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Has the quality of life really tumbled in Paris?
Enjoying the sun at the Buttes Chaumont park in north eastern Paris. Photo: AFP

Has the quality of life really tumbled in Paris?

Oliver Gee · 23 Feb 2016, 14:39

Published: 23 Feb 2016 14:39 GMT+01:00
Updated: 23 Feb 2016 14:39 GMT+01:00

Tuesday saw the publication of the latest world city rankings for quality of life for expats - and unfortunately for those in Paris, the French capital is a long way from the top.
 
In fact, it dropped ten places to 37th - the biggest fall in this year’s rankings. 
 
The study looked at life for expats abroad over a host of 39 factors including the medical help on offer, education opportunities, and recreational options (such as theatres, restaurants, and cinemas)
 
Paris (and indeed France) is famously good for most of the above, and Mercer said that the city scored well across the board in almost every category.
 
"The Quality of Living in Paris remains very high with a very good rating for most criteria," Mercer spokesperson Mags Andersen told The Local. 
 
"Choice of a wide selection of international and private schools, excellent consumer goods facilities and variety of recreational and entertainment facilities. However, as for London, Paris still has lower scores for traffic congestion and air pollution."
 
But what let Paris down was the safety. Indeed, the consultancy said that the ten-place drop was "essentially due" to the terror attacks in 2015. 
 
"However, it is important to highlight that safety issues are a very highly weighted factor within the 'basket' so any small adjustments can have a big impact on the ranking," Mercer said.  
 
Photo: AFP
 
Paris was shaken to the core by the two major terror attacks from 2015, which saw 17 people killed in January and 130 in November. 
 
Indeed, the entire country remains under a state of emergency and tourist figures have taken a hit.
 
But the vast majority of Parisians will testify that life goes on more or less as normal.
 
Almost anyone in Paris will tell you that the only change to things like education and recreation is that you may get your bag checked before you enter the building. 
 
At most, you might have to line up a little longer to gain access to somewhere that has beefed up its security, like a museum or a concert. But few would say that the quality of life for an expat has really plummeted. 
 
In any case, it wasn't only bad news. Tuesday's study saw Paris outrank London and Barcelona (equal 39th), as well as New York and Tokyo (equal 44th).
 
Lyon in central France also performed well, finishing just behind Paris in 38th place (and if you're thinking about leaving Paris for Lyon, here are seven reasons why you're onto something good).
 
Story continues below…

(A restaurant in Lyon. Photo: David Basanta/Flickr)
 
France could also boast that the cities of Pointe-A-Pitre and Port Louis in its overseas territories of Guadeloupe and Mauritius came in at 72nd and 83rd. 
 
Out of 230 cities worldwide, it was the Austrian capital Vienna that topped the table, followed by Zurich in Switzerland and then Auckland in New Zealand.
 
Seven of the top ten cities were in Europe, with Germany snagging fourth, sixth, and seventh places with Munich, Dusseldorf, and Frankfurt respectively. Australia's Sydney rounded out the top ten. 
 
Management consultants Mercer conducts its Quality of Living study annually to help multinational companies and other employers decide on how much to pay employees posted abroad.
 
The survey looked at dozens of different factors of life in a city grouped into categories such as crime levels, performance of local law enforcement, and the home country’s relationship with other countries. 
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