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

Why Growing Your Network Will Make You a Better Freelancer

Why Growing Your Network Will Make You a Better Freelancer

Back in the olden days of the 20th century, books on self-employment were mostly written by academics who hadn't actually done it themselves, and all the advice involved building a mammoth corporate empire. None of that appealed to me when I was starting out on the road to self-employment.

A Slower Pace of Life in a Rural French Hamlet

A Slower Pace of Life in a Rural French Hamlet

“Our lifestyle is more relaxed here. We don’t live to work but the other way around. The cost of buying a home, living comfortably in the country, and eating good food is lower here compared to the U.S.,” says Laura Springham about rural France where she, her husband Keith, and their son Patrick moved almost two years ago.

We’re Living All Over Europe on $2,600 a Month

We’re Living All Over Europe on $2,600 a Month

“Traveling is a fountain of youth,” says Christina Daggett, as she sits down to dinner with her husband, Tim. It’s evening in the town of Hawick, Scotland, where they are currently staying. “I can’t imagine going back to the States or our old lifestyle. Nothing could be better than what we’re doing now.”

We Save $2,500 a Month While Seeing the World

We Save $2,500 a Month While Seeing the World

Since leaving our all-American life in 2013, with three kids in tow, my husband, Ron, and I have spent time in 28 countries and counting. More than half of our time wandering the globe has been rent free, which saves us an average of $2,500 a month…approximately what our home in Seattle, with utilities, cost monthly.