There are numerous online resources for expatriates considering retirement in France. We have compiled a list below of the top 10 websites that offer information and advice on living in France. The list is in random order:
1. Complete France
completefrance.com – This site has helpful sections such as Living in France, French property and Language and culture which assist the expat in understanding the French environment. There are discussion forums and videos for those looking for more than just blog posts or web articles. The organisation behind Complete France also produces several magazines on French culture.
2. Chez Loulou
chezlouloufrance.com – “A taste of life in France.” For those looking for a more ‘personal’ insight into life in France, Chez Loulou’s blog offers an excellent account. While the author’s experience focuses primarily on Normandy and the northern regions, you are provided with first-hand advice on moving to France and how much it costs to live there. Cheese lovers should check out the feature on French cheese. Be prepared for plenty of pictures mixed with content on this blog – the writer obviously likes using the camera!
3. Expat Focus
expatfocus.com – Expat Focus merge destination-specific information with the opinions and advice of expats who have had first hand experience of living abroad. They aim for a sense of community on this site and put great emphasis on joining their free forums. Each country’s page, including France, is expansive. There are a series of informative blog posts about French lifestyle along with expat advice on how to get by.
4. Belle Provence Travels
belleprovencetravels.com – Managed by Tuula, a female American blogger, Belle Provence Travels provides an in-depth look at life in the beautiful regions of southern France. Expats won’t find a lot of financial advice or property listings here; indeed it is not a website that was set up specifically for British expats. There is lot’s of information in terms of ‘mixing with locals’, enjoying excellent food and travel. If other sites focus on the ‘how’ in terms of retiring in France, this one can gives you a sense of ‘what’ and ‘where’.
expatica.com – One of the premier sites for expatriates of all stripes. There is a French News section that compiles recent articles on current events in France and offers tips for expats. You’ll be able to connect with fellow expats in the discussion forums here. Make use of the “topics” and “tools” sections in the left hand column; it is full of excellent information. Expatica started life as a website providing news about the Netherlands, but has since exploded in size to include much of mainland Europe and the UK.
6. International Living
internationalliving.com – International Living is a 30+ year old magazine dedicated to helping those who wish to live outside their native land. The Live in France page provides a wealth of materials, particularly on the issues of ‘cost of living’ and ‘financial management’. Make use of the right hand column, which divides content into 17 useful categories on important topics for foreigners residing in France. You don’t have to subscribe to the magazine to access the content, but be prepared to encounter a few offers.
frenchentree.com – This slightly loud and somewhat ‘busy’ site is an excellent resource for French lifestyle, including an outstanding Retiring to France section. Owned by the France Media Group, French Entree, it has as many options and as much information packed into a website as you could ever hope to find. On the far right hand column there are search engines for French property databases, French businesses and local services. Directors Guy Hibbert and David Owen are the ‘main players’ at France Media Group.
britishexpats.com – This website is dedicated to ‘serving the UK expat community’ across numerous countries; it also has a number of forums specifically about France. The content here is well written and ‘straight to the point’. One unique feature that visitors will find appealing is the Wiki section, where both experts and expats can forge their knowledge into useful, focused information blocks on a wide range of topics. Discussion forums are at the real heart of this website, however please note that there are literally millions of posts from expats around the world
9. France This Way
http://www.francethisway.com/wp/ – France This Way is a blog that is certainly worth reading in your spare time; even for non-expats. The content is both rich in information whilst at the same time informal; it is very useful for anyone traveling in France. Some features won’t apply to British expats on the surface, however France is such a big country that even French nationals often seek information sources on new places to visit. The blog is run by a company based in Bergerac, Aquitaine. If you are thinking about a move to France, you should consider visiting France This Way’s “Explore” feature, which has descriptive links to each region of the country.
http://www.britsabroad.com/ – The most prominent feature of the Brits Abroad website are its Forums which are ideal for chatting, sharing experiences, asking questions and generating a sense of community. The left-hand column is full of news, property information, financial updates and even a Retiring Abroad section. Bear in mind however that almost everything is presented as a forum. At times, the clutter and apparent lack of organised content can be challenging. The site’s extensive reach offers information for expats living everywhere!