Have you often wondered which city in France would be the best to live in when based on finding a decent job and being able to buy a property?
A new survey claims to have the answer and it lies in France's smaller regional cities.
Lille is the most attractive city in France when it comes to getting one of those much-coveted CDIs (permanent jobs) and buying a home without breaking the bank, according to a new survey revealed by Europe 1.
That result might surprise many, but not us. Here we explain why we think Lille is "France's most underrated city".
Grenoble in the French Alps and Dijon in the Burgundy region of eastern France came second and third in the rankings. The cities of Lyon, Nantes, Toulouse and Rennes were also in the top 10, along with the unfashionable Saint-Etienne, Angers and Le Mans.
Comparing France's 20 largest cities, jobs site Joijoba and online property brokers meilleurtaux.com sifted through the job markets, average salaries, property prices and interest rates.
The cities were then ranked on these criteria and awarded a score reached by multiplying the number of "affordable" square metres by the chances of securing a permanent job (see below).
Based on the median salary (the midpoint of the salaries, rather than the average) of each city, the study calculated how much living space could be realistically bought.
In Grenoble, where that figure falls on €35,600, the study found that people can afford to live in an apartment of 66 square metres. In Dijon the median salary of €35,000 will get you an even bigger apartment of 73 square metres, however the job market in the eastern French city is slightly less dynamic.
In Lille you'd be able to get your hands on a 57 square metre apartment, although the survey did not include what the median salary was in the northern French city.
It did say however that with 2.3 permanent job offers per 100 residents, Lille comes second highest in terms of job opportunities nationally.
And while it might come as a shock to many that the northern industrial city of Lille has been deemed the most attractive city to settle down in in France, it's unlikely to surprise anyone that Paris doesn't make top of the list, given the price of property.
Paris came in at 15th on the list, a city known for its pokey apartments, people earning the median salary of €49,200 can afford to buy just 24 square metres.
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Grenoble, the second most attractive city to live in France when it comes to jobs and buying property. Photo: Vinicius Pinheiro/Flickr
Many may be surprised that for once Bordeaux - often cited as the most attractive city to live in France - doesn't top a table of the best place to live in France.
In fact, the southwestern city, apparently much-loved by Parisians desperate to leave the capital, came in just 11th out of 20 due a boom in property prices which ahs not been matched by a rise in salaries.
This now means that with the median annual salary of €35,300 euros, it's only possible to buy an apartment of 38 square metres.
It wasn't good news for the southern French city of Marseille either, which came in bottom of the list, largely due to the difficulty people have in finding a job.
But what if jobs and property were not all that mattered? The Local's own study on the best places to live in France for foreigners found that Rennes was the place to be. This was based on a whole list of criteria, including regional accents, international airports and proximity to national parks.