Do you have any regrets? That’s a question I often ask my friends who are living overseas. And I’d venture that 99.9 percent of the time I get the same answer. “I wish I’d done it sooner,” they say. “If I’d only known back then what I know now…”
“Paris thrives on its glamorous reputation, but discounts and deals are available here just as they are everywhere else,” reports Barbara Diggs, InternationalLiving.com’s France correspondent. “With a little inside knowledge you can enjoy the best of Paris for far less money than you’d think.” Diggs reveals the best places to eat and shop in the City of Light, as well as detailing cultural attractions from museums to the theater, all at a fraction of the price a tourist would expect to pay in a city like Paris.
In late March of this year, I was sitting at the dining table at a friend’s house in Glasgow, Scotland, where I was visiting for a couple of weeks after leaving Costa Rica and enjoying a short four-day stop-over in London.
It’s called the “Old World” for a reason, and despite two world wars and decades of development, history is evident in the architecture of Europe. You can stroll cobbled streets where lords and ladies once rushed to galas, climb castle steps in the footsteps of armored knights, and explore villages preserved for 500 years or more.
As a corporate lawyer, Barbara Diggs jetted from her home in New York to the world’s great capitals living what many would consider the American Dream. But 13 years ago, she realized that the 14-hour days were robbing her of her joi de vivre, and she and her husband decided to settle in the place that put joi de vive on the map… Paris.
For 25 years, I’ve been designing an apartment in Paris—in my mind’s eye. I mentioned it to an acquaintance at a party recently who said, “That’s such a romantic notion.” What she meant was “dream on…it’ll never happen.” This knee-jerk dismissal of the romantic notion as something fundamentally frivolous—or, at the very least, unrealistic—is typical. But at the risk of causing offence, I’d like to say: I think it points to a lack of imagination. To my mind, romantic notions provide the fuel for a life lived rich with adventure.
No city in the world wears a cloak of glamour and sophistication quite the way Paris does. From the cool allure of the Avenue Matignon boutiques to the glittering elegance of the Opera house, Paris is a city that makes you crave the best of everything.
I’m a writer. And in the age of the Internet, that’s a great thing to be. I didn’t plan it that way, of course. In my case it was just dumb luck. After a dozen years as an undergrad searching for something to hold my interest long enough to actually get a degree, I stumbled on journalism.
Exploring the villages of Le Luberon, France, and beyond, it’s hard to ignore the overwhelming sense that the French have it all figured out. Here is my evidence: In Bonnieux a visit to the Musée de la Boulangerie (Bread Museum), followed by a flawlessly executed warm baguette snack perched on a wall overlooking the valley floor, was the perfect way to start the day.
It’s always a bit of a bummer when a vacation comes to an end, even if you live in Paris. I felt this way recently driving back north after spending one fabulous week with my family in sunny Aix-en-Provence in the south of France.
I have never felt spring emerge the way I have in Aix-en-Provence. In April’s infancy, the plane trees were ghostly bare and the shoppers at the outdoor markets were still bowing to the wind, heads down and tucked into their beautiful French scarves.
In the popular imagination, it’s the great capitals of Europe that get the most attention. Tourists flock to Paris, Rome, Madrid, and London for the big-city flair, museums, and monuments. It’s the thing to do. And granted, you should seize any opportunity to stroll the Champs-Élysées on a beautiful spring evening or explore London’s international cuisine and regal parks.
“Gascony’s the real France,” Jean-Jacques said. “Everywhere else—it’s another country.” Jean-Jacques, a local farmer, was leaning from his tractor—behind him, a bright field of sunflowers and the 18th century farmhouse my parents call home. His sun-beaten face squinted down at me. “Gascony is the hidden jewel of France—it’s our best kept secret.”
Vacation rentals are a great way for an investor to create an income overseas but, unless they’re living next door, anyone who owns a vacation rental needs someone to manage it for them. Property management is a business you can start with absolutely no investment. You are simply trading your time and effort.
Can a person make money out of bits of old paper, or are they simply too “ephemeral?” The word ephemera means “something of no lasting significance.” In collecting, however, ephemera is the buzzword for all things interesting made of paper. And for collectors, ephemera have lasting significance, indeed.
For some visitors to France, a fulfilling visit consists of getting a couple of snapshots of the Eiffel Tower, dining in a classic brasserie, and bringing home a piece of France: a case of Châteauneuf du Pape or perhaps a wheel of brie.
Countless people dream of retiring in France—and for good reason. France offers a seductive blend of old-world sensibilities and modern living, all wrapped up in one beautiful package. While it’s true that most people don’t retire to France to save money, life here can nonetheless be surprisingly affordable. So, where in France you should think about retiring? Consider these five prime towns and regions: 1. Bordeaux: A Lower Cost of Living in “Little Paris”… Bordeaux is a beautiful port town of 239,000 people lying along the Gironde river…
InternationalLiving.com’s annual Global Retirement Index reports that France, Uruguay and Malaysia provide the best and most affordable health care in the world. The Health Care category in the Index considers the cost of care and the quality. Also considered are the number of people per doctor, the number of hospital beds per 1,000 people, the percentage of the population with access to safe water, the infant mortality rate, life expectancy, and public-health expenditure as a percentage of a country’s GDP.
In medieval Europe, keeping an eye out for and guarding against invasion—a frequent occurrence in those days—was no easy feat. But one of a nobleman’s greatest defensive weapons was a castle perched on a rocky hilltop near an important mountain pass. The location itself—surrounded by steep cliff—offered protection.
“There are those who adore Paris but could think of nothing worse than living in the city center,” reports InternationalLiving.com’s France correspondent, Barbara Diggs. “Romanticism aside, Paris is a big city—and an intense one, at that. After living here awhile, you start to notice that the streets are endlessly thronged. And most reasonably-priced apartments are about the size of a walk-in closet,” says Diggs, based in Paris.
Health care overseas is more affordable than in the U.S. You will pay less for high-quality health care overseas and these countries are three of the best according to International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2014.
I first discovered Paris while studying in London. One weekend spent exploring the city of light and I was smitten. Whenever an occasion arose, I would return, to walk the streets that spoke of history, to sit in the charming cafes and watch the passing of time, in this, the most beautiful city in the world. Yes, I dreamed to live there. One day.
Although we had never met, the young man on the phone asked if I could help him. He went on to explain that he was in his final year of medical school, had discovered he didn’t want to practice medicine and was purposely flunking out. “What does your family think about that?” I asked. He quietly told me that they had disowned him. We talked a bit longer and I asked him if he knew what he loved. “Yes,” he said, sounding instantly upbeat.
It’s impossible to escape the geese in Sarlat-le-Caneda. Images of these plump birds adorn shop windows, and products of all kinds are decorated with the likeness of the animals that have been adopted as the unofficial mascot of the area. Often known simply as Sarlat, this town with a population of about 11,000 is in the center of the Dordogne region of southern France. Sarlat offers big-city convenience and activities packaged in a small-town setting that make it a delightful location to visit…
The small, pretty town of Chantilly is less than 30 minutes from Paris by train, but when you arrive at the station and take a lungful of fresh air, the big city couldn’t feel farther away. Chantilly (pronounced shahn-tee-yee) lies in the Oise department of France, 24 miles north-northeast of Paris. It is both the name of a town of 11,000 people, and of a larger commune that comprises several other towns and villages, bringing the total population to 36,000.
There are many benefits to moving overseas: the weather is better, your quality of life will improve and you will always have something to do. Here are a few quick questions that you should ask yourself before moving overseas. 1. What type of weather do you like? If you don’t like the snow then you should…
Lush with golden sunflower beds, aromatic lavender fields, ancient olive trees, legendary grape vines and rolling mountains, Provence has long been sought after by people looking for the good life.
Gliding between the jagged peaks of the French Pyrenees in my chairlift seat, I took a deep breath and tried to relax. It wasn’t the soaring height of the peaks that made me nervous, or the prospect of swishing down them on my skis. It wasn’t the weather, either—blue skies stretched from peak to peak. Nope, everything on the slopes was perfect.
In a recent survey, International Living asked readers which country they preferred between Italy and France. 43% more of our readers chose Italy as their ideal destination. Voters revealed that they love “the character of the people and their dolce vita lifestyle.” One voter even admitted that “it provides the serenity that I crave. ”
Zero. Zilch. Nothing. Often that’s what I pay for accommodation when I travel. But I’m not roughing it. I’ve been in unique and unforgettable places around the world. I’ve made friends, met interesting people and learned new skills. Sometimes I feel as if I’ve cheated the system. But it’s entirely above board.
Now is a pretty good time to buy. Thanks to a weak economy and the flight of the wealthy to tax-friendlier countries, housing prices in most parts of Paris were (and continue to be) on their way down for the first time in over a decade. According to a recent Bloomberg news report, Paris prices fell by 2% in the last quarter of 2012 and sales volume is down by 20%. What’s more, prices are likely to fall further over the next year.
Health care can be expensive in the U.S. That’s why many people now travel or retire overseas for more affordable, reliable health care. France offers the best health care in the world. In fact, the World Health Organization named France number one in their health report, providing the best overall health care system in the world.
Health care can be expensive no matter what age you are but when you reach retirement, it is one thing that you don’t want to worry about. According to International Living’s Annual Retirement Index 2013, below are three of the best places in the world for health care.
My French adventure began in the ninth grade—in a classroom with a tall bearded French teacher called Mr. Kavanaugh. Mr. Kavanaugh adored la belle France—often showing us French films or playing the music of Edith Piaf—and his enthusiasm for the country was infectious. I nursed those fanciful high school moments into a dream of visiting and maybe one day, living in France.
Mon ami, you painted a pretty picture of life in southern Italy. But something is lacking—the sophisticated delights of duck confit, sweet onion preserves, foie gras and garriguette strawberries. You Italians are obviously clueless about food.
France is nice, I guess. Lavender fields and a vast wine country surely hold a certain appeal. But it’s Italy that captures the heart and feels like home. My cousin bought a house in a lovely little village in southern France, but when she comes to Basilicata, Italy she feels a pang of regret. How could she not, with so much home-spun seduction enveloping anyone who sets foot in the region?
Weddings bloom in magical locations all over the world… sunset on a Caribbean beach…a spectacular hilltop in Spain…in front of the romantic Eiffel Tower in Paris. And you could be there, making money while fluffing the bride’s gown, basking in compliments, and popping open Champagne.
Michigan natives Kristie and Jim Worrel moved to Paris 21 years ago when Jim worked for Total Petrochemicals. Jim’s contract was for five years but rather than leave their adopted country, which they had grown to love, Jim sought another job, and the couple successfully stayed on in France permanently. But it wasn’t until five years ago, as retirement neared, that the couple finally began the search for their dream. “It had always been a lifelong ambition of ours to buy and renovate an old historic house…
Most tourists give Paris’s 12th arrondissement a miss. But a lack of showpiece landmarks and museums doesn’t mean lack of character. East of the Bastille, this mostly residential neighborhood offers an intriguing taste of Paris without the clichés. Stretching from the Bastille to Place de la Nation, Faubourg Saint-Antoine is one of the 12th’s principal shopping streets.
From rosé wines to summer sunflowers, there’s nothing gray about France’s sunlit south. If you love art, history, kind weather and good food, the pleasures of Provence are almost endless. And what’s more, the Mediterranean is its playground.