The french observatory for green towns has weighed up the green credentials of 50 of the biggest cities in France.
Taking into account 25 different indicators, including square metres of public green space, if the town has a biodiversity plan and tree management each town was given a ranking out of 100.
Top of the class were Angers and Nantes, both in western France, which held on to their first and second place spots from 2014.
Photo: Observatoire villes vertes
The result does not come as a surprise for many.
“Historically, the Pays de la Loire have been the gardens of France. Nantes, like Angers, has keep to this tradition,” said Catherine Muller, president of Unep, France's National union of countryside companies, who co-authored the study.
Chateau d'Angers. Photo: Tango 7174
Both Angers and Nantes were the cities that invested the most the care and management of green spaces.
In winning Angers, public green spaces make up 14 percent of the total town. And Nantes dedicates €135 per year per habitant for the upkeep and creation of green spaces, that's three times more than the national average.
Following behind them in third place was the eastern city of Strasbourg.
The city on the German border has made progress in leaps and bounds since the last ranking in 2014, in just three years it's jumped up seven spots from 10th place.
Strasbourg has set aside 116m² of green space for each of its inhabitants, 2.5 times more space than the national average and is launching a project to become the green capital of Europe by 2019.
As for the rest, Lyon was placed fourth, followed by Caen, Rennes, Limoges, Nîmes, Reims and Amiens at 10th place.
Strasbourg. Photo: Monikawl999/ Pixabay
There's no knowing where Paris placed among the 50 towns, as the study doesn't name and shame the worst performers, only publishing the 10 best towns.
“We didn't want to point the finger at towns,” said Catherine Muller of Unep. “The idea is to show who's doing the best in terms of greenery in towns.”
Despite the success of the top towns, globally speaking, France is still falling behind in this area.
Green spaces only make up 5 percent of the space in the 50 most populated towns In France, while roads and other transport infrastructure take up 25 percent.
“We are far behind Swiss, German and Scandinavian towns,” says Guillaume Morec-Chevillet of the Astredhor institute of horticulture, citing Singapour as an exemplary city outside of Europe.
France still has a long way to go, but these 10 top towns are leading the way.
By Rose Trigg