Why Nice beats Paris as the best French city for foreigners to live

The beautiful and usually sun-drenched southern French city of Nice has trounced Paris in the annual Expat City Ranking for quality of life.

Why Nice beats Paris as the best French city for foreigners to live
Friendly and sun-drenched Nice scored highly on a survey of its foreign residents. Photo: AFP

The report from international network Inter Nations ranks cities according to their experiences for international residents – including issues like quality of life, job opportunities and the cost of living.

In the global survey Nice came 16th while Paris trailed in 61st place.

The Spanish city of Valencia came out top, followed by Alicante and Lisbon.

Nice scored particularly well in the Quality of Life category, coming third overall, beaten only by Vienna and Valencia, with many people commenting on its laid-back lifestyle.

It also scored highly on the Weather and Climate section, with not a single survey respondent saying they were unhappy with the weather – perhaps unsurprisingly for a city that is sunny for 63 percent of its daylight hours.

READ ALSO 10 things you definitely didn't know about Nice

Graphic: Inter Nations

Paris, on the other hand, scored poorly on the financial section with many saying they are unhappy with the famously high living costs in the capital – which recently topped a global poll of the most expensive places to live.

Only 19 percent of people said they found it easy to find housing and 70 percent described the city as 'unaffordable'.

READ ALSO Locals reveal how to live cheaply in Paris

On the positive side, it scored well for job opportunities – around a third of the French economy is concentrated on Paris and many sectors such as media, international organisations and tech are heavily focused on the capital.

But it seems that Parisians' infamously grumpy reputation also counted against the city, with 40 percent of people saying the locals are not friendly and 56 percent saying they found it hard to make friends.

READ ALSO The 10 best things about Paris the movies never show

On Brazilian resident passed a brutal judgement, telling the survey: “In general, Parisians are angry, complain too much, and smile too little.”

The Inter Nations survey asked 15,000 people representing 173 nationalities about their experiences living in 161 countries. They were asked to rank 25 aspects of their new lives abroad on a scale of one to seven, from social lives to career opportunities and housing costs.

No other French cities made it into the top 66. 

The top 10 best cities for foreigners are

  • Valencia  
  • Alicante
  • Lisbon
  • Panama City
  • Singapore
  • Málaga
  • Buenos Aires
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Madrid
  • Abu Dhabi


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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