FRANCE – BUDGET

FRANCE – BUDGET

Carcassonne

Walt Disney is said to have been inspired by its towers, turrets, and ramparts and you can understand why when the sun rises up over the medieval city of Carcassonne. It’s easy to imagine a knight galloping up the cobbled streets and dashing through the portcullis to save his princess. In fact, Carcassonne, at the heart of Cathar country, was first recorded in pre-Roman times. It was, and continued to be for centuries, an important fortification with views up and down the Aude valley—west towards Castelnaudary and east to Narbonne and the Mediterranean. The view to the south tower the Pyrenees Mountains and to the north the Montagne Noir or Black Mountains.

If you’re drawn to the Old World and history, have a love of wine and good eating, have a relaxed temperament, and like to get out and explore, Carcassonne would be a place to consider for full- or part-time living. Carcassonne has the benefit of being a two-part town—both parts have much to offer tourists and residents alike. Within La Cité there is, of course, the medieval chateau and rampart, the St. Nazarius Basilica, and the world-famous summer festival, and there are also beautiful boutiques, artists’ workshops, Michelin-star restaurants, and glorious hotels to explore, such as the Hotel de la Cité.

The city of Carcassonne is the capital of the Aude department in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. The medieval Cité (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) up on a plateau on the right bank of the river Aude and the Bastide Saint Louis below the Cité on the left bank. The Bastide, commissioned by St. Louis in 1260, was built in an easy to navigate grid pattern. Though the medieval Cité is where the tourists head to, the Bastide and surrounding villages are where the majority live and where you are most likely to rent or purchase a property.

Cost Of Living In Carcassonne

France in general is not a top choice if you are hoping to make a massive cut to your cost of living. That said, the area often labelled as the “Other South of France” is far more affordable than its flashier counterpart, while offering the best of French country living. The cost of living can be less than 1,051 euros a month in the town of Carcassonne.

Monthly Budget For A Couple Living In Carcassone, France

Click here for currency conversion at today’s exchange rate.

Rent €400
Gas €15 Used for cooking.
Electricity €100 The heating uses electricity and no air conditioning is needed.
Water €16
Telephone €40 Per month with SFR (provides a bundle of services including long distance, local calls, Internet and cable TV).
Internet N/A Included with telephone.
Cable TV N/A Included with telephone.
Groceries €480
Entertainment €300
Total €1,051

 

Real Estate In Carcassonne

Given the attraction of the Cité, the Bastide, and the surrounding area, property prices are very reasonable. Fully renovated apartments range from about 50,000 euros for a studio to 200,000 euros for a six-bedroom property. Houses in Carcassonne center are harder to find but are available from about 200,000 euros. If you extend your search to 5 kilometers out from the center, there’s a far greater choice, everything from new-build villas to renovation projects. Rents start at about 350 euros per month for apartments and from 600 euros per month for houses.

Tourism In Carcassonne

Tourism is thriving in Carcassonne—often too thriving for locals who move out during the summer, renting their apartments to visitors.

A 10-minute drive from the center of Carcassonne is a stunning 18-hole golf course, and a natural leisure park with freshwater swimming, hikes, and picnicking. Within an hour from Carcassonne you can be sunning yourself on the sandy beaches of the Mediterranean, and within 90 minutes skiing in the Pyrenees. There are thousands of acres of vineyards producing many award-wining wines to visit, the wilderness of the Black Mountains and the Corbières hills to explore, awe-inspiring medieval castles to discover, the cosmopolitan city of Toulouse an hour west along the freeway, and Spain just a hop and a skip across the border.

Languedoc

The Languedoc offers so much to do, particularly if you are active and like to get out and about. A visit to the beautiful 12th-century Abbeye de Fontcaude just 10 minutes from Cessenon is well worth the trip. There is everything you need in the village for daily life—local produce shops, restaurants, a bar—yet it is still has a small town feel.

Cessenon-sur-Orb is in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, between Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur to the east, the Midi-Pyrenees to the west, and the Auvergne to the north, which is colorful, eclectic, always changing, never following a formula, and very open to retirees. This is wine country, with a long history and a lot of heart.

Cost Of Living In Languedoc

Today you can live and retire comfortably in Languedoc for under 1,800 euros.

Monthly Budget For A Couple Living In Languedoc, France

Click here for currency conversion at today’s exchange rate.

Rent €725
Gas €16
Electricity €80 The heating uses electricity and no air conditioning is needed.
Water €16
Telephone N/A Included with Internet.
Internet €43
Cable TV €32
Groceries €405
Entertainment €320
Total €1,637


The cost of living is higher in France than in say India, Thailand, Costa Rica, Panama, or Mexico. So if you are relocating with the primary agenda of significantly reducing your cost of living, think carefully about France. However, if you want to experience a southern European lifestyle, are looking to invest in a property where you could live full- or part-time, and are prepared to learn some French, Languedoc is great place to start over.


Real Estate In Languedoc

France’s Languedoc region represents the best of the South of France but with lower prices. It’s still possible to find attractive property for 90,000 euros or less in the region. Despite the growing popularity of this part of France, there really are, still, a lot of low-budget properties to choose from that would make part-time living accessible to many budding expats. And, if you're able to increase your budget to around 135,000 euros, you'll find more properties with more outdoor space, which gives you, the owner, more chance to enjoy al fresco living and makes the property more tempting to potential vacation renters. If you’re planning on part-time living in your new retirement haven, a lock-up-and-leave option in the south of France is worth considering.

Paris, Le Marais

Today, the Marais is one of Paris’ most trendy and desirable neighborhoods. The Marais is also home to many restaurants, cafes, and boutiques, many of which stay open on Sundays, an unusual practice in France. The Marais still retains so much of the medieval character that was bulldozed in the 19th and 20th centuries for bigger and better structures in other parts of the City of Light—but thankfully not the medieval smell. The most prevalent smell these days emanates from the numerous seductive boulangeries (bakeries) and pâtisseries (pastry shops).

To live in the Marais is to live in the heart—geographic, cultural, historical, architectural, and social—of this city that is considered by so many to be the ground zero of refined western culture. The Marais oozes culture and history. The neighborhood has an excess of historical sites and museums.

Cost Of Living In The Marais

Of course this could-be utopia is not without its drawbacks. Paris is an expensive city and the Marais is one of its most expensive neighborhoods. For access to the heart of Paris, there is no better location. The cost of living for this prime location amounts to 2,860 euros per month.

Monthly Budget For A Couple Living In Paris (Le Marais), France

Click here for currency conversion at today’s exchange rate.

Rent €1,675
Gas €50 Used for cooking.
Electricity €40
Water N/A Included with rent.
Telephone €40
Internet N/A Included with telephone.
Cable TV N/A Included with telephone.
Groceries €580
Entertainment €475
Total €2,860

The Marais is also a breeding ground for cafe culture, an epicenter of fine cuisine, and home to many a cozy bistro and open air market. Foodies will not be disappointed with the offerings within a stone’s throw of their front door.

Real Estate In The Marais

Property prices, both for owning and renting, are sky high for very little space. With these heightened prices come more expensive groceries, boutiques, dry cleaners, restaurants—you name it—than in most other neighborhoods, with the notable exception of the other expat-invaded Parisian neighborhood, Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

Expats In The Marais

Roughly a quarter of the Marais’ population was born outside Metropolitan France, so as an expat living in this neighborhood, you will certainly not be alone. For some, it’s actually a negative that so much English can be heard in the streets, cafes, and restaurants of the Marais. But aside from the sheer numbers, the organization of the expat community is impressive. Few foreign cities have as strong and as established an Anglophone expat community as Paris.

Pau

The city of Pau, also known as the “Green City” and the “Garden City,” has one of the highest ratios of greenery per square meter per person of any European city. Further, Pau’s greenery is tremendously diverse and includes trees and plants from Japan, the Caribbean, Mexico, Lebanon, the Mediterranean, Chile, and California, this huge variety in part thanks to the English settlers who came here after the Napoleonic Wars and brought with them their love of gardening and parks.
Pau is a landscape of accessible woodlands, the steep slopes of Jurançon wine country, the history-packed Plaine de Nay and its main town of Nay, and the pretty rolling countryside and ancient towns of the Gaves de Béarn. Pau is a university town, with close to 12,000 university students living on and off campus, helping to keep it lively.


Cost Of Living In Pau

The retiree who has dreamt of France but who can’t afford Paris should consider Pau. A couple could retire here on as little as €1,800 per month.

Monthly Budget For A Couple Living In Pau, France

Click here for currency conversion at today’s exchange rate.

Rent €980
Gas N/A Included with electricity.
Electricity €150
Water N/A Included with electricity.
Telephone N/A
Telephone and Internet included with cable TV.
Internet N/A
Cable TV €30
Groceries €200
Entertainment €105
Total €1,465

Expats In Pau

More than 50,000 expats, including many retirees, live in Pau, in the Béarn region of France. This sizable and welcoming community has developed for two reasons—the oil and gas industry and the historical connection of this part of France with the U.K. The oil and gas industry brings many working expats with families to Pau. The result is an eclectic community that includes people from all over the world—British, Colombians, Mexicans, Dutch, etc. The existence of this group means strong and ever-growing infrastructure, amenities, and services to support and facilitate expat living.

Layer on top of this what Pau itself has to offer—the scenery, the climate, and the proximity to beaches and mountains—and you understand the appeal for the other group of non-locals that has established itself here. Brits and other North Europeans have been seeking out this part of France for retirement for many years. This is a really friendly bunch of people with a wide range of backgrounds and interests always ready to welcome newcomers. 

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FRANCE – BUDGET

Carcassonne

Walt Disney is said to have been inspired by its towers, turrets, and ramparts and you can understand why when the sun rises up over the medieval city of Carcassonne. It’s easy to imagine a knight galloping up the cobbled streets and dashing through the portcullis to save his princess. In fact, Carcassonne, at the heart of Cathar country, was first recorded in pre-Roman times. It was, and continued to be for centuries, an important fortification with views up and down the Aude valley—west towards Castelnaudary and east to Narbonne and the Mediterranean. The view to the south tower the Pyrenees Mountains and to the north the Montagne Noir or Black Mountains.

If you’re drawn to the Old World and history, have a love of wine and good eating, have a relaxed temperament, and like to get out and explore, Carcassonne would be a place to consider for full- or part-time living. Carcassonne has the benefit of being a two-part town—both parts have much to offer tourists and residents alike. Within La Cité there is, of course, the medieval chateau and rampart, the St. Nazarius Basilica, and the world-famous summer festival, and there are also beautiful boutiques, artists’ workshops, Michelin-star restaurants, and glorious hotels to explore, such as the Hotel de la Cité.

The city of Carcassonne is the capital of the Aude department in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. The medieval Cité (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) up on a plateau on the right bank of the river Aude and the Bastide Saint Louis below the Cité on the left bank. The Bastide, commissioned by St. Louis in 1260, was built in an easy to navigate grid pattern. Though the medieval Cité is where the tourists head to, the Bastide and surrounding villages are where the majority live and where you are most likely to rent or purchase a property.

Cost Of Living In Carcassonne

France in general is not a top choice if you are hoping to make a massive cut to your cost of living. That said, the area often labelled as the “Other South of France” is far more affordable than its flashier counterpart, while offering the best of French country living. The cost of living can be less than 1,051 euros a month in the town of Carcassonne.

Monthly Budget For A Couple Living In Carcassone, France

Click here for currency conversion at today’s exchange rate.

Rent €400
Gas €15 Used for cooking.
Electricity €100 The heating uses electricity and no air conditioning is needed.
Water €16
Telephone €40 Per month with SFR (provides a bundle of services including long distance, local calls, Internet and cable TV).
Internet N/A Included with telephone.
Cable TV N/A Included with telephone.
Groceries €480
Entertainment €300
Total €1,051

 

Real Estate In Carcassonne

Given the attraction of the Cité, the Bastide, and the surrounding area, property prices are very reasonable. Fully renovated apartments range from about 50,000 euros for a studio to 200,000 euros for a six-bedroom property. Houses in Carcassonne center are harder to find but are available from about 200,000 euros. If you extend your search to 5 kilometers out from the center, there’s a far greater choice, everything from new-build villas to renovation projects. Rents start at about 350 euros per month for apartments and from 600 euros per month for houses.

Tourism In Carcassonne

Tourism is thriving in Carcassonne—often too thriving for locals who move out during the summer, renting their apartments to visitors.

A 10-minute drive from the center of Carcassonne is a stunning 18-hole golf course, and a natural leisure park with freshwater swimming, hikes, and picnicking. Within an hour from Carcassonne you can be sunning yourself on the sandy beaches of the Mediterranean, and within 90 minutes skiing in the Pyrenees. There are thousands of acres of vineyards producing many award-wining wines to visit, the wilderness of the Black Mountains and the Corbières hills to explore, awe-inspiring medieval castles to discover, the cosmopolitan city of Toulouse an hour west along the freeway, and Spain just a hop and a skip across the border.