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Best Cities in France to Live

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Best Cities in France to Live:

The most comprehensive guide to Best Cities in France to Live. With our Real Estate Buying Guide we will help you get a general idea about France and understand what it means to live in this country, inform you about real estate prices and trends, and understand how to buy in France safely.

 

Lyon

Best Cities in France to Live

Best Cities in France to Live

Lyon is the gastronomic capital of France, with a culinary tradition dating back several centuries; it is a noteworthy business city with several major companies in banking (second only to Paris), pharmaceuticals, software and biotechnology; in addition, it is home to three universities. Recent investments in infrastructure have significantly improved the use of public transportation: in fact, Lyon got its bicycle rental program (Velo) two years before Paris got its Vélib’!

The area known as the Confluence can be considered an architectural experiment, where elegant cubic buildings mix with high-class cultural, residential, and commercial centers in an eco-sustainable district. While the Presqu’Ile, with its Opera and museums, remains particularly attractive, the “bohemians” prefer the outer area known as Croix-Rousse: an area historically occupied by silk weavers and characterized by old houses and winding streets; as far as bargains in real estate are concerned, the best area is Guillotière, close to the center but with a large student population.

 

Toulouse

Best Cities in France to Live

Best Cities in France to Live

Toulouse is comletely different: it is a fast-growing metropolis that can boast particularly thriving sectors (aerospace and engineering), as well as a large student presence (given the fact that the city offers prestigious universities and engineering colleges). It is the fourth largest city in France-its old part is built of pink brick and is nicknamed “la ville rose”-offering several cultural points of interest and a lively nightlife. In addition, thanks to a good airport and a recently improved rail network, the city is very well connected with the rest of France. It is a great city to live and work in, and in case you feel like relaxing you will find the hiking trails of the Pyrenees only a 90-minute drive from the city.

 

Marseille

Best Cities in France to Live

Best Cities in France to Live

Marseille, with a population of more than 850,000, is the second largest city in France, but its cost of living is 30 percent lower than that of Paris or Lyon. It is often portrayed as a “down-to-earth” and no-frills city, but recently it has been experiencing a cultural renaissance, brought about through the opening of new museums and art galleries that have not, however, affected its authenticity.

In the common imagination, Marseille is portrayed as a fishing town and is famous for its bouillabaisse, but beyond that, the city can boast a thriving science and technology sector, and is home to France’s largest university as well as a large number of major companies, such as Pernod-Ricard, that are fundamental to the city’s life. One small downside is that although the population is quite diverse, the expatriate community is not particularly close-knit.

Heading to the southern part of the city, you can’t go wrong: the Cours Julien is trendy, as is the art district of Le Panier, while Longchamp and Michelet are particularly favored by families.

In the common imagination, Marseille is portrayed as a fishing town and is famous for its bouillabaisse, but beyond that, the city can boast a thriving science and technology sector, and is home to France’s largest university as well as a large number of major companies, such as Pernod-Ricard, which is fundamental to the city’s life. One small downside is that although the population is quite diverse, the expatriate community is not particularly close-knit.

 

Heading to the southern part of the city, you can’t go wrong: the Cours Julien is trendy, as is the art district of Le Panier, while Longchamp and Michelet are particularly favored by families.

 

Cannes

Best Cities in France to Live

Best Cities in France to Live

Cannes is the second largest city on the Riviera after Nice, and like Antibes it is a constant residential choice for people working at Sophia-Antipolis. Thanks to the film festival and trade fairs MIPIM, MIPCOM, and MIPTV, the city is cosmopolitan and has a well-developed tourism sector. The center remains very crowded until late at night, consequently the suburbs are more family-friendly.

 

Antibes

Best Cities in France to Live

Best Cities in France to Live

Antibes is especially popular with executives working in the Sophia-Antipolis technology park, as well as with sun worshippers. It hosts a large number of foreigners and offers several international schools. The old town is compact and charming, with excellent food markets and a port area (Port Vauban); in addition, during the summer the city offers a very active nightlife. The downside lies in the fact that although the city is crowded during the summer, it empties out in the winter and offers little compared to other larger coastal cities. However, some may appreciate the special tranquility of the place during the winter season.

 

Villefranche-sur-Mer

Best Cities in France to Live

Best Cities in France to Live

Finally, for those who want to experience the life of a real town on the French Riviera, Villefranche-sur-Mer has much to of frire. This small coastal town has never become a suburb of Nice, even though it is located a short distance from the latter, and although it is literally flooded with tourists during the summertime, it has preserved its local markets and its “vintage” atmosphere. The old town, with its narrow streets and ochre-colored houses, is particularly charming: it is bordered on one side by Cap de Nice and on the other by Cap Ferrat with its mega-luxurious and extremely expensive villas. It is an ideal place for anyone working in Nice, on the one hand, or in Monaco, on the other-a great place to relax after a day of work.

 

Bordeaux

Best Cities in France to Live

Best Cities in France to Live

Bordeaux represents the hub of the French wine trade, is also home to a large number of wineries, and is the capital of the New Aquitaine region. A diverse and sophisticated city, it is lively throughout the year and able to offer an excellent lifestyle for expatriate families. However, the particularly buoyant real estate market in recent years may make it more expensive to buy a home.

 

Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence, with its classical music festival held annually in July, is a city for culture lovers. It is elegant but not soporific, and its nightlife is surprisingly quiet for a city of 143,000. It is home to a large expatriate community and a decent student population, consequently there is a lot of demand in terms of rentals, and the city is well positioned for those who want to explore the countryside of Provence. Aix is surrounded by a complex road network, which is why many buyers ignore its suburbs in favor of the surrounding rural areas at the foot of the Luberon Massif.

 

Bergerac

Best Cities in France to Live

Best Cities in France to Live

The Dordogne region is popular with English, Dutch, and Belgian expatriates, and offers several inexpensive rural properties, some in need of renovation. Bergerac is a good-looking commercial city with a population slightly over 26,000 and an airport connected to Ireland and the United Kingdom, plus it is within commuting distance of Bordeaux. However, finding work in this area may be difficult, especially if you do not speak French. On the other hand, if you are retired and looking for a vacation home, or if you work from home or are willing to commute every day, then it may be a place for you and you may find a very supportive expatriate community there.

 

Benayes

To conclude, we feel compelled to add the absolute best place to live in France: Benayes. With only 224 inhabitants, this village is home to more limousine cows than people: here you can buy two houses for less than €50,000. You’ll find fresh strawberries, chestnut plantations, crisp, high-quality apples, and even a high-speed Internet connection, but unless you work on one of the local farms, or in one of the nearby towns, it doesn’t offer as much work.