Suzanne in France

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What’s The Craic With Moving From Ireland To France?

We have an international client base – we have sold for and sell houses to clients from far and wide. Be it Americans, Australians, Canadians, British, Italians, Dutch, Irish and of course French natives.  What is a common theme amongst our wonderful diverse client base, is that the cost of property and land is far cheaper than (in many cases) their native country.

They have grown tired of not seeing value for money, not having the space they require, not being able to do things they wish to do through lack of land, affordability and availability.

This lush green region of Normandy (we cover approximately 100km from our base here in Sourdeval) which, incidentally, is approximately the size of Wales, provides exceptional value for money and space that so many are seeking. Our clients are moving full-time or buying a second home (initially for holidays) and then, later on, retiring to the wonderful country that is France.

Many towns and small villages now have fibre optic internet making it even more accessible if you are working from home. This is particularly attractive to our younger buyers, who have been priced out of their native country’s property market and have little to no chance of climbing the property ladder despite earning a good salary.

People often cannot quite believe how cheap the houses are here and then question whether or not there must be a catch! Yes, we are in a more rural area but close to towns and larger villages. Yes, you will more than likely need a car but there is work and there are job opportunities, be it locally or starting up your own business. We have written an extensive article on why properties are so cheap in this particular area of France which you can read here.

Of course, France like every country in the world does not profess to be a haven of paradise. Like any country, there are things that you may prefer ‘back home’ compared to that of France. However, there is a reason why it is the most visited tourist destination in the world. The country is stunning and has everything from skiing, hot weather in the South and vast coastlines and mountain ranges. It offers a different way of life – from the culture, food, health care and many public services that have fallen by the wayside in other countries.

So why is France becoming so attractive to our Irish and European clients?

Much like the UK and many other countries, property prices are at a premium and demand certainly outstrips supply in Ireland.

Many people living in Ireland are finding it very difficult, if not impossible, to purchase their own affordable home.

One reason is that much like the UK, Ireland has not built enough housing stock in recent years, in particular, after the Celtic Tiger Crash there were thousands of half built empty homes dotted around the country. There is also a situation in Donegal whereby defective concrete block built homes were constructed, coupled with the government’s inadequate compensation scheme.  Many have lost their homes because of this.

In 2022, the Irish government decided to offer 50,000 euros to people who would buy an empty old home (dotted all over Ireland) and do it up.

This increased to 70,000 if the property was derelict. Less than 30 applications have been successful since the beginning of this scheme despite just under 5,000 applications. This incentive to provide a solution to the housing crisis has not materialised.

France does offer renovation grants for isolation etc. for primary residences. You can find out more from your local Mairie.

Ireland is now (as with the UK and other countries) experiencing a huge housing crisis and this scheme is viewed by many as inadequate and has inflated the cost of housing.

Did you know that as an Irish citizen you can move to France without a Visa? As, indeed you can if you are an EU national from another country. You will be able to access the French health care system, be able to work and enjoy all the other benefits that being a European citizen has to offer.

Pre Brexit, many British nationals moved to France by doing just that. They were able to move (to any EU country) and set up home with no forms to fill in for the contents they were bringing over, more relaxed rules about changing their vehicle registration, and importing a vehicle was far easier and represented value for money.

They did not need a business plan, evidence of finances or require a Visa which they now do. In fact, in hindsight, for many that were here before 2019 it was far easier to make the move and to just see what happened. Many decided to either start a gîte business, kennels, as a beauty therapist and all manner of diverse business initiatives. It was relatively easy, and still is, to set up as self employed (Auto Entrepreneur).  Some did just that, whilst others waited to see what would be a good fit for their chosen business plan. Post Brexit, it is much harder for people to decide upon what they would like to do upon arrival. Having said this, it has not deterred British Nationals from moving here – quite the contrary!

However, as an Irish or European National this is still an option because you do not need a Visa. You do not, therefore, need to submit and provide evidence of a business plan, finances etc. Although, of course, we aren’t suggesting you don’t have any idea of what you want to do if you need to earn an income. We would think that this is a natural consideration for anyone when they make a move to a new country. Many put a great deal of thought and consideration into this irrespective of any Visa requirements.

Upon arrival, you will need to obtain a social security number to enter the French Health Care System. This can take about 10 months if you decide to be self-employed. If you are employed your employee will organise this for you.

There are great links back to the UK (many Irish nationals have family and loved ones living in the UK) and there is a direct boat to Roscoff. You can also fly to various parts of Ireland from Paris, Nantes and more recently Caen to Kerry which is just 1 hour 20 minutes from our office.

If you did require a mortgage to buy a home in France, you would need to find a specialised mortgage broker in the first instance as it would be hard to obtain one in France. Most of our buyers are cash buyers – from selling their existing property (if you are already on the housing market) – to purchase their new, cheaper home in France.

Take a look at what 210,000 euros in Galway will buy you compared to here in Normandy for even less! For just 192,500 euros you can buy a 4 bedroom home close to the lovely town of Brécey, which also happens to be near Avranches and the wonderful sandy beaches further north. Not only that you will €17,500 change!

Naturally, the language would be a concern for many but again there are no language tests for European citizens. You do not need a residency permit. How well you learn the language will be down to the level of effort you put in. It has never been as easy to find wonderful resources on line, be it Instagram accounts, YouTube, Netflix series and the many popular language apps and various Facebook language sharing groups.

There are Adult Learning Centres in Normandy that pay you to learn French  – yes, you heard that correctly! These are specifically designed to help people who are looking for work. In any event we have written about learning the language and finding a job in Normandy here and here.

If you do decide to make the move or consider a move, we’d love to show you our very affordable properties here in Normandy, France. And we could always do with a few more Irish pubs!

We hope you enjoyed this little insight on some of the benefits of moving to France what ever nationality you are. You will find some useful links below.


Caen Airport – Direct to Kerry

Flights from Nantes to Ireland

Travel Links from Cork and The UK

The Celtic Tiger Crash – Guardian Article written at the time

The Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant

EU citizen residency in another EU country

Auto Entrepreneur Urssaf Site

Setting Up As Self Employed In France

Ameli France Website

France’s Healthcare System: Applying for a Carte Vitale

Setting up your French business as an Auto-Entrepreneur

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