Keen to retire to France but a little anxious about adjusting to life over there? Here are our top tips for retiring to France. 

France is hugely popular with retirees. For Britons, it is the second most sought-after for retirement after Spain. And it’s no wonder why. It promises a slightly warmer climate, especially in the south; a rich culture and cuisine; and exceptionally beautiful vistas. Plus, France boasts of affordable property options, especially if you’re after a rustic home.

Even if you are just hopping across the Channel, life in France still might take some adjusting to. So, here are some tips for retiring to France, especially if you are keen to budget effectively.

retired couple cycling in France

Retire to France!

1. Get the most out of your pension before you go

If you are a UK citizen with your sights set on France, then you might want to claim 25% of your pension pot at age 55 before you go. Unfortunately, if you have already retired abroad, you aren’t able to claim it – so it get while you can!


2. Contact a currency specialist

Unless you are moving from a country within the eurozone, you are going to have to transfer large funds across the exchange market. This could be the cost of your French property, your pension, mortgage or home maintenance fees. While you might be used to exchanging smaller amounts at the airport, seeing larger sums at the mercy of fluctuating exchange rates. A currency specialist will be able to assist you in transferring money more securely.


3. Fill out an S1 form

If you are a UK citizen and are going to be drawing a state-based pension, then you can fill out an S1 form. This will entitle you to healthcare on the same basis as a French citizen. Find out more information here.

4. Join a club to learn French

While it is not essential and in many expat favourite locations you’ll likely get by without knowing French, it will still significantly aid adjusting to life there. Plus, this can be a great avenue to join a class and meet new people. If your French is already quite advanced, how about a literature club?


5. Ride your bicycle

As the inventors of the bicycle, the French are keen to promote it. The government launched an initiative where you could claim €50 on any bike repairs to make it roadworthy. From the strenuous routes of the Tour de France to sprawling quiet country roads, you’ll be sure to find a path that suits you well.


6. Grab your groceries at the local market

If you’re retiring to rural France, you’ll de delighted by the local, in-season produce on offer. Often, it is affordably priced too. Bring it all back to your kitchen and experiment!


7. Embrace a life of leisure

One of the great benefits of wine being a local product of France is that it is consequently low cost and delicious – enjoy! Plus, eating out at restaurant isn’t expensive either.


8. Pick up a new hobby

It might be quite daunting moving somewhere new for your retirement, fortunately, France has lots of clubs to join, be it art, photography or a musical group.

Find your perfect retirement home in France on our property portal.

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