Wondering where to spend your retirement years? Why not consider a retirement in France? For the retiree, France offers an excellent quality of life along with all the modern comforts you enjoy at home.

While France does not have a special incentive visa for retirees, the process of retiring in France is quite simple. You apply for a long-term visa at the nearest French consulate in your home country, after which you obtain a carte de séjour visiteur. To prove you have the financial means to retire in France, you’ll have to provide statements from your pension plan or bank. Be sure that your health plan covers you in France, or obtain a suitable plan that would cover you in France.

Before making a definitive move, we recommend a three-month trial in France to find your home base and to network with other retirees. Because Paris is the most expensive place to live in France, you may want to consider retiring in the French countryside or other vibrant cities, where real estate, rents, and the cost of living are cheaper.

How to Retire in France

Generally, it isn’t difficult for North Americans to gain long-term residency and retire in France, but you should check out your particular situation before making plans. Plenty of documentation will be needed, and current requirements are as follows:

  • A passport, signed and valid for three months after the last day of stay
  • One application forms, signed and legibly filled out
  • One passport-size photo glued/stapled to the form
  • A current passport
  • Proof of means of income
  • Proof of medical insurance
  • Proof of accommodation in France
  • Proof of legal status in North America (copy of green card, etc.)
  • Letter promising not to engage in employment in France
  • Marriage certificate, if applicable
  • Processing fees
  • An e-ticket or reservation record showing date of departure to France
  • One long-term residence form, which must be completed, dated, signed, and notarized

Please check with the French consulate nearest you for complete instructions.

The Climate in France

FranceFrance has a mostly temperate climate, though there are many regional variations. Average winter temperatures range from 32° F to 46° F and average summer temperatures from 61° F to 75° F.

For the most warmth and sunshine, look to the Midi, the term the French themselves use for the deep south of the country. The Provence and Languedoc regions are characterized by mild winters and blisteringly hot summers.

Along with the north and central regions, Paris has cool and fairly rainy winters, though summers here are usually hot. Winters are a lot colder in the eastern regions of Alsace-Lorraine and in the mountainous regions of the Alps, the Pyrénées, and the Massif Central.

Be aware that the French use the Celsius temperature scale (° C), so don’t expect to see temperatures given in Fahrenheit once you’re there.