Guide for moving to Lyon

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Europe is a popular destination for many Americans looking for a big change. As some of the most sought-after international movers, Transparent International knows this better than anyone. And the country that has always been among the most popular to relocate to is France. Paris in particular draws in many ex-pats, with its romantic streets, centuries of rich artistic and cultural history, and the perfect balance of modern and classic. But Paris is far from the only French city that has a lot to offer. Moving to Lyon, the second largest and most populated French city, may just be the perfect choice for you. What is Lyon like, then, and what should you do when relocating there? Let’s find out!

What can you expect from moving to Lyon?

Moving anywhere is always a serious change, but moving to France from the USA is certainly bigger than most. You’ll need to get used to a whole new country, culture, and even language. Culture shock is almost definitely inevitable. But you can mitigate it by preparing through a bit of research. It’s always better to know what to expect!

View of Lyon at night that you'll see after moving to Lyon.
Prepare for a completely different life across the pond.

Lyon at a glance

Lyon, also spelled Lyons, is France’s second-largest and most populated city (behind only Paris) with around half a million people calling it home. The population has been growing in recent years and nowadays, around 15% of the residents are not, in fact, locals. With a booming economy and a pleasantly warm and largely dry climate, it is no wonder the city attracts many new people every year.

Although international relocations to Lyon are far from uncommon and foreigners can count on positions in international companies and education for their children in international schools, French is still very much the main language of the city. Most people have a decent grasp of English. But it is highly recommended that you give learning French a try anyway. The city was built on two rivers, the Rhône and the Saône, and is surrounded by hills. Remnants of the medieval city of Lyon, the historic city center, and the stunning Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière all speak to hundreds of years of history.

Working in Lyon

On top of being the second-largest city in France, Lyon is also the second richest. It is especially easy to find work in the chemical, pharmaceutical, and biotech industries. But banking and software engineering are also good career choices. Finally, in its bid to become one of the world’s leading locations for innovation, Lyon has become particularly favorable for startups. While the unemployment rate did grow following the last world economic crisis, it is still lower than the national average or the rate of many other major cities in the country.

The cost of living

It is no secret that international removals can be quite expensive. So naturally, you’re hoping that the city you’re moving to isn’t going to put you further into debt with absurdly high prices and completely unaffordable rent. Luckily, Lyon is significantly less expensive to live in than most large American cities. Both healthcare and education are public, making those expenses low to non-existent. Renting a one-bedroom apartment will only cost you somewhere between $400 and $600, depending on location. Groceries are also less expensive than in cities like New York, LA, London, and even Paris. Finally, like most major European cities, Lyon has an excellent yet affordable public transport and walking is also very much a possibility so you won’t have to deal with the costs of owning a car. The only thing that might put a dent in your budget is high-end shopping.

Fresh produce.
Groceries won’t set you back much in Lyon.

How to make moving to Lyon easier?

There are several reasons why moving from USA to Europe is difficult:

  • it’s expensive (like any international relocation will be)
  • it is time-consuming (legal immigration can take months)
  • it requires a lot of planning and organization

But ultimately, it can be the best decision of your life. So don’t give up – just focus on making it easier!

Sort out your visa and travel documents

The first thing you need to do is get a visa for France. While traveling to France as a tourist doesn’t require one, settling and working there will. You can look up the process for obtaining a visa on the website of your local consulate or embassy. Remember to also renew your passport (or get one if you don’t already have it).

Find a place to live before moving to Lyon

There are tons of beautiful neighborhoods in Lyon to choose from. Look for something affordable (usually towards the outskirts of the city) but with a good connection for your commute. Check out listings online and contact landlords to negotiate early on – don’t leave apartment hunting for the last minute. Finally, consider hiring a real estate agent or broker; since you’re buying long-distance, it would be good to have someone be your eyes.

You can find a beautiful place to live at a reasonable price in Lyon.

Hire professional help

International relocation is hardly ever possible without the help of professional movers. And even when it is possible, it is not the easiest way to do it. So check out international moving companies in New York and hire someone who can make moving all your stuff across the ocean significantly easier with experienced movers, high-quality service, and punctual deliveries.

Prepare for the trip

Aside from preparing all your important documents, you’ll also need to take on the biggest task of every relocation: packing. You should first get rid of as much stuff as possible to make it cheaper and easier to move. Then, pack the boxes of stuff you’ll ship to your new home and the suitcases you’ll bring with you. Remember that it may take weeks to have your belongings delivered, so bring everything important with you.

What to do after moving to Lyon?

Moving to Lyon will open a whole new world of opportunities for you in terms of culture. There are a ton of historical sites that are well worth visiting, including the Ancient Theatre of Fourvière and the Traboules. If you’re more artistically inclined, Lyon has several world-class museums and for the more religious folk, there are two major (and majorly beautiful) cathedrals. But don’t worry, the social scene and nightlife won’t leave you disappointed either. So whatever you like to do in your spare time, you’ll find the perfect place for it in Lyon.

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