Quality of Life and Cost of Living in Paris

What's So Great about Living in Paris?

March 28, 2018By Adrian LeedsWhat's New Living in Paris
Seine in springtime.
The River Seine in early spring.

Why do we choose to live in Paris when it ranks high on cost of living and low on quality of life?

Mercer’s 2018 Quality of Living Ranking, published in March, ranked Vienna first (for the ninth year in a row) of the 231 cities considered, with Paris in 39th place. Since the rating is based on a destination’s attractiveness to expatriates on assignment, it looks at a city’s economic and political stability, as well as infrastructure, recreational facilities and housing, primarily for business purposes.

I’m not so sure that Mercer’s report provides a fair basis for evaluating quality of life for the “average” expat. What about the intrinsic value that cannot be measured? For example, Paris can outperform most cities on the list when it comes to beauty, an asset we Parisians live with every waking minute of every day. And what about the quality of the cuisine and culture? How do we begin to measure the sensual pleasure of a city – doesn’t that affect quality of life?

Another recent study, The Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2018 Worldwide Cost of Living report, rates Singapore as the most expensive city in the world, with Paris coming in second. The study compared more than 400 individual prices of 150 products and services in over 200 countries. Paris is the only euro-zone city in the top 10. We all know that Paris is an expensive place to live and work, but it must be kept in mind that currency fluctuations account for many variations in the rankings.

According to these two reports, Paris ranks low in terms of both cost of living and quality of life. I disagree! How do you explain why so many Americans are moving here right now, and not just from their native United States, but also from other cities around the globe? If it’s not because of low cost of living or high quality of life, then why? Could it be Emmanuel Macron’s open-arm foreign policy? Or Donald Trump’s closed-arm foreign policy – or both? Food – or should I say “cuisine? – for thought…”

Adrian Leeds is the director of the Adrian Leeds Group, Inc., which helps foreigners find short- and long-term housing in France. contact@adrianleeds.com



  • As an American, I can tell you why I love Paris: joie de vivre. Although Zurich, Geneva and Vienna are beautiful cities, they lack the one thing that makes Paris special, the enjoyment of life in all its forms. It is also a very livable huge city. Green. Lots of trees and parks and flowers. It is visually an exciting city. The fashion sense and museums are superb. I have many favorites and would be happy to share with you. I would move to Paris in a second if I could.

  • I’ve been to all the countries of Europe, but always return to Paris. It is a beautiful, compact, walkible city with great bus and Metro and RER transportation. It doesn’t have to be expensive for budget tourists. There are budget hotels, and reasonable cafe’s on every corner. Parks and churches are free. I happen to go to art and photography museums…maybe two a day. The city is a movable feast… as someone once said.

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