France consistently voted best place in the world to live - it's official !

cafe

Every January International Living look at almost every country on Earth and ask: How do they stack up against one another? France consistently features at the top of their list for quality of life. For five years in a row France was in 1st place.

Each country is ranked and rated under the following 9 categories to narrow down the search for that elusive place, the one where you'll find the greatest quality of life:

  1. Cost of Living
  2. Culture
  3. Economy
  4. Environment
  5. Freedom
  6. Health
  7. Health
  8. Safety and Risk
  9. Climate

canal du mid Yet again, France was this year's winner in the health category. Adrian Leeds writes 'Between the cost of health insurance and the quality of care, there is no contest…… the doctors actually use their knowledge and experience to treat their patients….. all in all, it's a pleasure to get sick!'

Britain dropped from 20th to 25th place this year due to its climate, crime rate, cost of living, congested roads and overcrowded cities. International Living magazine says the French live life to the full, while Britons are over-worked.

France's bon vivant lifestyle sets it apart and the French are renowned for savouring the finer things in life, including two-hour lunch breaks at great value cordon bleu restaurants, and some of the best wine in the world. The French take most of August off and respect Sunday as a day of rest. 'In France, life is savoured,' said Jackie Flynn, publisher of International Living. 'I don't think anyone will argue that France is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The French love tidy gardens, pretty sidewalk cafes, and clean streets. Cities are well tended and with little crime.'

carcassonne vineyard

The Languedoc gets a special mention being 'bathed in Mediterranean sunlight' and with its slower and more relaxed pace of life. Languedoc-Roussillon remains a popular location for buying property for a second home or a new permanent life. Prices are competitive compared to other areas in the South of France and it is a great location nestling between the Mediterranean beaches to and the mountain ski resorts. The stunning region of Languedoc-Roussillon runs along the Mediterranean coast between the Pyrénées Mountains and the Rhone Valley, from Perpignan on the Spanish border, past Narbonne, Montpellier to Nîmes. There are 177km (110 miles) of sandy beaches including some of the most beautiful beaches in the south of France. On the plane expansive vineyards stretch toward the mountains, dotted with almond and olive trees, where more than 40% of France's wine is produced and is the largest vine growing area in the world (yes! in the world).

beach

From frenetic cities with historical and architectural interest to tranquil and unspoilt countryside, from picturesque ports and harbours to classic French villages (where you will find a group playing boules in the shade of the trees), there is no place like it - all 'bathed in Mediterranean sunlight'.