A GUIDE TO THE BEST PLACE TO LIVE IN FRANCE FOR ENGLISH SPEAKERS

A GUIDE TO THE BEST PLACE TO LIVE IN FRANCE FOR ENGLISH SPEAKERS

Looking for the best place to live in France for English speakers? Our guide covers top destinations and essential tips. Begin your journey here!

Uncover the best place to live in France for English speakers


France has long been a favoured destination for English speakers, especially those from the UK. Its rich culture, stunning landscapes, high quality of life, and proximity to the UK make it an attractive relocation option.
From vibrant cities to charming villages, France offers a diverse range of living experiences. Whether you're retiring, seeking a new job, or simply yearning for a change of scenery, France has something to offer everyone.
The hardest question isn’t whether to move to France; it’s where to move to in France. When contemplating a relocation to France, English-speaking expats often gravitate towards cities and regions that not only showcase the beauty and culture of France but also foster a sense of community and provide conveniences tailored to their language needs.
In this article, we delve into what Brits have long considered the best places to live in France for English speakers: some of the top cities and regions that are particularly welcoming and ideal for UK natives.
A Guide to the Best Place to Live in France for English Speakers

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Best Places to Emigrate to from the UK

Choosing the best place to emigrate from the UK involves considering various factors such as lifestyle, cost of living, and the presence of expat communities. Here, we compare several regions in France that are popular among British expats, each offering unique advantages.

Paris

Paris, the capital of France, is a top choice for many expats. This vibrant metropolis is known for its art, culture, history, and iconic landmarks. Paris offers numerous job opportunities, particularly in international companies where English is widely spoken. The lively arts scene, diverse neighbourhoods, and excellent public transportation make it an exciting place to live for those who thrive in a cosmopolitan environment. However, it's worth noting that the cost of living and property prices in Paris are higher compared to other French cities.

Paris -Eiffel Tower


Brittany

For those who prefer a quieter, more rural lifestyle, Brittany is an excellent choice. This region in western France is known for its picturesque villages, rolling hills, and beautiful coastline. Brittany has a strong local community and is home to many British expats, making integrating easier. The cost of living here is lower than in major cities, offering a more temperate climate.

Provence

Provence, in the South of France, is famous for its sunny weather, beautiful countryside, and charming small towns. It's a popular destination for retirees and those seeking a relaxed lifestyle. The region's local vineyards and historic centres provide a rich cultural experience. Property prices can vary, but there are many affordable places to buy property.

Toulouse

Toulouse, known as "La Ville Rose" due to its pink terracotta buildings, is a lively city with a large student population and a dynamic economy. It offers a more affordable alternative to Paris while still providing a vibrant city life with all the shops, restaurants, and cultural activities one could desire. The presence of many international companies also means the city offers many good job opportunities for English speakers.

Dordogne

The Dordogne region is popular among British expats for its natural beauty, charming villages, and relaxed pace of life. It offers a more affordable cost of living and is known for its local vineyards and historic sites. The region's temperate climate and picturesque landscapes make it an ideal place for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

Montpellier

Montpellier is a vibrant city with a youthful energy due to its large student population. It offers a warm Mediterranean climate, beautiful cityscapes, and lively nightlife. The city is also close to the Mediterranean coast, making it a great choice for those who enjoy beach life. Montpellier's diverse population and dynamic city life attract many expats.

Pont du Gard - Nimes, France


Nice

Located on the French Riviera, Nice offers stunning Mediterranean views, a pleasant climate, and a laid-back lifestyle. It's a popular destination for retirees and those seeking a slower pace of life. Nice boasts a significant expat community, including many English speakers, which helps ease the transition for newcomers. The city's international airport provides easy access to other European destinations, making it an attractive option for frequent travellers. Nice combines a coastal town's charm with a larger city's amenities, including excellent dining, shopping, and cultural activities.

Menton - France


Bordeaux

Bordeaux, renowned for its wine and beautiful architecture, is an excellent choice for English speakers. It has a growing expat community and offers a high quality of life with a more affordable living cost than Paris. Bordeaux's city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the city offers a mix of vibrant urban life and picturesque countryside. The region's local vineyards and culinary scene are significant draws, as well as various cultural festivals and events throughout the year.

Lyon

Lyon is another fantastic option for English speakers, known for its rich history, culinary heritage, and vibrant cultural scene. This cosmopolitan city offers a balance of city life and green spaces, with excellent public transport and a strong local community. The city centre is full of life, and the cost of living is more reasonable than in Paris. Lyon's strong economy, numerous international companies, and significant British expat community provide ample job opportunities and ease the transition for new arrivals. Its diverse neighbourhoods, ranging from the historic Vieux Lyon to the modern Confluence district, cater to a variety of lifestyles, making Lyon a major hub for both culture and commerce.
For a more detailed guide on choosing the best place to live in France, Gentlevan Removals provides extensive resources to help you make an informed decision.

Jobs in France for English Speakers


Finding employment in France as an English speaker can be challenging but certainly achievable. The key is to target industries and sectors that value English proficiency and to leverage available resources to navigate the job market.

Key Industries and Sectors

  • Information Technology:
    The tech industry in France is booming, with many startups and established companies seeking English-speaking talent. Cities like Paris, Lyon, and Toulouse are tech hubs with numerous opportunities.
  • Education:
    Teaching English is a common occupation for native speakers. Many language schools, universities, and private tutoring services constantly need English teachers.
  • Tourism and Hospitality:
    Given France’s status as a top tourist destination, the tourism and hospitality sector offers many job opportunities for English speakers, especially in major cities and tourist hotspots like Paris, Nice, and the French Riviera.
  • Finance and Banking:
    The financial sector, particularly in Paris, highly demands English-speaking professionals. International banks and financial institutions often look for employees with strong English skills.
  • Customer Service and Sales:
    Many multinational companies in France require customer service representatives and sales professionals who can communicate effectively in English.


farming


Tips on Job Hunting

  • Networking:
    Building a network through expat communities, professional groups, and social media platforms like LinkedIn can open doors to job opportunities.
  • Language Skills:
    While many jobs are available for English speakers, learning basic French can significantly enhance your job prospects and help with daily life.
  • Online Job Portals:
    Websites such as Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn are valuable resources for finding job listings tailored to English speakers.
  • Recruitment Agencies:
    Specialised recruitment agencies can assist in matching your skills with suitable job opportunities.


Best Place to Emigrate to from the UK with a Family


Moving to France with a family involves carefully considering various factors to ensure a smooth transition and a high quality of life for all family members. Here, we highlight some of France's most family-friendly cities and regions, along with key considerations for families.

Toulouse

Toulouse is known for its welcoming environment and excellent amenities for families. The city boasts a strong educational system with numerous international schools, making it easier for children to adapt. Toulouse is also renowned for its safety and community-oriented atmosphere. The city offers plenty of parks, green spaces, and family-friendly activities, such as museums, theatres, and sports facilities. A large expat community also ensures a supportive network for newcomers.

Montpellier

Montpellier is another fantastic choice for families. It combines a vibrant cultural scene with a relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle. The city is known for its excellent educational institutions, including several international schools that cater to expat children. Montpellier's public transport system is efficient and family-friendly, and the city offers a variety of recreational activities, from beaches to parks and cultural festivals. The city's emphasis on community and safety makes it an ideal place for raising children.

Nantes

Nantes is often praised for its high quality of life and family-friendly environment. Its solid educational infrastructure has numerous schools and childcare options. The city is also known for its safety, clean environment, and excellent healthcare services. Nantes offers a variety of family-oriented activities, such as the Machines of the Isle of Nantes—a must-see art installation—beautiful parks, and historical sites. The city's vibrant community life and supportive expat network make it an excellent place for families to settle.
When considering a move to France with a family, factors such as the quality of schools, safety, healthcare, and community amenities are crucial.

Best Place to Move to from the UK


The French Riviera

The French Riviera, also known as the Côte d'Azur, is one of the most appealing destinations for British expats. This stunning region along the Mediterranean coast offers a unique blend of natural beauty, luxurious living, and vibrant cultural life.
The French Riviera is renowned for its picturesque coastal towns, beautiful beaches, and sunny weather. Cities like Nice, Cannes, and Antibes provide a mix of cosmopolitan amenities and a relaxed lifestyle. The region is also known for its excellent healthcare facilities, international schools, and strong expat community, making settling in more accessible for British families.

Personal Anecdotes

Jane and Mark’s Experience in Nice

Jane and Mark, a couple from London, moved to Nice two years ago. They were drawn by the warm Mediterranean climate and the promise of a better work-life balance. Jane works in the tourism industry, while Mark is a freelance writer.
They enjoy the vibrant expat community and the numerous cultural events that Nice has to offer. According to Jane, “The move to Nice has been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. The lifestyle here is fantastic, and we’ve made so many new friends.”

Sarah’s Story in Antibes: Sarah

A single mother of two, relocated to Antibes seeking a safer and more enriching environment for her children. She found the local schools to be welcoming and supportive. “Antibes is perfect for us,” she says. “The kids love the beach, and we’ve found a wonderful community of expats who have made us feel at home.”
The French Riviera is not just about luxury and glamour; it also offers practical benefits such as a temperate climate, beautiful landscapes, and excellent infrastructure.

How Many Brits Live in France?


France is a popular destination for British expats, offering a rich culture, scenic landscapes, and a high quality of life. Let's explore the numbers and where British expats are concentrated.
According to INSEE, approximately 148,000 British citizens reside in France, making them one of the largest expatriate groups in the country. This community includes retirees, families, and professionals.

The concentration of British expats in these regions can be attributed to several factors:
  • Quality of Life:
    France’s high quality of life, with excellent healthcare, education, and public services, is a major draw for British expats.
  • Proximity to the UK:
    France’s geographic proximity to the UK allows for easy travel between the two countries, making it convenient for those who wish to stay connected with family and friends back home.
  • Cultural Appeal:
    France’s rich culture, history, and cuisine are major attractions for British expats seeking a new lifestyle experience.
  • Property Prices:
    Regions like Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Brittany offer more affordable property prices than the UK, making it feasible for many to buy and settle down.
  • Expat Communities:
    Established British expat communities in these regions provide a support network for newcomers, easing the transition to life in France.


French man


How Many French People Speak English?

In France, approximately 39% of the population can speak some level of English. While English proficiency varies across the country, it is generally higher in urban areas, especially in major cities and tourist destinations. Regions like Paris, the French Riviera, and larger cities such as Lyon and Bordeaux have more English speakers due to their international appeal and diverse populations.

Despite the increasing number of English speakers, learning some French can significantly enhance your experience and integration in France.

Here are some tips for navigating language barriers and improving your French:
  • Learn Basic Phrases:
    Familiarise yourself with common French phrases and greetings. This shows respect and can make interactions smoother.
  • Language Classes:
    To improve your French skills, enrol in local language classes or online courses. Community centres and universities often offer classes for ex-pats.
  • Language Exchange:
    Participate in language exchange programs where you can practice French with native speakers and help them with English.
  • Use Technology:
    Utilise language learning apps like Duolingo, Babbel, or Rosetta Stone to practice daily.
  • Immerse Yourself:
    Try to immerse yourself in the local culture by listening to French music, watching French films, and reading French newspapers or books.
  • Practice Speaking:
    Don’t be afraid to practice speaking French in daily interactions, such as ordering food, shopping, or asking for directions.

Conclusion


Moving to France offers numerous opportunities for English speakers, especially those from the UK. The country's diverse regions cater to various lifestyles, whether you prefer Paris's vibrant city life, the French Riviera's sunny beaches, or Brittany's charming countryside.

Key Points

  • Top Locations:
    Paris, Nice, Bordeaux, and Lyon offer unique benefits for expats.
  • Family-Friendly Cities:
    Toulouse, Montpellier, and Nantes are ideal for families, offering excellent schools and community amenities.
  • Employment:
    Key sectors for English speakers include IT, education, tourism, finance, and customer service.
  • British Expat Population:
    About 148,000 Brits live in France, mainly in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Île-de-France, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, and Brittany.
  • Language Skills:
    Approximately 39% of French people speak some English, with higher proficiency in cities and tourist areas. Learning basic French can enhance your experience.


Advice for Moving

  • Plan Ahead:
    Research your preferred region thoroughly, considering the cost of living and local amenities.
  • Learn French:
    Basic language skills can significantly enhance your integration.
  • Utilise Resources:
    Make use of the vibrant expat communities and online forums for support.
  • Stay Connected:


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Keep in touch with family and friends to ease the transition.
For assistance with your move, get an online quote from Gentlevan Removals.

Embarking on a new life in France can be an exciting adventure. With careful planning and a positive mindset, you can enjoy all the wonderful experiences this beautiful country offers.