Latest Data Shows Where British Expats Live in France

by Ray Clancy on April 6, 2015

France is one of the most popular countries in the world for British expats with the latest date from the country’s national statistics agency INSEE showing that there are 160,000 of them.

The figures also show that like many other countries worldwide there are expat enclaves with the Brits tending to live in Paris, Brittany, Normandy and Aquitaine.

franceBANKA breakdown of the figures show that there are 21,000 British expats living in Paris and the next most popular area is Aquitaine with 16,103. Then comes the Midi-Pyrenees with 15,831, Brittany with 13,500 and Rhone-Alpes with 13,016.

The south of France is not the most popular area despite being featured in author Peter Mayle’s books with just 11,976 British expats in PACA – Provence, Alpes and Cote d’Azur – and Languedoc with 10,575. There are 7,936 Brits living in Limousin right in the centre of France, 7,691 in the Loire and 6,880 in Lower Normandy. But there are just 1,477 in neighbouring Upper Normandy.

Champagne has the lowest number of expat Brits with just 400 and then France Comte with 413 and Lorraine with 851. There are 1,319 in Poitou despite it also having a reputation as being popular with British people and 1,643 in the Auvergne.

There are several reasons for the distribution, according to researchers. Lower Normandy is more popular than Upper Normandy because of its mix of beaches and traditional countryside and being served by two ports from England, Caen and Cherbourg. The ports of Le Havre and St Malo also serve the region.

You might expect Lorraine to be a popular location for Brits abroad as it is only five hours drive from Calais which is served by the port of Dover and 30 minutes from Luxembourg airport. But many expats living in the region don’t actually work in France, they tend to commute into neighbouring Luxembourg. Belgium and Germany are also easily accessible.

One reason is that housing is cheaper on the French side of the border and there are more jobs available in Luxembourg as Alsace is a very rural region out-with its main city of Nancy. It is also popular, however, with German and Swiss expats, again because the cost of living is lower, especially property.


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