Ah, The Life of Le Riley…

Let’s imagine you had a tidy, independent income that would allow you to live anywhere in the world. And that you had no other real ties binding you to where you’re living now. Where would you most want to live?

Would you settle in a little rural village somewhere?  Rent a penthouse in a luxury hotel in some cosmopolitan city? Move into a charming villa on the Mediterranean? Buy a houseboat and putter around the world? Or maybe just stay right where you are?

Every year, for the last 30 years, International Living Magazine has  ranked some 194 countries in a Quality of Life Index.  They look at things like:

  •  Cost of living
  • Leisure & Culture
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Freedom
  • Health
  • Infrastructure
  • Risk & Safety
  • Climate

For the 5th year in a row, France has won the number one ranking. Tied for second place are Australia, Switzerland and Germany. The USA is at 7th place, losing its previous 3rd ranking because of its faltering economy, the cost of living and environmental factors but scoring 100% on infrastructure.

Canada is in 9th place with mediocre points across the board except for 100% in Freedom and in Risk & Safety. Have a look at the chart. It makes interesting reading.

What’s really sad is that the health care system we’re so proud of only scored 6 points higher than America’s health care system, of which we’re so terrified. There are, in fact, a lot of countries on the chart with higher scores in health care than Canada. Does that surprise you?

So where would I go, if I could live anywhere in the world? Well, this Quality of Life Index, not withstanding, I’ve always thought it would be nice to live in France – at least for a while. I’ve never been there (a situation that will soon be remedied) but what I’ve read, heard and seen about it is very attractive to me.

I’d probably not want to live right in Paris, but perhaps a house in a village somewhere in the south, near the sea, with a couple of olive trees, a patch of lavender, maybe a couple of chickens and goats …. That’s my idea of perfection.

The accompanying article to this Quality of Life Index says village homes in the south-west of France can be had for less than $100,000. (Ahem… Violetsky??) 

There is so much about the Old World that suits me better than the New World, I think. Maybe because I was born there, but whenever I’ve visited Europe I’ve always felt very much at home.

The pace of life appeals to me. I especially love the French emphasis on quality food and drink and on excellent health care. I like that France has always known who and what it is and that they do their own thing no matter what’s going on in the rest of the world.

Once I retire, I’d like to go give it a try for a few months – maybe get it out of my system for good or maybe stick around for a bit longer. We shall see.

How about you? What’s your secret dream life? What are the odds of you being able to make it real one day?