Planning your retirement in France
Some people retire abroad to make their pensions go much, much further than they would at home. You can live like a prince in Thailand or Ecuador on a teacher's pension, or do very well for yourself in Portugal even though your pension pot isn't huge. France, on the other hand, isn't a "cheap as chips" destination - it's a very developed country with high standards of living. The lifestyle is great - but you will pay for it.
Numbeo (a great resource for comparing prices across countries) shows a single person in Paris would need nearly EUR 900 a month to live on - excluding rental costs. That's about the same as London - and nearly double the cost of living in Lisbon. However, if you look outside the capital, regional cities are much more accessible in cost, while smaller towns offer cheaper living costs still.
Numbeo reckons living in Montpellier - a city with a big university population and thriving tech sector - would cost EUR 754 a month, and Marseille is a bargain at EUR 655 a month. That's about £7,000 a year.
Numbeo's figures miss out one huge cost, of course, which is that of property. Again, while major cities like Paris, Nice and Bordeaux have high property prices, these aren't representative of the country as a whole. If you're looking for a bargain basement cottage for less than EUR 50,000 - or to afford a chateau on a middle-ranking accountant's pension! - look at Berry (Indre), Limousin (Creuse, Correze, Haute-Vienne), or Brittany (Cotes d'Armor, Finisterre) or Maine (Mayenne and Sarthe). You'll need to factor in local taxes, and those, too, vary significantly by region - they're generally more in the cities, less in villages; lower income pensioners may get rebates, and recent changes mean 80% of households should be exempt from taxe d'habitation.