Where to Buy in 2022: These Are the Top 50 Best French Towns & Villages



Where to Buy in 2022: These Are the Top 50 Best French Towns & Villages

The French property market is booming at the moment, and with more and more foreign buyers looking to buy in upcoming areas, many with a view to move to or retire to France one day, choosing the right location is everything. So, where are the top 50 French towns and villages to live in in 2022?

How France’s Top 50 Best Towns & Villages Are Chosen

The association Villes et Villages Oú il Fait Bon Vivre (which translates literally as the ‘towns and villages where it’s good to live’) publishes an annual ranking each year of the best places in France to live. In 2022, 34,827 municipalities throughout metropolitan France were ranked using a set of 187 criteria developed using data from INSEE and state agencies to determine the most important aspects that French residents take into consideration when choosing a place to live.

For the 2022 list, the criteria fall under the following areas of importance:

  • Quality of life (which considers everything from broadband access to local employment rates)
  • Safety
  • Health
  • Shops and services
  • Transport
  • Education
  • Sports and leisure activities
  • Solidarity
  • Property attractiveness (a new addition for 2022 which looks at the evolution of average property prices per m2  as well as the rate of vacant housing)

How does your town or city rank?

If you’re interested in seeing where your town or village placed, or want to get extra information on an area where you are considering purchasing property, the Villes et Villages website (see link above) also allows you to search for individual listings. Not only can you see where the town ranks among the 34,827 municipalities, but you can compare departmental rankings, see a breakdown of the population and job sectors, and view figures on property price evolution for houses and apartments.

So, where are the top 50 places to live in France in 2022? Villes et Villages published two lists, one for towns and cities, and another ranking villages.

Cannes remains a favourite along the French Riviera, coming in at no.30 on the list.

Top 50 Best French Towns & Cities (more than 2,000 inhabitants)Top 50 Best French Villages (less than 2,000 inhabitants)
1.     Angers (Maine-et-Loire)1.    Guéthary (Pyrénées-Atlantiques)
2.    Annecy (Haute-Savoie)2.    Peltre (Moselle)
3.    Bayonne (Pyrénées-Atlantiques)3.    Épron (Calvados)
4.    La Rochelle (Charente-Maritime)4.    Martinvast (Manche)
5.    Caen (Calvados)5.    Authie (Calvados)
6.    Le Mans (Sarthe)6.    Saint-Quay-Perros (Côtes-d’Armor)
7.    Nice (Alpes-Maritimes)7.    Théoule-sur-Mer (Alpes-Maritimes)
8.    Lorient (Morbihan)8.    Buros (Pyrénées-Atlantiques)
9.    Brest (Finistère)9.    Vantoux (Moselle)
10.  Rennes (Ille-et-Vilaine)10.  Sonnaz (Savoie)
11.  Avignon (Vaucluse)11.  Laloubère (Hautes-Pyrénées)
12.  Biarritz (Pyrénées-Atlantiques)12.  Mazères-Lezons (Pyrénées-Atlantiques)
13.  Cherbourg-en-Cotentin (Manche)13.  Biard (Vienne)
14.  Bordeaux (Gironde)14.  Marcellaz-Albanais (Haute-Savoie)
15.  Anglet (Pyrénées-Atlantiques)15.  Cambes-en-Plaine (Calvados)
16.  Strasbourg (Bas-Rhin)16.  Les Loges-en-Josas (Yvelines)
17.  Rodez (Aveyron)17.  Ploulec’h (Côtes-d’Armor)
18.  Tours (Indre-et-Loire)18.  Mey (Moselle)
19.  Pau (Pyrénées-Atlantiques)19.  Voglans (Savoie)
20.  Le Havre (Seine-Maritime)20.  Falicon (Alpes-Maritimes)
21.  Chambéry (Savoie)21.  Le Pin (Seine-et-Marne)
22.  Metz (Moselle)22.  Piscop (Val-d’Oise)
23.  Nantes (Loire-Atlantique)23.  Niederhausbergen (Bas-Rhin)
24.  Dijon (Côte d’Or)24.  Ahuy (Côte d’Or)
25.  Lannion (Côtes-d’Armor)25.  Nouainville (Manche)
26.  Saint-Étienne (Loire)26.  Cagny (Calvados)
27.  Saint-Brieuc (Côtes-d’Armor)27.  Quintal (Haute-Savoie)
28.  La Roche-sur-Yon (Vendée)28.  Deyvillers (Vosges)
29.  Limoges (Haute-Vienne)29.  Menthon-Saint-Bernard (Haute-Savoie)
30.  Cannes (Alpes-Maritimes)30.  Laguenne-sur-Avalouze (Corrèze)
31.  Antibes (Alpes-Maritimes)31.  Varois-et-Chaignot (Côte d’Or)
32.  Montpellier (Hérault)32.  Aiguilhe (Haute-Loire)
33.  Toulouse (Haute-Garonne)33.  Jouy-aux-Arches (Moselle)
34.  Quimper (Finistère)34.  Chalezeule (Doubs)
35.  Nîmes (Gard)35.  Marnes-la-Coquette (Hauts-de-Seine)
36.  Orléans (Loiret)36.  Barberey-Saint-Sulpice (Aube)
37.  Levallois-Perret (Hauts-de-Seine)37.  Warcq (Ardennes)
38.  Courbevoie (Hauts-de-Seine)38.  Poey-de-Lescar (Pyrénées-Atlantiques)
39.  Toulon (Var)39.  Ouges (Côte d’Or)
40.  Boulogne-Billancourt (Hauts-de-Seine)40.  Jeuxey (Vosges)
41.  Châteauroux (Indre)41.  Saint-Jeoire-Prieuré (Savoie)
42.  Hyères (Var)42.  Plouisy (Côtes d’Armor)
43.  Saint-Malo (Ille-et-Vilaine)43.  Nieul (Haute-Vienne)
44.  Nogent-sur-Marne (Val-de-Marne)44.  Le Vernet (Allier)
45.  Versailles (Yvelines)45.  Saint-Pavace (Sarthe)
46.  Colombes (Hauts-de-Seine)46.  Tillé (Oise)
47.  Asnières-sur-Seine (Hauts-de-Seine)47.  Lannoy (Nord)
48.  Rueil-Malmaison (Hauts-de-Seine)48.  Ménétrol (Puy-de-Dôme)
49.  Nanterre (Hauts-de-Seine)49.  Saint-Arnoult (Calvados)
50.  Aurillac (Cantal)50.  Charmeil (Allier)

Nantes, Loire-Atlantique, came in 23rd

Searching for a Property in France?

FrenchEntrée’s property listings include properties for sale in many of the above listed towns and villages, and you can choose to search by department or view listings for a specific town. Plus, if you sign up for free to become a FrenchEntrée member you can set up customisable property alerts and gain full access to our property, currency, and mortgage experts.

Lead photo credit : Annecy, Haute-Savoie, takes the number 2 spot on the list.

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FrenchEntrée's Digital Editor, Zoë is also a freelance journalist who has written for the Telegraph, HuffPost, and CNN, and a guidebook updater for the Rough Guide to France and Rough Guide to Dordogne & Lot. She lives in the French countryside just outside of Nantes.

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  • Steven Hickling
    2022-08-03 09:02:24
    Steven Hickling
    Not really sure who did the research on this one, but no villages or towns in the Dordogne yet Limoges comes in at 29, Orleans 36 and best of all Chateauroux 41. So apart from the fact it has a massive airport that does not fly anywhere and is in the middle of know where, what other qualities put it above Perigeuex, Bergerac or Sarlat


  •  Sarah Phillips
    2022-07-27 09:27:19
    Sarah Phillips
    Hi I was reviewing the info on the best towns, villages etc and I have a question : What is “solidarity”? Solidarity with what exactly? ( Sorry stupid American!) Thank you so very much. Merci beaucoup.


    • Zoë Smith
      2022-07-29 14:05:38
      Zoë Smith
      Hi Sarah, Good question! 'Solidarity' in this sense would best translate to 'community'. I don't have access to the exact criteria they use to assess this, but I would imagine it looks at the sense of community, community relations, and community projects/services/associations, etc. I hope this helps! Zoe


  •  Patrick Ward
    2022-07-27 06:18:09
    Patrick Ward
    Hi. I live in the U.K. but bought a second holiday property 25 years ago in St Georges de Noisne in Les Deux Sevres, à truly magical relaxed place in the French countryside which has been the source of many magical moments & memories. I was very interested to see that the editor lives in the countryside near Nantes which is less than 1.5 hours drive from Les Deux Sevres. My mother was French & I am seeking to apply for French nationality. I would be interested in any articles or advice you could give to do this in the most efficient way.


    • Zoë Smith
      2022-07-29 14:15:14
      Zoë Smith
      Hi Patrick, Yes, I'm not far from Les Deux Sevres and I have travelled in the area - it's lovely! I am working on an article on applying for French nationality, a process that I will be undertaking myself next year! For the moment, you can check out this older article which still has some useful links that may help get you started. Staying in France Post-Brexit: Applying for French Nationality

      Do let me know how you get on with your application and best of luck! Zoe


  •  Geoff
    2022-07-27 05:59:24
    I read the results of the survey with great interest.. We've been living in Bayonne for 15years and without wishing to be accused of bias, what took them so long? And why only 3rd place? But - shhh! Don't tell everyone. ☺