Paris loses top spot as one of world’s most expensive cities

Previously ranked as one of the most expensive cities in the world, the French capital has become (comparatively) affordable.

Paris loses top spot as one of world’s most expensive cities
Photo: AFP

As those whole live there know, Paris could never be described as a cheap city – from rent to drinks out, it's all going to set you back more than a few euro.

But while last year Paris was ranked the join most expensive city in the world, this year it has slipped down the rankings.

READ ALSO From bargain chicken to theatre deals – locals reveal how to live cheaply in Paris

Osaka, Hong Kong and Singapore came out on top of the list of the 2020 edition of the Worldwide Cost of Living Survey.

Paris dropped down to number 5th place, a spot it shared with Switzerland’s Zurich.

New York also climbed past Paris and ranked 4th.

A 'strong yen'

But in bad news for anyone hoping that means more meals out and new clothes, Paris itself hasn't got any less expensive, it has just become comparatively cheaper.

The EUI report explained the switch of Paris for Osaka by “a strengthening of the (Japanese) yen,” which also pushed Tokyo to climb up to rank 8th this year, up from 13th in the 2019 edition. Japanese cities, therefore, have become more pricey since 2019.

Osaka's skyline. Photo: AFP

At the same time, “modest domestic demand and weak global energy prices have kept inflationary pressures subdued across Europe in the past year,” the report stated.

That could mean that cities like Paris have seen a slight reduction of costs (France's gas prices has for example decreased over the past year).

However Paris' housing prices, for both rental properties and purchasing, remain very high – with the average price more than €10,000 per square metre.

Overall, European cities did not do any big jumps up the ranking this year. However many of the biggest fallers were European, notably Sofia (Bulgaria), Reykjavik (Iceland), Rome (Italy) and Dusseldorf (Germany).

160 different products

The Worldwide Cost of Living is an extensive twice yearly Economist Intelligence Unit survey that compares costs of living in over 130 cities around the world.

For more than 30 years it has compared more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services in different cities.

Food, household supplies, clothing, drinks, rent and utility bills are just some of the factors included to determine a city's cost of living.

Here’s the list of the top 10 most expensive cities:

Singapore – rank 1

Hong Kong – rank 1

Osaka  – rank 1

New York  – rank 4

Paris  – rank 5

Zurich  – rank 5

Tel Aviv  – rank 7

Los Angeles  – rank 8

Tokyo  – rank 8

Geneva  – rank 10

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France to roll out ID cards app

Technology is being rolled out to allow people to carry their French ID cards in an app form - and could be rolled out to other cards, including driving licences and cartes de séjour residency cards.

France to roll out ID cards app

Holders of French carte d’identité (ID cards) will soon be able to carry certified digital versions of them on their smartphone or other electronic devices, a decree published in the Journal Officiel has confirmed.

An official app is being developed for holders of the newer credit card-format ID cards that have information stored on a chip. A provisional test version of the app is expected at the end of May.

Users will be able to use the ID card app, when it becomes available, for a range of services “from checking in at the airport to renting a car”, according to Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market.

All French citizens have an ID card, which can be used for proving identity in a range of circumstances and for travel within the EU and Schengen zone – the new app will be in addition to the plastic card that holders already have.

Under the plans, after downloading the app, card holders will need merely to hold the card close to their phone to transfer the required information. According to officials, the holder then can decide what information is passed on – such as proof of age, or home address – according to the situation.

The government has not given any examples of situations in which the app would need to be used, but has set out the main principles and the ambition of the plan: to allow everyone to identify themselves and connect to certain public and private organisations, in particular those linked to the France Connect portal.

READ ALSO What is France Connect and how could it make your life simpler?

Cards will continue to be issued for the foreseeable future – this is merely an extension of the existing system.

Only French citizens have ID cards, but if successful the app is expected to be rolled out to include other cards, such as driving licences, cartes de séjour residency cards or even visas. A digital wallet is being developed at the European level – Member States have until September to agree what it could contain.

READ ALSO Eight smartphone apps that make life in France a bit easier