French people

Nîmes tops list of best cities in France to retire

The first place to live for retirees in France with a population of more than 100,000 is Nîmes (Occitanie), according to a ranking by the newspaper Le Figaro.

He gave the award to the southern city because of its excellent living environment (such as climate and safety) and excellent health care options, as well as affordable housing.

Nîmes with a score of 15.4/20 is the best of all the cities studied by the newspaper, ahead of Angers (Pays de la Loire) with a score of 14.82 and Besançon (Bourgogne-Franche-Comté) with a score of 14.63.

Top 10 places where retirees live in France (with a population > 100,000)
Notes in brackets*

  1. Nimes (15.4)

  2. Angers (14.82)

  3. Besancon (14.63)

  4. Perpignan (14.44)

  5. Reims (14.44)

  6. Clermont-Ferrand (14.29)

  7. Toulouse (13.97)

  8. Nancy (13.91)

  9. Dijon (13.89)

  10. Caen (13.83)

See the full top 20 at this link here.

Scores are based on a score out of 20 awarded for five different categories:


This includes access to doctors, nurses, specialists (such as physiotherapists, etc.) and specialist health centres. It also takes into account the distance to the nearest hospital, as well as the time it takes for emergency services to reach the location. If it lasts longer than 30 minutes, a score of zero is awarded.

Quality of life

This includes weather factors, including annual amounts of sunshine and precipitation (which lowers the rating). It also includes transport links, such as the accessibility of stations and the frequency of train services. Finally, it assesses security, looking at crime rates published by the Home Office.

Provision of services and housing prices

This includes the types of shops available in the city, such as bakeries, butchers, hairdressers, etc. And also access to large shopping centers and supermarkets. This category also assesses house prices.


This assesses the existing cultural offerings, including access to cinemas and theatres, and the frequency of live events. It also looks at the sports options available, such as available pitches/fields/halls. Finally, it looks at the environment, evaluates green spaces, if there are good forests or nature walks, etc.


This category primarily assesses the proportion of retirees in the location, with 75% of the score for this category being based on this criterion. It also looks at the number of people arriving at the venue versus the number of departures, with this factor having a 25% weight on the score.

For more information on categories, see this link here.

Are foreign retirees looking for the same values ​​as locals?

Le FigaroThe ranking of is based on what French nationals are looking for in cities: quality of life, care options, weather, property prices, etc.

Foreign residents in France share these values, but also look at certain additional aspects.

For example, 19% of Britons living in France live in rural areas – usually in the west of the country. This is a much higher percentage than Belgians living in sparsely populated regions of France (9%) and Germans (5%). The Dutch also tend to like living in rural areas (20%), but they are much less numerous in France than the British. .

Another factor Brits tend to consider is obviously access to the UK, with a high concentration of the approximately 150,000 Britons living in France choosing places in Brittany or Normandy in the north of the country.

Around 53,000 Britons residing in France are retirees, according to 2016 figures from an INSEE report. This means that around a third of UK residents in France are retired.

A slightly higher number of Britons living in France are employed in the country (55,000), according to figures from the same report. These people tend to live around big cities, like Paris, Marseille, Lyon, etc.

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British pensioners moving to France: how to apply for a visa