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Best Places to Live in France | 10 Best French Cities

France has for long captured the imagination of many as the country is home to some of the best cities in Europe. It is renowned for its history, fashion, cuisine, art, and architecture. The country dazzles with amazing countrysides, impeccable vineyards, stunning cityscapes, and a local culture unlike any other.

In a country known for many distinct cities, choosing one for your ultimate French adventures is the real challenge. With numerous unique locations, the choice can be dizzying.

To put your mind at peace and assist in making a choice much easier, we have created this guide to the ten finest and best cities in France.

Best Places to Live in France for:

  1. Expats – Paris
  2. English Speakers – Bordeaux
  3. Digital Nomads – Lyon
  4. Solo Travelers – Toulouse
  5. Couples – Montpellier
  6. Groups – Luberon

Top 10 Places to Live in France

1. Paris

Best Place to Live for Expats

paris-france

Cost of Living: $$$

The capital city of France is Paris. It is known globally for its amazing landmarks, such as The Eiffel Tower, The Louvre Art Museum, the Arc de Triomphe, etc. There are more than enough activities to fill your Paris itinerary, showcasing the best in gastronomy, architecture, nightclubs, and entertainment venues. This makes Paris a great cosmopolitan city and a great place for expats to live.

Tip: Learning some basic French will help you make friends and integrate into Parisian society.

Who Would Like to Live There: Expats and English Speakers

Pros:

  • The public transport system in Paris is excellent.
  • Paris is home to a large expat community.
  • There are many accommodation options in Paris.

Cons:

  • The cost of living in Paris is quite high.
  • Potential language barriers.
  • Accommodation sizes are pretty small.

2. Bordeaux

Best Place to Live for English Speakers

bordeaux-city-street

Cost of Living: $

The city of Bordeaux sits on the beautiful Atlantic coast. Nestled in the middle of France’s wine region, the city is an ode to perfection and history. Being a city filled with some of the best vineyards, fine-dining restaurants, and dozens of mild-weathered beaches, the city of Bordeaux has become a rite of passage for travelers to France.

Tip: The city hall in Bordeaux hosts annual “newcomer” meetings, which are good to attend once in the city.

Who Would Like to Live There: English Speakers and Expats

Pros:

  • Bordeaux is located close to great beaches.
  • The local restaurants offer great, truly french cuisine.
  • Low living costs in comparison to Paris and other major cities.

Cons:

  • Poor public transport system.
  • The unemployment rate is quite high.
  • Locals can potentially be unapproachable.

3. Lyon

Best Place to Live for Digital Nomads

lyon-france

Cost of Living: $$

The city of Lyon, situated between the two rivers, takes first prize for digital nomads. There are countless unique and dazzling cafes and restaurants throughout the city, each with a distinct flair. Above and beyond that, the city is ideally placed an hour or so away from the French Alps.

Tip: Invest in a local SIM card when moving to Lyon.

Who Would Like to Live There: Digital Nomads and English Speakers

Pros:

  • High-quality healthcare services.
  • Lyon is a very safe city.
  • The city is incredibly beautiful.

Cons:

  • Potential language barriers.
  • The city can get overcrowded with tourists.
  • Moderate to high cost of living.

4. Montpellier

Best Place to Live for Couples

montpellier-france-street

Cost of Living: $

If you’re looking for the perfect city to explore and experience with your significant other, Montpellier is the ideal place. The city has a nearly limitless number of restaurants, clubs, cafes, beaches, picturesque botanical gardens and parks. For memorable moments Montpellier is cut from its own cloth.

Tip: Renting is a better option for couples when looking for accommodation.

Who Would Like to Live There: Expats and Couples

Pros:

  • Montpellier is home to delicious cuisine.
  • Loads of cultural activities to enjoy.
  • The summer weather is delightful.

Cons:

  • Potential language and cultural barriers.
  • It is a small city that can get crowded very easily.
  • The winter months can get very rainy.

5. Luberon

Best Place to Live for Groups

the-luberon-france

Cost of Living: $

If the hustle and bustle of France’s major cities get a bit much, then the scenic and relaxed city of Luberon is where you need to be. The city offers nearly every indoor and outdoor leisure activity, from hiking, cycling, and skiing to drone flying. More than that, the city has numerous food markets and vineyards.

Tip: With so many things to see and do, use your weekends to discover everything.

Who Would Like to Live There: Groups, Expats & Digital Nomads

Pros:

  • The area is home to some of the most beautiful scenery.
  • The general quality of life is very high.
  • Accommodation is very affordable.

Cons:

  • The public transport system is almost non-existent.
  • Potential language barriers.
  • Can feel isolated from the rest of France.

6. Dordogne

Best Place to Live for Countryside Retreats

dordogne-landscape-france

Cost of Living: $$

Consisting of a collection of small villages, Dordogne, is an idyllic location ripped from a French novel. The region has beautiful green fields outlined by token forests with abundant rich history and historical sites. Calm rivers run through the region where there is never a shortage of great wine, unique cuisine, and memorable moments.

Tip: Dordogne has some of the best property prices in France, both for renting and buying.

Who Would Like to Live There: Expats and Digital Nomads

Pros:

  • There is a large expat community.
  • Apartment and house prices are affordable.
  • Great Mediterranean weather.

Cons:

  • There are no coastlines.
  • If looking for an urban lifestyle, Dordogne isn’t it.
  • It can be difficult to make friends with locals.

7. Provence

Best Place to Live for Beach Getaways

provence-france-ocean-view

Cost of Living: $

The beaches and sandy bays of Provence are engraved in the memory of any traveler who has discovered the coastal elegance of France. Provence lures more and more travelers due to an overwhelming number of seemingly undiscovered coves and beaches. For anyone looking for lazy beach getaways, Provence is waiting.

Tip: Heading off the beaten track will ensure great hidden beaches.

Who Would Like to Live There: Digital Nomads and Groups

Pros:

  • Nearly endless amount of unique beaches.
  • Local restaurants and cafes are excellent.
  • Provence is very accessible from other cities.

Cons:

  • Accommodation prices are moderately high.
  • Tourists flood the area during summer.

8. Annecy

Best Place to Live for Adventurers

annecy-canal-france

Cost of Living: $$$

Annecy is the go-to destination for thrill-seekers and adventurers. The town offers several adrenaline-rushing activities, including paragliding, mountain biking, and skiing. Not to shy away from the arts, there are also several art venues and tourist attractions.

Tip: Getting involved in local sports and adventure clubs will help you integrate into Annecy.

Who Would Like to Live There: Expats, Solo and Group Travelers

Pros:

  • A large number of activities.
  • Great local cafes and restaurants.
  • The area doesn’t get too overcrowded.

Cons:

  • The high language barriers.
  • Living costs are incredibly high.
  • Not very family-orientated.

9. Nice

Best Place to Live for Art Lovers

nice-france-beachfont

Cost of Living: $$$

Being the capital of the French Riviera, Nice is a euphoric blend of urban cityscapes and awe-inspiring architecture. All of which come together in many exhibits, galleries, and museums. Nice is a couture piece of French city-living, attracting tourists for several reasons.

Tip: Make as much use of the public transport system in Nice as it is efficient and cheap.

Who Would Like to Live There: Expats and Couples

Pros:

  • The local job market is very welcoming to expats.
  • Great cultural diversity.
  • Quality healthcare services.

Cons:

  • Nice is a costly place to live.
  • Local customer service standards are low.
  • It can get overcrowded with international students and tourists.

10. Toulouse

Best Place to Live for Solo Travelers

toulouse-france

Cost of Living: $

Toulouse is widely considered to be the most beautiful city in France. The city is a mix of French and Spanish, also called the “Pink City” due to the terra-cotta bricks of almost all buildings. You will find gastronomy heaven, glorious wine bars, and unique cafes throughout the city. Toulouse is perfect for your solo travels.

Tip: Toulouse is home to several French-language schools to help you learn the basics.

Who Would Like to Live There: Expats, Digital Nomads and Groups

Pros:

  • Toulouse has a well-connected airport.
  • Hardly any traffic issues ever.
  • The cost of living is very affordable.

Cons:

  • The weather can get scorching and humid.
  • Potential language barriers.
  • There are a lot of international students who crowd the city.

FAQs

1. Is It Safe in France?

France is relatively safe, and crimes against foreigners are nearly unheard of.

2. What Currency Do They Use in France?

The main currency used in France is the Euro.

3. What Language Do They Speak in France?

The official and most used language is French.

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