These are the 'best' cities in France - according to the people who live there

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These are the 'best' cities in France - according to the people who live there
French city Rennes seen from above. Photo: AFP

Far ahead of Paris, the northeastern city Rennes won the title as the best place to live out of France's 20 largest cities, according to their inhabitants.


Paris came near the bottom of the popularity scale in a survey that was presented in French newspaper Le Parisien on Sunday.

"These are resident data, that is to say they testify to the perception of these cities by their inhabitants themselves", David Beaurepaire, one of the authors behind the study, told Le Parisien.



Beaurepaire is the editor of job offer platforms Régionsjob and Parisjobs, which conducted the study together with recruitment company Hays.

To rank the cities the authors of the report asked 3,454 inhabitants in the 20 cities included about how happy they were with their city's quality of life, the general cost of living and the quality of infrastructure. Other indicators included were how they perceived their city's job opportunities, its economic dynamism and environmental and cultural offers.

Rennes most popular

Rennes, in Brittany, won the first place this year, as it did last year when it stole the top spot from the southeastern city of Lyon. Inhabitants praised the city for its high quality of life, low levels of unemployment, generally low living costs and high quality infrastructure.


Low levels of unemployment was also a quality feature for Nantes, a city in the western region Pays de la Loire, which came out second in the survey - also for the second year in a row. Nantes scored well on all indicators and was rated the number one city regarding economic dynamism and cultural offer, and came third on the job market indicator.


Strasbourg came third. The northeastern city replaced Lyon, which fell down one spot to fourth place in this year's study. 

Strasbourg got especially high scores on its easy accessibility for those wanting to get around with "soft" means of transport - cycling, walking and the like. It also came out on top for its infrastructure quality.

Paris near the bottom

The French capital came close to the bottom, only beaten by Nancy (19th) and Marseille (20th), which were even less popular with their inhabitants.

While Paris came out on top for its job market, Parisians deemed their city as too expensive and rated the quality of life in the capital as generally lousy.

He added that the report mirrored a mounting sentiment that it was "no longer necessary to live in Paris in order to get a Parisian job".

READ ALSO Are Parisians really fleeing to the countryside since lockdown?

'Clear need for space'

Durpaire said Paris usually would have scored extra points for its flourishing cultural life - it came 14th last year - but this year Covid-19 had severely limited cultural offers by forcing cinemas, concert halls, theatres and the like to close their doors.


The cities reaching the top five spots on this year's culture and environment rating were Nantes, Brest, Grenoble, Nice and Montpellier.

"There's clearly a need for space. A house with a garden is becoming alpha and omega," Durpaire said, a trend that resulted in cities like Grenoble jumping several spots compared to last year's ranking (from 15th up to 7th place).

Marseille came at the bottom this year, just like it did last year.

"The unemployment rate is high in Marseille, a criteria that weighs heavily," Beaurepaire said then.

Full list:

1. Rennes
2. Nantes
3. Strasbourg
4. Lyon
5. Brest
6. Toulouse
7. Grenoble
8. Tours
9. Dijon
10. Montpellier 
11. Bordeaux
12. Rouen
13. Nice
14. St-Etienne
15. Lille
16. Orléans
17. Toulon
18. Paris
19. Nancy
20. Marseille


For the full report, click here.


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