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Find your footing in France at these recommended cities

By December 20, 2017October 6th, 2023FinGlobal

Find your footing in France at these recommended cities

December 20, 2017


Moving to a country where a foreign language is spoken is always a daunting prospect and it pays to be as prepared as possible before you arrive – especially when it comes to choosing the right city. You might think Paris is the obvious choice if you’re emigrating to France, however Paris ranks third from the bottom in the Expat City Ranking 2017, with expats reporting that despite slightly above-average quality of life, they struggled to get settled and afford housing in Paris.  Fortunately, this is not the case for all cities in France – so here are some destinations where expats happily live and retire to.

First for families…

The InterNations 2017 Expat Insider survey recently rated France in the top 20 countries (at position 15) when it came to their Family Life Index. An area that appeals to families is the Midi-Pyrenees region in southern France where property prices are more competitive and there’s plenty to do outdoors – from hiking in summer to skiing in winter.

  • Toulouse in Haute-Garonne is popular city in this region and is often voted as the most attractive place to live in France. It has some of the best schools in France (both state and private) and enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate with mild winters. Toulouse is also known for its tertiary education with many universities and is renowned for being a city of education, students and research.
  • Another good town for families is the port town of Bordeaux, which is centrally located – being just a 3-hour train ride from Paris and 3 hours from the Pyrenees Mountains. Bordeaux has an excellent tram service that frees its residents from the need for cars and features plenty of gardens, cafés and restaurants. Like Toulouse, Bordeaux has plenty of fine schools and institutions for tertiary study – with Bordeaux International School being the only bilingual school in the region.

Looking for a quieter pace…

If you are planning to retire or are simply looking for a quieter pace of life then these cities are firm favourites:

  • Lyon regularly features on many surveys as a top expat retirement and lifestyle destination. Located between two rivers, the Saône and Rhone, it enjoys warm long summers and mild winters. It’s a city with a rich cultural life with many theatres, museums and performance venues. As France’s culinary capital it has over 2000 restaurants – many of them Michelin-starred – so if eating fine food in your retirement is appealing, you won’t be disappointed
  • Pau is the second city of Aquitaine, after Bordeaux and is a beautiful city for those looking for a slower lifestyle. Known as the “Green City” or the “Garden City”, Pau has one of the highest ratios of green per square meter per person of any European city.

Retire in comfort abroad

One of FinGlobal’s most relied upon services is assisting South Africans living abroad, turn the proceeds their retirement annuities into cash – even prior to the recognised retirement age of 55 – and then transferring their funds to their new home. This is possible because of changes to the tax legislation that came into effect in 2008.

If you’re planning on retiring in France, you can use this money for anything – an exotic holiday, home remodelling or you can re-invest it, the choice is yours. For more information about how to move your retirement annuities and pensions abroad, contact us today.

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