18 Pros and Cons of Retiring in France

Do you dream of living abroad when you retire?

Maybe you’re considering retiring in France.

There are a lot of reasons why the French life would be great for a retiree.

To learn all about the pros and cons of retiring in France, keep reading this article.


Pros of Retiring in France


French healthcare is affordable for everyone. This can drastically improve the quality of life.

No matter your income or health history, you will have access to healthcare in France.

The only caveat is that you must have lived in the country for at least three months.

While you can purchase private health insurance, government health insurance covers most costs.

If you have a French health insurance card, you will be reimbursed between 75-100% of the costs for all costs.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in France is significantly cheaper than that in the United States. However, you should try house sitting if you want to reduce your living cost to zero. House sitting in France is very popular, due to all the ex-pats and retirees.

In addition to healthcare, higher education is also covered by tax dollars.

There’s no reason to go into debt to get a college degree.

However, there are expensive cities in France. Living in the city center of Paris will not be as affordable as living somewhere rural.

Recreation and Activities

France has mountains and beaches in close quarters. You can easily travel to the different geographical regions of France.

You can spend days exploring the various waterways of the French countryside.

Or you could spend your time in the cities and towns sprinkled across the country.

Whether you enjoy skiing, watersports, or exploring cities, you’ll find something to do.


France is full of cultural activities. This is one reason why it’s a popular destination.

You can visit the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower.

You can learn about popular French traditions and participate in social activities.

Visit Normandy to learn about war history. Or visit the historic buildings that decorate the French cityscapes.


Food and Drinks

France has an incredible culture around food. They are known for their croissants, wine, and cheese. But they have so much more to offer.

The supermarkets offer fresh foods with high standards. You’ll never find low-quality food.

France is actually home to many Michelin-star restaurants.

But don’t forget to try out the family-owned restaurants that have so much to offer, as well.

These places usually offer delicious food at affordable prices.


France borders eight other European countries. This makes it so easy to travel to the European Union when you live here.

France is also a rather big country with a reasonable population. This means that you won’t find many crowded areas.

The cities have denser populations, but they’re not overcrowded.

And you’ll mostly come across friendly people in your neighborhoods.


Cons of Retiring in France


Moving to France requires so much paperwork.

It can take months or even years to complete basic tasks like getting a driver’s license.

This can also be complicated when it comes to updating your visa.

Both the residence visa and long-stay visa can be difficult to renew.

High Taxes

France has high taxes. This is because tax dollars pay for everything from healthcare to transportation.

With a 46% income tax rate, France is one of the worst countries for taxes.

They also have housing taxes, a TV tax, and bonus taxes for the self-employed and wealthy.

Learning the Language

Most French people do not fluently speak English. So Americans will need to learn French to live in France.

It will help as you deal with the bureaucracy, everyday tasks, and making friends.

French can be a difficult language to learn.

If you already have a baseline knowledge of French, it may be easy for you to expand your knowledge.


France has affordable yet unreliable public transportation.

The transportation industry often goes on strike leaving civilians without transportation.

While city transportation is cheap, cross-country transportation can be expensive.

It is often cheaper to go out of the country than to the other side of the country.

Business Hours

Most shops close at noon. So you need to get into the habit of running errands in the morning.


How to Retire in France

Since the bureaucracy slows everything down, you should start preparing ahead of time.

Before you move to France, make sure you have a cell phone that will make calls and access the internet in France.

This will allow you to survive while you figure out the logistics of actually moving.

Although you can do anything on a phone, you’ll probably also want a printer.

France can be old-school in some ways and you may need to print out a lot of forms when you move there.

You’ll also need to figure out your visa before going to France.

This will ensure that you can enjoy staying in France once you get there.


Search for real estate so you can move in and buy property.

This will help to speed up the benefits of living in France.

You should also figure out transportation.

Since the transportation is so unreliable, you’ll probably need a car on your first day there.

Once you arrive, you can apply for a residency card at your local préfecture.

After five years, you’ll be able to apply for permanent residency.

If you want to invest in France, you can speed up the process. However, this can be quite pricey.

Now that you have learned all about retiring in France, you can make an informed decision.

You are the best person to decide if French retirement is for you.

Author: Britt

I am Britt. I have been house-sitting and pet-sitting for the past 7 years. I have cared for 25 dogs, 35 cats 1 turtle, and 1 rabbit over 80+ houses in 15 countries.

The opportunity to experience different homes, cultures, and communities has been extraordinary.

Through house-sitting platforms like Aussie House Sitters and Trusted House Sitters, I’ve connected with homeowners seeking reliable sitters. This unique way of living has allowed me to save money on accommodation, explore new cultures and meet new people.

Being a member of these platforms has broadened my horizons and opened doors to short- and long-term house-sitting jobs. I’ve found joy in providing excellent pet care and ensuring the home is well-maintained.

I get many questions about how to start as a housesitter, so if you have any questions, please reach out! I want everyone to enjoy this incredible lifestyle as well!

You can read more about Jay and me here!

Or connect with me on Facebook or in our house-sitting community on Facebook.

House Sitting in Salon-de-Provence
Me (Britt) House Sitting in Salon-de-Provence, France

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