When a person decides to change their permanent place of residence and takes a radical step not only to move to another city, but even to change their country of residence, then a logical question arises before them – where to go and where are the best conditions for living? The evaluation criteria can be different, because each person has their own requirements for comfort, weather, entertainment and salary level in a new place. Someone may simply not tolerate the heat, and someone, on the contrary, is tired of the endless winter and wants to move to where it is warm and sunny for most of the year.
We continue to compare European countries where you can move for permanent residence, and today we have another «confrontation» – France or Spain. Both countries are located in the European part of Eurasia and are part of the EU. This means that French and Spanish citizenship gives the right to freely move throughout the European Union and choose any country for residence without the need for additional permits. But Spain and France have not only common, but also local advantages, so let’s look at them in more detail.
- Weather and climate
- History and culture
- Availability of health care
- Cost of living
- What is better – Spain or France?
Weather and climate
France is characterized by a variety of climates in different parts of the country. In the north of the country, including Paris, the climate is moderately climatic – here it is relatively cool in summer, but mild in winter. In the south, in the regions of Provence and the Côte d’Azur, the climate is Mediterranean, so here a comfortable temperature prevails throughout the year. There are almost no frosts here, and the rains in spring and autumn, although they can be strong, but they end quickly. But it is necessary to take into account that in the south of the country about 100 days a year the mistral blows – a cold wind from the Rhone valley.
In the west of France, in the region of Brittany, the climate is Atlantic, which is characterized by a small difference between summer and winter temperatures, as well as quite cloudy days with strong winds. It is warm here in winter (about +7 degrees), but summer is cloudy and cool (the temperature is around +17 degrees).
In the eastern regions, the continental climate prevails – here the annual amplitude of average monthly temperatures reaches +20 degrees (about zero in January and +20 degrees in July). In some regions of the country, such as the Alps and the Pyrenees, there is a mountain climate – cool summer and cold winters. Accordingly, choosing France as a country for permanent residence, you need to take into account the climatic features of a specific region where you are going to move. The climate here is different, so take this into account in advance.
In Spain, the situation is a little different – in most of the territory of the country there is a comfortable Mediterranean climate with warm winters and hot summers. But there are regions where the climate is relatively harsh – this is the north of the country and mountainous areas, where cool summer and cold winters. Lovers of heat will like it in the Canary Islands and Andalusia, where there is a subtropical climate.
It is difficult to say which option is preferable. On the one hand, in France there are more diverse climatic conditions, so you can, conditionally, settle in Paris and come to Nice for vacation – a resort city, where there is a more comfortable temperature. Or go to a ski resort in the French Alps, i.e. there is diversity and more room for choice. In Spain, in most regions, there is a hot summer and warm winters, so it will appeal more to those who are tired of winter. For a beach holiday, this is an ideal option, because the Spanish coast is known for its resort cities and well-groomed beaches.
History and culture
Perhaps the most subjective point, because each country has its own rich history and cultural features. What is closer to you – this is purely your choice.
France is known for its elegant cafes, Parisian boulevards and magnificent architecture. Here are a huge number of museums, including the Louvre and Orsay, so art lovers will definitely find a place to go.
On the other hand, it cannot be said that France is only about elegance, culture and snobbery. There are places where there are a lot of immigrants from Arab and African countries, so there are their own laws here. The same Marseille is very different from Paris, because it is a port city and the customs here are special.
Spain also has many significant cultural places, but first of all it amazes with its natural beauties. Magnificence everywhere – from the Canary Islands to the Mediterranean coast of Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca.
Here are great views of the sea, mountains and beaches, a large number of reserves and much more interesting. Spain is the third country in the world in terms of the number of objects declared by UNESCO World Heritage (it is inferior only to Italy and China).
Comparing France and Spain is very important from the point of view of employment, because the two countries have quite serious differences in this.
In Spain, seasonal vacancies are very common for newcomers. This can be harvesting, sorting vegetables and fruits, packing goods in boxes, loading, etc. The work is not very difficult, so there is a high demand for people of different ages – both men and women. It is paid well enough, because if the farmer cannot hire enough workers and the crop is not harvested in time, he will not be able to make money by selling his products and all his efforts will go to dust.
It is important to understand that in Spain the knowledge of Spanish is very important, otherwise you will be able to get only unskilled and relatively low-paid work. English is not very common here, so you definitely need to learn Spanish. However, without knowing the language, you can get a job as a sitter, nanny, animator, i.e. there is still a choice. Many Russian-speaking immigrants are employed in the construction sector.
In France, preference is given to the indigenous population. Of course, unless a large French company specially invites you to the country as a highly qualified specialist, providing housing and a high salary. In all other cases, you need to be prepared for the fact that you will be able to count on seasonal or temporary work. Again, everything depends on the knowledge of the language, but the rule is general, so you always need to learn the language of the country where you are moving.
Availability of health care
Spain has one of the best medicine in Europe. Here are located more than 700 hospitals and hospitals, which are not only in large cities, but also in villages. Owners of a residence permit can use free medical services if they issue a sanitary card TSI.
For this you will need NIE (Numero de Identificacion de Extranjero), Spanish registration and insurance number (you can get it in the social security authorities).
In France, too, highly qualified medicine, and the health system, as in most EU countries, is divided into private and public. Since 2016, a new health system for foreigners has been operating in the country – Protection Universelle Maladie (PUMA). It provides full access to public health services for everyone who has lived in the country for more than 3 months.
Cost of living
Here everything is subjective, because people have different requests for the level of comfort. On average, in Spain, 300-500 euros are spent per month on food (for a family of 3 people). This figure does not include visits to the restaurant – only basic products that are bought in stores.
Additional expenses include:
- internet – about 40 euros;
- travel pass – about 27-41 euros;
- gasoline – about 1.5 euros per liter;
- rent of an apartment – depends on the number of rooms and location (from 500 euros – studios, from 900 euros – two-room apartments);
- utility bills – 100-150 euros;
- entertainment – from 50 euros to infinity depending on financial capabilities.
If you are moving to Spain, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the best offers on renting real estate from the company «M2 Real Estate». We have only verified and relevant offers.
In France, life is more expensive in almost all aspects. Paris is the most expensive city to live in, where the cost of living is higher than in Madrid and Barcelona. On average, food in France is 36% more expensive than in Spain, housing maintenance – by 18%, clothing costs – by 30%, transport – by 20%, entertainment and leisure – by 28% (data from expatistan.com on May 5, 2022).
In Spain, there is a great diversity of languages and cultures, and France is more conservative in this regard. A little different attitude to newcomers. Spaniards are traditionally friendly and hospitable – this is especially felt in the southern regions.
The French are more closed and they have a rather restrained attitude towards newcomers. There are many immigrants from Africa and Arab countries, to whom the native French have a rather cool attitude. But, as a rule, this is caused by the fact that newcomers do not try to assimilate and become part of the French culture. If you respect the customs and traditions of the country, learn the language, then you will not have any problems.
What is better – Spain or France?
Both countries are a good option if you want to change your place of residence. They have both their pros and cons, so in the end everyone decides for themselves what is more important to them.
Spain is a warm climate, affordable cost of living (one of the lowest in Europe), good medicine, a variety of beaches and natural parks. France is a rich history and cultural heritage, excellent cuisine and very high quality of life (for those who can afford it).
In the real estate agency «M2 Real Estate» there is a large selection of offers for buying housing on the Spanish coast of Costa Blanca, which is known for its clean and well-groomed beaches. We also offer another service – exchange of real estate, which is becoming more and more relevant lately. All offers are verified, and there are a lot of options that are not published on the site, and we can provide them to you upon your request.