If you’re considering retiring to France, you’re not alone. 5% of immigrants to France originate from the UK, many of which are of retiring age. Retiring to France offers a completely different alternative to retirement in the UK, but it may be worth considering the benefits and drawbacks before you make such a huge move.
Sunny weather, gorgeous traditional French towns and close proximity to the UK is a huge draw for many, but it’s important you consider all your options. We look at the benefits of retiring to France, as well as things you must consider in order to emigrate successfully.
The cost of living in France highly depends on the area in which you’d like to retire. Areas such as Paris, with a faster-paced way of living have higher costs, whereas the French countryside and more rural areas are much more peaceful with lower associated costs. You’ll face different challenges depending on the type of area you select, as more rural areas know very little English, so getting to grips with the French language is a must when retiring to France.
Based on research for our cost of living in France blog, living in France is approximately 5% cheaper than it is in the UK. This is great news for UK retirees looking to emigrate to France. Wine, Beer and spirits are comparatively cheaper, as well as French delicacies such as cheese. Although, food and eating out is generally more expensive, whilst home utilities, fuel and transport are much cheaper in France compared to the UK. However, food costs can be driven down by shopping local, which is extremely common in France. Shopping at local bakeries and grocery shops can not only taste fresher but also be cheaper too.
Living in any city is going to be expensive, so if you’re looking for a city lifestyle this point may not apply to you. However, there are thousands of cheaply priced, traditional French properties dotted around the French countryside that are an extremely attractive investment when retiring to France.
An important point to remember is that if you are planning to do up your French property, DIY materials are shockingly expensive compared to the UK. Many expats decide to drive to the UK and buy their materials to return to France, and it works out much cheaper.
As a general rule, France has higher temperatures compared to the UK. There are some regional differences, so you may wish to do some more research on an area you’re considering. Southern France is closer to the equator and is therefore marginally warmer compared to England. The largest difference can be seen during the summer months, where England is significantly cooler. In terms of rainfall, both countries as a whole are quite similar, but obviously, rainfall can vary hugely depending on the region. More mountainous areas will have more rainfall compared to areas with flatter terrain. The countries have very similar climates, and follow the same pattern with extremely long sunlight hours in the summer, with significantly less over the winter months.
There are several key regions that prove popular with English immigrants looking for sunny weather when retiring to France, including Poitou-Charente, Aquitaine, Midi-Pyrenees, Rhone-Alps, Brittany, the Cotes d’Azur and Languedoc-Roussillon.
According to the World Health Organisation, France have the best healthcare system in the world. This is an important aspect to consider whether you’re approaching retirement age, or are taking early retirement, or even considering retiring to France sometime in the future. Unlike the UK, France does not have a national health service, and you are required to pay a small fee when visiting the doctors for example. The healthcare in France is wholly subsidised and is therefore much lower than a lot of other countries.
We’d strongly advise you take out French health insurance, and do some more research on the exact costs for you and your family, particularly if you have any pre-existing conditions. There;’s a lot of advice online about this providing additional details.
Whilst the future of the UK and its relationship with the EU remains unclear, there is no definitive answer that we can provide. If you decide to retire to France before the UK officially leaves the EU, then you should apply for French residency as the existing rules state. This may be changed once an agreement has been reached, where you may be required to resubmit or exchange your existing permit for another one. You will require ID, proof of address in France, proof of health coverage and financial resources, so ensure you bring these items with you..
You can read more about this in our blog moving to France after Brexit.
Before retiring to France, it may be a good idea to have your inheritance plans sorted, or a will already be written up. This is because if left without a will, French law is significantly different from English ones. When you pass away, your estate does not automatically pass to your surviving spouse, so it’s important you arrange your inheritance prior to moving.
If you’re looking for some help when it comes to moving to France, Anglo French Removals are a leading provider of international removals to France. This gives us particular expertise in the area, so you can make the best use of our knowledge. For more information on our furniture delivery to France or our part removals to France, contact us today.
Margaret Morrison, Sussex
Just a quick message to say thanks for the safe delivery of my furniture from Charente, France to London - the coordination was great as was the care, I really appreciated it, especially the safe delivery of the grandfather clock and rocking horse, which were my grandmother's, and I was worried about! So - a big thank you - I will happily recommend you.
Vicky Edwards, Charente
We just wanted to say thank you for such a brilliant and seamless service. You will remember that your quotation came in at about 50% cheaper than the two bigger companies and obviously we were worried that would reflect in the service.
From your response time, to the lovely people we chatted to in Maidstone with our mutiple questions, letting us add to our load at no extra charge, to yesterday's experience when Nino and his mate arrived, everything has been quite brilliant.
They called us an hour before arrival and were both so cheery and obliging despite their obvious long drive and need to get to the next pick up. We had two different locations for our furniture plus we changed our minds a couple of times and literally nothing was too much trouble - Nino's manipulation of that giant blue monster around the tiny farm lanes was quite breathtaking!
Great job! Please thank your team.
Heather and David, Trèbes