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Residents name these 3 French towns top for quality of life

Over 8,000 towns were ranked on criteria such as environment, transport, security, healthcare, sports and leisure, culture, schools and shops

Antony, Aix-les-Bains and Saint-Maur-des-Fossés won out in the public comment ranking Pic: Petr Kovalenkov / Alphapicto / SirilakP / Shutterstock

The top three towns in France ranked based on residents’ reviews according to quality of life have been revealed by an online poll. We look at the top three and why they are considered the best places to live by locals.

The ville-ideale website draws on 84,610 reviews of over 8,110 towns to determine which towns are the most desirable to live in.

Residents award their towns marks out of ten in nine categories: Environment, transport, security, healthcare, sports and leisure, culture, schools, shops and quality of life.

The towns that scored the highest overall on average for these nine rankings are:.

1. Antony (Hauts-de-Seine) - 8.28 on average

Comments by residents praised Antony’s high quality of life, its numerous shopping centres, nearby green spaces, education options, leisure options, security, and its proximity to good transport links including an airport.

However, others criticised the busy traffic, cost of living, and lack of sports options.

2. Aix-les-Bains (Savoie) - 8.25 on average

Users commented that it is a beautiful town with all the amenities of a large city. Residents say its proximity to Geneva is a major advantage, as are its beautiful lakes and mountains and employment opportunities.

Yet it was criticised for the lack of dynamism outside the peak tourist seasons, and high property prices.

3. Saint-Maur-des-Fossés (Val-de-Marne) - 8.21

This town was praised for restricting new buildings to the main roads, maintaining its heritage, and keeping the banks of the river Marne in good condition. Many liked its safety, and enjoyed its selection of shops and markets, as well as its high-quality education options.

Yet others criticised its high cost of living, limited leisure options, expensive shops and high property prices.

The rest of the top 10 towns are Sceaux (Hauts-de-Seine), Maisons-Laffitte, Saint-Gratien (Val-d'Oise), Le Vésinet (Yvelines), Joinville-le-Pont (Val-de-Marne), Vincennes (Val-de-Marne), and Angers (Maine-et-Loire).

Angers ahead

Tenth placed Angers has fared well in several rankings in the past few years, including a new list released by le Journal du Dimanche on January 27.

The 500-strong list of the best towns with more than 2,000 residents put the Maine-et-Loire town on the top spot, followed by Bayonne, and Biarritz (both Pyrénées-Atlantiques).

The same ranking put Angers on the top spot in 2022, for towns with fewer than 200,000 inhabitants. As for its smaller villages ranking, it put Guéthary (Pyrénées-Atlantiques) on top.

In contrast, another ranking published recently by the website (‘dream town’) - which has a vast database of more than 34,900 towns across France based on a wide range of official statistics on everything from health to leisure facilities to safety - put Villard-de-Lans (Isère), Gérardmer (Vosges), and Guérande (Loire-Atlantique) on the top three spots.

That ranking particularly rewarded the factors of dynamism, environment, attractiveness, sustainability, the fitness and good health of residents, and heritage. 

Rankings in individual categories

The top three in ville-ideale’s rankings for each category are:

  • Environment: Le Vésinet, Aix-les-Bains, Sceaux

  • Security: Maisons-Laffitte, Le Plessis-Robinson, Le Vésinet

  • Quality of life: Aix-les-Bains, Le Vésinet, Maisons-Laffitte

  • Health: Antony, Angers, Levallois-Perret

  • Sports and leisure: Aix-les-Bains, Maisons-Laffitte, Puteaux

  • Transport: Ermont, Vincennes, Bourg-la-Reine

  • Culture: Enghien-les-Bains, Yerres, Noisy-le-Grand

  • Commerce: Enghien-les-Bains, Vincennes, Paris

  • Education/teaching: Sceaux, Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, Saint-Germain-en-Laye

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