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Small restoration projects can be found quite cheaply starting from around EUR 40, At the other end of the scale, a large chateau will set you back from EUR , Another extremely popular area with the Brits, offering as it does countryside, coastline and a mild climate. It is really two regions: the coastal area of Charente Maritime and inland Poitou. La Rochelle is a beautiful, albeit touristy fishing village, whilst to the west Cognac is the centre of the brandy industry. There are renovation properties aplenty here and although prices have increased somewhat more than the average in France in recent years, it is still possible to pick up a bargain starting at around EUR 70, for a small renovation property.

The area bordering on the Dordogne is the most attractive and in particular, the department of Deux Sevres has many farmhouses offering very good value. This is still a cheaper area than many in France and with its proximity to the UK, remains a popular holiday destination. It is even commutable. There is some lovely coastline and countryside too. Properties close to the coast are more expensive as well as those around the beautiful medieval town of Bayeux.

There is a variety of styles here: timber framed houses as well as stone cottages and more modern villas. Price per square metre is around EUR 1, Lying at the heart of France, this is a prosperous and peaceful area. It is situated quite a distance from the coast and its climate tends to attract those who desire a cooler, less Mediterranean feel although summers can be hot and showery.

Morvan is also very affordable whilst Dijon is a more expensive, bustling city where buyers tend to be primarily French. Average property prices are around EUR , to EUR , and the area consists of a variety of styles of property from country cottages to small village houses and an array of larger chateau type properties in the countryside. This is still the cheapest area of France and until a few years ago, was rather overlooked by British property buyers.

However, there are some beautiful villages here and the cost of living generally is low. There are still some great bargains to be found and the area represents excellent value for money as compared to many regions. It is still possible to pick up a renovation project for as little as EUR 25, and the cheapest of the three departments is the Creuse. Old stone properties abound as well as some thatched cottage type properties in the countryside. This is another very reasonable area of France with good property prices and space. It is in the heart of the Massif Central which is a vast mountain range with some spectacular gorges and caves.

Average prices here are around the EUR , mark with price per square metre roughly the same as the Limousin.

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An area of mountains and rivers with great investment potential, particularly for winter sports enthusiasts, there are also some thriving cities here such as Lyon, St. Etienne, Grenoble, Annecy, Chambery and Valence. It is a good area for long term rental, particularly in the skiing resorts. The region revolves around two main natural features: the River Rhone and the Alps. There is a tourist based economy here with a well-established British community.

The countryside is open and beautiful with lavender fields, lakes and mountains. There is a great variety of prices and types of property and prices have consistently risen by more than the average for France in the last 10 years. The average property price is one of the highest at around EUR , but a small apartment can be found for under EUR , Types include wooden mountain chalets, farmhouses and modern apartments. Franche-Comte shares its border with Switzerland and is an area of forests and pastures, wide open spaces and mountains. It is a popular area for gites with good short term rental possibilities as it is close to some excellent Alpine ski resorts.

The Best Places to Live in France - Expatra

The region has many German and Swiss residents. Types of property are mainly farmhouses and mountain village apartments. Prices are reasonable, averaging out at around EUR 85, Once a part of Germany, there are still many German influences here and Strasbourg has a multinational population due to its European institutions. The area offers great cultural and architectural interest and the locals consider themselves to be Alsatian. There is great buy-to-let investment potential particularly in Strasbourg and a constant influx of well to do workers ensures profits are made on sales. Property prices here are reasonable and many properties are generally larger than average for France as a whole.

The Meuse department offers the cheapest property, averaging out at around EUR 1, per square metre although taking the region as a whole, prices are slightly above those of the France-Comte, particularly close to Strasbourg. Average prices are around EUR , Although prices have risen fairly substantially here over the last 10 years, property is still roughly 50 percent cheaper than parts of the south of France. Excellent transport links as well as the great drink ensure its continued popularity. The Ardenne is a somewhat overlooked area for British buyers but its main selling point is the cheapness of the properties and the proximity of the Channel.

Broken down farmhouses can be picked up cheaply and prices here are at the lower end of the scale across France. The average price of a three-bedroom-house in reasonable condition is EUR , Prices are slightly higher in the Champagne area, buoyed up by Parisians buying here and the ease of access. As well as rural farmhouse and stone built village houses in the countryside, there are townhouses and smart apartments in the main Champagne towns of Reims and Epernay.

The areas closest to Paris, the Marne and also the Aube is the most expensive of the region. Inside, the stained glass windows take centre stage.

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Medieval personality, this village is surrounded by cliffs and oak trees. The church is so beautiful, but above all, you can feel the history through the walls. Like other French religious buildings, the abbey was vandalised by Protestants during the Reformation. But still, it remains intact which further adds to its charm. Top tips: Summers here are divine, you can expect an abundance of markets and local entertainment to take place in the town — so make sure to bag yourself some tasty local produce.

Burgundy, France: Village Life - Rick Steves' Europe Travel Guide - Travel Bite

At the heart of the French Riviera is the gorgeous St. The Med is truly bluer here, so top up your tan, join the locals in a game of boules or explore the cobblestones streets. Home to around 30 makers, tourists looking for a whiff of something good can enjoy multiple factory tours. Top tips: Make sure to bring back some jasmine soaps, violet body sprays and freshly scented perfume to remind you of your travels. The antique fairs during Easter have gained a worldwide reputation, so much so that more than antique dealers come to show off their gems. Also a Unesco World Heritage site , anyone with a passion for architecture will feel right at home.

This charming hilltop village is also home to many writers and artists that have long found inspiration here. Top tips : This ancient-turned-trendy town is great for families , couples and friends you get the drift looking to get away for a few days — four days should be enough to see everything. This snowtopia quickly gained its fame through its proximity to Mont Blanc. Top tips: Chamonix is great for skiers, hikers, thrill seekers and anyone with a love for picturesque views.

The talk about this town being extreme is true -, especially as a sports oasis. The capital of the Alsace wine region is arguably the prettiest town in France. Resembling our very own Little Venice , the small canals and brightly coloured houses are something out of a fairytale. Pretty cool eh! One of the most impressive villages in France, Roussillon is a countryside dream. The clear blue Provencal sky and the shades of yellow, brown and red and everything in between illuminate this magical village.


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You can hike, or hire a mountain bike to see the village up close. However it had lost much of its glamour by the end of the 20 th century and gained a reputation for being a bit boring. A lot of work and effort has been made to turn that around and with restoration and construction projects sprucing up of the whole city Bordeaux is rejuvenating its popularity. Public transportation in Bordeaux is excellent with a new tram system making it easy to get around the city without any need for a car. Bordeaux has some of the best schools and education establishments in France: Bordeaux International School is the only bilingual school in the region.

There are plenty of very good local primary and secondary schools. It is located in a beautiful setting — sitting on a meter elevated position that looks over the valley of the mountain river Gave de Pau. As a university city, with close to 12, university students living on and off campus, Pau has a lively energetic feel about it.


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  • The city caters exceptionally well for kids and teenagers, especially those who love sports. The town boasts an excellent sports complex where you can indulge in a huge range of sporting activities. This includes fencing and Greek wrestling if you fancy trying something a little different. For those heading towards retirement, schools and employment prospects will possibly be far less important.

    At the top of the retiring abroad criteria list we have excellent social scene, quality health care facilities, a friendly vibrant location where residents are healthy and generally live long, happy lives. The quality of the environment and the climate are ever more important factors for retirees, as is finding a location where crime is low and a good feeling of security and personal safety.


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    • Once again Bordeaux ranks very well and is topping the charts, this time as one of the best destinations in France to retire. Many of the reasons that make Bordeaux great for families also make it highly attractive for retirees. Great leisure facilities, excellent infrastructure, the wine and food culture, fantastic entertainment all year round plus stunning architecture are just some of the reasons why so many expat retirees fall in love with Bordeaux.

      Bordeaux is the perfect location for an active retirement. If you want the freedom to splash in the Atlantic in summer and go skiing in winter, while being able to attend entertainment events all year round, you need to investigate Bordeaux. Bordeaux offers retirees the possibility of a well-balanced lifestyle — unrushed and well-paced with a young active student population bringing additional life and vibrancy to the city.

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      The Economist Intelligence Unit rated Lyon as the 16 th best city to live in Europe and 30 th globally. As for many of the French themselves — they passionately rank it firmly as their number one city.

      see url It boasts some 2, restaurants, 17 of which are Michelin-starred, — you will never experience a lack of choice and variety when it comes to eating out in Lyon. The city of Lyon is also wonderfully rich in cultural life with dozens of theatres, performance venues and museums. Lyon is set to remain a firm favourite expat retirement and lifestyle destination.

      For hot weather lovers, the Languedoc climate is perfect with sunshine filled skies and summers that last much longer than you will ever be able to experience in the UK, even with Indian summers. Languedoc generally has fairly mild winters, summers can and often do get to be very hot, sometimes above 40C with high levels of humidity creating conditions that result in some incredibly dramatic and powerful storms.