Dreaming of retiring in France? I’m not so sure that’s a great idea. There are many potential problems that can arise from living here—issues that you’d probably never considered before. The arguments that can arise! The hidden costs!
To the uninitiated, beautiful Lyon, France’s third largest city, is often thought of as a runner-up to Paris. But for many of those who live there—natives, former Parisians, and international residents alike—Lyon stands in a class of its own.
A recent survey reported that a single day in a hospital in the U.S. costs, on average, $1,514 (up to as much as $12,537), while in France it costs $853. An appendectomy in the U.S. costs $8,156 on average (up to as much as $29,426). The same procedure in France costs $4,463.
If you want to relax in a more natural setting, then act like the locals and head to the grassy slopes of the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, in Paris’s Belleville quarter. Here, amid the laughing children and hand-holding couples, you’ll find massive, slanting trees.
I’m a four-season guy. Do I love warm weather and wading in crystal-blue water with a cold beer? Yes, I do. And I like spending a chunk of winter in the “eternal summer” of the tropics, clad in short-sleeved shirts and flip flops.
"You live in France? Oh, you’re so lucky. I wish I could live in France.” Ever since I moved to Paris over 14 years ago, I’ve heard variations of these three phrases hundreds of times. Often the phrases are said lightly and I know the speaker has no strong desire or intention to move to France; it’s simply another way of saying that they really like France.
Many expats are drawn to the idea of retiring in Europe, but can be thrown off by the high prices of its most famous destinations. But while big cities such as Paris and Madrid may hit hard on the wallet, there are still many alternatives for those seeking the romance of Europe, but at an affordable cost.
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.
Warm, clear blue-green sea lapping long, sandy beaches… Families eating and laughing together over slow, relaxed dinners with lashings of good food and even better wine… Markets packed full of fresh-caught fish, locally made cheeses, and a rainbow of delicious produce… When you live by the beach in Europe, life is simpler, happier, and healthier.
Here at International Living we’re very much a global family. One that’s spread out around the world…across four continents, actually. Our correspondents and editors—who are always on the move, scouting out new locations and revisiting old favorites—are our eyes and ears in the world’s best retirement havens. And like any good family, we’re in constant contact with each other.