If you talk to Americans about where they would like to visit, France (and Paris) is a place they very often name. According to official data from France's national statistics agency INSEE, the number of Americans living in France is around 34,000. The real number seems to be much higher, with the U.S. Embassy talking of approximately 100,000 U.S. citizens.
So where do we find most of them? You can probably guess where most American live in France; it’s Paris. Americans have always been magically attracted to the charm of this city. Paris is officially home to around 16,500 Americans. This is more than half of all Americans living in France, making it the clear top choice.
So why is it that Americans are almost obsessed with Paris? Well, there are two major reasons:
Hollywood always painted a beautiful picture of the French capital.
Paris and the region around offer the most chances to find employment.
Let’s look at the second reason. American firms have their headquarters in the Paris region. They are a good source of employment. Paris features the American University, the American Library, the American Church and even the restaurant “American Kitchen.” Although people are far from home, there's an American community in the French capital.
Americans clearly like to live near other Americans, or at least other English speakers. There is a concentration of English-speaking clubs and groups. Paris is also a major travel hub, whereas it can be difficult to travel if you live in a French village far away from everything. Most of the Americans have to worry about labor/immigration problems. It’s better for them to live near a big city with jobs that will sponsor them. And the French government doesn’t make it any easier.
After Paris, the next favorite region for Americans is the Rhone-Alpes in southeastern France with its registered 3,254 Americans. Lyon, the region’s main city is the “gastronomic capital” of France.
Number three on the list is Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur with its irresistible combination of sun, sea, mountains and rosé wine. At least 2,837 Americans call the French Riviera home. American writers and artists visited the French Rivera in the 1920s. When they returned home and talked about it, everyone wanted to go there. As we all know, Provence is beautiful. Not only Americans want to be there.
Another popular region is Languedoc-Roussillon in the southwest. The roughly 1,140
Americans who live in Aquitaine are most likely drawn there by the city of Bordeaux and the chance to sample the wine from the region's vineyards.
And what are regions Americans do not favor so much?
Corsica and Central France with its rural areas with no major cities. Central France is very beautiful; living there would be a major culture shock, due to the isolation. Other areas with low settlement numbers are Burgundy, Brittany, Normandy, Champagne-Ardenne and Picardie.
Americans often overlook parts of the country (such as the center) simply because they don’t know about them, and people choose what they know. If they step out of their comfort zone, they will discover that France offers “joie de vivre” everywhere.