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Ranking: Best 50 best towns in France to retire to

A list of the best 50 towns to retire to in France has been created, with two coastal Gironde towns coming in first place, followed by Cannes, Arles, and Vannes - and Saint-Malo in 10th place.

The ranking, created by French newspaper Le Figaro, gave each town a mark out of 20.

Criteria included the hours of sunshine, the number of GPs per inhabitant, the proximity of the local airport and hospital, the number of shops, the cost of property, and how likely a house is to be burgled.

The top three towns are, perhaps unsurprisingly, on the coast.

Arcachon (with a mark of 19 out of 20) and Andernos-lès-Bains (18.9 out of 20) in Gironde, came in the top two places, followed by Cannes (18.7) in the Alpes-Maritimes, Arles (18.6, Bouches-du-Rhône) and Vannes (18.6, Morbihan).

However, the top three towns did lose some points due to the high cost of housing: an average of €4,000 per m2 in some areas.

A little further down on the listing came some larger towns, including Limoges (17.8 out of 20; Haute-Vienne); Narbonne (17.5; Aude); and Vichy (16.7; Allier). Here, the cost of housing is a more moderate €2,000 or less per m2.

Six towns from the Centre-Val de Loire region were listed, including Saintes (Charente-Maritime), which received a mark of 16 out of 20, coming in 19th place.

Other towns with an average mark of 14 out of 20 included Niort (14.9, Deux-Sèvres); Bourges (14.6, Cher); Royan (14.6, Charente-Maritime); Tours (14.3, Indre-et-Loire) and La Rochelle (14.1, Charente-Maritime).

Towns at the bottom of the 50-strong ranking received marks of 11 or 12 out of 20.

These included Sanary-sur-Mer (12.1, Var), with Le Havre (Seine-Maritime), and Marseille (Bouches-du-Rhône), coming in 49th and 50th place respectively, with a mark of 11 out of 20 each.

The Top 10:

  • Arcachon, Gironde (19 out of 20)
  • Andernos-les-Bains, Gironde (18.9)
  • Cannes, Alpes-Maritimes (18.7)
  • Arles, Bouches-du-Rhône (18.6)
  • Vannes, Morbihan (18.6)
  • Agde, Hérault (18.2)
  • Limoges, Haute-Vienne (17.8)
  • Narbonne, Aude (17.5)
  • Mandelieu-la-Napoule, Alpes-Maritimes (17.4)
  • Saint-Malo, Ille-et-Vilaine (17.4)

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