Many Brits dream of retiring to France, for the change of scene, the weather, the food or the culture but France is full of gorgeous spots – where should you choose?
The best places to live in France all depend on what you are looking for:
For the weather – Aix-en-Provence
Aix-en-Provence is not a very famous city but a wonderful place for retirement due to its spectacular weather. It is sunny and mild throughout the year, not experiencing boiling summers or chilling winters.
On top of the lovely climate it is a delightful place to live if you want to enjoy the vineyards, wine and olive oil tasting and a host of cultural options such as beautiful monuments, stately homes and art galleries.
There is also a nice bonus of a Eurostar train station right in town, making it easy for family to visit you, or regular trips back to England.
For exploring- Lyon
If you are not quite sure what you are looking for and love all aspects of France, Lyon may be the place for you. Only three hours away from the coast, one hour away from the Alps and Switzerland only a 4 hour drive away you have a lot to explore! Big walks and even mountain hikes are quite a common weekend activity.
Lyon is not an international city, which could be a potential drawback depending on your level of French fluency, a good level of French is vital but if you want to immerse yourself truly in France then Lyon is ideal.
For the price – Normandy
Normandy is not often mentioned as a top place to live in France as many people move out of England for better weather, and unfortunately the weather in Normandy is much the same as in England.
There are some wonderful sides to Normandy though. It is home of delicious seafood, picturesque fishing villages, an impressive array of cheeses, apple orchards and some much-loved cider.
Of all of France it is really the best place to live in terms of what you get for your money, prices are low and you could find yourself with a spacious house and garden, for the same price of an apartment in Paris.
For the culture – Paris
Now of course I cannot ignore Paris, the capital and central hub of France. Putting it bluntly the cost of living in Paris is considerably higher than anywhere else in the country, but if you want a thriving social and cultural scene, then you can’t beat Paris.
It contains over 100 museums and galleries, over 200 theatres and cabarets, over 400 parks and gardens, not to mention the impressive range of restaurants, cafes, shops and high-end fashion outlets.
It is also the easiest location if you want to be able to visit England, and family and friends back home, with the Eurostar, Eurotunnel and ferry all within easy reach.
For the schools: Bordeaux
The sunny south is popular with many brits, and the wonderful port town of Bordeaux fits the bill. It is about half the price of living in Paris and yet has a thriving ex-pat scene, beautiful architecture and wonderful restaurants and cafés.
If you are looking at relocating with your family, rather than retiring, Bordeaux has some of the best schools France has to offer and a big student population, from primary school right up to university.
Often known as the little Paris, you may find this the best of many worlds, a good night life yet on the sea, beautiful architecture yet affordable homes and a host of restaurants and vineyards to always keep you happy.
I hope that when you do make the move to France, you find your perfect spot! And don’t forget if you want to brush up on your French before you go, you know where to find me.