Just relax

France has 35,000 communes (cities, towns, villages) so choosing just one to make your new permanent home can be a challenge. Fortunately for us we already had friends here who could help us narrow down the possibilities (And the winner is) once we knew the general area where we wanted to live. Having a train station, a market, and being on or near the water were some of the important considerations. Each year, various media outlets release their “Best Of” series where they classify locations into the most attractive, job hubs, ideal for retirees, among others. Although not a newspaper or magazine, a business called Emma, has compiled what they label as “The ranking of the French cities most conducive to relaxation.” This company manufactures the best-selling mattress in the country, so as sleep experts they undertook the study “with the hope that the results could help the agglomerations to improve the quality of life of their inhabitants.” Confirming what we already knew, the quality of life in Carcassonne is pretty good since it’s number 2 on their list.

Mill stream picnic

Emma first studied hundreds of communes before selecting 50 for their in-depth analysis. That was further divided in half, based on population, and it’s in the “Small Cities” category that only Ajaccio, the seaside birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte on the island of Corsica, got higher scores than Carcassonne. They had 3 overall categories that were made up of the following components:

  • Lifestyle and sleep patterns: workload; sound, light and air pollution; hours of sleep
  • Health factors: stress and anxiety; mental and physical health care; hours of exercise
  • Infrastructures: sports complexes; parks and security; leisure and culture

Because the report doesn’t seem to reveal how they determined a small city from a large one, I’ve included a rounded population for each of the top 10 locations below.

Small cities

3.Saint Tropez4,300
5.La Rochelle75,400
9.Saint Nazaire69,800

Large cities

8.Saint Etienne171,100
Bellevue garden

If you’d like to see the complete list of all 50 cities, I’ll put a link below to the original study plus a pdf in case the website link doesn’t work. In the meantime, we’ll be relaxing.

Photo notes: The featured photo at the top of the post is Square Gambetta and beside the first paragraph is a shady bench inside the walls of the medieval Cité, all in Carcassonne.

Original study: https://emma.fr/meilleures-villes-bien-etre/

Study pdf: https://letsliveinfrance.files.wordpress.com/2021/09/ville-pour-detente.pdf

5 thoughts on “Just relax

  1. I could live pretty much anywhere in France so long as I was only a 10 minute walk from my nearest croissant, however I’m not moving from the French Riviera.

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    1. Hi Katherine, we haven’t changed any blog settings so hopefully that’s just a temporary bug. In the meantime we’re delighted to know that you’re still there!


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