Lille has best jobs market and housing affordability in France

by Ray Clancy on October 20, 2017

When moving to France expats often dream of Paris, or even noble cities like Bordeaux and Lyon, but it seems that less well known Lille in the heart of one of France’s industrial regions is the place to be.

Lille in the North East, close to the border with Belgium has been ranked as the best city in France to live in terms of getting a decent job and the cost of living, including accommodation.

Lille France

(Production Perig/

Grenoble in the French Alps is second, followed by Dijon, famous for its mustard, then Lyon, Nantes, Toulouse and Rennes. Also in the top 10 are Saint-Etienne, Angers and Le Mans while Bordeaux is ranked eleventh and Paris 15th.

The ranking from job site Joijoba and online property brokers Meilleurtaux looks at 20 cities in France and ranks them according to their employment markets, average salaries, property prices and interest rates.

Bottom of the table is Marseille in the south of France, followed by Le Havre in Normandy, Toulon, Reims and then Nice. In twelfth place is Nimes, then Strasbourg and Montpellier.

The analysis looked at what kind of property the median salary in each city. In Grenoble, where the median salary is €35,600 that could comfortably by a 66-square-meter apartment while the median of €35,000 in Dijon could by a 73-square-meter property.

But job opportunities in Dijon are lower while in Lille the fact there are 2.3 permanent jobs available for every 100 residents means the city has the second highest level of employment opportunity in the whole of France. Lille is known for having one of the biggest new digital hubs in France.

Lille’s vibrant jobs market is confirmed by a study published in the French business magazine Le Journal des Entreprises which found more jobs in the digital sector were created between 2008 and 2013 than any other city in France and has the third largest business district in the country after La Défense in Paris and La Part Dieu in Lyon.

The figures reveal why Paris only comes in at 15. The median salary of €49,200 will only buy an apartment of 24 square meters while in Bordeaux the median €35,300 buys 38 square meters.

According to the Mayor of Lille it is no surprise that the city has done well and he pointed out that it has a rich history and architectural past. It has Flemish roots and only became French when Louis XIV besieged and conquered it from the Spanish Netherlands in 1667.

In 2004, Lille was elected European Capital of Culture and since then the scheme Lille 3000 has pushed to promote the city’s cultural heritage and contemporary artists through regular events and festivals.

It is the main city in the Nord Pad de Calais region where there are around 2,600 British expats and its university attracts a lot of international students. One in five of its 100,000 student population are from overseas meaning it has more international students than elsewhere in France.

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