Moving to Lyon: A Brief Guide
15 February 2016

Perhaps you’ve been offered a job there. Or maybe you’re just tired of English weather. Or possibly you just downright prefer France. Whatever your reason for packing up and moving across the channel, there are plenty of things to consider and organise before you go in order to make your move a swift and pleasurable one. Bank accounts, mortgages, schools, currency exchange, tax code, pets, insurance. The list of things that need to be carefully considered is endless when moving abroad. Here is a brief guide that will do its best to help.

Maybe the biggest consideration for anyone moving to Lyon is the language barrier. If you can speak French with ease, then this concern doesn’t apply to you as you’ll be able to fit in and, if you’re not so already, you’ll be fluent in it very soon. But for those of us who don’t speak much, if any, French, then it is important to grasp the fact that whilst living there with little language skills, you’ll feel at best like a tourist, and at worst like an outsider. Not many foreign languages are spoken in French and the French are proud of their language. It is of vital importance to grasp as much French as possible before the move, and then try not to speak English out there at all in order to further your French.

Logistically the biggest problem is, of course, transporting all of your possessions across the channel. Before committing to a home in Lyon, be sure that you’ll know how you’ll transport everything you own. Some removal companies do operate internationally, so it’ll be wise to get a quote from them. International vehicle rental companies will allow you to hire a vehicle in England and drop it off in Lyon, so this should also be looked in to. Just be sure that before any heavy commitments, such as accepting a job or putting a down payment on a French house, you know logistically how the move will go.

If you are travelling with a child, or with children, then you must, of course, consider their education. If they do not speak any French, then just imagine how daunting a prospect of enrolling in a French state school seems. Although children pick up languages quicker than adults, it will still nonetheless be a big thing to ask of your child. English-speaking schools operate the world over. However, as almost all in France are private, you’ll need to be sure you can afford it. Your child may one day, years down the line, thank you for enrolling them in a French state school as now they are bilingual. But in the present day, they won’t be all that happy with you.

If, like most people, you have moved to Lyon for a job, or have moved to Lyon knowing you’ll be able to find a job with relative ease, it is important to know the tax rules and codes in order to avoid prosecution. For example, in France employers do not make income tax withholdings. It is down to you, the employee, to declare your own income. Now, whilst some of us may do this in Britain, a lot of us have our taxes deducted before we receive our pay-check by our employers. Be sure to know the code, or it will unquestionably come back to bite you at a later date.

But most importantly, be sure your moving for the right reasons. Make sure your whole family discuss the move extensively and you reach a joint decision. Don’t just rush up and move spontaneously – that’s a recipe for disaster.