Where to live in France? A tale of 96 departments

Where you choose to live in France very much depends on the person you are.

For many, it is love at first sight when they spend a week or two on holiday in a specific town or department. But for others, the adventure begins when they decide to come and live here. With 96 distinctly different French departments to choose from, plus 5 more overseas, you are spoilt for choice.

That’s where our Discovery Package comes in.

At French Connections HCB, we are often asked for advice on the best places to live in France. But of course, every client’s hopes and expectations are different, which is why we decided to create a designated ‘Discovery Package’. This unique service offers an informed shortcut to finding the perfect place to call home, led by our friendly specialist team, Melanie and Juliette.

Both of them are passionate about helping you to find the perfect place to live.

Melanie is a French national with a Double Masters degree in oenology, which means she can talk to you knowledgeably about all the different areas of France, their climate, their landscape and particularly their wines!

Juliette is a talented painter and graphic artist. She has an eye for detail and puts it to good use while she is creating your personalised Discovery Tour and filling it full of things she knows you will love.

Melanie is the first person you’ll talk to. Over a free one hour consultation, she’ll chat to you about what you like and don’t like, whether you prefer town or country, big cities or tiny villages, inland or coastal. Then she’ll get into more detail about lifestyle. Are you keen on social activity or do you prefer to keep yourself to yourself? What are the things that give you joy? Markets, history, art, sailing, hikes, wine tasting or maybe a simple game of pétanque with the locals?

Based on that conversation, Melanie and Juliette will put together a short list of 1 – 3 places that they think are a perfect match for you, which they will present in the form of a unique Discovery Pack.

What does a Discovery Package look like?

The Discovery Pack is a beautiful digital document taking an in-depth look at the regions we think would suit you best, based on what we’ve learned by talking to you. It starts with an overview of the area in terms of geography, history, weather, culture, size of town, landscape, and whatever it’s famous for. The pack indicates places of exceptional interest, such as world heritage sites, lookout points, festivals, and activities right around the calendar because it’s important that you know what’s on in the winter months too! It also covers airports and rail stations so you know your transport options.

In terms of practical help, there’s also a section on local real estate prices and rentals costs, as well as the number of banks, supermarkets, petrol stations, hospitals and bakeries (so important in France!) so you can see how well serviced it is.

Best of all is the personalised itinerary that we prepare for you, allowing 3-4 days to discover each of the areas we think you’ll love. This is typically a morning activity based on your favourite things to do, somewhere lovely to have lunch, another visit in the afternoon and a hand-picked suggestion for where to have dinner, all painstakingly researched and based on local knowledge that you won’t find in any guidebook. You can expect to unearth some local gems and get a real feel for the ambiance, facilities and lifestyle of each area. What better way to find out if you could settle there?

Although the Discovery Tours are the newest service we offer at French Connections HCB, they are already proving very popular. Clients have ranged from ages 30 to retirement and have so far been interested in many different parts of France.

Here are just a few.

Christine from Florida dreamed of retiring to the beautiful French Riviera but wanted to make sure she chose an area that was lovely to look at, safe to live in and wouldn’t require a car. We put together a Discovery tour that covered three towns on the Riviera that matched her brief. The Tour was so successful that Christine has now settled in Beaulieu sur Mer and she loves it!

Paul and Hannah from Canada are thinking of settling in France to be closer to their son, who will be working in Germany. We suggested two towns in Brittany, Dinan and Quimper, and Paul and Hannah have booked their Discovery Tour for next month.

Some clients like to plan ahead. A young couple from the UK came to us looking for the perfect location to find the right work-life balance in the future. Based on what they told us, Auch and Toulouse fitted the bill perfectly. They visited both and have also asked us to look at coastal locations for them to consider while they plan their move.

Other clients are already in France but are looking for somewhere that suits them better. Amy from New Jersey was looking for a friendly place to settle with her beloved dog, having lived in various countries around the world for the past 20 years. When she told us where she was currently living and described her ideal lifestyle, we knew she could do better. We proposed Auch and Bergerac and Amy is looking forward to visiting both on her tailored Discovery Tour during the next few weeks.

Of course, not everybody is planning to live in France full time. Thomas from the US came to us because he wants to buy a holiday home in which to escape the winter months. Based on what he told us about himself and his preferences, we created a Discovery Tour covering three towns in the Languedoc region. Thomas is here at the moment and has fallen in love with Montpelier!

These are just a few of our Discovery Tour success stories. Each is unique and created with genuine care.

Why are we so successful at matching clients to places? It’s because we know France inside out, and we’re passionate about helping others to make the right decisions and find an area where they can truly belong.

If you’d like to talk to us, simply click on the button below to book a free 15min initial consultation with Melanie at a time to suit you.

We very much look forward to sharing our knowledge and expertise to help you discover the perfect place to call home.

French Connections HCB Team

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