Best Places to Live in France Under $2,700

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For many people tempted to move abroad, one of the most pressing questions is whether they will be able to afford living in France. It is true that some aspects of the cost of living in France – such as food shopping – are more expensive than in other countries, but rental prices can be affordable in some parts of the country.

If you’re planning to live in France, your cost of housing will be the biggest monthly expense. The ‘rule of thumb’ is that your rent should not exceed one third of your monthly budget. With a monthly income of $2,700 for two people, the target rent price is $900 per month or less.

Even if you have a modest budget, you will be delighted to learn that there are attractive locations to choose from, where the quality of life is high while the cost of living is very attractive.

Here are six best places in France to live for less than $2,700 per month, based on rental costs for two people living in a two-bedroom apartment.

6. Saint-Étienne

  • Population: 400,000 
  • Rent for two-bedroom apartment: $800
  • Estimated cost of living: $2,400

Situated in eastern-central France in the Auvergne-Rhone-Alps region, Saint-Étienne stands at an altitude of 530 metres and with 85 cm (33 inches) of snow most winters, it is France’s snowiest city.

St Étienne has an industrial heritage as it was a major coal mining and manufacturing center. Long known as the city of “weapon, cycle and ribbon” it was an industrial hub, but there is plenty of natural beauty too. The city was the center of the French bicycle industry and manufacturers of wheels and frames are still based there.

Many historic buildings in the center of Saint-Étienne have recently been converted into modern apartments as part of the urban renewal project that is transforming the city from a 19th century industrial hub to a modern ‘design city’. Other key developments include the creation of the Châteaucreux business district, the ‘Steel’ retail complex and a new creative manufacturing district.

 

Saint-Étienne is known for its quality and affordable housing. An added bonus is that the cost of everyday living in Saint-Etienne is below average. There is a good public transport network, with easy access to other parts of France and Europe.

Cycling is very popular in this ‘cycle-friendly’ city boasting plenty of great bike lanes.

For those who enjoy the outdoors, Pilat National Park is a great place for cycling, hiking, bird watching and nature photography.

Culturally, the city is vibrant with a number of cultural events, including the bi-annual Massenet Festival, as this French composer was born not far from the city. For those who enjoy museums, you’ll have four to choose from, including Musée de la Mine and Musée de vieux Saint-Etienne.

See Saint-Etienne on the map

5. Limoges

  • Population: 144,000 
  • Rent for two-bedroom apartment: $800
  • Estimated cost of living: $2,400

Limonges is a pleasant town with some superb architecture including the 10th century Gothic Cathedral of St. Martial. There are plenty of modern amenities and a warm community spirit, with a small, but strong, expatriate community. Limoges is a quiet city with affordable rents and the general living costs are up to 50% lower than in Paris and Nice.

Limoges France

Limoges has hot summers, while winters in this area can be surprisingly cold.

The city is colorful and very authentic as it does not get inundated with tourists. In the old city center there are cobbled streets and many old buildings that hint at its rich heritage.

One of the unique things about Limoges is its worldwide reputation for decorated porcelain and enamel work – which are still produced today. The pedestrian Quartier de la Boucherie (the butchers’ district), is particularly attractive with its timber-framed houses dating from the 14th century.

The river Vienne runs through the city, creating beautiful areas of greenland on both river banks. Jardin Botanique de l’Evêché is a particularly attractive public garden with over 1,000 rose bushes.

The city’s public transport network is very good – with an impressive bus and tram network and one of the most beautiful railways stations in France!  It is easy to get to Paris (a distance of 400 km) and other French cities. It’s also easy to reach Spain from here. Notably, Limoges has its own international airport.

If you’re looking for a rich cultural and social life, you’re in for a treat. The town hosts a variety of different festivals including a popular jazz festival.  There are several excellent markets that showcase local produce. The city has a large central covered market, while in the winter, its Christmas Market is highly popular.

4. Brest

  • Population: 139,000
  • Rent for two-bedroom apartment: $900
  • Estimated cost of living: $2,700

Located in the Brittany region in northern France, Brest is a dynamic working city with plenty of different employment opportunities. The city has a rich maritime heritage, plenty of coastal beauty and the big plus is that Bretons are known for their friendliness.

Brittany has a mild climate with frequent rainy days. There are stunning coastal walks to enjoy along its Atlantic coast and large sandy beaches to stretch out on. There are plenty of water sports available too. The cost of living in this area is attractively low – both for housing and general living expenses- and a monthly rent of $900 is easily achievable.

The region is well known for Breton cuisine so there are plenty of great dishes to enjoy including the famous ‘gallettes’ – savory pancakes.

Brest has a comprehensive healthcare service and equally good public transport service and cycle tracks. So many residents find these the ideal way to travel.

Brest Brittany France

Brest also has a thriving arts scene with theatres including the Quartz National Stage and several art galleries. For younger families relocating, Brest can be a good choice as it is home to the University of West Brittany and international schools.

3. Le Mans

  • Population: 143,000 
  • Rent for two-bedroom apartment: $900
  • Estimated cost of living: $2,700

Well known as the host of the famous 24-hour car race each June, Le Mans in the Pays de la Loire region of France is a hidden gem for those searching for a new and affordable home in France.

Not far from the race track stands the ‘Vielle Quartier’, which is also known as ‘Plantagenet City’, with its narrow, cobbled streets and half-timber houses. This part of the city has a rich history and stands within the old city walls.

Le Mans France

A 500-metre section of the Roman wall, built from blocks of ochre-colored limestone, still stands on the banks of the River Sarthe. Among the city’s many treasures are the Domaine de l’Épau and the Abbaye Royale de l’Épau.

Le Mans has a population of 143,500, but in June it gets really busy with all the fans coming to see the race. Certainly, the city has plenty to offer including a pleasant climate that is not too hot in the summer and mild in the winter.

The city has numerous parks and green spaces, good dining options, a vibrant nightlife and a good range of outdoor activities. Its central location also makes travel to other parts of France easy, with Paris being just an hour away by train.

For those who enjoy cultural events there is a wealth of art and music events all year long.  One event that is particularly popular is La Nuit des Chimères in July/August, which is a colorful sound and light show on all the city’s monuments – and all the streets that connect the monuments are also filled with light images. There are traditional local dishes to sample too, including ‘rillettes’- a meat spread perfect for sandwiches!

2. Clermont-Ferrand

  • Population: 504,000 
  • Rent for two-bedroom apartment: $900
  • Estimated cost of living: $2,700

This city is situated in on the Massif Centrale of France, and surrounded by industrial areas and old volcanoes that are called Chaine des Puys. The city stands in the rain shadow of the volcanoes, making it one of the driest in France and giving the city a continental climate with hotter summers and colder winters.

Clermont-Ferrand-France

Since 2018, Clermont-Ferrand has been listed as a “tectonic hotspot” by the UNESCO World Heritage list. It is one of the oldest cities in France, founded by the Ancient Greeks before later developing into a Roman city. Since then, it has had a colorful history. Above its red rooftops stand the twin spires of the Gothic cathedral which was built in black lava stone.

Clermont Ferrand has a number of interesting places including the UNESCO-listed Notre Dame du Port. There are four different parks and public garden too. The city has a long manufacturing history – linked to the French tire manufacturer, Michelin, but today only its administrative headquarters remain. The main industries are food-processing and engineering and it remains a very prosperous city. The city’s university is well known for its engineering department.

The Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival (Festival du Court-Métrage de Clermont-Ferrand) is one of the most important festivals of its kind in the world. The town also hosts more than twenty other music, film, dance, theatre and digital art festivals every year.  On the sports front, rugby is much-loved here and the city regularly features in route of the Tour de France.

The city has good rail connections with many regional destinations, but interestingly, the TGV service will not extend to Clermont-Ferrand until 2030, so some journeys are more time-consuming than they need be. The city was however, the first to get the Translohr tram system, which has a good network within the city. Clermont-Ferrand also has excellent autoroute connections and an airport offering internal flights.

1. Perpignan

  • Population: 123,000 
  • Rent for two-bedroom apartment: $900
  • Estimated cost of living: $2,700

Those dreaming of life in the South of France will be surprised to learn that Perpignan is affordable. The city certainly enjoys the lovely year-round climate of the south, but some might find it too hot in August when temperatures regularly hit 40C (104F) and are still about 28C (82F) at night. In comparison, winters in the region are pleasantly mild.

Perpignan-France

Perpignan has a unique geographical location in France as it is within close proximity of both the Mediterranean coast and the Pyrénées. Not surprisingly, it is known for its beauty and good quality of life. Perpignan has a rich Catalan heritage and many Spanish influences.

Perpignan is a vibrant city offering plenty of historical places to visit and green spaces for relaxing. Housing is plentiful and well-priced and rents are affordable. Living in Perpignan gives you access to a great cultural life with various art exhibitions, theatre performances, and music events throughout the year. The Fête de Saint-Vincent is one of the most important festivals.

There are several local markets with plenty of locally grown produce, fresh fish and local wines – prices are noticeably lower too. For families with children there are several international schools in the city.

The city has long been influenced by Spain and because of this operates a siesta-style of business with long lunchbreaks in the summer months.

The public transport system is not as comprehensive as it could be, so residents either walk or invest in a bicycle. Language can be tricky too as local residents speak both French and Catalan. Perpignan is certainly an attractive city to consider and offers a very distinct lifestyle.

All of these cities have much to offer those wanting to relocate to France and a monthly budget of $2,700 will be suffice because of each city’s attractive rent prices.

For those who do not relish city life, but prefer to live relatively close for amenities but prefer the charm and of village life, each of these suggested cities also have a number of surrounding villages that are worth considering too.

Before deciding where to live in France, the best approach is to rent for one year so that you have the opportunity to discover whether your chosen city suits you and which of its neighborhoods you find most appealing.

This article originally appeared on MyDolceCasa and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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