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

The South of France Lifestyle is Surprisingly Affordable

The South of France Lifestyle is Surprisingly Affordable

The South of France is made of romance. Whether you're driving winding roads over scenic mountain passes, savoring local cuisine by the sea, or strolling cobbled streets at dusk, your senses are always being seduced. My life in Toulon began seven years ago when...

Wintering on the French Riviera is Surprisingly Affordable

Wintering on the French Riviera is Surprisingly Affordable

Daily Postcard
By |
September 8, 2017

Nice, France is a place often considered synonymous with dazzling wealth and a lavish, champagne-soaked lifestyle—and there’s good reason for this. From the 19th century until about World War II, this was the legendary winter playground of well-to do expats.

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.

The Little-known Stretch of the French Riviera

The Little-known Stretch of the French Riviera

Although southern France comes with a medieval legacy of troubadour poets, I never expected to see a poetry shop. But there's one in the harbor town of Cassis. Framed and written on marbled paper, there are over 4,000 poems on love, life and friendship to choose from. Dominated by a fortress castle and with a back garden of vineyards, Cassis is the unhyped Riviera...

Corsica, France

Corsica, France

Fresh air, fish stew, red wine. I’ll sleep. Tonight’s lullaby is the murmur of waves and the tinkle of masts in Macinaggio’s harbor. Earlier I’d walked the village’s Sentier Douane, a seashore footpath once used by customs officers hunting for smugglers. Views are spectacular: the turquoise Mediterranean, a crumbling Genoese watchtower, the tiny trio of Read more...: Corsica, France