France remains one of the top destinations for those wanting to retire overseas. Offering a great quality of life from city to country, fabulous food and great weather in many parts of the country it’s no surprise that surveys of Americans, British and Australians considering retirement show that France is high up the list.
One of the things that retirees say appeals to them about living in France the most is the way of life, often a simpler and gentler pace of life is to be found. Respect for tradition and heritage is imbued in the French mentality and that includes generally respect for older people.
The process for retiring to France is really quite simple.
If you’re from the EU you’ll need to have healthcare taken care of – it isn’t free in France but the process is easy.
If you’re from a non-EU country there is a little more to take care of. You should apply for a long-term visa in your country from the French consulate and you will be granted a “carte de séjour visiteur”. You’ll need to prove that you are financially able to live in France – a pension statement will suffice, bank statements showing savings etc. You must have a suitable healthcare plan – as we said earlier, it is not free in France but they do have an excellent record of healthcare.
There will be forms to fill in and paperwork to provide – it differs from country to country so check with the French consulate exactly what they want and make sure you take copies of everything you send in for your records.
Many people recommend that before you take any final steps to giving up ties back home, you might consider a long holiday in France to make sure it works for you. It’s a chance to meet other expats in the area, check out the neighbours, shops, facilities, doctor and health care in the area and often, to find the right home to retire to.
You might hanker after living in the country in splendid isolation but just bear in mind that in winter months you may have issues getting supplies or getting out and about freely. On the plus side the cost of living in the French countryside is often considerably less than in a city and a thriving French country community is a wonderful experience. Living in a town is usually more expensive and Paris of course is the most expensive of them all. However there are many beautiful towns with excellent facilities all over France so it pays to check carefully before you sign on the dotted line and have all your furniture shipped off to France.