South west France voted ‘best place to work’

While most expats may dream of living and working in Paris or on the Riviera, the French on the other hand believe the cities of the south west are the ideal place to work, especially Bordeaux.

South west France voted 'best place to work'
Bordeaux is the favoured place of French people when it comes to work. Photo: Shutterstock

While Paris may dominate the French economy and offer people the best chance of finding work, not many in France actually want to work there.

Instead, the most popular city to build a career in is actually Bordeaux, according to a new poll.

The city in the south west, home to the famous Unesco site The Port of the Moon, achieved the top score out of all the cities in France, after workers were asked to judge the best places to work and the cities where they could imagine themselves working.

Some 39 percent judged Bordeaux the best place to work and similarly 37 percent said they could imagine themselves working in the city. 

And Bordeaux seems to be at the head of a trend, which reveals French people dream of working in the south west with the cities of Toulouse and Montpellier coming second and third in both tables.

The study by the Paris based institute Great Place to Work said that all three cities did well because they are all "on a human scale where comfort and convenience are their main assets."

The top five was completed with Aix-en-Provence in fourth place and Lyon in fifth. Paris just sneaked into the top ten in tenth place and France’s second city Marseille was down in 24th. (See full table at the bottom of the page)

The results do not surprise Patrick Dumoulin, Director of the Great Place to Work institute, based in Paris was not surprised by the positive results for the south west.

“There’s a real attraction to the quality of life in this regions. And the weather is attractive to many people as well. Compared to a city like Paris, there’s no comparison.

“But this is not the only reason. There is a certain “south west way of life”, I f I dare to say that, with Bordeaux and Toulouse very well developed from a cultural and sporting perspective.

“They are also economic centres.”

When it came to the apparent unattractiveness of France’s second city Marseille, Dumoulin pointed the finger of blame at the media.

“This is a city where there is a lot of entrepreneurs and large companies like Haribo, Gemalto and Pernod-Ricard, but it suffers from very little positive media coverage and this obviously has an effect on its image among French people.”

But being a desirable place to work doesn't necessarily mean it's the best place to find work.

A recent OECD study ranked Languedoc-Rousillon in the south west 22nd out of France's 22 region in the "jobs" criteria of its Well Being study. That was due to the fact it had the country's lowest employment rate (55.8 percent).

The south west region of Aquitaine scored rather better, after being ranked 10th out of 22 regions with an employment rate of 63.5 percent. Midi Pyrenees, the other region in the south west was ranked fifth with an employment rate of 65.9 percent.

Do you work in the south west of France? Is it really the best place to work in France? 

The website Challenges has produced this table using Data Wrapper.

Table from Data Wrapper

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Starting and running a business in France just got (slightly) easier

A new government-backed website intended to make setting up and running a new business more straightforward has launched in France.

Starting and running a business in France just got (slightly) easier

Launching and running a new business in France has, historically, been a fraught affair, with huge amounts of admin required.

The government has had several attempts at making this easier, including the micro-entrepreneur scheme which gives a simplified system for people setting up as small traders or self-employed/freelancers.

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But while finding accurate, useful information online was possible, it was uncoordinated and scattered across several sites, the Minister in charge of small businesses, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, said.

The website, which launched last month, aims to bring a little administrative love to small business bosses new and old by bringing together reliable, up-to-date, neutral, personalised and free resources, as well as information and tools needed to create, manage and develop their business on a daily basis.

It aims to be an official one-stop shop for anyone running or planning to run their own company. 

It features up-to-date information on starting, taking over, managing, developing, closing and transferring ownership of any business, no matter how small – as well as customisable sections dealing with human resources, accounting and taxation. It will also allow business managers to make appointments with advisers able to talk them through the intricacies of running and developing a business in France.

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A news section is expected to be added to the site later in the year, while Entreprendre will include access to a complementary site:, “which has been open for testing since January 1st, 2022 and which from January 1st, 2023 will centralise all the administrative formalities for registering, modifying or ceasing its activity,”  Lemoyne said.