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Where expats find the joie de vivre in France

By July 24, 2018October 17th, 2023FinGlobal

Where expats find the joie de vivre in France

July 24, 2018


France has many different regions for expats looking for the joie de vivre (the good life) so before you make your move to the land of romance, it’s important to do your homework to discover where you’d like to settle. The following four regions have proved popular with expats who’re looking to work or retire in France.

Brittany (France’s northwesternmost region)


Brittany is France’s most westerly region and is ideal if you have family in the UK that you’d like to visit regularly. Due to its close proximity to the UK, it has a large expat community and expats find it relatively easy to settle in the area with the locals being generally warm and welcoming. Brittany has many great beaches and coastal towns including many medieval towns and villages filled with culture. The southern part of Brittany is sunny with many hot periods. Not surprisingly, coastal properties command a premium, but further inland there are larger properties that are more reasonably priced. The areas around Quimper and Dinan, on the river Rance are popular with expats and here you will find the opportunity to either rent or buy a traditional French farmhouse.

Languedoc-Roussillon (often called “the Languedoc”)


The Languedoc-Roussillon region has become increasingly popular with expat buyers, the northern area of the Languedoc is more sparsely populated with small rural towns and is ideal for retirees who are looking for a quieter life and more affordable property. Montpellier is the fastest growing city in France and domestic and expat buyers are driving up the prices.

The Dordogne (southwest France)


The Dordogne lies between the Pyrenees and the Loire Valley and is renowned for its beautiful scenery and historic towns. Many British people live in this area and the cuisine in the area is world-renowned. Bergerac attracts plenty of visitors and residents, but its prices are higher than some of the more affordable areas like Périgueux – where you can find architecture dating back to the Roman and Medieval times, as well as many modern homes and older renovation opportunities.

Provence (southeastern France)


Marseille has a long history as a major trading port and many real estate projects have been undertaken to restore this city to its prime. The Cote D’Azure is famous for its sophisticated coastal resorts where wealthy expat retirees enjoy incredible views over the Mediterranean. Not surprisingly, the cost of living and property prices are higher than Paris and the area is busy with tourists throughout the summer season. Expats looking to settle in France will find more affordable apartments if they move inland away from the coast and the city centres. Prices are also lower in the Hautes-Alpes and the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, where skiing and cycling are popular.

Cash in your retirement annuity to enjoy your life in France

Many South Africans living abroad are unaware that they have the option to cash in their retirement annuity even before they turn 55 by completing the financial emigration process. The cash can then be used for any purpose including exploring France or even investing in a new home!

In most cases, the only proviso is that you have financially emigrated from South Africa. Financial emigration does not change your status as a South African. You and your partner will still have South African citizenship and your South African passports. What’s more, financial emigration can take place at any time – on your exit from South Africa or many years after you have chosen to live abroad.

At FinGlobal we have simplified the financial emigration process for thousands of South Africans living abroad and have helped them cash in their retirement annuities so they can make the most of their retirement abroad. To find out more about how we can assist you with this process, contact us today.


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