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Property Locations

France - Property Locations

There are not really any specific expat communities in France (not in the way that there are in Spain, for example). Expats tend to live all over the country and most who move there are keen to mix with French people so do not want to create their own English speaking enclaves. However, there are some areas which are more popular than others for various reasons. France as a whole has become one of the leading destinations in the world for expats from a wide variety of countries.

It is widely considered that one of the most popular destinations in France for expats is the city of Paris. Around one-sixth of the British expats who come to the country make their home in the city. This trend shows no sign of slowing down and the improved public transport that links the city to several other countries is a bonus. London can be reached quickly as can Amsterdam and Brussels. Paris also has a romantic image which attracts large numbers of people who hope to lead a cosmopolitan way of life.

A recent survey by L’Express magazine in France rated the different departments of the country for their suitability for different types of households. If you are moving with children then you need to consider somewhere with good schools and employment and the three top departments for this were determined to be Vendée, Haute-Garonne and Pyrénées-Atlantiques. The same study shows that if you are thinking of retiring you will need good health care facilities and may want to opt for an area where the residents are the healthiest, in a good climate and with a low crime rate. The top three departments for this are considered to be Hautes-Alpes, Aveyron and Corrèze.

There are some areas of the country which are more affordable than others and if you are on a tight budget then the areas which are considered to be the most cost effective for house buyers are Indre, Nièvre and Meuse, although the study also recommended Creuse and the Haute-Loire regions. Many regions of France have good weather all year round but there are some regions where residents are almost guaranteed continuous good climate. The departments along the Mediterranean coast fared very well in this category. Health care is not just an issue for those who are retiring and the healthcare in Paris is considered to be the best, although other recommended regions include Gironde and Bouches-du-Rhône. It should be noted that there are no areas where healthcare is considered to be poor, it is just that these are considered to be exceptional.

Haute-Garonne is considered to be the best place in France to move to as it scores highly in all categories of living. The Pyrénées-Atlantiques was placed second overall and other regions not already mentioned such as Ille-et-Vilaine and Hérault also scored highly. The standard of living in general means that there are not huge differences between each department and unless you are moving to the country for a specific job then you will not be limited as to where you can move to.

There are currently a number of regions which seem to attract more expats from one country than others. Many British expats opt for a home in Brittany and Normandy. Their location on the north coast of the country makes it easy to visit the UK. The Pas de Calais is beginning to attract more expats as it is no longer seen as just a ‘passing through’ area. British buyers are also now buying more properties in the western regions of the country thanks to the influx of budget airlines which are gradually linking all the main airports in France with several different airports in the UK.

It is considered that many expats from Europe will buy homes which are fairly close to the border with their own country. The district of Lorraine has a high number of German second home owners while the Swiss seem to opt for Haute-Savoie. Those from outside Europe seem to have their preferred regions too. Paris is popular with Americans as is the Dordogne and several other regions. The countryside in general is popular with those who want to experience the traditional laid-back lifestyle of the French. This is still very much in evidence in all areas of the country so you are not limited if you are looking for this.

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.