Moving to Paris (or to a new city) can be an exciting, but also stressful experience. Especially if you’re doing all by yourself without a relocation company.
And, if you’re an expat parent who has to figure out all things related to your move, from visa to housing, to health insurance, etc, the whole process becomes even more overwhelming! I am an expat mom, currently sharing my time between Toulouse and Paris. France is the 9th country where I live. So I know very well the challenges of moving to a new country with a family.
That’s why, when my husband and I relocated with our kids from England to France in 2021, the assistance we received from our relocation company was invaluable.
Why to hire the services of a relocation company?
Hiring a relocation company can be immensely helpful when moving to a new country.
These companies specialize in assisting families with practical tasks, such as finding housing and assisting with the visa process. By delegating these tasks to an experienced professional, you can save SO much time and reduce stress, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the local culture and language.
That is why I am so excited to introduce you in today’s blog to Ann Déla Victoria! Ann is the founder and CEO of the relocation company EasyStart which serves clients all throughout France and in Barcelona.
She shares a lot of helpful tips for your moving to Paris, in addition to explaining EasyStart‘s services.
In the spotlight: Ann Déla Victoria, founder and CEO of the relocation company EasyStart
What are the main challenges families face when moving to Paris/France?
Getting a Visa
The main challenge when moving to Paris (or anywhere in France) is certainly figuring out which visa to get for each family member. It can get complicated based on whether the parents are married or not, or if one is European and the other is not, etc.
For more visa information, you can visit the official visa website for France. You can also join the Facebook community: Applying for a French CdS (Carte de Séjour) and/or visa.
Another challenge is to find housing without actually being in the country. Finding housing to rent versus to buy are also two different things.
A few options for renting include SeLoger, Bien’ Ici, and Lebocoin. Another great option would to be to download the Jinka app. This phone application consolidates every listings on all major housing websites into one space based on your budget and criteria.
But because the housing market in Paris is very competitive and fast-moving, these resources are best suitable for those who are already in the city. And even so, many good properties do not even get published, or are gone within a few hours.
Having a strong dossier (rental application) is important for your search. Make sure you prepare all your important documents. You can find more information on preparing your dossier here: Finding Housing in France.
Regarding the best neighborhoods in Paris, you can find more information on this guide to the Paris neighborhoods.
Opening a bank account
Childcare & school
The major concern for most families with children is wondering if they should put their non-French-speaking child into a French-speaking public school. And to be honest, this really depends on the family, their budget, and how old the child is.
Younger children adapt quite easily to school where they do not know their language because their brains are like sponges. Older children will have a harder time integrating themselves. I think it is important to have a conversation with the child and see how they feel about each option.
For more help, families can join Facebook expat communities, such as English speakers in Paris / Île-de-France and Expats living in France. They can be wonderful. But it is important to keep in mind that some of the advice can also cause a lot of confusion as some people do not actually give the correct and current information.
What advice can you give families to help in their search for the right relocation company to assist with their moving to Paris?
I think it is important that families have a thorough talk with the relocation company and figure out how they feel during the interactions with the agent(s).
Moving to a new country or a new city is a very stressful time. So, if families can find an agent who makes them feel comfortable enough to speak with at any time, even if it is just because they are feeling anxious, then it is a good relocation company.
The relocation company is supposed to make the process of moving to Paris easier, not harder.
How far in advance to moving to Paris/France should families hire a relocation company?
I think that depends on the kind of help the family needs.
If they need help with the visa process, they should consider hiring the relocation company about 3-4 months before the moving date. So the company can help them prepare the documents for the visa process. Once the application is sent to the consulate, it can take up to 2 months to hear back.
If the family needs assistance with housing, it usually takes 1-2 months to find a good housing option depending on how good your “dossier” (rental application) is.
A dossier is essentially a comprehensive application file that includes all the necessary paperwork and information about the tenant, such as personal identification, financial information, and proof of income. The preparation of the rental application is one of the main benefits of hiring a relocation company, such as Easy Start.
You can read more about the rental application in this blog post.
What services does EasyStart offer?
EasyStart offer services from A-Z in English, French, and Spanish.
This includes visa processing, finding housing, both renting and buying, setting up utilities, obtaining a social security number, opening a bank account, getting a mobile service, and finding schools for children, among others.
We are also always open to accommodating new assistance requests.
What makes EasyStart’s services unique?
What sets our business apart from others is that we make a priority to establish a real human connection with our clients. Two of the core values at EasyStart is empathy and building trust.
The majority of relocation agencies make you go through many different people and it can get confusing.
At EasyStart, you stay with one relocation agent the entire time so that our agents and our clients can create a real bond. We also become friends with the majority of our clients!
Can you share about your journey on how/why you started your relocation company?
I’m actually an expat/immigrant myself and I’ve been in their shoes. I’m originally from Boston, Massachusetts, United States. And I moved to France in 2013 after my Master’s degree in International Business.
I came to France on a student visa wanting to integrate myself and learn the language for 6 months. However, I ended up getting a job at Viacom International (MTV France, GameOne, JOne, Nickelodeon) and then CNN International.
After some years working in the media industry, I decided to get my MBA in Paris and do an exchange program in Shanghai.
Meanwhile, I volunteered to help people in my community with advice on moving to Paris because I’d been in their shoes before. Eventually, people started wanting to pay for my services since the French administration is such a struggle to navigate without help.
After completing my studies, I continued to work a corporate job until finally COVID hit. This is when I really started to speak with the rest of the expat community and essentially started my business.
Will you share one fun or unique fact about yourself?
I backpacked in Asia for 7 months. It was an eye-opening and life-changing experience!
What to do next
If you want to learn more about Ann’s work, you can book a 15-min free consultation here or contact her via email at email@example.com.
Check these other helpful resources on moving to Paris:
- Preparing your rent application
- A guide to moving to Paris from Internations
- A community of English-speaking families in Paris
- English speakers in Paris / Île-de-France (Facebook group)
- Expats living in France (Facebook group)
If you’re searching for an English-speaking Paris family photographer to document your time in Paris through natural and candid images with a fine art aesthetic, I invite you to look at my portfolio to learn more about my style. If you’d would like to meet me to discuss your vision or have any questions about moving to France, please visit the contact page to send me a message. I’d love to hear from you!