According to International Living Magazine, there is nowhere better to live in the world than France.  Earlier this year the influential publication examined 194 countries on 9 specific criteria such as culture, climate and crime, and France came out on top – for the fifth year running!  For us Britons that’s fortunate, because France is on our doorstep and it’s therefore an easy country to escape to…

…and considering Britain was placed in 25th by International Living Magazine in terms of the quality of life it offers its citizens, behind countries such as Uruguay and Lithuania, it’s a good thing that we can so easily access beautiful France for a better quality of more affordable life!  However, a more in-depth study of what it’s like to live specifically in France reveals that there is a great deal of difference between the various departments and regions.

So, where are the best places to live in France?  The answer is of course ‘it depends’ – i.e., it depends what you’re looking for from life.  France’s L’Express magazine has taken it upon itself to examine the whole of France based on a range of criteria that determine quality of life, and it’s findings are invaluable if you are thinking of living in France.

Where to Live in France if You’re Moving with Children in Tow

Based on where there are the best schools and educational facilities, the best shopping and also employment prospects, L’Express has rated the following department as the top three for families: –

1 – Haute-Garonne in the Midi Pyrenees
2 – Pyrénées-Atlantiques in Aquitaine
3 – Vendée in Pays de la Loire

Each department scored well on average for the type of criteria families typically place on a destination…and so these are recommended spots for you to explore if you’re thinking of relocating to France with children in tow.

Where to Live in France if You’re Thinking of Retiring

For those aged 50+, schools and employment prospects will be less important of course, whereas health care facilities, where residents are healthiest and live longest, where the quality of the environment and the climate are favourable and where crime is less will be important factors.  As a result L’Express rated the following departments as the top three for would-be retirees: –

1 – Hautes-Alpes in Provence Alpes – Cote D’Azur
2 – Corrèze in Limousin
3 – Aveyron in the Midi-Pyrenes

Where is the Best Place in France for Affordable Property?

If you’re looking to move to France and the one thing driving your desire is the fact that you can hopefully afford a beautiful home then the following departments should be considered by you: –

1 – Indre in the Centre region
2 – Nièvre in Burgundy
3 – Meuse in Lorraine

Although Creuse, the Correze and the Haute Loire are all also worth a look if you’re after an affordable place to live.

Where To Live in France for the Best Weather

When it comes to the weather, we Brits usually think the hotter the better, but the French think it’s important to look at climate as a whole when thinking about the best environment in which to live – as a result it’s probably unsurprising that the Mediterranean region came out on top.  It offers stunning summer weather as we well know, but at the same time the winters are far less harsh as well, meaning that Var and Bouches-du-Rhône from the Provence Alpes – Cote D’Azur region took joint first place for their climate.

The Best Place to Live in France for the Good of Your Health

If you’re looking to move abroad to escape the stresses of everyday life and you’re concerned about your health and accessing the best healthcare on offer across the Channel then the following are L’Express’s top 3 destinations for health tourists!

1 – Paris
2 – Bouches-du-Rhône in the Provence Alpes – Cote D’Azur region
3 – Gironde in Aquitaine

The Overall Top 20 Places to Live in France

L’Express magazine looked at a whole host of criteria from where the climate is better to where the natural environment has been well preserved, (Lozère, Ariège and then the Pyrénées-Orientales in case you were wondering), and ultimately it placed the 96 departments in one long ordered list.  The overall top 20 places to live in France from their detailed analysis are therefore as follows: –

1 – Haute-Garonne
2 – Pyrénées-Atlantiques
3 – Ille-et-Vilaine
4 – Isère
5 – Gironde
6 – Hérault
7 – Maine-et-Loire
8 – Rhône
9 – Vienne
10 – Vendée
11 – Loire-Atlantique
12 – Côte-d’Or
13 – Corrèze
14 – Alpes-Maritimes
15 – Indre-et-Loire
16 – Bas-Rhin
17 – Savoie
18 – Doubs
19 – Haute-Savoie
20 – Puy-de-Dôme

For a complete and comprehensive look at the magazine’s excellent survey you can click here, and examine each department and see how it faired in the survey for everything from quality of life to commerce, from culture to the local economy and from the price of property to the social situation.  If you’re looking for somewhere to live in France this resource is invaluable – but it is in French of course!