Parents already living in or moving to the French capital often face the dilemma of whether to live in Paris or move to the one of the suburban towns in the nearby region.
For some parents Paris – basically inside the peripherique ring road – appeals because of the culture, the bars and the restaurant scene, not to mention the schools, parks and all the activities for children.
But others dream of having the garden, bigger apartment, car parking space, empty parks, and lower house or rent prices that the suburbs can offer them. Not to mention the chance of a place in a creche which can be hard to come by in Paris.
The struggle however is finding the right suburb or town or even arrondissement in Paris which fits the specific needs or desires of the parents.
Le Parisien newspaper has studied the positives and negatives of 385 towns in Paris and the surrounding region of Île-de-France and their results might help ease the burden of fretting parents wondering where it is best to live.
The newspaper based its ranking on statistics available on the 385 towns with a population of over 5,000 and built a quality of life index to take into account factors like the environment, schools, sports and entertainment, real estate, health, transport and security.
At number one comes the town of Versailles, renowned worldwide for its Château de Versailles and its gardens. Versailles is 22 km to the south west of Paris and is on the RER commuter train network.
What also might appeal to parents is the property prices in Versailles compared to Paris.
According to Le Parisien, real estate goes for an average of €7,200 per square meter, well below the Paris average of €9,000 a square meter. It’s also reportedly easy to find a doctor there, it's relatively safe, and there are good shopping options.
Even Versailles Town Hall says it has placed family life and education at the heart of its project.
“In order to allow families and parents to reconcile work and family life, the town is developing its hospitality offering and offers many services and leisure activities, from kindergarten to graduate school,” reads the Town Hall's website.
In second place was ranked Boulogne-Billancourt, just on the south-western edge of Paris.
Town Hall staff in Boulogne-Billancourt were clearly happy with the result.
“This award represents the culmination of the work done by the municipality for families. The City devotes more than 25 percent of its operating budget to education and youth,” read a message on the website.
According to Le Parisien, Boulogne-Billancourt has 22 municipal structures dedicated to early childhood, making it a lot easier for parents to find a spot for their kids without much of a delay.
“There are schools from early childhood to high school, as well as recreational and sports facilities such as a swimming pool, and an ice rink,” Coralie, 38, a Boulogne-Billancourt resident told Le Parisien.
In third place came Neuilly-sur-Seine, just on the north east edge of Paris that was recently ranked as the richest town in France.
In fourth came Maisons-Alfort, located around 10 km south east of Paris, followed by the 15th arrondissement in Paris, which is known as a family neighbourhood and is a lot quieter than other districts in the capital.
Next in the ranking was the chic 16th arrondissement on the western edge of the city, then the town of Saint-Cloud, which stands next to Boulogne-Billancourt on the south-western edge of Paris, the 4th arrondissement in Paris followed by the 7th arrondissement and then rounding off the top 10 was Vincennes on the south eastern edge of the city which stands next to the huge Bois de Vincennes park.
Other areas that appeared in the the 20 were Saint-Germain-en-Laye to the west of Paris which has proved popular among British families.
The 5th and 6th arrondissements also made the top 20 as did Nogent-sur-Marne, Charenton-le-Pont, Issy-les-Moulineaux, Le Vésinet, Viroflay and Créteil.