US expat havens in France

Published:  16 Feb at 6 PM
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France is famous for being a number on destination for British expats, but it’s now becoming equally popular with Americans since Trump was elected.

The day after the US election result was released, web pages on relocating to Europe saw a stunning surge in interest, with France one of the most-researched destinations. Since then, the numbers of US citizens now living the dream across the pond has increased considerably, with refugees from Trumpland settling happily in a number of French regions.

The US Embassy’s number-crunching reveals some 100,000 US expats, although France’s agency for national statistics only admits to around 34,000. However many ‘yankees’ there actually are in the country is possibly difficult to estimate, as many may not have registered their presence, but census analysis easily pinpoints the regional locations of the largest USA expat communities.

It’s no surprise to find Paris and its surrounding Ile de France has the most American residents, totalling over half of the total spread across the rest of the regions. The Hollywood obsession with Paris as a totally romantic ‘City of Lights’ crammed with artists, poets, novelists and other lovers of the alternative lifestyle has much to do with its popularity for would-be expats from across the pond, but it’s also the best place to find a job!

Prosaically, the international corporate headquarters of a number of USA-based companies are the best source for expat employment, and the American University, the American Library and the American Church give that home-from-home feeling, as does the broad use of English. The second favourite region is Rhone-Alps with its main city of Lyon, set in the south-east and home to over 3,000 US expatriates. Taking a well-deserved third position is Provence-Alps-Cote d’Azure, a magic blend of sun, sea and mountains, perfect for retirees and beach lovers and beloved by American artists and writers during the 1920’s.

According to the website Americans in France, isolation in stunning countryside miles from modern civilisation doesn’t attract more than a few hundred refugees from the States. Reasons seem to be an allergy to culture shock and language shock as well as a lack of bright lights, fast food outlets and huge malls. Burgundy, Champagne-Ardenne, Normandy and Brittany all have their attractions for UK expatriates, but their distant cousins from across the pond aren’t likely to disturb the peace and quiet.
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