The Most Popular Places to Live in France

France is a big country with plenty to offer. It’s full of different departments that all have their little quirks. From the cool north to the more Mediterranean south, and everywhere in between, France is dripping in culture, great food and full-bodied wines.

But where are the best places to live? Here’s our quick look at some locations that are popular with local expats.


The southwest of France is a beautiful area of the country with a wealth of great countryside, culture and architecture. The region’s capital is Bordeaux and the Gironde, along with the Medoc, is perhaps the most famous wine producing region in the world. Regular flights from Bordeaux to the UK make it one of the most accessible places in the country, second perhaps only to Paris, and if you love your beaches, history and variety this is a great place to settle down.


If you crave the hustle and bustle of a vibrant city, then Paris is one of the world’s most recognisable capitals. While some expats may be drawn by the cobbled streets, elegant architecture and the unique legacy of art and innovation, Paris is also the economic hub of France, producing almost a quarter of its entire GDP. Paris is not cheap, as you might expect for any major European capital, but it has practically everything that you would consider typically French and a surrounding region that is a joy to explore.


For those who love their literature and are looking for an area that epitomises the idealised English view of France, then Provence is a popular destination. Cities like Aix-en-Provence with its boulevards lined with trees, dreamy fountain squares, quirky shops and Baroque architecture have attracted many expats. With great weather most of the year round, it is, like Paris, a more expensive place to live but it has all an expat needs including being close to vibrant cities such as Marseilles.

The French Riviera

If you are looking to rub shoulders with celebrity glitterati, the French Riviera has a healthy Mediterranean climate and areas of stunning natural beauty. It’s a favourite for retirement amongst English expats and much will depend on where you choose to live. The closer you get to the coast, the more you will expect to pay for accommodation, whether it’s renting or buy. But if you enjoy sipping a pinot grigio on the Med, it’s an excellent choice.


One area with a lot of charm and plenty to see and do is Brittany. On the northwest coast and just a short ride by ferry to the UK, Brittany has a climate that is more like England than the Mediterranean but nevertheless the property prices are generally lower than in many other parts of France. If you like varied countryside and plenty to do, Brittany is a large region where there is much to explore from the capital Brest to other cities such as St Malo and historical sites like Carnac.


Heading down towards Spain, the Midi-Pyrenees is a popular region that many French people visit during their holidays. Cities like Biarritz are centres for budding surfers but there is also the surrounding mountain range that attracts expats to the region. Many areas are more rural than in other parts of France and it is generally less populous. The closeness to the Spanish border is also a bonus if you want the chance to mix cultures and languages.