Moving to France: Retirement, interpreters and the most liveable French city

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Moving to France: Retirement, interpreters and the most liveable French city
Fancy retiring to France for a life of petanque and wine? Photo by Fred TANNEAU / AFP

Moving to France - a country famous for its complicated bureaucracy - can be a daunting task. Fortunately, our newsletter is here to answer your questions - this month we're looking at the situation for retirees, how to get help with translation and a city that has recently topped the polls for quality of life.


Here at The Local we're an Anglo-American team living in France - which means all of us have been through the simultaneously exciting and terrifying process of moving countries.

Our new newsletter is aimed at people who are in the process of moving, have recently moved and are still grappling with the paperwork or perhaps are just thinking about it - and we'll share a monthly selection of practical tips. Our team is also available to answer questions from subscribers to The Local.


France is a popular country to retire to, and one of the reasons for this is that the immigration system makes this relatively simple. In some countries it's virtually impossible to get a visa or residency permit if you're not either working or already have family connections there, but France has several good options for people who want to give up work and then move. 

It's also a country that values its older people - almost a quarter of the population of France is retired due to a combination of a low pension age and a long life expectancy - and there are a lot of things in place to make life easier for older people from discounts on train and museum tickets to grants to do necessary work on your property.

All these things mean that there is a large population of foreign retirees here, so it's easier to find friends and people in a similar situation. 

6 reasons to retire to France 

Property pitfalls

It's fairly common for people to buy property in France, use it as a second home while they're still working and then make the move on a more permanent basis once they retire.


When you're buying property, one thing to look out for is its energy efficiency rating - this won't just affect how big your heating bills are, new rules coming into effect will make it much harder to rent out or sell properties with low energy ratings, which can knock a significant amount off the value of the house or apartment. 

Explained: What do energy ratings mean for French property owners?

Lyonnais life

If you're thinking of making a move you may already have an area in mind - and if so you can find our guides to the cost of living in the various regions of France.

But if you're undecided then you might be interested to know why the city of Lyon has scored so well in a recent 'livability' rating. Despite being France's third biggest city, it seems to fly under the radar for many anglophones, for some reason (unless you're a fan of women's football, in which case you are probably well aware of Olympique Lyonnais).

6 reasons to move to France's 'gastronomic capital' of Lyon 


The period of the move is often when you have to deal with quite complicated processes in French, which can be a challenge if you are still learning the language.


One reader asked whether you can hire an interpreter to go to appointments with you. Although it is possible, France doesn't have a lot of people offering this type of service, although there are several good options for people who are worried that their language skills are not yet up to the task.


The Local's Reader Questions section covers questions our members have asked us and is a treasure trove of useful info on all kinds of practical matters. If you can't find the answer you're looking for, head here to leave us your questions.

Bon courage !


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