Where are the top places in France to retire to?

Are you one of the many people that dreams of spending their retirement in an idyllic French town? If so, read on to find out which towns made it to the top ten in a new ranking.

Where are the top places in France to retire to?
The beach at Arcachon. Would you like to spend your retirement here? Photo: AFP
If you're someone that spends idle moments at the office daydreaming about picking up sticks and moving to France as soon as retirement hits, you're certainly not alone. 
Nevertheless, it can be hard to choose exactly where you should spend your golden years when so much of France has something to offer.
Luckily, a new ranking of the best towns to retire to in France by Le Figaro newspaper reveals the most desirable places for pensioners to live in France based on a wide range of factors including weather, security, housing costs, access to health services and transport but also a number of others such as the range of shops and cinemas.
The French newspaper looked at 50 towns of different sizes all over France with a high number of elderly people and this was the top ten.
1. Arcachon
This attractive seaside town in Southwest France close to Bordeaux scored 19 out of 20 in the ranking and has been dubbed a 'pensioners paradise' because of its sunny weather (it boasts 2,035 hours a sunshine a year), excellent health services and it is a safe place to live. And many already enjoy it: over half of the population there is retired. 
The beach at Arcachon Photo: AFP
2. Andernos-les-Bains
This seaside resort is also on the coast close to Bordeaux on the Arcachon bassin, famed for its beautiful landscape, and it scored 18,9 out 20 for the same reasons as Arcachon. On top of great weather and beautiful surrounding, this pretty coastal town offers many cultural activites, with a number of theatres and cinemas. 
Andernos-les-Bains Photo: JPC24M/Flickr
3. Cannes
Cannes also has it all: the famous Mediteranean town on the French riviera has much more to offer than it world-famous cinema festival: the sea, hospitals, a good transport network and a wide range of activities make it a desirable place in which to retire. 
Cannes. Photo: Depositphotos
4. Arles
This peaceful mid-sized town in the south of France on the Rhone river has a lot going for it, not least some beautiful architecture dating back from Roman times. It is also an art and cultural centre which inspired famous artist such as Van Gogh and boasts a number of renouned museums. 
Arles. Photo: Depositphotos
5. Vannes
This fortified town in Britanny may not get so much sun as the top four winners, but it is safe, beautiful and is set in the attractive Morbihan region. It has a wide range of services and is very well connected. 
Vannes Photo: Nicolas Vollmer/ Flickr
6. Agde, Hérault
Agde, located in the south eastern Hérault department, is famous for being the Mediterranean port of the Canal du Midi, as well as for its seaside resort at Cap d'Agde. 
It's small wonder that the town made the list of the most desirable places to retire in France, with its warm, temperate climate, the rich history of Vieux Agde, and the 12 beaches of Cap d'Agde, including one reserved for nudists if that's how you choose to spend your golden years. 
Agde. Photo: Depositphotos
7. Limoges, Haute-Vienne 
It isn't exactly a secret that Limoges is a great place to retire in. 
In fact, in 2017 the south west-central city, famed for its porcelain, cathedral and Art Deco railway station, topped a table of the best cities in France to grow old in.
But it wasn't just the city's cultural offering that makes it so desirable. It is also known for offering a safe and pleasant living environment. 
Limoges. Photo: Depositphotos
8. Narbonne, Aude 
Narbonne, located on the Canal de la Robine, is known for being less touristy — though no less stunning — than other better known southern French towns. 
The quality of life available here — think evening strolls along the canal, trips to the town's famous food market Les Halles with all the veg, seafood, patisserie and stinky cheese you could wish for, as well as several bars, and sandy beaches to the south east of the city — makes it a wonderful choice for pensioners. 
Narbonne: Photo: Depositphotos
9. Mandelieu-la-Napoule, Alpes-Maritimes
The stunning town of Mandelieu-la-Napoule on the French Riviera to the south of Cannes offers all the sun and sea of its more famous neighbour but at a more relaxed pace. 
Here, you can sail and play golf to your heart's content and in La Napoule — once a fishing village in its own right — you'll find the ideal spot for a portside stroll, casual meal and beach siesta.
Mandelieu-la-Napoule. Photo: AFP
10. Saint-Malo, Ille-et-Vilaine 
The port town of Saint-Malo is located in the north west region of Brittany. 
While it might not offer the guaranteed good weather of other towns that featured on this list, it has its own qualities, including a rich cultural calendar with year-round festivals and events, a beautiful old town with cobbled streets and stunning beaches. 
Saint Malo. Photo: Depositphotos
Some of the others in the top 25 that you might have heard of are Les Sables d'Olonne on the Atlantic coast, Vichy in central France, Annecy near Switzerland, Caen and Le Mans in the north west and the southern towns of Nîmes, Béziers, Aix-en-Provence, Antibes and Hyères.
So where in France would you spend your twilight years?

Member comments

  1. WE love Figeac, we go there every summer with our caravan, it is a small interesting town with lots of timbered buildings with the river Cele running through it. Although we love France we wouldn’t live there as it is far to expensive and bureaucratic, we live by the coast in north east Spain just 40 minutes from the border. Incidentally there are a lot of French people who either live here or have holiday homes as it is a lot cheaper with excellent Menu del Dias.

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