Bordeaux voted best city to live in France

by Ray Clancy on July 13, 2015

France is a popular location for expats, both working and retired, but according to French citizens, they should avoid Paris and head for some of the nation’s other cities instead.

A new survey asked people their ideal place to live and many named coastal towns where the climate is pleasant, but it was Bordeaux in the south west of France that topped the rankings as being the happiest city in France to live, followed by Montpellier.

Bordeaux was voted the best city in which to live in France

Bordeaux was voted the best city in which to live in France

Bordeaux is listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site and has a popular location within easy reach of both mountains and coast. It is also is the wine capital of the world with its vineyards generating €14.5 billion a year. It is rated as having a superb quality of life and voted the best tourist destination in Europe 2015 in a separate survey.

While Montpellier, capital of the Languedoc-Roussillon region and close to the sea, was praised for its antique shops and fashion industry as well as its medieval past. It is regarded as wealthier and as more bourgeois than Paris.

Toulouse and Nantes shared third place. Toulouse scored strongly for its proximity to the Pyrenees and the Atlantic coast and for its pink terracotta architecture, which gives the city its nickname of Ville Rose. Nantes also has a popular location at the end of the Loire River, close to the sea and to fine winemaking regions. The capital of the French Riviera, Nice, came fifth, scoring highly for its coastal location near the mountains and Italy.

Paris came in at only sixth and although respondents saw it as a global city on par with London and New York, it is not regarded as the happiest place to live, despite its world famous attractions such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. In seventh place was France’s second city Lyon, famous for its Roman, Medieval, Renaissance and modern architecture.

In eighth place is Rennes, the capital of Brittany, which is known for its university and a lively bar scene popular with students, followed by Strasbourg, the capital of Alsace in ninth place. It is popular for its cuisine, wine and views of the Rhine.

Three cities tied equally for tenth place; Grenoble, Lille and Marseille. Grenoble, at the foot of the Alps, should come as no surprise, but Lille has always been known as a grey industrial city with not much soul. However, according to the survey, it has shaken that reputation and is now a cultural hub not far from the Belgian border.

Likewise, Marseille never used to have a top reputation due to its housing estates and mixed population, but it is now considered an arts and culinary destination that breathes dynamism into the otherwise sedate southern coast.

‘Above all, these cities which have been chosen have made tremendous progress in terms of ecological development, and we are able to breathe in them,’ said Jean-Pierre Ternaux, neurobiologist and co-ordinator of the Observatory of Happiness, which was set up to find out what makes the French happy.

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