Where to Live in Style & In Easy Reach of Paris
Paris, with its fabulous galleries and restaurants, good schools and chic lifestyle has always been one of Europe’s most desirable locations. The regions surrounding the French capital offer access to all this iconic city has to offer with the added charm of glorious countryside and a relaxed pace.
Paris and Hauts-de-Seine
For those who don’t want to be too far from the action, let’s start with the city itself. Many of the areas in and around Paris have excellent transport links into the city and the added advantage of being on the international schools’ bus routes. Some of the most popular areas with expats, particularly those coming to live here from the UK, are Issy-les-Moulineaux, Meudon, Neuilly-sur-Seine and St Cloud, which is ideally placed for the American School of Paris and the Lycée Corneille. Sevres, with its Lycée International another good choice with expats.
The Rest of Île-de-France
A little further out, Maisons-Lafitte in the Yvelines department of Île-de-France is a residential haven and a major horse racing centre. This part of France is hugely popular with those who want the bright lights of Paris close by but appreciate having the space for horse-riding, golf, weekend walks and perhaps a larger home with a garden. The Val d’Oise department offers similar benefits to Yvelines along with easy access to Charles de Gaulle Airport.
Heading North to Hauts-de-France
Within easy reach of Paris, Hauts-de-France has long been a weekend retreat for Parisians who visit to enjoy the fresh air and beauty of the Compiègne Forest and historic fairytale castle such as the fine example of Château de Pierrefonds.
Nowadays city folk and expats alike regard departments like Oise and Somme as home, preferring to make the journey to the city when they need to rather than the other way around. Great internet broadband speeds make this a real possibility with many business people now choosing to work from home for part of the week rather than commuting every day.
There are some beautiful properties in these areas, from contemporary architect-designed homes to countryside cottages and barn conversions with pretty views. Amiens, which is the capital of the Somme department, is a desirable location thanks to its pretty canals, plentiful shops and vibrant market which sells produce grown on the city’s floating market gardens. The area is served by Paris-Beauvais Airport, which lies about 80km north of Paris.
Normandy, near Paris and the UK
Normandy is popular with British expats because of its proximity to Channel ports. The Seine-Maritime department is home to the seaside port of Le Havre as well as the vibrant city of Rouen, making this a good choice for anyone who wants a taste of French life without being too far away from civilisation. Bordering onto Ile-de-France, Normandy has good access to Paris with the added benefit of miles of sandy beaches and superb seafood restaurants. Property is cheap here compared to other parts of France and we have a good selection of country homes and rural properties.
Wondering where to start? Orne, in Southern Normandy, is a favourite with hikers and horse riders whereas Calvados attracts those looking for somewhere to live within easy reach of the coast.
Loire Valley, Land of Kings & Queens
South of Paris and the Ile-de-France lies the picturesque Loire Valley which is famous for many things, most notably castles and wine. This land of kings and queens is just a short journey by train or autoroute from Paris yet retains much of its historic medieval charm. Popular locations include Le Mans, home of 24 hour motor racing, just an hour from Paris by train, the attractive university town of Tours on the banks of the Loire and Angers, a famous historic old town.
The local Chinon wine, made from the Cabernet Franc grape, is the perfect accompaniment to this region’s gastronomy which includes Sainte Maure goat cheese, fouée bread and pork rillettes. The entire Loire Valley is a Unesco World Heritage Site with chateaux, fortresses and ancient vineyards at almost every turn.