Despite a world of opportunity to choose from, British expats retiring to France and Spain remain cloistered in a few areas, according to official figures.
France is now home to 160,000 British expats, counted by the government’s official statistics service INSEE.
Spain has also released expat residence statistics – revealing 275,817 Brits live permanently in the country.
These numbers make France and Spain two of the most popular expat destinations for the British – but both are easily beaten by Australia, which has a reported 1.27 million Brits living there.
However, the latest French and Spanish figures give some insight as to exactly where expats have moved to.
Where expats live in France
In France by popularity –
- Paris is home to 21,000 Brits
- Aquitaine has 16,103 British expats
- 15,831 live in Mid-Pyrenees
- 13,500 in Brittany
- 13,016 in Rhone-Alpes
Unsurprisingly, the warmer climes of the South of France are popular with British expats.
- 11,976 live along the Cotes d’Azur, Provence and Alpes
- 10,975 make Languedoc home
Then the figures start dropping off – from just under 8,000 in Limousin to 400 in Champagne and 413 in France Comte.
Transport seems to play an important part in the decision where British expats decide to live.
Many are within easy travelling distance of the Channel ferry ports of Cherbourg and Caen on the north coast. British expats also opt to live in cheaper France but work in more expensive Luxembourg, Belgium and Germany, where housing and the cost of living is higher, explains INSEE.
Looking at an expat map of France, most live in Paris, the south or west of the country, with a massive almost uninhabited ring around the capital.
Expats in Spain
Meanwhile, in Spain, most expats live in Catalonia (1,085,523), Madrid (798,187), Andalucía (676,613) and Valencia (660,194).
The number of Brits increased by 3.87% last year, only exceeded by Romanians (953,183) and Moroccans (770,735).
The statistics were drafted by Spain’s Permanent Immigration Observatory (OPI)
Cantabria, the Principality of Asturias, La Rioja and Extremadura were home to the fewest expats.
Other British expat hotspots are former Commonwealth countries, such as Canada, South Africa and New Zealand.
The USA is also proving a popular place for British expats to live and work. Around 60,000 are in The States, according to the latest official figures.