Bill and I have lived from one coast of the US to the other and several places in between. Each of these relocations was a work-related transfer with little leeway on the city of choice. Our final move within America, while still revolving around jobs—as in looking for them—gave us the opportunity to make our own decision about the place. We used an almanac that rated cities across the country on numerous factors such as cost of living, climate, housing, and employment. When it came time to retire in France we consulted a number of “Best of…” lists that covered the same criteria for this country and one of those rankings was published last month in the newspaper Le Figaro. For retirees, the five points they considered were the demographics and attractiveness of each of the 50 included cities, access to health care, the quality of life, housing, and services directed toward seniors. What was at the top of their list?
We’ve been to Bordeaux several times and I remember always seeing bus shelter advertisements to “Visit Arcachon” the Atlantic beachside resort less than an hour’s drive from there that comes in at number 2 on Le Figaro’s overall list with the neighboring seaside town of Andernos-les-Bains taking the number 1 prize. And speaking of a short distance away, from our home we can take a 30-minute train ride to Narbonne, number 4 on the list, then 15 minutes up the tracks to Beziers (#19) and 11 minutes further to Agde (#9). Here’s the top:
- Equally ranked – Agde / Saint-Malo
Although you have to have a subscription to the newspaper to see their complete list of 50 best places to retire, Le Figaro does make available individual “best of” lists such as healthcare and quality of life from which the overall list was compiled. I’ll put a link below to their most-attractive-cities as well as to a pdf that shows the overall ranking from 2019.
While the ranking above was directed towards retirees, I saw another article earlier in the year about a 2-year study that investigated 35,000 places to live in France, taking into account education, shopping, transport, health, and quality of life. This was based on information provided by the government’s statistics office INSEE. Beautiful lakeside Annecy leads the ranking:
- La Rochelle
- Le Mans
There’s a link below that will take you to a website that shows all 34,841 municipalities including our own Carcassonne at #89 nationwide and #21 when compared with other cities of a similar size. For us it remains #1. Home really is where the heart is and we feel right at home.
Le Figaro most-attractive-cities article: https://immobilier.lefigaro.fr/article/palmares-retraite-2020-les-villes-championnes-de-l-attractivite_3f607af0-0a0d-11eb-aed4-38036455b560/
Le Figaro list for 2019: Figaro 2019 retirement cities
Best place to live: https://www.villesetvillagesouilfaitbonvivre.com/le-palmares/classement/