Best places to live in France 2023

Interesting and informative new listing

Palmarès 2023 - Villes et villages où il fait bon vivre (


Our Maire sent the results for our village this morning via Panneau Pocket. We’ve been steadily climbing the rankings for some years now. Up 3,700 places in the last two years.

Agreed @DrMarkH
Let’s hope it doesn’t start a willie waving contest on SF :rofl:

Interesting. My commune is placed higher than I expected - not sure if I’ve been harsh about where I live or unrealistic about the other towns.

I wouldn’t willy wave (even if I had one) about such an artificial assessment. Strikes me as someone has had a great money making idea to develop a computer model to generate listings and then profit from the results (an association so the profit is presumably in creating a job) .

Survey of 1000 people to identify things that are important and then use official data to build the model. So only as good as the criteria chosen and reliability of data. I looked at doctors, and for this the points are based on the length of time to travel to one, the less time the more points. However nothing about number of doctors per head of population which is much more meaningful. We have a medical centre 6 minutes away, built for 4 doctors. There is one.

Like the plus beaux villages this is a label one can buy - €500/year for small commune and up to €3000 for a large one. Only top 500 in each category but only needs a percentage of these to fall for it to generate a reasonable income.

So my metaphorical willy is staying firmly tucked away.


I was most interested in our village property price average and the revelation that over 80% homes are owner occupied. There is also a reassuring number of children and working adults to balance out the oldies.

All in all, I found it a helpful bit of info, thank you @DrMarkH!

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Well we are well down on all the lists but, having travelled extensively in France I can’t think of anywhere I would rather live other than if I was in sight and sound of the sea. :grinning:

Any comparative survey must inevitably be ‘artificial’’ and any survey that uses direct phenomeniological experience is obviously based on individual subjectivity. I love the location of our village, but I’m sure some on SF would hate it!

I posted the link, primarily for people looking for convenient general comparisons between possible places to live. It’s no more authoritative than using say, Google Earth in similar fashion., but that isn’t to say it’s wholly useless.

It seems my little corner of France is distinguished mainly by it’s averageness

Is this of any use in deciding where to live? I’m not convinced, TBH.


Mine is rated 2,650-ish on the national scale… they’ve clearly not visited it :smiley:

Although it did also tell me that the most popular “socioprofessionnelle” status of inhabitants here is Retraités which perhaps explains a lot.

As I replied above, it’s just one potential tool among many. I hink the socio-economic breakdowns may be helpful for many who like info on their peer group, those with kids or retirees for instance. Also there’s potentially useful links to services.

OTOH the criteria employed weren’t ones that we’d thought too hard about when we were house hunting. Climate, unusual location, interesting architecture and a good view over a natural setting were our principal criteria.

Also useful, if positive, when going to sell, which I seem to do often :grin:

I didn’t say it was useless, just flawed and therefore potentially misleading. But then I imagine most useful for people doing market research

I wonder what the good people of the bottom 100 feel about the website.


This is actually a pleasing result:

Why? because fewer people will wish to move there, and it’s a beautifully rural area, though I very much like our neighbours. I notice however that house prices are shown as increasing by 33% in the last 3 years!


No jobs, lack of services, ageing poor population and local economy in the gutter. Lovely landscape and cheap old houses, so attractive for Dutch and English second home owners and retirees.

That’s true, although our neighbours directly opposite are Parisian and there are other French that have bought houses here too. Thing is, if the relatively well off incomers don’t buy the older houses here then they will fall down after a while - there’s already some derelict houses in the village. So we are welcome because we help keep the village alive.

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We’re in a similar situation, but although there’s a good number of monied incomers and almost entirely mediaeval properties in our village, many of which are in need of attention, there’s a desperate local shortage of experienced maçons as opposed to slappers-on of crépie, who make a good living from the French desire for anonymous new-build homes.

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Keeping the village standing yes, but alive?

Unless national policies start to prioritise diversification of rural economies and young families migrate to rural areas it is just delaying the inevitable. I had hoped that Covid would spark a big change, but that seems limited to areas around trains stations with good services to major cities.

I think tele-working is more likely to be an effective game changer.

The last five years before my retirement , I was working entirely online with students north of the Arctic Circle and as far south as Crete, while being on the Cumbrian coast or in the Aveyron (yes, I now know that unlike in Italy, Portugal and Spain the latter was illegal).This is the future for many professionals and a real game changer. No commuting or dependence on time zones or other countries’ working hours, you can live where you want if there’s decent fibre.

Interestingly, one of the first professions to pick up on this were internationally successful contemporary artists, many of whom have studios in places like the Azores - halfway between Europe and New York

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