Written by Erin Harding,
Last Modified: 20th December 2022

A new study from Meteo Job and Meilleurtaux looks at both job security and housing affordability to compile a list of the best cities to live in France. Which cities fared well and which were ranked the lowest? We take a look.

The list includes over 30 cities ranked from best to worst for job security and affordable housing. To assess job stability in the cities, the study looks at the percentage of the working-age population with indefinite work contracts. To assess housing affordability, it examines how many squared meters of housing someone could buy on the median salary for that area. These two factors are then combined to create the ranking. So, which cities made the top three?

Sainte-Croix Cathedral, Orléans, France

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Where made the list?

The top three cities in the ranking are Mulhouse, a city in eastern France near the Swiss and German borders, Orléans, a city southwest of Paris on the banks of the Loire River, and Dijon, the capital of the Burgundy region.

Mulhouse did not rank the highest for job stability or housing affordability individually, but when the two factors are combined it comes out on top. Benefitting from its close proximity to Germany and plentiful job offers, Mulhouse holds the number one spot for the second year running.

Medium-sized towns are particularly attractive to French people in need of space.

Orléans comes in second place because it ranks the highest for job security. Meanwhile, Dijon has experienced a pandemic-related boost due to its affordable property prices. Prices per square meter are € 2,670 and as it’s just a 2-hour train journey from the capital, many Parisians have fled the City of Light for nearby Dijon.

Dijon town centre

The study also reveals that larger cities do not rank very highly for job stability and housing affordability – the bottom three cities being Paris, Nice and Montpellier. Both Nice and Montpellier scored badly for job security, whilst unsurprisingly, Paris is one of the most expensive places to buy a property in France. The average price per square meter is approximately €11,400!

Overall, the study suggests that small and medium-sized towns are great places to live. With many moving out of the big cities since the start of the pandemic, these smaller areas are beginning to offer great job opportunities, whilst remaining quite affordable.

Maël Bernier, communications director and spokesperson for Meilleurtaux, said, “Medium-sized towns are particularly attractive to French people in need of space; they [buyers] have everything to gain. They can live in comfort with additional square meters, for a budget that can be divided by 5 for the same area!

You can view the complete list here.

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