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10 Best Places to Live in France in 2024

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Written by Reviewed by Dave Sayce

10th Jun 2024 (Last updated on 10th Jun 2024) 6 minute read

France is a popular destination for British expats wanting to start a new chapter. Whether you are looking to retire or seeking employment, there is a lot to consider when moving to France.

Home to 148,000 British citizens, France is the 4th top international country for UK movers, according to our data. With bustling cities such as Paris and Lyon to idyllic towns such as Eymet and Chamonix, it is home to many ideal locations.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the 10 best places to live in France depending on what you are looking for. This ensures you find an area that is right for your needs.

  1. Best Place to Live in France for Work - Paris
  2. Best Place to Live in France for Retirement - Bordeaux
  3. Best Place to Live in France for Students - Rennes
  4. Best Place to Live in France when Starting a Family - Montpellier
  5. Best Place to Live in France When You Are Single - Toulouse
  6. Best Place to Live in France for Expats - Eymet
  7. Best Place to Live in France for Foodies - Lyon
  8. Best Place to Live in France for Beaches - Nice
  9. Most Affordable Place to Live in France - Grenoble
  10. Best Place to Live in France for Skiers - Chamonix-Mont-Blanc
  11. Finding an International Removal Company

Best Place to Live in France for Work - Paris

Paris is the most popular location for British movers due to its vast employment opportunities. The country’s capital is one of the major cities in the world and is based in the Île-de-France region, also known as the Paris Region.

According to the French Census, there are 16,855 UK expats living in Paris, with 7,499 of these people living in the city itself. This equates to around 0.34% of the total population. As one of the most expensive cities, Paris boasts a higher average salary among expats at 54,100, according to WeAreDevelopers.

Some popular positions include English language teachers and tour guides. According to TEFL, English teachers earn between €1,200 and €2,000 per month on average. While you don’t have to be fluent in French for some jobs, being proficient in the language or showing the will to learn can help you stand out.

Best Place to Live in France for Retirement - Bordeaux

Bordeaux is the capital of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region in the southwest of France. The city has one of the largest British expat communities in France with 1,143 people calling Bordeaux their home.

Renowned for its quality wine and beautiful scenery, Bordeaux is often among the top choices for UK retirees thanks to the quieter way of life. There is plenty to do thanks to the vast array of museums and art galleries. This includes the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux (Bordeaux Museum of Fine Arts) and the Cité du Vin, which is regarded as the best wine museum in the world.

Best Place to Live in France for Students - Rennes

Rennes is a northwestern city located in the Brittany region. Known as one of the top student cities in France, Rennes is a wonderful place thanks to its dynamic atmosphere and a melting pot of cultures. According to the Census, 25% of the British population in Rennes are students.

What makes Rennes an ideal choice for students is the wide range of high-quality universities. There are 8 universities in the city including the University of Rennes and Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Rennes (Rennes National Institute of Applied Sciences).

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Best Place to Live in France when Starting a Family - Montpellier

Montpellier is one of the largest cities in the south of France. Located in the Occitania region, it is the prefecture of Hérault. There are currently 772 British citizens living in the city, according to the French Census.

The city attracts many UK movers thanks to its warmer climate and large expat community consisting of people from all over the world. Families flock to Montpellier as there are many excellent schools to send children to.

While you can choose to enrol your child in a public French school, there are plenty of international private schools to consider. This will allow your child to thrive in a bilingual environment and adjust to their new life quickly.

Best Place to Live in France When You Are Single - Toulouse

Toulouse is a vibrant city in the south of France located in the Occitania region. As the 4th largest city in the country, Toulouse is known for its vibrant nightlife and growing population. It is the prefecture of the Haute-Garonne department and is home to the majority of UK citizens in the region. 2,698 of the 3,957 Brits living in Haute-Garonne reside in Toulouse which is around 68%.

Individuals wanting to thrive in a strong expat community will find it easier to fit in thanks to the high number of Brits in the city. There is lots to do in Toulouse with plenty of nightclubs, stunning architecture and a wide range of museums.

Best Place to Live in France for Expats - Eymet

Commonly referred to as “Little England”, Eymet is a southwestern town in the Dordogne department. Located in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, Dordogne is home to 7,198 Brits. This is around 1.74% of the country’s total population and 851 of these are based in Eymet, which is 9% of the town’s population. This makes it an attractive choice for UK movers wanting a mix of French and British cultures.

Most people in Eymet are bilingual in French and English thanks to the large British population. You can pick up certain phrases in French and learn the language at your own pace with ease.

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Best Place to Live in France for Foodies - Lyon

Lyon is the 3rd largest city in France and is found in the southeast-central Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. There are currently 1,789 Brits in the city, which is ideal for those wanting to move to a city with a high British expat. Known as the gastronomic capital of the world, Lyon is home to 89 Michelin Guide restaurants with 20 of these holding Michelin stars.

There is a lot to do in Lyon and it is known for its wide range of museums including the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon (The Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon).

Best Place to Live in France for Beaches - Nice

Nice is an idyllic coastal city found in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, also known as the French Riviera. Perfect for those wanting to enjoy warmer weather, Nice sits on the southeastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It has the second largest UK expat population after Paris with 4,796 Brits residing in the area.

Perfect for those wanting to soak up the sun, Nice has 25 public beaches, meaning you won’t be stuck for choice. There is also a lot of culture to enjoy including the Musée National Marc Chagall (The Marc Chagall Museum).

Most Affordable Place to Live in France - Grenoble

Grenoble is a city in southeastern France, located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. Home to 696 UK movers, Grenoble is renowned for its beautiful mountain views. It is a smaller city and affordable, despite being in such an incredible location.

Ideal for those wanting a slower pace of life, Grenoble is home to the second-largest English-speaking community in France. Many British movers in Grenoble work in the tourism sector thanks to the close proximity to the Alps. Several semiconductor companies' headquarters are here such as STMicroelectronics, Soitec, and CEA-Leti.

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Best Place to Live in France for Skiers - Chamonix-Mont-Blanc

Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, often shortened to Chamonix, is a commune in southeastern France. Found in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, 602 UK citizens call Chamonix their home, this is around 7% of the commune’s total population.

What makes Chamonix a draw for skiing enthusiasts is the easy access to Mont Blanc. There are also plenty of hiking and climbing areas, ensuring there is always something to explore.

Finding an International Removal Company

Compare My Move can assist with your removal to France by connecting you with up to 6 international moving companies. To compare quotes, fill in our international comparison form and you could save up to 70% of your shipping to France fees.

To ensure exceptional customer service, our partners must pass our verification process to join our network. For removal companies, this includes having Goods in Transit and Public Liability insurance in place. Some of our international removal partners are FIDI members. However, this is not a requirement.

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Dave Sayce

Reviewed by Dave Sayce

Owner & Managing Director, Compare My Move

Dave Sayce is the owner and managing director of Compare My Move and has over 10 years of experience in the house removals industry.