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A Beautiful City with Tough Challenges…

Paris, the City of Lights, is renowned for its rich culture, exquisite cuisine, and vibrant nightlife. However, for expats, living in Paris can be a mixed experience.

The Expat City Ranking 2023 made by InterNations places Paris at a low 41st out of 49 cities, reflecting significant challenges in administration, housing, and social integration.

Let’s check the data in detail:

Source: InterNations


Administrative Hurdles and Housing Woes

Expats moving to Paris often face significant bureaucratic challenges. Paris ranks 47th out of 49 in the Admin Topics subcategory.

Over half of the expats (55%) find the Parisian bureaucracy challenging, a much higher percentage than the global average of 38%. Additionally, 41% struggle to open a local bank account, compared to 22% globally.

Housing in Paris is another major obstacle. The city ranks 38th in housing affordability and availability. A staggering 71% of expats find housing unaffordable, almost double the global average of 42%. Furthermore, 60% report difficulty in finding housing, nearly twice the global average of 31%.


Language Barrier and Social Integration

Mastering the French language is essential for living in Paris. About 66% of expats say it’s difficult to live in Paris without speaking French, significantly higher than the global average of 32%. Consequently, 77% of expats have become proficient in French, compared to 55% globally.

Despite their language skills, many expats find it hard to integrate socially. Paris ranks 40th in the Ease of Settling In Index, with 56% of expats finding it difficult to make local friends, compared to 36% globally.

Paris is also considered one of the least friendly cities, with 36% of expats describing the locals as unfriendly, more than twice the global average of 16%.


Work Life and Financial Struggles

The Working Abroad Index places Paris at 34th, indicating mixed reviews regarding work life. While job security in Paris is rated highly (15th), salaries are among the lowest, with the city ranking 47th in this aspect.

Almost 29% of expats feel they are not paid fairly, compared to 19% globally.

This financial strain is compounded by the high cost of living, with 61% of expats struggling with general living expenses, compared to 35% globally.


Cultural and Leisure Highlights

Despite these challenges, Paris excels in offering cultural and leisure opportunities. The city ranks 15th in the Leisure Options subcategory and 26th in the Quality of Life Index.

A vast majority of expats (91%) appreciate the variety of culinary options, compared to 77% globally, and 83% enjoy the city’s vibrant culture and nightlife, higher than the global average of 68%.

Healthcare in Paris is also a strong point, with the city ranking 8th for the affordability of medical care. About 80% of expats are satisfied with the cost of healthcare, compared to 62% globally, and 77% are happy with the quality of medical services.


Safety and Environmental Concerns

However, expats have concerns about air quality and safety in Paris. The city ranks 44th for air quality and 42nd for personal safety.

Only 63% of expats feel safe in Paris, significantly lower than the global average of 83%.


Comparative Insights: Top Expat Cities

In contrast to Paris, cities like Málaga, Alicante, and Valencia in Spain rank highly in the Expat City Ranking 2023.

Málaga tops the list, praised for its friendly locals, affordable living, and excellent quality of life. Alicante and Valencia follow closely, excelling in affordability, healthcare, and social integration.

Here’s the top of the ranking:

  1. Malaga
  2. Alicante
  3. Valencia
  4. Ras Al Khaimah
  5. Abu Dhabi
  6. Madrid
  7. Mexico City
  8. Kuala Lumpur
  9. Bangkok
  10. Muscat

And the bottom of the ranking:

  1. Seoul
  2. Paris
  3. London
  4. Istanbul
  5. Dublin
  6. Berlin
  7. Hamburg
  8. Vancouver
  9. Rome
  10. Milan



While Paris offers a rich cultural experience and excellent healthcare, expats face significant challenges with bureaucracy, housing, language barriers, and social integration.

These factors contribute to its lower ranking among expat cities. Nonetheless, for those who can navigate these hurdles, Paris remains a city of unparalleled beauty and cultural wealth.

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