Revealed: France's 5 greenest cities

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Revealed: France's 5 greenest cities
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Looking for trees, fresh air, and environment-friendly city policies? Here are France's five greenest cities.


The Observatory for Green Cities publishes a ranking of the greenest cities, with the methodology based on how much green space is dedicated to each city inhabitant, how much of the city budget goes toward green spaces per inhabitant, the ability for citizens to be involved in greening projects, and the number of trees per inhabitant.

1) Angers

Angers, in the Loire Valley in western France, is widely known as a green city, but its been made official by the Observatory list, which names it the greenest city in France.   

Angers is exceptional for the fact that it was one of the first cities in France to have local authorities fully integrate a 'greening' policy into municipal projects.

On top of that, green spaces represent about 14 percent of its surface area (not including forests). It continues to devote significant amounts of its budget to keeping the city green, and has even instituted a "zero phyto" policy to reduce pesticide usage in green parts of the city.


2) Nantes

Based on the observatory's study, Nantes comes in second place for most green French cities.

Actually, Nantes even beats Angers in one criteria: green investment. The city has invested more than €41 million per year on average for greening projects. In 2013, Nantes won the Europe-wide "Green Capital" contest - 100 percent of the population in Nantes lives within 300 metres of a green space, so if you head to Nantes you will never be far from fresh air.

3) Metz

Metz, which is located eastern France, comes in third place. For Metz, their green pride mostly shines through their gardens, their eco-citizen budget, and their pioneering plans for waste management.

In 2019, Metz dedicated a specific citizen budget to allow residents to propose their ideas for improving Metz' living environment in terms of sustainability and urban ecology. Most notably, Metz has 871 shared, family garden plots, which allows people to feel connected to nature and their neighbours simultaneously. 

READ MORE: And the greenest city in France is…? No, it’s not Paris.

4) Amiens

With €14.1 million set aside for green spaces, the historic capital of Picardie in north east France, Amiens is a small but mighty force in the competition for France's most green cities.

Amiens has taken dedicated steps to becoming recognised as a green city, having moved up six places since the last Green Cities ranking.


It has focused on protecting local biodiversity - like the city's wetlands and bees. On top of that, each year the city organises a flower contest and has the highest rating for France's "Villes et Villages Fleuris."

Amiens has also launched a local council dedicated to mental health, which is also dedicated to promoting the health benefits of green spaces.

5) Lyon

Even though Lyon shares a similar architectural style to Paris, with its Haussmanian buildings and large boulevards, you'll notice quickly how much more fresh the air is while walking through Lyon.

Coming in at number five, it is no surprise to Lyon-lovers that this city made the list for France's top green cities. With a hefty budget to keep Lyon green, the city is working to give inhabitants more green space.

In fact, the average surface area of green space per inhabitant has increased by three metres squared, and the city overall can offer over 430 hectares of gardens, green squares and generally green spaces.



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