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

Forget the Starving Writer Cliché…I Earned $500 in an Hour

Forget the Starving Writer Cliché…I Earned $500 in an Hour

A few years back, I was working a full-time, regular 9-to-5 teaching job. My bosses were inflexible, I was stressed, and I couldn't stand the work. When you're a teacher, you can't just take time off to travel. I'm also not a morning person, and waking up at 6 a.m. every day was tough. I was following the rules...and I don't like following rules. Writing was always my passion, but I had no idea how I would go about actually earning a living writing. Writers don't earn livings, everyone knows that. Right?

France Fact File

France Fact File

Countries
By |
February 2, 2016

Population: 66,553,766 Capital City: Paris Time Zone: (UTC+01:00) Location: Western Europe Currency: Euro. Euros (EUR) per US dollar – 0.7489 (2014 est.) Language: French Telephone Country Code: 33 Emergency numbers: 112 (SOS – All Services) Residence: For visits of less than 90 days, North American citizens need a passport but not an entry visa. Staying longer, though, means applying for a Read more...: France Fact File

Uncovering the Truth About This Charming, Medieval French Town

Uncovering the Truth About This Charming, Medieval French Town

Culture
By |
January 30, 2016

Was there some mistake? I had just arrived at the train station in Beziers, a large medieval town set upon a towering ridge in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of the South of France. And I was feeling a little confused.I’d heard a lot of contrasting information about Beziers. Some people insisted that it was a dispirited, neglected town whose saving grace was its medieval core. Yet I knew that it was home to a number of expats who raved about its charms. So, which was it?

A Mediterranean Adventure For Less Than $3,000 a Month (Per Couple)

A Mediterranean Adventure For Less Than $3,000 a Month (Per Couple)

Daily Postcard
By |
December 10, 2015

A 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... If you've ever watched a movie set in the Mediterranean, you might believe the region is solely a playground for the rich—the romping ground of Hollywood starlets like Brigitte Bardot. Scratch the surface and you'll discover that is definitely not the case—an adventure in the Mediterranean could be yours for less than you might think.