Moving to France remains a popular choice amongst expats looking to change their way of life.
There are many different French regions to choose from and each has its attractions, but the following four have proved to be consistently popular with people looking to move to France to live and work, or to retire.
Brittany – Brittany is France’s most westerly region and its proximity to the UK makes it easy to get to and it has a large expat community. Brittany is very proud of its culture and language and expats find it easy to settle in as the people are generally warm and welcoming.
The region has great beaches, coastlines and coastal towns and inland there are medieval towns and villages, forests and green countryside. The northern part of the region can be windy but the southern part tends to be sunnier with occasionally very hot periods on the southern coast.
Finistère is a tourist region and the area around Quimper is popular with British buyers. Coastal properties command a premium, but inland there are larger properties available at reasonable prices. Longeres, the long traditional farmhouses, medieval townhouses as well as more substantial detached houses provide attractive investment opportunities.
The areas around Quimper and Dinan, on the river Rance are popular with British buyers. Vannes near the Gulf of Morbihan with its attractive coast are popular with both expats and Parisians resulting in higher prices than other parts of Brittany.
The Languedoc-Roussillon region has become increasingly popular with foreign buyers over recent years. The region has stunning natural features such as the Camargue and the Canal du Midi as well as historical sites, such as the World Heritage site of Carcassonne.
The northern area of the Languedoc is sparsely populated with small rural towns. Its appeal is for those who enjoy a quieter and outdoor life and, although it is not popular with British buyers, it is more affordable than many areas.
The area around Nimes has dramatic gorges and the Camargue to the south, a natural marshland famous for its flamingos and wild horses. Uzes is an attractive and popular medieval town with its narrow streets and shaded squares.
Montpellier is the fastest growing city in France and is in increasing demand, but prices are fairly high driven by demand from domestic and overseas buyers. The city is surrounded by attractive villages and vineyards.
Perpignan has the dramatic landscape of the Pyrenees as a backdrop. The area is generally more affordable and there are coastal resorts with very affordable apartments but also premium areas such as Collioure.
The Dordogne lies between the Pyrenees and the Loire Valley and is famous for its stunning scenery, unchanging historic towns and has long been associated with Brits moving to France. The cuisine in the area with foie gras and duck confit is an added bonus.
Nontron, Périgueux and Bergerac are popular, but it is the rural areas that are the highlight.
Bergerac with its surrounding vineyards, attractive countryside and stretches of the Dordogne River is a popular but pricey area. Perigueux with architecture dating back to Roman and Medieval times offers affordable modern homes as well as older renovation opportunities.
Nontron is set up high with excellent views over the valley of Bandiat. It has a quiet centre with half-timbered and Renaissance buildings and property in the area is surprisingly affordable.
Marseille with its long history as a major trading port went through a period of faded glory, but new parks, museums, public spaces and real estate projects have been built to restore the city. The area has very low rainfall and the temperatures in the summer can be very high.
The Cote D’Azure enjoys glorious views over the Mediterranean and some of the most famous and sophisticated coastal resorts in the world. Cannes, Nice, Antibes, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and Monte Carlo conjure up images of quintessential French glamour and there are many wonderful homes along the coast. There are an enormous number of excellent restaurants, vibrant local markets and no shortage of cultural and other events
Not surprisingly the cost of living and property prices are high with average prices higher than Paris and the area is very busy with tourists throughout the season. If you want to find better prices you will need to move away from the coast and city centres. Inland you can find more affordable apartments, as well as farmhouses and attractive homes in rural villages.
In the Hautes-Alpes and the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence where skiing and cycling is popular and prices are lower. Just outside the region Savoie and Haute Savoie are very popular skiing resort areas and, although the top ski resorts such as Courchevel are very expensive, some of the less well-known resorts are more affordable.