PARIS is the world’s most expensive city, according to British financial magazine The Economist.
The French capital comes out ahead of Tokyo, in second place, and Oslo, in third, with London down at a surprising 16th place (from 8th in 2009). Last year Paris was second and Oslo, Norway was on top.
The study was based on the prices of a range of goods and services, however French newspaper Le Figaro said it was skewed by the fact that prices were converted to dollars – the euro is stronger this year, having gone from $1.28 to $1.51 over the course of 2009.
Marketing writer Omid Tavallai, who lives in the 2nd arrondissement, said the result came as no surprise. “I am just interested to see it is finally acknowledged,” he said, adding that he finds that visiting London “seems like a bargain now.”
He said: “I have been feeling this for the last couple of years, in terms of grocery shopping, or just when going out for a drink or to a concert or a movie - when visiting London it comes out surprisingly cheap. I can spend time there going out to eat and enjoying pints in the pub. In Paris I have to consider how it will affect my budget for the week.”
He thought the two cities were probably about on a par when it came to rents.
He added: “One thing I do like is that it is a very walkable city, and the scenery and charm make it worth the cost.”
Translator Polly Hogg, who lives in the south-west suburbs, said she was surprised the list placed Paris on top. “You save a fortune on transport alone in Paris compared to London,” she said. “If you earn a standard salary then either in London or Paris you tend to have to live outside the centre and travel in. Compared to London, Paris’s set-fee transport passes are very good value. What’s more, if you are a salaried worker then usually your work reimburses half the pass, for example for zones one and two you would pay just e25 - and it’s not just for your work travel, it’s everything. You don’t get that in the UK.”
She added: “I think in Paris you just have to know where to go. If you know the city well, then you know which markets to go to make it affordable as well as good quality.
“You can live well without it costing too much. There are a lot of expensive places as well. You need to be canny and get to know the real city. The size is one of the other things I love - everything is accessible - and it is absolutely beautiful, which counts for a lot.”
n NOBEL prize winning economist Professor Joseph Stiglitz was charged by President Sarkozy to explore new ways, other than GDP, to measure a country’s success including factors such as happiness. The issue has disappeared off the French political radar but you can read our interview with Professor Stiglitz on our website along with reader suggestions.