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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  •  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. ☺