1 March 2024

MOVING TO FRANCE removals and belongings.

For several years our house in France has had everything we need.  When we downsized in the UK in 2014 we moved to a much smaller house and most of the furniture we had was too big so everything came to France.  We then brought all the furniture from the little holiday home we had in the village as well!


One of the difficulties caused by Brexit is that the days of being able to bring more or less anything and everything from the UK to France are now gone.  Year after year we would bring bits of furniture, tools, paint, plants and gardening equipment every time we came for a holiday.  Since Brexit that is no longer allowed.  Generally we are only allowed to bring the kind of personal items appropriate for a holiday and a limited value of other stuff.  Anything over and above that is subject to import charges.  

This is why many UK companies, especially smaller ones, no longer ship to France.  The paperwork required and duty on goods is often prohibitive.  Equally, anyone ordering goods from the UK is often obliged to pay a disproportionate amount of duty on goods that previously did not apply.


Because we are actually making France our permanent residence we have a year from the start date of our visa during which we could bring any of our belongings, just like anyone would who was actually moving house (rather than coming to live in one they have had for years, like us!).

Consequently we had a good look at what we had in the UK that we might benefit from having in France and managed to fill the trailer with a variety of things.  A few tools, some hobby and craft stuff, a few pots and pans, bedding, bits of furniture and so on.  The tedious part was that we had to make an inventory for every item and give its value.  Most of it was stuff we had owned for some time and no longer had receipts for, but the information on the French government website states that a reasonable estimate of the value of used items is acceptable. We spent a lot of time writing a list of everything and its approximate value.

We took the opportunity to being extra pillows and duvets.  The issue with bedding is that French beds, pillows and duvets are a slightly different size to those we get in the UK.  The equivalent items in France vary by just enough that our existing sheets and duvet sets (that we brought from the UK years ago) do not fit them.  

So, in my very last trip with the car I brought a supply of replacement duvets and pillows so that when the old ones are past their best and need changing we won’t have to buy a whole lot of new bed linen as well.  

Next time……..grappling with the French health service.


  1. I am so glad that we made our final move long before Brexit, it all sounds so complicated. We have a king-size plus bed from the UK and an ordinary double from S'Africa, We still have fitting sheets from RSA so no problems, but we did find duvets were different but they will in fact do with our RSA covers. Cheers Diane

    1. Brexit has certainly made everything more complicated, and expensive.

  2. French bed linens come in more and more sizes these days. We had similar issues but now we can easily buy what we need from Amazon.fr.

    1. That's useful to know.
      We looked in Ikea but they sell English sizes in the UK and French in France.