France has always been a popular destination with UK expats, tempted over the channel by the culture, climate and world-class food and wine. When you think about the country’s excellent education, healthcare and property opportunities, and the quality of life looks pretty good. Britons hunting for houses for sale in France can take their pick from thousands of properties in towns and cities, coastal or rural areas. Here, are some of the British expat hotspots:
Paris and Ile de France
The most popular expat hangout. Statistics compiled by INSEE (National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies in France) suggest that more than twenty thousand Brits live in or around the capital. Jump on the Eurostar, blink and you’re there. Paris is one of the great global capitals and a leading business centre, accounting for one of the highest GDPs on the continent. With an abundance of restaurants and bars, slick public transport and a host of museums and galleries, it’s an obvious choice for Brits looking to relocate. Property in Paris comes at a premium, but venture beyond the city to the surrounding countryside and you might just pick up a bargain.
Located towards the south west corner of France, the Dordogne is one of France’s most popular destinations. It is well known for its castles, medieval villages and beautiful scenery and with a warm and pleasant climate and delicious local produce, a clear favourite with expats. Homesick Brits will feel immediately at home in the town of Eymet, which has a cricket club and L'Epicerie Anglaise and where a quarter of the permanent residents hail from the UK. For a fraction of what you’d pay in the UK you could find a farmhouse with outbuildings, land and a swimming pool.
Situated between the Alps, the Mediterranean Coast and the Italian border, South Eastern France is popular with expats seeking an ambrosial climate, beaches, countryside, culture, history and employment. The Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region is burgeoning with quaint towns and villages, lavender fields, and vineyards and is also a significant contributor to France’s economy, with strong tourism, services and agricultural sectors. There’s the historic town of Aix-en-Provence, glamorous Cannes, with its annual international film festival and Marseille, France's traditional, yet metropolitan, second largest city. Buy a property here and you’ll not only enjoy a great quality of life, should be making a sound investment.
Expats continue to flock to this western area of France, comprising the coastal Charente Maritime and inland Poitou, for the climate, countryside and coastline. La Rochelle is a pretty, if touristy fishing village, whilst to the west, there’s Cognac, centre of the brandy industry. There are properties aplenty just waiting for Brits in search of a renovation project.
Occupying a peninsula on the westernmost tip of France, Brittany is characterised by seaside resorts, picturesque harbours and historic towns and lies between the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay. Its name suggests that we should feel at home here; indeed Time Magazine described Nantes as the most liveable city in Europe. France remains a popular choice for UK expats and offers endless opportunities for urban, rural or coastal living.