Best places to retire in France

4 min read

You’ve decided to make the move to France when you retire, but how do you decide where to live? You may have travelled to France several times over the years and have a favourite location, or you might want to try somewhere completely new.

This article provides information on the various areas of France, costs and things to do. Let’s start planning your retirement to France!

Choosing the right location for your retirement to France

The influence of location on day-to-day living

Where you choose to retire in France depends on several factors, including:

  • Climate – do you prefer the sun or cooler weather?
  • Access to healthcare facilities – for your peace of mind
  • Lifestyle – a bustling city or a relaxed countryside environment?
  • Transport – do you need access to public transport, or will you have your own car? Do you want to be near an airport or ferry terminal?
  • Cost of living – can you afford city prices, or would a more affordable rural village suit you better?
  • Community – how important is making friends to you – both French and expats?
  • Recreation – do you like hiking, swimming, cycling, going to the theatre? Whatever you enjoy in your spare time, you’ll want to ensure you have access to your favourite activities.
Good to know

An estimated 150,000 Britons live in France, which accounts for 0.2% of the French population.¹

Do you want to rent or buy a home in France?

If you plan to retire to France permanently you’re likely to be considering buying a property. Before you do this you may wish to rent for a while until you find your dream home.

Good to know

Our experienced consultants are here to help you find the ideal property in the perfect location, whether you wish to rent or buy in France. We have an in-depth knowledge of all the different parts of France and can offer you advice and guidance on where to settle in France.

Want to buy abroad?
Tell us about your project, our specialized agents* will guide you!

An insight into the different regions of France

It’s essential to choose an area where you’ll be happy when you retire, whether it’s in the French Alps or on the shores of the Atlantic. Here’s a summary of the main regions expats move to in France and what they can offer:

  • Provence – with its picturesque countryside, lavender fields, and charming villages, Provence offers a relaxed lifestyle amidst beautiful scenery. Cities like Aix-en-Provence and Avignon are popular choices for their historical attractions and Mediterranean climate.
  • The Dordogne – located in southwestern France between the Loire Valley and the Pyrenees, this region is renowned for its pretty countryside and tranquil pace of life.
  • Brittany – this part of northwest France comprises a rugged coastline, charming fishing villages, and Celtic heritage. Cities like Rennes and Quimper celebrate cultural festivals and historic architecture while scenic coastal landscapes show the ‘wild’ side of France.
  • The Loire Valley – famous for its stunning châteaux, picturesque vineyards, and lush countryside. This region is perfect for cycling, walking, wine tasting and exploring the history of France.
  • Toulouse – the « Pink City, » due to its distinctive terracotta buildings, offers a blend of historic charm and modern amenities. It sits near the Spanish border, allowing you to explore other regions once you’re retired and have the time.
  • Bordeaux – located in the southwest of France, is home to wine production, elegant architecture, and a vibrant cultural scene. Bordeaux is a sophisticated and lively retirement destination where you can enjoy museums, art galleries, delicious cuisine and breathtaking countryside.
  • The French Riviera (Côte d’Azur) – synonymous with glamour, and stunning coastal landscapes. Cities like Nice, Cannes, and Antibes offer a luxurious lifestyle next to beautiful beaches making this area an attractive destination for retirees seeking a cosmopolitan environment.
  • Paris – for an authentic French lifestyle the capital city of France may be your choice as a retirement destination. You’ll never be short of something to do, from visiting the famous landmarks to dining in French bistros and watching the world go by.
Being retired in France

Where you choose to live in France also depends on your budget. While city living commands a premium, if you’re after a more affordable property we suggest searching in the smaller towns and villages.

Below is a guide to the average cost of living in various towns and cities compared to the rest of France, taking into account food, a glass of beer, wine, water, a cup of coffee, public transport, utilities and leisure activities.²

Town/city Average cost compared to the rest of France
Bordeaux +6%
Lille -7%
Lyon +3%
Marseille +3%
Nantes -7%
Nice +12%
Paris +25%
Good to know

Are you concerned about retiring to France since Brexit? You needn’t be! It’s not as complicated as you may think. Read our guide to Planning your Retirement in France for everything you need to know, from how to apply for residency to getting a French driving licence.


Retiring to France offers a relaxed way of life, the chance to live in a warmer climate and an escape from the grey skies of the UK. Whether you choose the South of France, Paris or North France, making the move in your later years could be the best decision you ever make.

The modern transport network makes it easy to return to the UK for family visits, but more importantly, your loved ones can spend holidays with you in your new home.

To find out how our iad Overseas consultants* can help you find your dream home and live a happy retirement in France get in touch – we’d love to help!

Don’t let your dreams of a home in France remain dreams

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