France Fast Facts

france facts Paris France

Population: 66,836,154

Capital City: Paris

Climate: Generally cool winters and mild summers, but mild winters and hot summers along the Mediterranean

Time Zone: GMT+1

Language: French

Country Code: 33

Coastline: 4,668 km

There’s Something About France that Few People Know...

France, with its reputation for glamour and the finer things in life, leads many people to cross the country off their retirement destination list, assuming that they could never afford to live there. But that’s a mistake.

Whether you dream of a city pied-à-terre…or a rambling farmhouse among the sunflowers…or a village house wrapped in wisteria-hung memories of long ago, France is far more affordable than you might think. In fact, there are many parts of the country where habitable homes in storybook settings cost less than $160,000.

There’s a region in the sunny south, for example, that offers a wonderful warm climate year-round…delightful medieval villages brimming with sun-baked old stone houses….white-sand beaches and winding mountain trails…large cities and tiny hamlets…and that’s virtually a stone’s throw from the Spanish border. The region is called Languedoc-Rousillon, and—for now—prices are still reasonable…

Paris, France
Paris, France

If you prefer a cooler climate and a more pastoral setting, look to charming Normandy. Just two hours from Paris, this region is filled with half-timbered houses, often set on acres of emerald fields that seem straight out of a fairytale. There’s also a fascinating history, flavorful rustic cuisine (think apples, poultry and creamy, fresh dairy), romantic windswept beaches and exquisite coastal towns… It’s the perfect place for a vacation retreat or a tranquil year-round home.

For mountain-lovers, the Rhône-Alpes region of France may be like a dream come true. Here you’ll find clear blue lakes and country landscapes that offer riveting views of the sharp peaks of the Alps, and a number of towns, from Grenoble to Lyon, that are as lovely as they are lively and affordable.

And all this is just for starters. There are scores of other reasonably priced “hidden corners” of France that most foreigners know nothing about.

Find Out More From Our France Correspondent

From the Archives of France

Retire in France for Under $3,000

Retire in France for Under $3,000

Expat-Advice
By |
September 17, 2016

"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.

The Insider Travel Network Bringing You the Best Overseas Intelligence

The Insider Travel Network Bringing You the Best Overseas Intelligence

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.

The Top 3 Cultural Retirement Havens in France

The Top 3 Cultural Retirement Havens in France

Travel
By |
June 17, 2016

Few places in the world offer the cultural bounty that France does. The country offers excellent and diverse cuisine, jaw-dropping works of art, fascinating historical relics and so much more. Culture can be found in virtually every corner of France, but here is my take on the top three French cultural retirement havens…

The Pleasures of Getting Lost in Montmartre, Paris

The Pleasures of Getting Lost in Montmartre, Paris

There I was, sipping a lovely white wine from grapes grown within 100 yards of where I stood at a community wine festival. You might think I’d gone off the beaten track to some remote corner of France where timeless traditions still hold sway... but I was in fact, right bang in the middle of one of Paris’ popular tourist areas—the bohemian quarter of Montmartre.