Choose a region where to live

  • Updated : 26/03/2022

You will find below very important information on France to help you choose your region :

France offers quality public services in all regions and large to medium size cities.

Overall, you will notice that the largest cities with strong ukranian and russian diaspora (Paris, Nice) are not likely to be the best areas for new migration. The reasons include : lower safety, higher prices, higher unemployment, etc.

You are invited to analyze the maps with your personal preferences (climate) and employment skills in mind.

There is no single answer to this personal choice. In France, you can relocate between cities.

The cost of living in France is very different from the cost of living in Ukraine.

In 2022, according to the comparison site numbeo.com , the cost of living in Paris is 2.44 times that of Kyiv (80.17/32.91).

You will therefore have to earn a lot more money to have the same standard of living.

Within France itself, there are significant differences between the big cities, mainly because of housing prices:

City Numbeo Index
Nice 84.46
Paris 80.17
Lyons 76.85
Toulouse 74.76
Nantes 71.52
Montpelier 70.73
Grenoble 70.03
Marseilles 69.36
Kyiv 32.91
Kharkiv 29.76

Source: Numbeo cost of living index as of 03/21/2022

Thus, it will be necessary to earn 22% more salary in Nice to have the same purchasing power as in Marseille!

It is therefore essential to take the cost of living into account and not just to look at the salary.

Paris and Lyon are key historical cities, so there is a lot of tourism there (difficult for jobs during COVID crisis).


Geography has a lot of impact on the weather and historical activities in France:

  • Top - North : the “Mer de la Manche”.
  • Left - West : the “Ocean Atlantique”.
  • Bottom - South : the “Mer méditerranée” and the “Pyrénées” mountains
  • Right - East : the “Ardennes” mountains with Belgium, the “Vosges” mountains and the “Rhine” river with Germany, the “Jura” mountains with Switzerland and the “Alpes” mountains with Italy
  • Center : the “Massif Central” mountains


France is divided by the Seine River in Paris and the Rhone River in Lyon. Most of the French population lives on this line or east of it.


France is divided by the Loire River in Nantes and the Gironde River in Bordeaux.

The population now goes to live closer to the sea : Côte d'Azur, Atlantic Coast, Brittany, Normandy.

North East to South West - "La diagonale du vide" (the empty diagonal)

The center is the least densily populated part of France. It is mostly a big grain farmland areas of France but very mechanicalized.

It has an aging population.

However, lot of business owners look for new people there and there are many jobs caring for elderly.


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Map of France

As a simplification :

  • Around the seas, you find shipping, fishing and tourism industry jobs.
  • The Alps, Jura, Pyrennées mountains have cold winters with snow. You will find ski industry jobs there and mountain agriculture jobs.
  • The Massif Central is cold in Winter and dry. You will find farmland and fruit jobs.
  • South East (Marseille / Nice / Montpellier) is very warm in summer with forest fires and very nice in winter. You will find tourism and fruit, vegetables and wine jobs.
  • South West (Bordeaux) is warm in summer and mild weather humid in winter. You will find wine and forestry area jobs.
  • West (Nantes / Rennes / Rouen) is mild all year. Some high winds in winter. You will find the food industry and dairy area jobs. Around Angers you have wine and fruit jobs.
  • North (Lille / Amiens) is mild as well. It is close to England and the Netherlands. You will find industrial and logistics jobs.
  • East (Strasbourg / Reims / Besancon / Dijon ) is cold and dry winter, hot summer. Economy is driven by Luxembourg, Germany and Switzerland (Basel, Geneva). You will find industrial jobs and wine jobs in some areas.

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Climate map of France (Wikipedia)

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Population density map source

Map of cities (usually more than 20 000 citizen) by “département”

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Source of the map of French cities

List of cities with more than 20.000 inhabitants

The highest percentages are found in the north east of Paris (poorer areas of the Paris region)

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Source: city of Paris

Large cities are less safe than the smaller cities and villages.

Map of safety and crime :

  • Good : Blue
  • Bad : Red

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Safety map source (L'Express)

Unemployment in Europe

France has a tendency to have a higher unemployment rate compared to other European countries.

On this map:

  • High unemployment : Red
  • Low unemployment : Blue

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Source: 2019 data, European Commission

Unemployment in France

The national unemployment rate at end of 2021 was 7.4%. This numbers varies a lot by region and areas as you can see on the map

It is high (dark green color on the map) in :

  • North of France (near Lille),
  • North-East and South-East of Paris (Seine Saint Denis, Créteil)
  • Marseille
  • South of France (Montpellier, Beziers)

Please be also aware that unemployment in France results in anti-foreigner vote.

People will be more willing to employ you and you will have less competition in low unemployment areas.

There are lots of housing opportunities with houses in regions outside big cities.

The salary often are at minimum salary but the cost of live is much cheaper. Rent is much cheaper as well.

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Unemployment map source (BBC) [EN]

As a simplification :

  • You always have service industry jobs in all large regional cities: You will find many cleaning, restaurant, housekeeping, order preparation, delivery jobs, hospital jobs. All have universities and good hospitals.
  • Paris is important for government, finance, service industry and transportation. Around Paris is the the first industry area of France with Amiens, Rouen, Le Havre (big harbour and chemical industry), Le Mans, Orleans, Reims.
  • Lyon is the second important industry area in France competing with Paris with some advanced high tech jobs in Grenoble as well.
  • Nice and Montpellier have IT jobs.
  • Marseille has a big industrial harbour
  • Toulouse is the aircraft and space industry city
  • The north (Lille) and the east (Metz, Nancy) are former heavy industry areas. Unemployment is high in these areas. Very competitive job market.
  • The West of France is attracting new people and less developed. As a result, there are jobs opportunities and unemployment is relatively low.

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Map source

Salaries are higher in large cities.

Wealth is found around:

  • the Côte d'Azur area (Nice)
  • on the West side of Paris
  • near the border of Switzerland (Lyon - Geneva area)
  • in some areas inside or around each regional city (usually in the west of each city).

You could find au pair and housekeeping jobs in these zones.

Management type jobs are found in big cities. Mostly in Paris and Lyon.

Administration and standard jobs are found everywhere.

Poverty is more likely foud :

  • in the North-East of the Paris region
  • in smaller old industrial cities in the north and east of France
  • in high unemployment areas
  • in the south of France
  • on the east side of large cities

Be aware that salaries will be higher in large cities, but that the cost of living will be much higher. There is a strong correlation between wealth and real estate prices.

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Source of the Wealth (GDP) map

Most expensive areas are in orange on the map:

  • Paris
  • Cote d'Azur (Nice, Cannes)
  • Switzerland border : Lyon to Geneva area
  • Bordeaux and Atlantic coast
  • Important régional cities : Nantes, Rennes, Lille

With minimum salary, don't live in expensive area unless you are certain to have a job or to have housing. Lack of mobility often explains why people get stuck in poverty in France.

Many regional capital or Departement capitals have much cheaper housing. The price difference is 1 to 10 times.

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Real Estate prices map source (French government)

Paris is central to the French TGV high speed train network. You can go in Marseille in 3 hours (1000 km).

The high-speed trains circulating in France serve 183 stations in regular service: the list of TGV stations

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Source : Fandom

In addition to the TGV, there are main line trains. Finally, each region has comfortable regional stations and trains.

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Source : Wikipedia

French Train Network Map (complete)

All french regions have universities and higher education schools.

The following map shows the distribution of the number of students (purple), researcher (orange) and research staff (green) by region :

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Source: DMIA

All french regions have one or several large regional hospitals (CHU). There is a total of 32 large regional hospitals in France.

The following map show their distribution :

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Source: national network of regional hostpitals

Cities with historical presence of the ukranian and russian diaspora :

  • Paris,
  • Nice,
  • Alps (Grenoble, Annecy),
  • Corse region

Some cities have ukranian organizations The Ukranian diaspora is small compared to the size of the country : 0.2% of population (221,000).

Wikipedia : Ukranian diaspora [EN]

Some cities have russian organizations.

The Russian diaspora is small compared to the size of the country : 0.3-0.7% of population (200,000 - 500,000).

Wikipedia : Russian diaspora [EN]

Wikipedia : Russians in France [EN]

Wikipedia : Russians in France[FR]

  • en/chooseregion.txt
  • Last modified: 2022/03/26 23:20
  • by dheurtevent