Relocating from London to Paris - an interview with Dorota
Dorota relocated from a Big 4 firm in London to a different Big 4 firm Paris in 2017. Her move was driven by her personal affection for France and love of the language. Although she relocated with only an intermediate level of French, her language ability has improved vastly since being in the capital.
Dean Dugas of Pro-Tax talked to Dorota about her move. Hopefully the information in the interview below is of some use to anyone considering moving their tax career to Paris. To view current tax opportunities in France, please click here: https://www.etaxjobs.eu/browse-jobs/europe-middle-east-and-africa-tax-jobs/france-tax-jobs/
1) Salary to Cost of living – how much do you get for your money?
More or less the same as in London. I would not get too attached to the information on the expat web pages that says that Paris is cheaper than London. In reality, the difference is so small that almost unseen. Bear in mind that social security contributions are VERY high in France in comparison to UK…
2) How's the quality of life?
Very much depends on a company one works for; long working hours are common in Paris offices. My office is empty by 6 pm.
One needs to know that working from home in France is not a common thing. Also, by law, one cannot work (even from home) on Sundays.
3) How easy is it to make friends?
The InterNations group in Paris is very active. So there is no doubt one will find a high number of interesting meeting points wihtin the English speaking community
4) Are the local amenities of a good quality?
Parisians (and the French in general) look after their health, so health clubs/gyms are very easy to access AFTER one obtains a medical certificate from a generalist. The cost of a health club is similar to the UK.
The transport in Paris is much cheaper than in London.
The trains run earlier and for longer than in London eg. it is very easy to find a train that runs at 5 am or after midnight.
5) Whats the quality and cost of housing like?
The cost depends on where one would like to live. In the centre of Paris, apartments are small and expensive. However, it is easier to find a furnished one.
I think the Parisian apartment cost is similar or slightly cheaper than a comparable one in London. The thing to remember is that one needs to pay a council tax and an accommodation tax (tax d’habitation) for a rented place.
6) How easy is it fitting in regarding Culture / Value / Religion?
I think the skill of “fitting in” depends on one's personality; I find it quite easy; I think the French are very welcoming.
7) Are there any challenges in setting up a bank account, phone, renting a place etc?
The biggest issue I had it was to find an accommodation; this is something VERY particular in France and difficult even for French people.
One needs to provide a high number of documents to a potential landlord (i.e. payslips, job contract, previous year tax return, granter etc); and application can be rejected for various reasons eg having a foreign country tax return (this was an answer I received few times from different landlords)
I would recommend checking if one is applicable to a VISALE VISA (https://www.visale.fr). Obtaining an approval of this governmental organisation helps a lot in getting positive feedback on an apartment application.
8) Most difficult things to get used to coming from London?
I am still trying to get used to:
- very laid-back attitude,
- absolute lack of urgency or planning ahead;
- expressions like “we have been doing it like this for the past X years”; “it is like this in France”; “this is complicated (c'est compliqué)”