People want to live that dreamy French life, but who wants to burn a hole in their finances over it? Here’s a guide to places in France that provide a high quality life at affordable prices
European culture is romanticized for the luxuries of wine-drinking, countryside-living, and rich cultural and historical relics. However, with the latest economic trends, France has made it easier to experience such high quality of life at an affordable price.
Being 11% cheaper than the U.K. when it comes to the cost of living surely feels like a bargain, but it does not compromise on that French life you have only seen on Pinterest and Instagram boards.
There are a variety of property listings, but it is better advised to know which regions are generally known for having a low cost of living. Keep reading to get a start on the cheapest places to live in France.
Like any other country, the closer you are to the capital, Paris, the more expensive it gets. The Riviera is also another area that is undoubtedly for lavish visitors. Another criterion for the price is how close your area is to the coast. Even so, it is not enough to just go off searching for the furthest places from the Eiffel Tower or the sea for a cheap life. You also have to make sure that you’re getting value for your money!
With a quick guide on which regions are the least expensive, we have made it easier for you to start your research.
This region is well-known for being fairly below average in terms of expenses as compared to the rest of the country. Places like Creuse, for example, are largely rural and have fewer employment opportunities due to a lack of industry. With many moving away to the city for jobs, this caused a slowdown in this area. But it is a delight for those looking for lovely bargain properties.
Another place in this region for those favouring a more urban fare is Dordogne. This area is home to the town of Sarlat, where the population caps off around 11,000 but without compromising on the typical city conveniences and activities. Village properties are available for around $200,000 to $350,000, which makes it a popular destination for those who don’t want to live in a busy city but also don’t want to be surrounded by farmland. Bordeaux is also another place to look at for comparatively better value for money as compared to Paris.
Most natives of France will know that Brittany residents are actual owners of property instead of being tenants. Not only that, Brittany is one of the most popular property markets for U.K. residents due to the similarity in culture and weather between the two. Like any other place, sea-view properties in Breton will be expensive. However, it is advisable to look into how much cheaper coastal properties can be in this part of France as compared to other areas. Central Brittany (for example, Côtes-d’Armor and Finistère) is a good place to start so you can see the range of property prices for yourself. Out here, you will find prices far cheaper than the national average, especially taking into account their proximity to the sea.
When people think of Mediterranean life, Provence isn’t far behind in their plans. Most people don’t know that a far cheaper region of France enjoys the same beachy sun.
The southernmost region of France, Occitanie gives the coastal experience without burning a large hole in your pocket. In fact, Montpellier, the charming town with a young and lively university crowd, is one of the most inexpensive places to reside in France. Not only that, but Occitanie is also home to the department of Hautes-Pyrénées, which is quite close to the tourist-friendly ski slopes. From the beach to enjoying winter sports, Occitanie’s lower cost of living truly is an incredible value for money.
Among the cheapest regions in France, Auvergne is another rural gem that is slowly gaining widespread popularity for being an offbeat French travel destination. Its capital, Clermont Ferrand is the only place offering urban delights, since being the home of Michelin Tyre doe make it a central economic hub. The rest of the region, including departments like Haute Loire — where the architecture has heavy Mediterranean influence — and Allier are agricultural landscapes surrounded by vast green hills. Auvergne is mostly popular for outdoor activities like hiking and is an attractive option for having a cost of living below the national average.
Famous for its vineyard villages, this region is popular with nature lovers. With scenic countrysides and protected woodlands and lakes, boating is another popular activity in these areas.
Burgundy-Franche-Comté is also known for its below national average property prices. While major towns like Dijon and Besançon have the more expensive listings, places like Nièvre, Saône-et-Loire and Yonne have the far more affordable properties. It will be easy to find cheap rural farmhouses here, though they will most probably need renovation.
Now that you have a blueprint of the regional economic trends, moving forward with property hunting in France would be far easier. Go on and make your life the Pinterest board of your dreams!
I’m Kunzes and I’m a freelance writer and copy editor based in India. I have an academic background in Literature and Creative Writing. In my free time you’ll catch me reading and reviewing books for my bookstagram and listening to true crime podcasts.