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Where do the British Live in France?

Tuesday 16 February 2010

A recent official study shows that around 140,000 British nationals live in France, and the most popular region may surprise many.

According to figures published by INSEE, the French statistical office, the Brits are clustered around four regions – the Ile de France, Midi Pyrénées, Aquitaine and Poitou Charentes.

Despite the fact that the Dordogne has acquired the familiar epiphet 'Dordogneshire', because of the number of Brits who are believed to have homes there, in fact the most popular administrative area is the Ile de France, where there are 20,500 British inhabitants.

Dordogne may only have a larger number of British home owners if second homes are included, for which official figures are not currently available.

The second largest region for permanent British residents is Midi Pyrénées (13,500), followed by Aquitaine (13,100), Poitou Charentes (12,972), and Brittany (approx 11,000).

Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Rhône-Alpes come in fourth and fifth respectively. Lower Normandy is also popular, with around 5,000 British inhabitants.

By department, it is Paris which tops the table, with 8,500 Brits having permanent homes within the city boundary.

Outside of the capital, not surprisingly it is Dordogne (6,300) that takes second place as the department with the largest number of Brits, followed by Alpes-Maritime (5,900) and Charente (5,083).

The figures are gleaned from the 2006 population census carried out by INSEE. It shows that nearly 6% of the population of France is of foreign nationality.

Within Aquitaine, the figures show that, after Dordogne, the number within each department is: Lot and Garonne (3,100), Gironde (2,100) Pyrénées-Atlantiques (1,200) and Landes (600).

Over half of those living in the Dordogne reside in rural locations around Périgueux and Bergerac, both of which are served by airports offering low costs flights to the UK.

Within Poitou Charentes, the number of Britons in each department is: Charente (5,083), Charente Maritime (3,044), Deux-Sèvres (2,595) and Vienne (2,251).

A new population census has recently started in France, and an update on these figures should be available within the next two years. By then we will find out whether the so called 'exodus from France' over the past few years has been fact or fiction.

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