7 Best Places to Retire and Live in France: 2023

Spread the love

Looking for the best place to live in France? This post has the answer. France has been an increasingly popular option for ex-pats who choose to leave their countries for a sunnier, more relaxed, and carefree lifestyle abroad. This stunning nation has a lot to offer, including breath-taking views and landscapes, a delectable variety of culinary pleasures, and a slower pace of life.

In this post, you will read about the best places to retire and live in France.

Why Live in France?

Here’s why living in France can be a great option for you:

Amazing Food

Simply put, French cuisine is among the best around the world. Foodies will be in ecstasy in France because there are so many delicious, high-quality dishes accessible there! There is something for everyone in the food of France, from buttery pastries that melt in your mouth to luxurious 6-course tasting meals in Michelin-starred restaurants. Every bakery sells recognizable baguettes, which go perfectly with the extensive selection of French cheeses. There is something for everybody in French cuisine, so whether you have a sweet tooth or a savory one, you will undoubtedly feel as though you are in culinary heaven.

Work To Live 

The adoption of labor rules in France in recent years has resulted in a more casual attitude toward work, with the average workweek now being 35 hours. Additionally, any work done more than 35 hours is considered overtime and requires payment. This makes it a very desirable place to work, especially when you consider the generous 5 weeks of paid time off every year and the 13 bank holidays. The French place a high priority on maintaining traditional values, which includes making time to spend with friends and family. People will discover that life in France moves at a speed that is significantly slower than the hectic pace of English metropolitan life. With one of the most modern benefit systems in the world, the French government is also fantastic at helping out needy families. To keep up with their obligations and avoid falling behind on payments, some families receive an additional 240 euros every month.

Endless Lists of Things To Do

France is a lovely nation with some of the most breathtaking landscapes on earth. You have exposure to a variety of diverse and lovely scenery around, from the snow-capped mountain ranges of the Alps to the clear blue waters and sandy beaches of the French Riviera. It is simple to move from location to location and take advantage of everything that this lovely country has to offer thanks to France’s first-rate public transportation and interstate travel. Public transportation is effective and, most importantly, reasonably priced, whether you wish to take the train from Paris to Montpellier or one of France’s more rural regions.

Family Comes First

France is regarded as a fantastic destination to raise kids because of its value placed on spending quality time with friends and family. In France, meals last longer on average and are always shared with the entire family. Due to their relaxed yet steadfast moral standards that seek to guarantee that every child gets the most out of education, French schools consistently achieve some of the greatest results in the world. In France, childcare is also less expensive since the government significantly subsidizes caregivers for younger children, providing parents with much-needed help when they are unavailable. Take advantage of France’s wonderful Mediterranean climate and soak up the sun.

Read More:  Best Places to Retire and Live in Germany: 2023

Although France does not always face sweltering heat, the climate there is generally warmer than on British beaches. This is certainly one of the main reasons so many Britons relocate there every year. The warmest temperatures are found in France’s balmy Mediterranean south coastline region, where the mercury rarely falls below 30 degrees from May to September. Comparatively speaking, the Alps have year-round snowfall and temperatures that drop well below freezing.


The international fashion scene is one of France’s, and specifically Paris’, most well-known features. Paris would be among the best destinations for you to visit and live if you have a passion for fashion. There won’t be a onesie or worn-out t-shirt in sight, so you’ll know you’re in one of the world’s fashion centers when you stroll along some of Paris’s streets!

Low Crime Rate 

In general, France has lower crime rates than the UK. One important thing to keep in mind is that there are big differences in crime rates between living in the country and the city, so it’s always a good idea to check out specific locations before you relocate there. There is no doubt that many French people’s laid-back lifestyles contribute to the nation’s overall lower crime statistics.

Best Wine at Cheap Prices

France has to be the top travel destination in the world for anyone who considers themselves to be somewhat of a sommelier. Its wide selection of top-notch wines will have you coming back for more. Additionally, the cost of wine in France is considerably lower than it is in the UK. The primary cause of this is because wine can be taxed up to 75% in the UK, which significantly lowers the cost when it is sold in France, where it is made. The French wine business has some real gems, like Briquette, which was the first genuine sparkling wine.

Best Places to Retire and Live in France

Here is why living in France can be a great option for you. Check out the best places to retire in France. 

1. Lyon: Best Place to Retire and Live in France


You may travel from Lyon to Paris, the Alps, or a Mediterranean beach in no more than two hours. Its lively train station is so perfectly situated that you can tour the best of France from there and even catch the Eurostar to London for the weekend. However, you’d likely prefer to spend your time in the town itself, taking in its traboules, which were first constructed in the fourth century to help locals access the rivers with the bundles of silk spun by the Canuts—the Lyonnaise silk workers.

Read More:  7 Best Places to Retire and Live in Italy: 2023

Lyon is renowned as a foodie city, teeming with teeny restaurants called bouchons that frequently serve highly rustic, snout-to-tail cuisine but have recently switched to a lighter, less meat-heavy menu.

The about 500,000 residents are more tolerant than Parisians, there are several language schools, and the city has a highly international vibe, making it the ideal starting point for retirement in France.

  • Places to Eat: La Cocagne, Les Fines Gueules, La Tête de Lard, L’Étage, La Limonade de Marinette
  • Places to Visit: Vieux Lyon, Traboules, Fourvière Basilica, Parc de la Tête d’Or

2. Nantes: Best Place to Retire and Live in France


Nantes, located on the Loire with a wealth of attractions nearby and just a quick trip from the Atlantic Coast, is 2 hours by train west of Paris and ideal for weekend getaways. The city, which was once a thriving shipbuilding center and where young Jules Verne was inspired by the engineers and magnificent ships, has rebuilt itself as an incredible center for the arts.

The city’s most fascinating landmarks are connected by the Green Line, the Voyage a Nantes festival, and the pedestrianized streets. With a population of 300,000, it is frequently cited as one of the greatest regions in France to live in since it is not very populous, has a temperate climate that is neither oppressively hot nor too cold, and has convenient public transportation that travels a great distance.

The city center is rich in history, has many quaint streets lined with cafes and eateries, and offers both old and new inner city living. You can locate little homes near the river on the outskirts, like in the lovely Trentemoult, offering the ideal blend of city and country living. Nantes can be the best place to live in France for you.

  • Places to Eat: Le Manoir De La Régate, Le Cellier, Pickles Restaurant, L’Aménité, Esthète Pâtisserie 
  • Places to Visit: Jardin des Plantes, Les Machines de L’ile, Passage Pommeraye, Château des Ducs de Bretagne

3. Bordeaux: Best City to Retire and Live in France


Bordeaux, which has a population of around 300,000, has it all: a quick TGV link to Paris, some of France’s best beaches nearby, world-renowned wineries all around, and a lovely city center along the Garonne River. With all the conveniences you might want and a slightly calmer way of life, it is a lively metropolis on a smaller scale.

The city has long drawn retirees and expatriates from all over the world, and it provides a helpful website that provides information on city life. Definitely, one of the best places to retire in France. 

  • Places to Eat: Le Chapon Fin, Le Burger Fermier, La Brasserie Bordelaise, Le Quatrième Mur
  • Places to Visit: Cathédrale Saint-André, Attend a Performance,nPlace de la Bourse, Basilique Saint-Seurin

4. Aix-En-Provence: Best Place to Retire and Live in France

aix en provence

The smallest and most charming town of them all is this one. Less than 150,000 people live in tiny Aix-en-Provence, making it big enough to provide you with lots of shopping, restaurants, art (this is Cezanne’s hometown), and history. It is small enough to allow you to take in the herby odors of the surrounding Province. The hills of Province, with their lavender fields, are still absurdly accessible, and it takes less than an hour to go to the Mediterranean Sea.

It is not strange that this is one of the most popular locations for American retirees in the south of France because it has a first-rate language school and a charming café-cum English bookshop. Aix has a little higher cost of living compared to one of the smaller nearby villages. Purchasing a home outside of Aix but within easy driving distance may be the best choice if you decide to live there and like it. Aix-en-Provence can be the best city to live in France for you.

  • Places to Eat: Le Art, Kaiseki, La Source, Pierre Reboul, Villa Gallici
  • Places to Visit: Hotel de Caumont, Cours Mirabeau, Vieil Aix,  Musee Granet, Cathedrale St. Sauveur
Read More:  7 Best Places to Retire and Live in Belgium: 2023

5. Toulouse: Best Place to Retire and Live in France


Toulouse is a tangle of medieval alleyways, great buildings constructed from the local pink-orange stone, innumerable excellent restaurants, and cafes ideal for sunset along the Garonne. It has a population of less than 500,000. It has a cosmopolitan feel because many visitors come here to cruise the Canal du Midi. Famous for its hearty cuisine, from cassoulet to superb cheeses, Toulouse is influenced by the nearby Mediterranean and Atlantic Coasts.

  • Places to Eat: Au Pois Gourmand, Michel Sarran, Aux Pieds Sous la Table, Bistroquet à la Une 
  • Places to Visit: Le Capitole, Basilique Saint-Sernin, Jardin Japonais, Church of Les Jacobins

6. Montpellier: Best City to Retire and Live in France


Montpellier, which is also in the Occitanie area of southern France, is very different from Toulouse. If you blink while standing in some corners, you could believe you’ve returned to Paris. A replica of the Arc de Triomphe and Avenue Foch in Paris may be found here, along with opulent structures that reflect Haussmann architecture.

But if you take a deeper look, you’ll be astounded by this place’s history. Montpellier is incredibly magnificent, with a medical university that dates back to 1220, cobblestone alleys, businesses that still have wells inside of them, and more medieval buildings than you can shake a knight at. It provides a true Mediterranean climate, and world-class beaches are only a short tram ride away.

  • Places to Eat: Le Petit Bistrot, Atipico, Le Paddock, Ripailles, Le Réfectoire 
  • Places to Visit: Fabre Museum, L’ Écusson, Promenade de Peyrou, Place de la Comédie

7. Saint-Germain-En-Laye: Best Place to Retire and Live in France


Saint-Germain-en-Laye is a Paris suburb. Though not significantly less expensive than Paris, living here provides a radically different way of life. The Sun King, Louis XIV, resided in this city, which is just 12 miles from Paris and accessible by RER in 20 minutes from Charles-de-Gaulle Etoile.

Because of its multinational population, it now has some of the top international schools close to Paris. With its charming market, narrow streets, and excellent views of the City of Paris from its slightly elevated location, the city has a small-town vibe.

  • Places to Eat: Cazaudehore La Forestiere, Le Manege, Le Phare Saint Louis, El Sol Azteca
  • Places to Visit: Musée d’Archéologie Nationale, Priory Museum


France has something for everyone, whether you’re considering moving to take advantage of a more inexpensive retirement, relax in the sun with a glass of wine, or look for an energetic life filled with clubs and nightlife. Hopefully, this post has provided you with some guidance regarding the best places in the country that would be most suitable for you.