American expats love city life in France but shun remote rural areas

by Ray Clancy on February 15, 2016

More American expats than ever are attracted to living and working in France and they prefer Paris and the surrounding area than any other part of the country.

The latest data from the French national statistics agency INSEE shows that there are around 34,000 expats from the United States although the American Embassy thinks that many more gravitate to France.

About 16,500 of them live in Paris and the Ile de France, the region that encircles the French capital city and this could be because Paris is where many American companies doing business in France have their headquarters.

eiffel-tower-france-paris

There are also good international schools in Paris where expat offspring can get the kind of education that is available in the United States.

In Paris there is also the American University, the American Library and the American, making the city feel almost like a home from home.

After Paris the next most popular region in France for American expats is the Rhone Alpes followed by Provence and the Cote d’Azur, then the South West, including Aquitaine, Midi-Pyrenees and Languedoc Roussillon.

Unlike the British, there are not many American expats in Normandy or Brittany and very few in the central regions, Lorraine and Alsace. France-Comte in the east is also not popular with Americans.

Within the French regions American expats prefer big cities rather than rural locations. While you’ll get a British expat buying a rundown property in the countryside to renovate, you won’t find many Americans choosing to do so.

Lyon, Bordeaux, Toulouse and Nice are some of the most popular cities with American expats outside of Paris. Indeed the French Riviera has always been popular with Americans partly due to its romantic attachments to American writers and artists who made it famous in the 1920s and 1930s.

One reason why Americans are not drawn to remoter parts of France is that they like being near to good transport links and they find the “paysan” way of life a bit of a culture shock. They also don’t like being isolated, according to Jeff Steiner who has a blog for Americans living in France.

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