3 Best Places to Retire in France

11 Mar 2016 by Olga Brighton

Travelling to France

According to a recent survey of 1,500 people, France became one of the most desirable destinations for retirement. With France’s mild sunny weather, exquisite food, wine, easygoing way of life, high quality healthcare system and the fact that seniors are respected, it is no wonder it is so popular as a retirement destination.

So what are the best places to retire in France?

1. Bordeaux – the South West of France

Retirement in France

Climate: maritime with damp springtime, hot, mostly dry summers, mild winters and warm autumns.

The near-coastal region of Bordeaux is also known as “little Paris”. This warm and sunny riverside town is a home to a large English-speaking expat community along with Spanish, Portuguese, North Africans and the Dutch. Bordeaux is extremely popular with its grandiose gothic-baroque architecture, longest shopping strip in Europe, authentic French cuisine and legendary wine. People love Bordeaux for its quality living and reasonable prices - an apartment in the city center will cost you around £115,000.

Interesting Facts:

  • Bordeaux is the sixth biggest city in France with the population 250,000;
  • The part of city “Le Port de La Lune” is a Unesco World Heritage;
  • Bordeaux is seen as the wine capital of the world;
  • According to the 2013 report the region’s average household income was greater than the national average;
  • In 2015 Bordeaux was rated as the best tourist destination in Europe.

What other expats say:

“Sometimes people want something smaller and more manageable, and that's exactly what Bordeaux is. It's got a bit of everything, skiing, surfing, a lot of history, and an absolutely huge expat community”.

Read also: 4 Best Places to Retire in Italy

2. Languedoc-Roussillon – the South of France

France expats

Climate: dry and warm throughout the year with mild winters and really hot summers.

Even more affordable place than Bordeaux is Languedoc-Roussillon on the South of France. This popular expat destination with so much sunshine and varied terrain would be the perfect choice for those looking to spend time outdoors. This region is less-crowded throughout the year compared to Bordeaux, yet it still offers a long list of cultural and outdoor activities. Languedoc-Roussillon is famous for its wine and just like Bordeaux has a huge expat community including German, Dutch, American and, of course, British expats. Property prices start at around £99,000 for a middle-sized apartment, but you can buy a small house for not much more. The region’s biggest city, Montpellier, is a less than four hours from Paris on the high-speed train.

Interesting Facts:

  • The Languedoc-Roussillon’s area of vineyards are approx. 3 times bigger than Bordeaux’s;
  • The region has 25 seaside resorts and 9 skiing resorts;
  • The Languedoc-Roussillon is sometimes referred to as the “The Real South of France”;
  • It has an abundance of vines, olive trees and thin cypress trees.

What other expats say:

“Languedoc - it's great - we have almost everything you could wish for, coastal plains, mountains and the sea plus 300 sunny days a year on average, lovely old buildings.”

3. Aix-en-Provence – the South of France

Living in Aix-en Provence

Climate: Mediterranean with four distinct seasons: cool winter, mild spring, hot summer and rainy autumn.

Aix is the capital of a beautiful region in the South of France, called Provence. It has become highly popular with its natural beauty, arts scene, fountains, old stone cottages and universities. It is known for its vast aromatic lavender fields and golden sunflower beds along with breathtaking backdrop of snowy mountain tops.Stunning nature is not the only advantage of Provence. This region has a unique culture as well with a myriad of boutiques, cafes, restaurants, churches and a variety of the outdoor activities, wineries and olive-oil tasting rooms. Aix-en-Provence has a large student community so there are opportunities for those wishing to consider providing English tuition during retirement.

This region’s property prices are rather high – a small house will cost you at least £264,000. So renting might be an initial option if you are considering Aix.Aix has an expat community of 150,000 people so this can help the transition to French living.

Interesting Facts:

  • Aix-en-Provence inspired masters such as Monet and Renoir;
  • Its history dates back to 123BC;
  • It has the second most important Court of Appeal in France;
  • The local dialect includes elements of French and Provencal;
  • It is home to the Granet Museum, one of the finest in France.

Read also: Australia Travel Tips and Hazards for Seniors

What other expats say:

“We had got to know quite a few parts of France, but Provence was our favourite because of its climate, beautiful landscape and proximity to the French Alps, Spain and Italy.”

We hope this article has inspired you to research whether France is right for you. No matter which place you choose, we wish you Bon Voyage!

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