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Ole Jacobsen

"Beijing has so much to offer for expats. InterNations helped me explore the international community and many close friends."

Nora Godfrey

"Arriving in Beirut, I did not know anyone and felt a bit lost. Through InterNations I met so many nice people, expats and locals alike."

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Family, Children, and Education in France

While a move to France promises famous cuisine and joie de vivre, it also raises many questions about family life, particularly for expat parents. Which nurseries and schools are available for expats kids, and what about the family pets? This guide has all the answers.

The French education system consists of four stages — preschool, elementary school, middle school, and high school — and is provided free of charge by the state. Although students have to attend school between the age of 6 and 16, many continue to work towards the baccalauréat, also referred to as bac. Among expats, private schools also have a very good reputation. State-contracted private schools are more affordable and follow the French curriculum, while non-contracted private schools offer more academic options and have their own curriculum. State-run schools are secular, following the implementation of the 2013 secularism charter, but 90% of private schools in France are Catholic. Many also offer curricula based on specific pedagogical philosophies or with an international focus. Moreover, expat children attending an international school can choose between different languages and academic qualifications.

From Crèches to Grande Écoles: Childcare, Higher Education, and Language Skills

Crèches are a rather popular childcare option and accept children as young as three months. Kids between the age of two and six, on the other hand, find a place at one of the écoles maternelles, the French nursery schools. For expat parents who prefer a personal caretaker, hiring a French nanny, charmingly called nounou, could be an option. Keep in mind, though, that a nounou has to be professionally trained and approved by the state. A babysitter or au pair might also be a good alternative, especially for older children. Expats with kids ready to attend university will be pleased to hear that France’s higher learning institutions, especially the Grandes Écoles, are ranked among the top universities worldwide. While the costs vary depending on the level of study, fees are comparatively affordable, making France’s universities popular among international students. In any case, learning to speak French will be very helpful and make your life and that of your kids a lot easier. While French is not the only language spoken in France, it is by far the most important one and the French are particularly proud of their mother tongue.

Expat Families in France: Marriage, Kids, and Your Furry Friends

You may imagine your wedding as a romantic affair. However, before you can enjoy your big day, you need to tackle bureaucracy and have a civil ceremony at the local mairie (town hall). After marrying a French citizen, you still have to wait another four years and prove that you are proficient in French before you can apply for French citizenship. Regardless of whether you are married or not, you are legally allowed to adopt in France if you are over the age of 28. This also applies to same-sex couples. Moreover, expats who bring their children along to France and need financial support, can apply for family benefits. A pet is another family member that may require you to prepare your move well. Vaccinations, pet passports, and microchips are just some of the things to take care of.

Ole Jacobsen

"Beijing has so much to offer for expats. InterNations helped me explore the international community and many close friends."

Nora Godfrey

"Arriving in Beirut, I did not know anyone and felt a bit lost. Through InterNations I met so many nice people, expats and locals alike."

Our Global Partners

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