October 13, 2022
Retire in Europe | The Best City
Picking a top European city for retirement is a challenge.
Many European cities are livable, interesting and safe, with excellent access to cultural activities, health care and transit. But one city captures the imagination in a special way…
Retiring in Paris may seem like a fantasy, with rents and cost of living above European averages. In a recent Economist Intelligence Unit* cost of living review, Paris tied with Singapore as the second most expensive city in the world!
Retiring in Paris can be affordable… with a few adjustments
With some lifestyle adjustments, Paris can be an attainable retirement destination.
Imagine enjoying a lazy afternoon with a good book, some wine and a baguette at one of the city's many beautiful parks. Or visiting a world-class museum using a low-cost annual pass. The Mairie de Paris website publishes a list of free or low-cost activities each week, so retirees in Paris should never be bored.
They won't be hungry either. Paris is a dream destination for foodies, with excellent markets, brasseries, bistros, and restaurants. Price may be a consideration, but many interesting and high-quality Parisian restaurants offer prix-fixe lunches for a fraction of their dinner prices.
Public transportation in Paris is plentiful and cheap (a metro ticket is currently under 2 Euros), and exploring the city on foot is a never-ending delight. The city’s central location and train links make it a great base from which to explore other (less-expensive) parts of Europe as well.
For more helpful hints and insider info, see our complete guide to living in France.
Best City in Europe to Retire -- Honourable Mentions
Let’s stay in France a while longer and consider Bordeaux, a cheaper alternative to Paris with all of the French charm. Located in (arguably) the best wine region in the world, the city of Bordeaux also offers easy access to the coast and is served by TGV high-speed trains.
Culture-lovers will enjoy the 350+ Unesco World Heritage buildings located in Bordeaux. An added plus is the city’s large English-speaking population and access to France’s well-regarding health care system.
Switzerland may be expensive, but it is an excellent place to retire. In the 2022 UN World Happiness Report, Switzerland came in 4th! It is safe, clean, and has many beautiful cities.
The small city of Lausanne is located in the Canton of Vaud - a short 45 minute ride from Geneva. It is surrounded by lovely countryside, including spectacular terraced vineyards that cling to the hillsides along Lake Geneva. One of the most beautiful, the Lavaux vineyards, has earned UNESCO’s World Heritage designation. The town of Vevey, which recently joined the WHO Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities, is a short thirty-minute scenic drive from Lausanne. Learn more in our guide to moving to Switzerland.
Ready to move?
Still looking? Guess our winners for the best place to retire in Europe
Hint...This gorgeous island is not Capri but it is in the same country
Hint...This tiny village has spectacular beaches
Hint...This popular area is home to more than 70 golf courses
Hint...This lovely area is nestled between a pristine lake and endless mountains