For many of us today, retirement means a new beginning. And we can quickly become envious of elsewhere. A change of region is the perfect opportunity to discover new landscapes, new gastronomy and cultural places in dynamic cities. It can also be the time to finally take a breather by settling in a rural environment. Whether you love the sea, the mountains, the countryside or you are urban at heart with the simple desire to live in a different city, there are many places in France that make new retirees happy. In France or in the DOM-TOM, here are the 10 best regions to spend happy days once the years of working are behind us.
If Brittany is the happiness of many tourists all year round, it is also a destination of choice to live a peaceful retirement. With its miles of coastline, sea lovers are spoilt for choice. From the pink granite coast and its splendid rocks to the wild Finistère and the peaceful Golf du Morbihan, the region is a variable paradise for those who wish to discover the joys of fishing, boating and long hours of walking by the sea. On the city side, Dinan, Dinard, Saint-Malo or Concarneau have a beautiful historical heritage and offer many possibilities for visits. Not forgetting the green and wooded inland Brittany where you can go hiking and cycling
Corsica attracts many people from the island wishing to return to the sun and their roots in retirement, but also many mainlanders wanting to enjoy its high quality of life. Even if the price of real estate remains high, some destinations such as Ajaccio have been attracting more and more neo-retirees for the last ten years. It must be said that its old town is beautiful, as is its port and the hinterland full of authentic villages. Settling in Corsica for retirement means taking advantage of the blue sky and mild temperatures for a very large part of the year, and taking advantage of the opportunity to take the car and criss-cross the most beautiful corners of the island. Hiking in the Agriates desert, enjoying the gastronomy in the high perched village of Corte and basking for hours on the paradisiacal beaches of Southern Corsica, these are some of the best reasons to pack your bags quickly.
Heading east to reach Alsace and its many assets. This corner of France is a true haven of peace to live a retirement under the best hospices. It is difficult not to fall under the spell of Strasbourg, its heritage and the canals that run through the Petite France district. For a more intimate atmosphere, the Alsatian villages, each one more beautiful than the next, are a pure pleasure for the eyes, with their half-timbered buildings, often coloured in the image of Riquewihr. Alsace is also the pleasure of hiking in the Ballon des Vosges Regional Nature Park, of travelling the Wine Route to explore the vineyards and enjoy wine tastings. Finally, Germany is just a stone's throw away, and offers the opportunity to get a change of scenery across the Rhine.
4- Reunion Island
The great wealth of France is also its incredible DOM-TOM. Reunion Island, an overseas department and region, is an island in the Pacific Ocean located east of Africa. It allows you to live life in the tropics while benefiting from French legislation and the same social benefits and welfare services as in mainland France. The island thus offers the possibility to French people to live all year round under the sun without having to go through many restrictive administrative procedures. And then between the walks around the Piton de la Fournaise and in the Mafate cirque, the beaches of l'Ermitage and Boucan Canot with their crystal clear waters and the quiet life strolling around the Saint-Paul market or the port of Saint-Gilles looking for a restaurant, everything is there to enjoy life as it should be.
It is well known that Normandy regularly welcomes people from the Ile-de-France region who wish to take a breath of fresh air during weekends or holidays. For the population as a whole, it is also an area that offers many faces and where you have to take the time to live. Retirees can set down their suitcases in cities steeped in history such as Caen or Le Havre, as well as enjoy the narrow streets and the port of the unmissable Honfleur all year round. Between D-Day landing beaches and posh seaside towns, the Normandy maritime coast has the wind in its sails. But the inland part of Normandy should not be neglected either. From the Pays d'Auge to Normandy Switzerland, the historical heritage and the green countryside are an infinite invitation to marvel and relax.
6- French Polynesia
Let's be honest, who hasn't dreamed of spending their retirement on the edge of a blue lagoon surrounded by coconut palms? French Polynesia, with its postcard landscapes, is a project to be built well, because it means leaving everything behind to live thousands of kilometres away from France. The price of real estate is reasonable, the health care system is very close to that found in France, but beware, the cost of living is high. In any case, once settled, the small land paradises of Tahiti, Bora-Bora, Moorea and Maupiti are a welcome haven for those who want sunshine, swimming in translucent waters and year-round water sports.
7- The French Riviera
In metropolitan France, too, retirement can mean blue skies for a large part of the year, temperatures that remain mild even in the depths of winter and walks along the sea. You have to go to the French Riviera for this. From Hyères to Nice, many towns and villages offer an ideal living environment for new retirees. Cities such as Cannes or Manderieu-La-Napoule are often at the top of the list of French cities where it is good to spend one's retirement. What's more, the more you head towards Nice, the more you have the opportunity to switch from the pleasures of the Mediterranean to those of the mountains in no time at all
Lovers of wide open spaces and hilly landscapes,Aveyron is a destination to think about for retirement. The Larzac and its biodiversity, the Aubrac plateau and its pastures or the Grands Causses Regional Nature Park, for those who like to gain height, there is no shortage of breathtaking panoramas and opportunities to take a deep breath of fresh air. Villefranche-de-Rouergue, a typical new town of the Middle Ages, Conques and its incredible heritage and Rodez and its interesting cultural life are all towns to consider to enjoy an ideal setting and easy access to beautiful nature.
Martinique, a French department located in the Caribbean, is also an island that offers a paradisiacal setting, between sun, sea, bewitching nature and strong identity. Retired people are subject to the national legal system for all acts (consumer law, transmissions, etc.) and they benefit from social benefits and the French health care system. As for the living environment, well there is a choice between various communes from North to South and from East to West: Fort-de-France, Saint-Anne or Saint-Pierre, which offers a superb view of Mount Pelée. The rest of the time is spent at the beach like the one at Les Salines with its warm and translucent waters, walking in the heart of the tropical forest, and discovering memorable places like the Balata Garden, the slavery memorial at Cap 110 and the village of Le Carbet, where Christopher Columbus is supposed to have landed in 1502 and where the great Gauguin lived.
10- The Basque Country
A nature shared between sea and mountains, charming towns and emblematic villages, the French Basque Country is the perfect destination for a new start. Admittedly, buying a property in Biarritz is not within everyone's reach, but there are other communes where real estate is gentler, such as Bayonne and the charming residences along theAdour river. And what about Saint-Jean-de-Luz, a charming town with its port and craft shops? Choosing the Basque Country for retirement means giving yourself the opportunity to go skiing in the Pyrenees in winter, to go swimming and enjoy the waves on beaches such as those ofAnglet in summer, but also to go and contemplate the unique architecture of the Basque villages. Finally, in the evening, what could be better than a glass of wine and a few specialities: cold meats, cheeses and toast with various flavours.