Retiring in France: a complete guide

1 min readLast updated May 31, 2024by Unbiased team

Find out what you need to comfortably retire in France and what common challenges and benefits people face during the application process.

Summary 

  • According to the OECS, the minimum income requirement for retiring in France is €1,766.92 monthly.  

  • France has one of the best healthcare systems in the world and reasonable property prices outside the city. 

  • France has an above-average cost of living and complicated tax regulations for expats.   

  • A professional financial advisor can make retiring in France easier and ensure that you have enough income to live comfortably. 

What are the pros and cons of retiring in France? 

France’s great food, rich culture, beautiful countryside, and high quality of life make it an appealing place to retire for many older couples and individuals. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to retiring in France, as well as a fair amount of paperwork. 

Pros 

  • Exceptional healthcare system: France has some of the best healthcare facilities in the world.  

  • French property can be affordable: You can save quite a bit of money by investing in quality rural French property or accommodations outside of the city.  

  • Agreeable climate and high quality of life: France is rated 23rd in global Prosperity Rankings. It has a warm climate and plenty of untouched nature to explore in your golden years.  

Cons 

  • Complicated tax and financial requirements: France will tax you on worldwide assets, retirement income, and access to its healthcare services.  

  • Culture differences: French social culture is known to be somewhat aloof and can be difficult to break into as an outsider, especially if you are an American citizen.  

  • Expensive lifestyle and services: While the more rural areas of France are more affordable, city living requires a high cost of living.  

What are the best places to retire in France? 

France has multiple locations that people can consider settling down in. Some of the best places to retire in France include:

  • Nice: Next to the French Riviera, Nice is a luxurious city with access to some of the best restaurants and medical facilities in the world.  

  • Montpellier: More fast-paced and dynamic than Nice is Montpellier, a diverse metropolitan area with quieter spots for older crowds.  

  • Lyon: Lyon is historically and culturally rich, making it a beautiful and fascinating place to retire.  

  • Provence: Provence is in the French countryside, offering a more slow-paced retirement environment.  

What age can you retire in France? 

The earliest age for retirement in France is 62.  

This rule applies to French citizens and international expats.  

Unfortunately, you won’t have access to any retirement benefits in France unless you have contributed to the country’s economy for at least ten years.  

What is the average cost of retirement in France? 

Retiring in France will cost you roughly €1,766.92 per month, which is equivalent to $1,893.48.  

This is the minimum income requirement you will need to prove you have in order to be granted entrance as a US retiree.  

This makes the cost of retiring in France higher than average for most countries.  

Do you pay taxes after retirement in France? 

If you emigrate to France and retire there, you would be taxed on any retirement income you earn and on any worldwide assets, such as foreign property, artworks, stocks, or any other major asset you own.  

You will also be taxed for having access to their comprehensive healthcare system.  

What programs are there for emigrating to France? 

In order to retire legitimately in France, you will need to apply for a French emigration visa.  

Many programs are available for emigrating to France, all of which can be expedited with the assistance of a financial advisor.  

What visas do I need to retire in France? 

If you are a US citizen, you will need a visa to retire in France.  

You will also need a passport, extra passport photos, filled-out application forms, proof of your accommodation in France, and proof of international medical insurance.  

Additionally, you will need to show that you are financially self-sufficient.  

What are my healthcare options in France? 

France’s healthcare system is routinely listed as one of the top ten in the world.  

Once you have become a resident, you will have access to the same healthcare benefits as locals. These include doctor’s visits for about $10-$30 per session and significantly lower prescription medication costs than those found in the US.  

Is it safe to retire in France? 

France is considered a relatively safe country that many people choose to comfortably retire in.  

The crime rate is similar to that of the US, with larger cities such as Paris, Lyon, and Toulouse even safer than most states in America.  

Is France a good place to retire? 

If you are able to handle the bureaucratic elements of emigrating to France, this Western European country can be an idyllic place to retire.  

The country's strong healthcare system, warm climate, and strong public health services all work in its favor, but its high taxes and restricted benefits can be difficult to manage, and there are cheaper options available in Europe.  

Get expert financial advice 

Those who are financially equipped have much to gain from retiring in France. The rich culture, delicious cuisine, and world-class healthcare system make it an attractive retirement destination—if you can manage the high expenses and tax complications that come with it.  

Let Unbiased match you with a financial advisor for expert retirement planning advice and to ensure you have a secure and comfortable future.  

Writers

Unbiased team

Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing and retirement, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.