Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What makes a French city top?

A number of recent surveys have listed some fifty French cities as among the most popular in France - and offered some clues as the reasons why.

The rankings were compiled using a questionnaire asking participants to rate a number of factors (climate, culture etc) in order of importance, and give them a points score out of 20. Interestingly, the search went further than that, and by establishing the age and life stage of the respondents, the researchers were able to show that while certain cities were popular overall, some scored higher within particular groups.

The outright winner was the city of Toulouse, followed by Bordeaux, Rennes, Nancy, Béthune, Paris and Fréjus. However an analysis of the different groups revealed a slight different picture and whosed why certain factors were liked by particular groups and tended to push a city higher up the ratings. It was found that Toulouse was highly rated rated by young peple, Nantes by families, and Angers by 'seniors' (another poll awarded this last distinction to Fréjus, which as seen as 'a paradise for seniors').

Certain cities or areas can acquire an identity which may be appopriate or not, and if you are thinking of moving and buying property, yet another report (reported in the Guardian 02/11/13) says you should also look for evidence of what the researchers termes as 'connectivity'. The outward visible signs of a city's connectivity can include available public transport, cycle and walkways, open spaces, sports facilities, pedestrianised areas, walkable neighbourheads and sectors where there is a good mix of housing, business, services and shops - all of these favoured as places where people can connect with other people.

'As much as we complain about people, there is nothing worse for mental health than a social desert' the Guardian article explains, 'The more connected we are to family and community, the less likely we are to experience heart attacks, strokes, cancer and depression. Connected people sleep better at night. They live longer. They consistently report being happier'.

A longer version of this article will appear in French Property News early in 2014.