France ranks tops on International Livings Global Retirement Index for health care and the cost of living isn't so bad either, with $2,000 a month. But it's the Basque culture from both sides of the Pyrenees that is the main draw. The pastoral landscape is dotted with medieval towns, and hunting and fishing are favorite pastimes. There are loads of markets and vineyards to explore, not to mention a fair share of churches and castles. Living in the Bearn area of southwestern France, near the border with Spain, is cheaper than in better-known parts of France such as Provence, a plus for retirees.
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