How To Retire In France part 2 – Part one is here.
Overview of the Pros and Cons of Retiring in France
France is a beautiful country and becoming an expat, there is something many people dream of. You could ride your bike on peaceful roads past haystacks and pretty castles – how delightful it sounds! However, you should also know that France has dangerous bees and some very powerful cheese.
People choose to retire abroad for many reasons: the warm climate, the lower cost of living, or being close to their children. If you are thinking about retiring in France, here are some pros and cons to consider.
France Has Excellent Health Care
France offers universal health coverage to residents of all ages, with medical services provided by both public and private institutions. Your age does not matter when it comes to using the system – you will get the same high-quality treatment no matter the cost.
This makes France one of the top countries in terms of population health, and you can benefit from this great health care if you decide to live here.
There Are Many Enjoyable Activities
France is one of the most popular expat destinations for retirees looking for new experiences, and with good reason – it has everything. Enjoy nature at any of its many national parks that boast breath-taking views (such as Vanoise National Park in the Alps), take a relaxing cruise through the French Riviera, or explore one of France’s many medieval towns that are sure to take your breath away (such as Bayeux).
France Has a Great Education System
France is known to have good schools, so it’s no wonder that so many expats choose to send their children abroad to study. For one thing, the French are highly ranked in educational performance among OECD countries.
Many international schools are available for expat families who want their children to attend school in English or another language besides French. France regularly programs English television in public areas, making it easier to immerse yourself in the culture without having to learn a new language right away.
The Food Is Delicious and Healthy
It’s no secret that the French eat well – they’ve got some of the best chefs in the world! Since many French people take eating and the art of enjoying food seriously, you’ll be able to enjoy delicious dishes at a fraction of the cost that you would in other countries.
Low Cost of Living
France is one of the best places for retirees looking to stretch their money as far as it can go – it’s definitely a much cheaper country to retire in than the US or the UK. For example, you can get a big three-course meal for around €10 ($11.36) and enjoy it outside at a nice restaurant on the sidewalk under the shade of an umbrella. In our opinion, this makes France one of the top countries to retire in.
People Are Friendly
France’s good health care, low cost of living, great activities, and fabulous food are just a few of the reasons people choose to live here – but the main thing that draws people is the helpful attitude of France’s residents. They’re used to tourists becoming lost in their city streets, so they’ll go the extra mile to help you if you need it.
Great Place for Families
France is a beautiful place to live as a family – the public school system provides high-quality education, and the low cost of living allows your money to stretch further. Plus there are countless activities that you can do with your children in France that they will enjoy.
Making a Will
Laws in France are different from those in most countries. In particular, there is no common-law right to inherit after death. If you die without a will, your estate automatically goes to your closest relatives. This can be extremely bad if you have children from previous marriages, as the French laws may not give much weight to your wishes outside of your spouse and children.
If you have a will, it must be written in French or translated into French by a sworn translator. This can be difficult for English-speaking retirees, who are not fluent in the language, so if you have an estate large enough to require a will, consider getting help with the legal aspects before moving to France.
The French education system is world-renowned, not least because of its emphasis on teaching foreign languages. As a result, schools offer courses in English and other second languages for all students. However, you will still run into problems translating documents like court orders or contracts; if possible, make sure these are translated by someone fluent in French and English.
As a result of the above, you will likely be required to pay taxes on your worldwide income if you live in France part-time or permanently. If this includes Social Security payments made into the United States, know that they cannot be taxed by the French government (though you may be taxed in the US).
However, make sure you keep all relevant records; if you don’t include it on your French tax form and the IRS finds out, they will likely hit you with a fine.
Moving Your Belongings
Moving to France is not easy- as such, most experts recommend shipping as little as possible. In some cases, you can affordably rent or buy furniture in France, but otherwise, it’s a good idea to bring the essentials with you on your flight- including heavy winter clothes and bedding.
Like most countries, France suffers from a housing shortage, which increases demand and makes it difficult for newcomers to find housing in many parts of the country. This is especially true if you want a house or apartment in a smaller city or town, which will likely be much more expensive than similar properties in larger cities.
Accessing Health Care
The French health care system operates under the principle that every citizen should receive quality health care regardless of their income. In practice, this means that all people pay a percentage of their salaries into the health care system and then receive free or low-cost medical expenses covered by that sum.
Be aware that while it is very easy to be approved for social security payments in France, you must prove you have already paid into the system. If you have not, it is challenging to receive social security payments in France.
Navigating the Bureaucracy
Despite their reputation for being rude, French bureaucrats can be helpful- as long as you know what you’re doing. The first time you open a bank account or file a tax return, for example, you will be inundated with paperwork and likely receive a lot of conflicting information.
Make sure you understand what you’re doing and talk to your bank or tax office before filing anything in order to avoid mistakes that could hurt your chances for retirement in France.
Top 7 Outdoor Activities for Retirees in France
France is a country in Western Europe well known for its rich culture and beautiful architecture. France attracts over 80 million visitors from around the world every year, making it one of the most visited countries in the world. Here are the top seven attractions that you must visit if you travel to France:
1) The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is perhaps the most popular tourist attraction in Paris. It was built as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair and is now one of France’s biggest landmarks. Visitors can take an elevator up to two-thirds of its height or climb the stairs for a good leg workout.
A ticket for climbing costs 14 Euro (about $20), including the entrance fee. On a clear day, visitors can see the entire city of Paris from the top floor.
2) Châteaux de Versailles
Located outside of Paris in Versailles, this castle is considered one of France’s biggest tourist attractions. The massive structure was built in 1682 by King Louis XIV. Visitors can tour the castle to see beautiful paintings, vaulted ceilings, and golden fountains. A ticket for adults costs 13 euros ($18).
3) Notre Dame de Paris
This famous cathedral sits on an island in the middle of Paris. The first stone was laid over 800 years ago, so walking around inside feels like stepping back in time. Visitors can climb up to the top of the cathedral, where they’ll be met with amazing views of Paris. A ticket for adults costs 12 euros ($17).
4) The Louvre
One of the most famous museums in the world, it is impossible to get a ticket for this attraction during tourist season. Tickets must be reserved well in advance, but once inside the museum, visitors are treated to priceless pieces of art from French artists. The Louvre also offers workshops for kids and teenagers during school holidays.
5) Arc de Triomphe
Another historic structure was built in honour of Napoleon Bonaparte. Visitors can walk up to the top of the arch for amazing views of Paris. Tickets are free but must be reserved in advance at their website. That being said, visitors may have to wait in line for a while during August and September.
Located on the Northern coast of France is a monastery that was built in honor of Archangel Michael. It has become one of the most visited tourist attractions in Northern Europe. Visitors can tour the church, which is built out over the ocean.
The site becomes an island at high tide and is completely cut off from the mainland for a few hours. Visitors can take a miniature train or bus to cross over from land to the island.
7) Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Paris is located just outside Paris and has been around since 1992. The resort attracts masses of visitors every year, making it one of France’s top tourist destinations. There are two theme parks, a shopping village, and the Walt Disney Studios Park.
Visitors can take a shuttle bus from Disneyland to Paris, so they don’t use their cars. The total admission costs range around 40 euros ($57) for adults.
8) The Château de Chambord
The castle was built in the Renaissance style and is considered one of the most beautiful castles in France by architects. Visitors are met with an extensive array of turrets that crown the building’s frame. The main attractions for visitors are the double helix staircase and its lavishly decorated rooms. A ticket for adults costs 9 Euros ($13).
9) The Catacombs of Paris
The French version of a graveyard filled with underground tunnels filled to the brim with skulls and bones. Don’t let that stop you from visiting this fantastic attraction, though.
It can be challenging to start a new life in a foreign culture, especially when no longer young. To ease the transition into retirement for foreign nationals moving to France, it’s worth understanding the French retirement system and how it works. Nonetheless, check the information above to know better.