France is one of the most attractive countries in the world for English-speaking ex-pats. In 2022, France welcomed 140,000 new immigrants, an increase of nearly 10% over 2021’s net movement(1).
Where are the best places for ex-pats to live in France?
This is an absolute lottery. If you conduct a search, the first page of Google is filled with articles detailing the top five, seven, ten, twelve, etc places to live in France and all are different.
Unlike choosing a place to live in your home nation where the considerations and drivers are fairly static – school, work, or retirement – moving to a whole new country and deciding where to settle is a whole different experience. You might have your heart set on a bijou apartment in Paris or a cottage in Brittany but increasingly more people are looking at less obvious options like a luxury chalet in Megève in the French Alps.
Reasons to Live in the French Alps
Leisurely lifestyle: It isn’t just lovers of snow and winter sports who are attracted to the Alps. The Alps are an all-year-round destination for all kinds of outdoor pursuits and if you live there, all these wonderful opportunities are on your doorstep.
Scenic and picturesque: If you want to wake up to a glorious landscape every day, the French Alps will oblige. The mountains are wonderfully green in the summer and snow-capped in the winter, Expanses of white and green are broken by mirror-like lakes and flower-filled meadows.
Greener lifestyle: You can live in greater harmony with nature in a natural environment. The Alps are a massive green space where there isn’t extensive urbanisation. The biggest population centres are the major ski resorts and there are many small and charming villages.
Economically sound: It is as easy to work from home in the Alps as anywhere and if you want to run your own business, there are many opportunities in the tourism industry.
Gastronomy: The French Alps has its own regional cuisine. Much is made of the apres-ski type fare but fresh produce is hugely important as are the local cheeses, bread and other artisanal products.
How Easy is it to Move to France?
It is easy for members of EU countries to move to France but citizens from other countries are equally welcomed; they just have to go through more bureaucracy to achieve their desired move.
You cannot just book a plane ticket and turn up with your backpack and decide to stay. Anyone outside of the EU needs a travel permit to enter France and if you want to live and work in France, work visas and resident permits are required.
Do your research to find out what is required. The best route is to find a real estate agency in Megève. Not only will they enable your property search whether you are looking to buy or rent but they will also be able to advise on everything you need to do and what legal steps are required.