Offering a great standard of living, warm climate and rich culture, France is one of the most popular destinations for retirees. If you’re considering retiring to France, you may feel spoilt for choice on where to settle. To help you decide, take a look at our top five picks…


Bordeaux, often called “Little Paris” due to its architectural similarities to the country’s capital, is top of many peoples’ lists of the ‘best’ place to retire to in France. Located in the gorgeous Aquitaine region, Bordeaux is easy to reach from the UK, taking just six hours from London via the Eurostar and high-speed TGV train, so you’d never be too far from family and friends back home.

Being the “Wine Capital of the World”, wine lovers will not be disappointed. The city is also popular with those seeking an active retirement destination. It is extremely flat, so is great to explore by bike and there are numerous public parks to enjoy too. The city’s excellent location means you will be close to both the coast and the mountains, so whether you’re a sunbather or skier, there is something for everyone!

Average property prices at the end of 2020 were €360,000.

Miroir d’eau at the Place de la Bourse, Bordeaux


Situated in the Rhône department and perfect for history lovers, foodies, and surprisingly rock music fans, Lyon was rated the best city to live in Europe by Economist Intelligence Unit. The city brings with it 2,000 years of history that still runs through the streets today. Highlights of Lyon include Vieux Lyon – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest renaissance neighbourhoods in the world – and two Roman amphitheatres where rock concerts regularly take place.

Lyon is also a world leader when it comes to gastronomy, and the ‘bouchons Lyonnais’ (restaurants in Lyon) attract vast numbers of tourists every year. So, it’s safe to say a retirement in this city would involve a lot of good food!

Average property prices at the end of 2020 were €397,000.


Annecy, in the Haute-Savoie, is fondly named “The Pearl of the French Alps” due to its breath-taking location between Lake Annecy and the French Alps. The romantics among us can treat their loved ones to some shopping on the Rue Royale, dinner with a lake view and a quiet stroll across the Pont des Amours (the lover’s bridge).

A life in Annecy would involve plenty of history, culture, and fun. The city boasts many 16th and 17th century buildings, as well as a system of canals. For those looking for an active retirement, there is an endless list of outdoor activities to enjoy, both in the mountains and on the lake.

Canals, Annecy


The Dordogne already has a large expat community, and with picturesque villages, charming châteaus and glorious vineyards, its easy to see why. This department in the south west is truly the epitome of French countryside. With the large number of international buyers living in the area, you will no doubt find plenty of like-minded friends, and there will always be someone who can answer any questions you might have about moving to France.

Fans of fine food and wine can rejoice as there is no shortage of gourmet treats in Dordogne. After all, it is birthplace of foie gras and truffles – two French staples!

Average property prices at the end of 2020 were €247,000.


Brittany has it all: friendly folk, affordable housing, quaint seaside towns and a balmy climate. A retirement here could involve sailing and fishing on the lakes, hiking in the beautiful countryside or along the 2,700km of coastline, browsing the local markets, and eating at some top-class restaurants.

To top it all off, you would be just a hop, skip and a jump across the channel from the UK, with ferry services operating from Poole, Portsmouth and Southampton to St Malo and Roscoff.

Average property prices at the end of 2020 were €235,000.

If you would like further advice on the selling process in France, download your free France Guide.

Why not split the cost and double the fun of owning a holiday home in France by buying with family or friends? Read our guide to Buying Abroad with Family.

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