The phrase ‘expat destination’ tends to conjure up images of one way plane tickets to sub-equatorial paradise islands, or at the very least somewhere where the sun shines every day and an afternoon nap is obligatory. Yet, in the latest poll by halifax-international.com, the most popular destination for British expats is France (with 16 percent of Brits deciding to move there) – a destination that, without deeming it unexciting, is perhaps a little more predictable than I expected.
Yet, of course, this is precisely the reason it is so popular. Once the small matters of the language barrier and driving on the other side of the road are overcome, France is something of a home from home for the British. This is best realised when one visits Brittany, a region that is just a touch more than one hundred miles from the South Devon coast. You don’t even have to be aware of the Celtic heritage of the region to gaze with familiarity at the green rolling countryside and the market towns nestled therein.
Although, whilst there is little difference between the latitudinal positioning of France and Britain, the country’s northern regions are noticeably more temperate than Britain’s southern area – especially during the summer. The country becomes more continental as you move in land and southwards, with the south east of the country boasting a more Mediterranean climate that is rich in the production of wine, olives and lavender. By comparison, the northwest is famed for its apples and its cider!
If you are planning on moving to france then go for it.It’s a good thought.
I have already mentioned the easy proximity of France to the UK, but travel between the two countries deserves further discussion. Not only are there numerous ferry services from ports as far west as Plymouth (to Roscoff) and as far east as Dover (to Calais), since the opening of the Channel Tunnel [http://www.eurotunnel.com] in 1994, travelling to France by train has become ever more efficient and affordable. In 2008 more than 16 million users travelled across the channel by train.
However, accessibility and similarity to Britain are of course not the only reason expats like to move to France. The country is diverse, varied and culturally rich – and boasts many unique attractions for those with new time to explore during retirement. The southwest coast consists of glorious long golden beaches, huge expanses of pine forest, and the impressive Dune de Pila, whilst the south is famed for the Pyranees mountain range and the Mediterranean waters around Marseille. Of course, there is little room to go into more depth here – but its safe to say that France’s popularity is certainly deserved.