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Where in France do all the Canadians live?

There might not be as many Canadians in France as there are French in Canada but there are still a few thousand. But where are they living?

Where in France do all the Canadians live?
Photo: AFP

Canada is believed to be home to some 150,000 French nationals with several thousand moving across the Atlantic each year. Although only some 90,000 are officially registered with the registered with the French consulate.

But it's not been all one-way traffic in the direction of Montreal and Toronto. There are a few thousand Canadians who have made the move in the opposite direction.

Officially there are 12,568 Canadian citizens living in France. That's according to the most recent figures given to The Local by France’s Statistics Agency, Insee, although as with every nationality there are probably a few more hiding away after having enjoying a good night in the one of the country's Canadian bars like The Moose or the Great Canadian in Paris.

Now, it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean all those Canadians in France should be described as Anglophones or English speakers, as they may be in other countries like Australia.

Indeed, many will no doubt be French-speaking Québécois from the region of Quebec in eastern Canada. The following stats are for Canadians in general, so we won’t refer to them as Anglophones. 

Anyway, where are they?

Here’s a glance across the whole country, followed be an in-depth look at all 13 regions. 

At a glance

The 12,568 Canadians is a high enough figure to rank it fourth out of the eight Anglophone countries we’ve focused on (after Brits, Americans and Indians). And the Canadians are quite well spread around the country – they’re not all in Paris. In fact, just 39 percent are in Paris and its suburbs (compared for example to 73 percent of Indians in France).

Other popular regions include Occitanie, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, and Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur, each of which has over 1,000 people from Canada. 

Let's not forget that Canada has a strong historical connection to France, too, especially during the second world war. 

In fact, with 15,000 Canadian troops taking part in the D-Day invasion of France, Canada represented the third largest force during the landing.

Below is a picture of a Canadian flag flying at the main gate of the Cintheaux Canadian War Cemetery in northern France, where 2,872 Canadians are buried. 

Photo: AFP

All the regions

The Canadians love the city of Paris

Who doesn’t, really? There are 2,577 Canadians in Paris, out of the 4,941 in the Greater Paris region of Île-de-France. That’s about 52 percent.

The other 48 percent in the suburbs are fairly evenly spread out, with around 200 in each of the seven other departments, with the exception of Haute-de-Seine, the department which hugs the western edge Paris, which has 741 Canadians.

To put these statistics into perspective, there are more Canadians within the 20 arrondissements of Paris than in any of the other 12 regions of France. 

You'll struggle to find a Canadian in central France…

But there are a few.

There are but 236 Canadians in the Centre-Val de Loire region, with almost the exact same amount (237) living in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region next door. Across both regions, you'll find no department more popular than Inde-et-Loire which has 73 Canadians. That's enough to open a pub there surely?

The loneliest Canadian

The department with the fewest Canadians is Haute-Marne, in the Grand Est region. You’ll only find one Canadian there. There are 550 people from Canada spread out across the rest of the region, with the department of Bas-Rhin the most populated (with 210 Canadians in total).

But that ties in with the trend of other expats from English-seaking countries. Central and eastern France just doesn't appeal to them as much as other areas; Could it be the cold winters or the fact France's beatiful beaches are so far away?

They tend to avoid the north
The two northernmost regions of France – Normandy and Hauts-de-France are not home to thrivng Canadian communities either but there are a fewhundred in each. The regions are home to 278 and 392 Canadians respectively. 
Of all the ten departments in the two regions, Canadians tend to flock towards the department of Nord (which contains the city of Lille). 
But it's worth remembering that with the Canadian cemeteries in lower Normandy, such as that in Bretteville-sur-Laize, there are likely to be more Canadians passing through these areas as visitors. 
Brittany is very popular

When it comes to Brittany, you'll find 693 Canadians. Now while that's just 5.5 percent of the total number of Canadians in France, it's a whole lot more than other countries. For example, there are only just a few more Americans than Canadians in Brittany (704 vs 693), but that's just 0.4 percent of the American population in France. 

Why? There is a strong connection between Brittany and Canada, as Canada was a hotspot for emigration from the western France region. Today, there are around 15,000 people living in Canada who consider themselves Bretons. It's safe to say that a large portion of the 700 Canadians in Brittany have come for family reasons.

The most popular department is Cotes-d'Armor with 422 Canadians. That's more than the total number of Canadians in the nearby Pays de la Loire, where just under 300 Canadians live. 

The numbers are much higher in southern France

Canadians like the southern half of France, it seems, with the three regions to the south boasting 3,000 Canadians, more or less evenly spread. 

The least populated region is Nouvelle-Aquitaine with 725 Canadians (most in Gironde with 250, fewest in Creuse with 8).

You're more likely to bump into Canadians if you go slightly east to the region of Occitanie, the third biggest region in France for Canadians.

In Occitanie, you'll find 1,181 Canadians, mostly in the departments Haute-Garonne and Herault, both of which have over 300 people from Canada. The least populated department is Lozere with just five Canadians. 

Haute-Garonne is very popular with expats from English-speaking countries in generalwith a few hundred Irish, 800 Amercans and nearly 4,000 Brits.

The Canadians most love…

The region of Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes is home to the most Canadians after Île-de-France, of course.

Yes, there are over 1,700 calling the region home. Most can be found in the department of Rhône with 470 Canadians (enough to rank it the fourth biggest department in the country, behind Paris, Hauts-de-Seine, and Yvelines).

That's likely because Rhône is home to the counry's second city Lyon, which is home to a Canadian consulate.

Back in Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, other popular departments include Isere (370) and Ain (300).

And they're not shy of the sun

In the lovely Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region to the south east of France, there are 1,125 registered Canadians. Most are in the Alpes-Maritimes department (429) which is home to the Riviera resorts of Nice, Monaco and Cannes and Bouches-du-Rhone (360).

The least popular region

Unsurprisingly Corsica is the least popular region, with just 45 Canadians living on the island. There are 17 Canadians on the northern island and 28 on the south. 

Despite being known as the Island of Beauty, expats from English-speaking countries have not been tempted by Corsica as they have been by other sunny areas of the south.

The higher cost of living compared to the mainline and the extra cost of transport links to the main urban and airport hubs like Paris appears to be a major factor.

Canadians in France if you have any issues you want us to write about please contact us.



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Mutuelles: Why is French health insurance getting more expensive?

France’s top-up health insurance 'mutuelles' have been getting steadily more expensive in 2020. Here’s a look at what’s changing, why and who is the worst affected.

Mutuelles: Why is French health insurance getting more expensive?
A dentist is checking the teeth of an elderly lady in a nursing home in Paris. Photo: AFP

“The prices have never been so high in France,” said Fabien Soccio, spokesperson for the company Meilleure Assurance (Best Insurance).

His company this week revealed the results of a new study of France's private health insurance fees, mutuelles, to French media.

After comparing 55 different mutuelles health insurances, Meilleur Assurance concluded that there had been a general spike in the average cost.

What is a mutuelle?

France has generous state health care that covers a lot of medical expenses, but not all costs are reimbursed.

In France you pay upfront for your doctor's appointment, prescription or procedure and then the government reimburses the costs to you. Depending on the procedure and your situation, usually about 80-90 percent of the cost is reimbursed.

If that cost is a €25 appointment with your GP that's not such a big deal, but with more expensive treatments the costs can mount up, which is where a mutuelle comes in.

The mutuelle is a 'top-up' insurance – not obligatory, but recommended – which covers extra costs that are not covered by the state. How much a mutuelle covers will depend on the kind of insurance, where you live and the expenses in question.

If you are an employee, your employer must pay for at least half the cost of your mutuelle

Who was affected by the price increase?

The 2020 price hike touched the country as a whole, however some regions and population groups were harder hit than others, Soccio told Le Parisien.

To compare the costs for different socio-demographic groups, Meilleur Assurance created three different types of profiles; a 25-year-old employee with a “classic” mutuelle; a couple with two children, also on a “classic” mutuelle and a 60-year-old couple with “strengthened” guarantees in their mutuelle.

Seniors hardest hit

Retirees tend to go for fuller versions of mutuelles because these cover additional costs (such as dental and optical treatments). 

Seniors on extensive types of mutuelles were those suffering the steepest price increases this year, Soccio said. 

“In 2020, fifteen départements exceeded a threshold of €3,000 in annual fees for a senior couple with extra guarantees,” Soccio said.

“That’s an average increase of more than €176 in one year,” he said.

For the couple with a child, the increase was slighter ( an extra 4 percent), whereas the young employee saw health insurance bills largely unchanged.

READ ALSO Brexit: Do I need a mutuelle to get residency in France?


.. along with Parisians

The study also revealed large price differences between different regions, with inhabitants in the Paris region Ile-de-France paying the highest bills for their mutuelles.

A retired couple would pay on average €528 more if they lived in Paris compared to if they lived in a more rural, cheaper département like Mayenne.

Similarly, employees would pay 30 percent more on average in Paris than in Pays-de-la-Loire.

Parisians also saw the steepest price increases since last year, by 14.6 percent on average for the retired couple with a mutuelle covering extra costs.

On a national level, the average price increase for the same couple was 12.1 percent. 

.. but everyone was a little worse off

However the country as a whole saw a price increase last year, with even those opting for the cheapest kinds of health insurance affected by the general price hike.

In one year, from 2019 to 2020, the cheapest type of health insurance had increased by 13.7 percent, according to the study. 

Why the increase?

Prices generally increase a little every year, but this year was unusual, Soccio said.

“Today, we are in an uncertain and troubled situation,” he told Europe 1, listing several factors that had contributed to the price increase: the Covid-19 pandemic, the government's new health reform known as “100 percent Santé”, and a new health tax known as the “Covid surtax”.

When the French government presented their new budget for 2021, centred on their dazzling €100 billion relaunch plan, they promised not to increase taxes for the French. Instead, to top up their savings a little, the government introduced a new tax, the “Covid surtax”, which will be paid through the mutuelles and other health insurance companies.

This tax will provide €1 billion in total to the state in 2021, and €500 million in 2022, according to French media.

What about the future?

Soccio said he worried the trend of prices increasing would continue in the next couple of years, leading to steep prices for even those opting for the cheaper mutuelles.

“It's safe to bet that the national average costs will pass €3,000 in the next two years,” he told Le Parisien.