France Tops Best Place to Live
Friday 15 January 2010
France tops a leading poll, for the fifth year in a row, as the best place in the world to live.
The ranking was carried out by the magazine International Living, who for the past 30 years have been producing a 'Quality of Life' index, looking at the best places to live in the world.
Their index examines nine main criteria, such as the cost of living, climate, crime, environment, infrastructure and the quality of health care, with statistics drawn from official sources.
Although the magazine acknowledges that if you live in France you have to be prepared to put up with ‘tiresome bureaucracy’, they consider this is outweighed by an unsurpassable quality of life, including the world’s best health service.
France scores high on most categories in the index, but it is the bon-vivant lifestyle of the French that the magazine considers to be the special quality of the country.
These include the relaxed lifestyle such as the joys of long lingering lunches, the importance of friends and family, the lovely countryside, and the charm and romance of Paris, aspects of a country that simply cannot be measured by a set of statistics.
'In France, life is savoured,' says Jackie Flynn, publisher of International Living.
‘France has all the ingredients we look for at International Living: good food, good wine, haute couture, a good climate, unspoiled countryside, glittering culture, excellent health care, colourful traditions and history, and, as a bonus, the glamour and sophistication of Paris — arguably the world’s most bewitching capital.’
The authors consider provincial French properties to be keenly priced, with the South-western Midi-Pyrenees a particularly good hunting ground for village homes for less than €150,000.
The Limousin is also reckoned to be ‘picture postcard France’, with quiet farming villages and beautiful scenery throughout the region.
There is also 'wild and lovely Corsica, lavender-scented Provence, or the Languedoc, bathed in Mediterranean sunlight.'
‘France keeps on wowing us’, said Jackie Flynn. ‘This country never fails to cast her spell.’
‘If good health care, a relaxed lifestyle, and all the modern comforts you enjoy at home are among your top priorities, then France should be on your radar’, concludes Jackie.
Behind France in the ranking of 194 countries comes Australia, followed by Switzerland and Germany. Britain languishes in 25th place, while Spain comes in 17th place.