Life in a province two hours from Paris, but where?
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Life in a province two hours from Paris, but where?

Life in a province two hours from Paris, but where?

On average, the Parisian way of life is notoriously more demanding that life in a region. Around 43% of Parisians say they are stressed as soon as the alarm clock goes off, compared to just 31% of province inhabitants.[1]

So what if you changed your life? Perhaps it’s time to move to a province and finally say goodbye to those daily traffic jams and the frenetic lifestyle of the Paris region. For those who’d like to live by the sea or in the countryside, the Hauts-de-France has to be top of the list. 

Located just two hours from Paris by road, the Hauts-de-France offers the ideal setting for a fresh start: affordable property, numerous services, green spaces, natural parks, job opportunities…Plus, a coastline renowned for its stunning long and sandy beaches, a permanent source of reinvigoration for the mind and body.

If you can see yourself living in a gorgeous town in a province 2 hours from Paris by train or car, then this article is for you!

  1. Why get away from Paris?

The daily commute time is a lot more restrictive in the Ile-de-France region. Almost half of Parisians (48%) spend more than 45 minutes in their car or on public transport to get to their work. [2]On the other hand, 60% of province inhabitants spend less than 30 minutes doing so.[3]

The cost of living and, more specifically, property prices are much higher in Paris. 77% of Ile-de-France inhabitants must make do with an apartment, while 52% of province inhabitants enjoy a spacious house, often with a garden. [4]

  • The average cost per square metre was €10,154 for an apartment in Paris in March 2023.[5]
  • Compare that to buying the same apartment in Lille at €3,496 per square metre on the same date, i.e. three times less.[6]
  • Are you considering a move to the Dunkirk area or to the peace and quiet of the Flemish countryside? You can currently buy a house there for as little as €1,981 per square metre.[7]

The disadvantages of living in the capital are only partially offset by the higher salaries of Parisian workers. 35% of executives in the Ile-de-France earn an annual salary over €40,000, but this is also the case for 32% of executives living in a province.

  1. Why should I move to the Hauts-de-France region?

With more than 6 million inhabitants, the Hauts-de-France is the outcome of a merger of the former regions of Picardie and Nord–Pas-de-Calais. The region has a central location in Europe, at the gateway to the Paris region, the United Kingdom and Benelux. Take Paris, for example, it’s just one hour away from Lille by high-speed train.

The Hauts-de-France region has infinitely diverse landscapes:

  • Dunes and cliffs of the Côte d’Opale
  • Flanders hills
  • Bay of Authie
  • Avesnois bocages
  • Park of Marquenterre
  • Hortillonnages of Amiens (floating gardens)
  • Canals of Saint-Omer

The Hauts-de-France stands out for its dense network of attractive towns: Chantilly, Arras, Amiens… and who could forget Lille which is the fourth largest French city and one of the country’s biggest employment pools.

The region is ranked second in France for [8]4G network connection and coverage. The roll-out of 5G there is already very advanced. More than 90% of homes in the Hauts-de-France already have access to fibre optic internet. [9] It is the ideal destination for partial work on remote working days, a far cry from the stress and traffic jams of Paris.

The Hauts-de-France will enable you thrive, particularly if you’re looking for an inexpensive rental and a balanced life punctuated by affordable leisure activities for all the family.

  1. Living in the Nord and near the sea

Imagine yourself living by the sea, a stone’s throw from sandy beaches and magnificent coastal landscapes. You will be able to enjoy the joys of the beach and water sports, while discovering the jewels of the region, particularly the green spaces of the CCHF (Hauts de Flandre Greater District Council).

The Nord coastline overlooks three major urban areas: Dunkirk, Calais and Boulogne-sur-Mer. It offers a wide diversity of natural sites to explore, from the sand dunes on the Côte d’Opale to the vast park of the Estran in Grand-Fort-Philippe, stretching over 391 hectares of natural spaces.

Living on the coastline of the Nord region is tantamount to making the most of the exceptional quality of life. The pace of life there is more relaxed than in Paris, and the sea air brings that sensation of immediate well-being. You can also explore the local gastronomy, rich in seafood and regional specialities.

Plus, there are tonnes of job opportunities. Dunkirk is France’s third largest maritime port. Known for its popular culture and art of living, the city now relies on the many constantly growing sectors of excellence:[10]

  • Transport and logistics
  • Agri-food
  • Digital technology
  • Energy
  • Electric cars
  1. Living in the Nord and in the countryside

Tempted by a move to the countryside? All the large towns in the Hauts-de-France have a more rural hinterland, ideal for buying a large house, the peace and quiet of a large family and cycling in the countryside.

The Voix du Nord newspaper recently compiled a list of the best towns for green living near Lille:[11]

  • Wambrechies is located immediately north of Lille, halfway between Bondues and Verlinghem. Bordered by La Deûle river, this city offers a pleasant way of life with its many local shops, a renowned park and even a marina.
  • Ennetières-en-Weppes has the advantage of its proximity to Lille, without the drawback of unaffordable property. The price per square metre is limited to about €2,760 for an old house. [12] Many buyers fall head over heels with its typical rural Flemish village atmosphere.
  • Camphin-en-Pévèle has all the advantages of la Pévèle, an area of Romanesque Flanders known for its outstanding green landscapes. Its inhabitants enjoy calm and rural surroundings – just fifteen kilometres from Lille.
  1. Dunkirk and its exceptional natural heritage

Dunkirk is located approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes from Paris by high-speed train. It is set apart by its wide range of culture and sports, but also its exceptional natural heritage.

  • The Dunkirk coastline offers walkers more than 15 kilometres of uninterrupted sandy beaches. From Zuydcoote to Grand-Fort-Philippe and Leffrinckoucke, the surrounding coastal villages are characterised by their authenticity and quality of life. Closer to the town centre, you will instantly fall in love with the Malo-les-Bains neighbourhood, its elegant villas and picturesque beach huts.
  • The Dunes de Flandre, a future Grand Site de France, covers more than 1,000 hectares of a preserved and delicate area, reaching from the port of Dunkirk to the Franco-Belgian border. There are many paths allowing you to explore the wild dune massifs, to observe the long processions of seabirds.
  • The inland is not without its charm. The Flemish bocage unveils its typical landscape of pastures bordered by hedges that are vital for a balanced local ecosystem.


Is Parisian life getting you down? Then what are you waiting for? Take the leap and discover life on the Nord coastline. Whether you’re looking for a new professional venture or simply a more peaceful and rejuvenating way of life, Dunkirk and its surroundings have wonderful surprises in store for you.

Moving to another region and finding a more pleasant and quieter way of life is within your reach!  The Dunkirk urban area is currently offering many professional opportunities in the majority activity sectors. Don’t hesitate to contact Dunkerque Promotion for more information.

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Life in a province two hours from Paris, but where?

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