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How to Decide Where to Live in France

Volume XXI, Issue 40

KJ and Tony screenshot from their YouTube channel

Tuesday at our monthly coffee gathering, Après-Midi, we featured KJ and Tony Foster who first fell in love with France when they visited France about 10 years ago. They have been back many times since, venturing on to various parts of the south of France. They had never been to Paris until May 2022, which is when they decided to leave their high-stress jobs in Florida and 24/7 work lifestyle in the US and move somewhere in France.

They spent the first year of their travel journey to discover where in France they would like to settle as American expats. After all, there are so many incredibly beautiful areas in France that they wanted to experience as many different French regions and departments as possible before making a final decision. This happens more often than not, as I hear the same story often during our one-on-one consultations with clients.

Their YouTube Channel, “KJ and Tony Move to France,” and their travel blog, document the journey of giving up all their belongings in the US to make their dream of living in France a reality. They have since gained a big following, as people can completely relate to their journey.

We opened the session by running their first video, which has since gotten more than 270,000 views! Then, they told the story of how we met—how the New York Post wrote an article titled “How an American couple’s dream of ex-pat Paris life became a grande nightmare…” how I wrote a response to that titled “Don’t Let Your Dream Turn into Your Nightmare…” how they responded by telling me that the journalist lied about 90% of it…and how I wrote a follow-up retraction titled “No Nightmare for KJ and Tony.”

As a result, we met over dinner in Nice to discuss their experiences. I was thrilled to welcome them to come speak at Après-Midi. More than their move to France, they talked about their work helping people overcome substance abuse and how important that is to them, and why they will continue to work in that field, long after they have moved to France.

When one person asked them about the mistakes they had made, Tony answered with, “How much time have you got?” Everyone in the room could relate to the challenges they have faced…and it was comforting to know we’re all not alone in it!

KJ and Tony have decided to try to take me up on a scheme I have designed to invest in a property in Nice that is rentable, then take the profits from the rents to rent a pied-à-terre in Paris so that they can enjoy both cities year-round. The decision between Paris and Nice to call home can be very difficult to make, but this is absolutely doable, depending on the budget. And it satisfies both needs for enjoying all that Paris has to offer, while being able to escape to better weather and a more relaxed and casual lifestyle.

During the session, I related the stories I hear often from clients who have made a plan to visit as many places as possible in France before deciding where to land permanently. While a tour like that can be loads of fun, it can also be a big waste of time and money. France is such a beautiful country that it’s easy to fall in love with just about every spot you visit, sending your head reeling and more confused than ever. There are practical reasons to choose a destination, however, and more to think about than “where feels good or right.”

I can help design an itinerary that makes sense so that places can be considered and eliminated, narrowing the choices down to just a few. The practical reasons are too important to consider and should not be ignored.

On my list of parameters for great locations in France to live are:

• A thriving American community—ease of making friends
• Fast and easy access to transportation—an international airport, TGV hub, local transport
• Climate—where are you most comfortable?
• Urban vs rural environment—apartment living vs village house or house in the countryside? (Necessity or not of having a car at your disposal, French Driving License)
• Cost of living—mainly cost of housing, for rent or purchase
• Access to good healthcare and hospitals
• Language level—do you need or want to speak English?
• Business opportunities or cultural activities? Which is more important or are both?

List of recommendations on where to Live in France

There are a few cities that meet these parameters:

1) Paris
2) Nice
3) Aixe-en-Provence
4) Villages in Provence (depending)
5) Lille
6) Strasbourg

The Adrian Leeds Group's recommendations for where to live in France

What do they have in common? Almost all of them satisfy almost all of the parameters. Climate is their biggest difference, and while Lille and Strasbourg do not have weather as moderate as it is in the South, and do not have an international airport that makes travel fast and easy, they are still very accessible and very international. I can explain this in great detail, and have on many occasions.

Cities in France with easy travel access

To get an in-depth look at why I think so strongly about these choices, watch our Webinar sponsored by the Federation of Alliances Françaises USA recorded in January of this year.

To learn more about KJ and Tony’s journey, click here to read about it and see the photos.
And to watch the Après-Midi session, click here.

And if you want to discuss it with me in detail based on your own quest, visit our website and book a consultation! You will not regret it!

A bientôt,

Adrian Leeds with KJ and Tony at Après-Midi in ParisAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

Adrian with KJ and Tony at Après-Midi in Paris

France 24 Screenshot on the Hamas Israeli warP.S. As you might have read in Monday’s Nouvellettre®, I had plans to travel to Tel Aviv that have changed as a result of the current war in Israel. In the beginning, the nature of the conflict was just that…the beginning…and it was tough to determine if it would be safe to travel there or not. Clearly, not only is that not the case, but lives are held in the balance with “more Jews killed in one day since the Holocaust, entire families are being slaughtered.” At the time of this writing, “the death toll is up to 1,200. There are some kibbutzim who lost 150 members. Unbelievable!” These are the words of my friend in Tel Aviv who keeps me posted. Let us all pray that this war ends soon and that no more lives are lost. My thoughts and prayers are with them.


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