicine, as well as the pros and cons of living in France in 2021.
Pros and cons of living
France has a population of just over 65 million. At last count, about 85% of residents are of European (white) descent, 3.5% are black and 1.5% are Asian. The French are one of the least religious nations; up to 40% of citizens do not give preference to any faith. By the way, the official population census on racial and ethnic grounds is prohibited in this country. Let’s highlight the positive and negative aspects of living in France.
- France has a comfortable climate for life, many architectural monuments, galleries, and museums with world masterpieces of art. Here you can find entertainment for all tastes, including attending large-scale sporting events, relaxing on a well-groomed seaside, or a luxury ski resort.
- French cuisine is one of the finest in the world. There are more than 350 types of cheeses and an uncountable number of wines from 17 regions of the country. The quality of local food is confirmed by a special certification system that has existed since the distant 1411.
- There are not many countries with free higher education in Western Europe. France is one of them. Moreover, foreign students have equal admission rights along with the French.
- In France, affordable, modern, and effective medicine.
- A large developed economy and high consumer demand make it possible to effectively conduct business in France and build a successful professional career. The official workweek is 35 hours long, and employees are guaranteed 30 days of annual leave and many benefits.
- France is a good example of upholding European values, including the guarantee of human rights and freedom of speech.
- Excellent infrastructure and public transport network.
- Bureaucracy in government offices, including long queues and many forms to fill out.
- Learning French is vital to integrating into the local community.
- Most shops close daily from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm and are closed at lunchtime and on Sundays.
- Many French houses and apartments for sale or long-term rent are very old and in need of renovation.
- According to price comparison experts, France is one of the most expensive countries in the world.
Work and salary
Despite a developed economy and moderate unemployment (about 9-10%), finding a job in France is very difficult. According to statistics, at least 2-3 people apply for one vacancy. It is best to look for work in Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon, and other major cities. But in any case, the competition with the French and citizens of other EU countries will be enormous.
For legal employment, foreigners from third countries, including Russians, are required to find a vacancy in advance and sign a contract, issue a work permit and open a work visa. Citizens of the CIS countries are most attracted by seasonal employment in the field of agriculture or tourism – crop pickers, waiters, cleaners, maids, cook assistants, and so on. Job in Nice is in great demand.
From 1 January 2021, the official minimum wage in France is € 1,554.58 per month before taxes. The hourly rate is € 10.25. The average salary in France is about 3,085 euros per month or 2,400 euros net. In Paris, you can count on a monthly income of 2,500 euros (net) and above.
As mentioned above, one of the advantages of living in France is the opportunity to receive quality higher education on a fee basis. Usually, public French universities only charge a registration fee of 200-400 euros per year. Besides, you need to pay social security costs of about 200 euros.
The best universities in France include the Sorbonne, as well as the universities of Strasbourg and Montpellier. To enroll in a higher education institution, a foreign student must provide a certificate of proficiency in French and a certificate of secondary education. In private universities and higher schools in France, tuition fees vary from 8 to 20 thousand euros per year.
The French health care system is of high quality and is largely funded by the government, which on average receives just over 10% of GDP annually. Usually, along with a residence permit in France, a foreigner is provided with a carte Vitale health insurance card, which opens access to free health care services, including many drugs. Even in the case of hospitalization, patients are charged no more than 18 euros per day.
The Protection Maladie Universelle (PUMA) program has been operating in France since January 1, 2016, replacing the old French health insurance system Couverture Maladie Universelle (CMU). Now, easier access to medical services is provided to all residents of France, including foreigners who have been legally in the country for more than 3 months.
In conclusion, we note that the life expectancy in France at birth in 2021 is 81.9 years (men – 78.8, women – 85.2). According to criteria such as climate, transport system, ecology (air quality), housing affordability, and labor market, the best cities to live in France are Nantes, Lyon, Rennes, Bordeaux, and Toulouse.