Mama read an article about Americans retiring in Costa Rica and Panama and the trend is increasing. Apparently, there are many factors to consider when choosing a retirement destination. There are considerations for getting your worldly possessions there, affordable housing, the cost of living once you get there, access to health care and travel considerations to see your kids.

The country of Panama offers a few incentives for retirement. The government will issue you a special retirement visa that will allow you to move your stuff to Panama without charging you any import taxes, will not charge you taxes for income earned outside of Panama, and will not charge you property taxes for 20 years. Additionally, the visa will allow you discounts on medical costs, utility bills, mortgages, hotels, public transportation, and airfare. Many people are moving there because of these incentives.

We are always thinking of visiting Paris. This got me thinking, what if we could live one to two hours from Paris in our retirement years, how much would a house there cost? Well as it turns out you can buy some huge chateaus and castles in France for fairly cheap. Also, rural living in France tends to be much cheaper than living in a city like Paris. So check out some of the properties I found:

Castle Between Paris and Reims
4375 sq. ft of living space on 8 acres. 10bd/10ba on 3 stories. The ground floor includes 600 sq. ft. reception hall with 26 ft. high ceilings and views of the park grounds, 635 sq. ft formal dining room with views of the park grounds, and a 400 sq. ft. kitchen, a 600 sq. ft. master suite with a 200 sq. ft. office. The first floor includes a 500 sq. ft. library, and 2 bedrooms with baths that are 300 sq. ft. each. The second floor includes 7 “small” bedrooms with baths. Vaulted cellars. Other structures include guest house, keeper house, orangery, stables, sheepfold, greenhouse, workshop, and garages. 845,000€

Manor in Sarthe Region
9 bedrooms, 2 living rooms, formal dining room, equipped kitchen, office, and “outbuilding” on 1.7 acres of park grounds. The Sarthe region is the Pays de la Loire province near the city of Le Mans, about two and a half hours from Paris. 650,000€

Country Cottage 1Hr from Paris

4bd/3ba on 4.5 acres, large cathedral living room, fireplace, covered swimming pool. Indendent apartment and barn that may be converted into living space. 610,000€

17th Century Castle Near Le Mans
34 bedrooms with large entrance hall, 2 living rooms, 2 dining rooms, 1 kitchen, office. Also includes a large independent house on the grounds with another 2 living rooms, 1 kitchen, 17 bedrooms. Central heating. the grounds consist of 12 acres of wooded park and 44 acres of woods. In total, that’s 51 bedrooms, who knows how many bathrooms, on 56 acres. 1,750,000€

Granted, a lot of these properties are just too damn big and the maintenance costs would kill you. But my point is that if you can sell your California home and move to France fairly easily with money left over to boot. Also, there’s universal healthcare there and if you are near Paris you have access to world class doctors. There’s no breaks on income taxes, but if you are retired you are not going to earn any more money anyway.

Just something to think about. Some people don’t want to be far from their kids because they are afraid they won’t visit. However, if you own a castle in the French countryside they may be more inclined to visit than if you lived in a modest home just 100 miles away from them. It may pay to think globally later in life.


  1. Fabe, let’s buy one of these and open a B&B.

    #1 by santiago — June 13, 2006 @ 11:10 pm

  2. We totally should pool some money together and do that. I was thinking exactly the same thing. We could live in one wing of the castle and rent out the other wing. Of course, we’d have to see what the maintenance costs and staffing costs are for an operation like that. I say we start researching it now and draft a plan to pull the trigger in five to ten years.

    #2 by Nugget — June 14, 2006 @ 2:00 am

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