Will retiring to France be a good option for you? France Property Guides looks at why France is most popular with those over retirement age
You are definitely not alone if you are contemplating retiring to France! More and more British people are finding life in Britain to be somewhat harsh for various reasons of which I am sure the majority of us are aware: politics, climate, quality of life, expense. France is a country which respects its elders and, put quite simply, looks after them. The generations mix well and family values are always very much upheld.
The French healthcare system is amongst the best in the world.
There is of course a wide choice of types of property and areas in which to live. New build properties are becoming increasingly popular: you should not find it difficult to find a lovely one level house with a garden and even a pool.
The climate is probably at the top of the list of reasons why British people seek to retire to France of course. Anywhere south of the Loire has a higher average temperature than most parts of Britain year round. The Languedoc Roussillon, where we live has well over 300 sunny days each year. Even in winter, you can forgive the cold (though it rarely gets to below freezing here) when you have the sunshine!
The French healthcare system is amongst the best in the world. We can vouch for this when my husband had a minor stroke last year and was taken in immediately to a state of the art local hospital, had his own room and more importantly the finest care. If you are over retirement age you need to obtain a S1 form from the Department of Health and Pensions in Newcastle and take this, along with proof of identity and domiciliation to your local health department in France. You will then receive your Carte Vitale which entitles you to 70% of all medical treatment and drugs. Many people take out top up insurance to cover the rest. Pharmacies are also to be recommended for treating minor injuries and conditions: you can buy certain drugs over the counter in France which are not available in Britain.
Having your UK state pension paid in France is perfectly possible. You can arrange to have it paid into your French bank account if you wish. The same goes for public service pensions.
The quality of life in France is superb. It is calmer and less busy generally than the UK.
As for life in general, France is a very friendly country in which to live and it is more than likely that you will meet plenty of fellow expat retirees. Many towns and villages arrange all sorts of activities and many have a dedicated British section – which only goes to show how many of us now live in France! Your local mairie will be able to help you find out about everything going on in your locality and it is always a good idea to introduce yourself there early on.
If you are concerned about missing family and friends, there is plenty you can do to make yourself feel better! A regular weekend Skype or Facetime call is always a great stop gap between visits. Talking of visits, you will probably find yourself very popular once you are set up in your new French home with your family keener to visit you here than in the UK. Your time together will probably become far more special. These days there are plenty of regional airports in both countries with regular flights throughout the year. France is really not all that far!
The quality of life in France is superb. It is calmer and less busy generally than the UK. There is little sense of status here too which is something we really love. As with anywhere in the world, life is what you make it and certainly in France you have a choice of taking it easy or joining in with all sorts of goings on. There is a real sense of liberty here and life is taken at a much slower pace.