France is a country with many geographical and cultural advantages which attract numerous retired British people. Here are some of the main reasons to retire in France:
1. Cheaper cost of living – The cheaper cost of living in France, especially in the real-estate, allows you to live more comfortably. Many British nationals sell their house in UK and can afford a better property in France.
2. Proximity to the UK – Nowadays France and Great Britain are connected by numerous ways of transport. Besides the Eurotunnel which makes nearly disappear the obstacle of the sea, you can find very cheap flights. However, if you prefer enjoy a Channel crossing there are numerous ferry companies which embark in several towns along both countries ‘coast.
3. Culture and history – France is a country full of History that stretches back thousands of years and which has moulded its landscapes and its buildings. As a result, it benefits of a rich heritage with its numerous old towns and museums. Generally, the tickets for museums and historical sites are widely affordable, not to say free sometimes, as the local authorities often subsidize the access to the culture.
4. Topography and climate – The French topography is quite diversified and so offers area for all tastes: mountain, coast, forest, countryside, or even sometimes some of them combined. This is the same for the climate, with a notable difference between the north and the south, as well as between the west and the east.
5. French gastronomy – Wherever you will go in France, you will find quite easily bakeries with their delicious baguettes and croissants, but also you will discover the local typical food. Each region has its own culinary specialities, like Brittany with its famous galettes and crepes, or Savoie with its Raclette and Fondue Savoyarde. Similarly, you can enjoy a large variety of wine from Bordeaux, Bourgogne or Pays-de-Loire regions, and numerous others… without mentioning the famous Champagne!
6. Healthcare system – The French healthcare system, or “Securité Sociale”, is one of the major advantages of retiring in France. Indeed, it provides one of the best health care services in the world. Though there are some conditions to join it, it is quite easy for EU citizens. For UK citizens, it is necessary to be in receipt of a S1 form from the UK, or to have been resident and paid taxes for five years.
7. Transport – French public transport is much cheaper than in UK. Roads and motorway are regularly maintained in good condition and the speed is often controlled for an optimal safety.
8. New activities– Retiring allows doing a lot of activities you could not afford in terms of time during your professional life. France offers many activities depending of the season and the area. One of the most French popular leisure – especially in spring and summer – is the famous play of Pétanque (“lawn bowling”).
9. Discovery of a new culture and a new language – Living in France is a great opportunity to learn a new language and to immerse yourself into the French way of life, which is quite different from the British one. For instance, when you make French friends you will notice soon the importance of the “apéro” (aperitif) before dining!
10. Great potential for B&B project – If you wish to compliment your pension by setting your BnB, France offers a great potential with a big choice of quiet and picturesque areas, as well as cheap properties convertible into guest house or with gites.