Moving to France: Underrated French towns, crime levels and the best TV shows

Emma Pearson
Emma Pearson - [email protected]
Moving to France: Underrated French towns, crime levels and the best TV shows
France's selection of newspapers. Photo by PIERRE VERDY / 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 under-the-radar towns, the safest places in France, understanding French taxes and some suggestions for TV and newspapers.


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.


When you're picking a new place to live one of the main considerations for a lot of people will be safety - is this a safe place to live and how likely are you to be a victim of crime?

France, like most countries, publishes annual crime statistics so we've taken a look at the most recent ones to determine the safest places to live. Unsurprisingly, crime rates are higher in big cities than small towns and villages but there are some areas that consistently score well for low rates of burglaries and other crime.


There's also a link to a handy interactive map created by the French government, so if you have a particular area in mind you can go and search its latest crime statistics.

Which towns and cities are the safest in France

Picking a place to live

If you don't have anywhere specific in mind, we'd invite you to take a look at these 'under-rated' French towns. Not well known even within France, each of these towns score well on various indexes of liveability and quality of life, while offering cheaper homes because of their slightly 'under the radar' nature.

6 'best' places to live in France (which you've probably never heard of)


One of the most common questions that new arrivals in France ask us is about the tax system and how much tax they need to pay. We're not going to try and pretend that France is a low-tax country and if you live here you can expect to pay a decent chunk in taxes each year (although we would point out that those taxes pay for some pretty cool stuff like state-funded health and social care and subsidies to help keep village businesses alive).

We've put together a 2024 tax guide that will give you an overview of how the French tax system works, and how to ensure that you are correctly registered in it.

The bumper 2024 tax guide


One of the best ways to feel more integrated into French life is to follow local media - once your French is up to it - which will help you get an idea of what is going on in your new country.

As a newcomer, it's not always easy to understand exactly which newspapers and TV channels offer news, and what their political slants are, so we've put together a guide to the biggest French newspapers, magazines, websites and TV channels.

Explained: French newspapers, magazines and TV channels

For something a little lighter, I find that watching some French reality TV shows can give you a valuable insight into the country, as  well as giving you something to talk about with your new neighbours.

7 TV shows that will help you understand France



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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