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“Paris Ranks 4th in the World’s Greenest, Most Livable City”

Last night with friends from New York who love New York, as most New Yorkers do, we wandered into the tiny Place Sainte Catherine in the 4th arrondissement with it’s cobblestone courtyard and lovely little bistrots. We remarked about the decided difference between the two cities from a livability point of view. She and my daughter, too, who thinks of herself as a “Parisienne à New York,” says that coming home to Paris is like decompressing into a ‘normal’ world, where life is more on a human scale.

So, it’s no surprise to us that Paris turned up as the 4th “World’s Greenest, Most Livable City” according to a study by Matthew E. Kahn, PhD, and Fran Lostys for Reader’s Digest, as reported in the October 2007 issue.

They analyzed data from two top sources covering 141 nations to rank the planet’s greenest, most livable places delving into social factors (income and education, for instance) and environmental measures. Of course, just because a place is environmentally “fit,” it doesn’t mean you’d want to spend your life there, but the search for a balance of what’s “green” and “livable” is what their study was meant to unearth, including the worst places to live:

The Top Five: 1. Finland, 2. Iceland, 3. Norway, 4. Sweden, 5. Austria

The Bottom Five: 137. Chad, 138. Burkina Faso, 139. Sierra Leone, 140. Niger, 141. Ethiopia

Using different data, Kahn and Lostys analyzed 72 major international cities and ranked them in terms of being green and livable.

The Five Best: 1. Stockholm, 2. Oslo, 3. Munich, 4. Paris, 5. Frankfurt

The Five Worst: 68. Bangkok, 69. Guangzhou, 70. Mumbai, 71. Shanghai, 72. Beijing

Would you be surprised to learn that U.S. cities ranked relatively low?: 15. New York, 22. Washington, D.C., 23. Chicago, 26. San Francisco, 36. Atlanta, 43. Denver, 46. Houston, 55. San Diego, 57. Los Angeles, 60. Phoenix.

Sadly, the U.S. ranked on the lower side in almost every category of the study, in fact: For air quality (rates of concentration of several pollutants in urban areas), the U.S. ranked 63rd. Water quality was rated for pollutant levels as well as other factors that affect water purity…the U.S. ranked 22nd and for carbon emissions per capita, 107th. Would it surprise you that the U.S. ranked 106th for energy efficiency, but 16th for childhood mortality, disease and deaths from intestinal infections.Meanwhile, Paris gets more livable by the moment, thanks to “Greening of Paris” programs set forth by the current administration under Mayor Bertrand Delanoë.

The latest is his campaign recently launched September 19th to encourage the public to sort the trash and recycle paper, plastic and glass. (

Just this weekend, the 11th Annual Fête des Jardins was launched. There are 418 gardens and squares, 15 parks and 32 “promenades” in the capital. Read more about the festival here: And if you want to find the parks and gardens in your district, the city Web site will help you. Just click here: then choose your district to learn where they are.

Air quality is of the utmost concern — one of the main reasons behind the new “Vélib” public biking program ( launched mid July. Now with almost 15,000 bikes on the streets of Paris with another 5000+ to come, there is a decided difference — I’ve personally noticed the streets are quieter, the Métro and buses are less crowded, and the air quality is reported to have improved. According to, the air quality in Paris today is at level 3 Good, 1 being the best, 10 being the worst.

Is Paris as livable as the Reader’s Digest report claims? Well, I have no experience living in Stockholm (#1), Oslo (#2) or Munich (#3), but I don’t believe I trade Paris for any one of them.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

P.S.Just less than 3 weeks away…don’t waste another moment registering for the Living and Investing in France Real Estate Conference on Saturday, October 13, 2007. and don’t forget, we’re giving you $100 toward your Property Search Fee if you attend the conference and $150 if you and your partner attend! Register now!l/frenchproperty/conference/LIF_Paris_Oct_2007/index.html

This Week in French Property Insider…

Paris Property Prices Remain More Stable Than in the Ile de France
Reporting on the Period of May 2007
As Reported by the Chambre de Notaires de Paris

Compared to the end of 2005, the period showing the strongest appreciation of resale apartments in the Ile de France of more than 15%, at the end of May 2007, appreciation had dropped to almost one-half — 8.3%


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