Is living in Northern France and working in London an expat dream

Published:  4 Jul at 6 PM
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Is London about to be just a commute from your home in northern France?

Boris Johnson’s idea about a 22-mile bridge between the UK and France wasn’t as crazy as it sounded, although Brexit wasn’t then considered to be a problem. However, it didn’t go down well with the rest of his chums as existing transport links between the two countries were considered adequate enough to include towns in Pas de Calais as part of the British capital’s commuter belt. In fact, a good few expats are living in France and commuting to work in the UK on a regular basis.

Having your French cake and eating it on your way to the office in the City is a reality, although Brexit may yet wreck dreams of an expat life in France.The appeal of the French lifestyle as against suburban London living is a no-brainer, but combining living the other side of a very large stretch of water and commuting daily to another country is quite a challenge. However, working from home or enjoying flexible working hours can make it more than possible and actually more affordable in the long run. For a start, salaries in London are far higher than in northern France and homes are still incredibly inexpensive across the Channel.

Number crunching is boring, but it works, as average London salaries are £2,292 per month and house prices average around £13,245 per square metre. Workers in London regularly commute from way outside the capital, with a two-hour train trip twice daily the norm. Homes in northern France cost just £2,948 per square metre and the one and half hour Eurostar trip links the region with London. Outside Lille, properties are even cheaper and transport is still excellent. Even although travel costs via Eurostar from Lille are expensive at £105 per return journey, travelling between Calais and Ashford in Kent on Eurotunnel car trains is comparable with, say, a weekly return ticket from Brighton to London.

Staying with friends or family in London cuts the cost, with Airbnb offering cheap digs if necessary. Basically, the viability of living in the Pas de Calais and working in London is down to the demands and routines of your job, excluding the traditional nine to five stint unless you stay in town all week. Even so, weekends sampling gastronomic delights amidst greenery in a stone-built village are idyllic as well as ideal for those who spend five days a week at the grindstone in grey, rain-swept London Town.
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