France is the best country to live in for its quality of life, according to American magazine, International Living.
For the 5th year in a row, France tops the list of the best places to live for 2010, with the UK being a distant 25th prompting Francophobic Rod Liddle of The Times to bang his head on the wall as he tries to convince himself that the index is not to be taken seriously. Poor bloke!
Liddle also rubbishes Belgium, which has come 8th, one of the few countries in Europe that's greenest per square mile. I believe that the United States has never been quite able to compete with France and other countries in Europe in terms of quality of life despite the absolutely vast opportunities in terms of space, geography and professional opportunities on offer.
While my family is half British, or English to be more precisce, sadly, the UK is last in my list of places in Western Europe to live for its not-so-endearing quality of life. France is my favourite because tthe quality of life is in abundance.
In fact, I have been resisting all attempts to be repatriated to England, and if push comes to shove (we're on our last year of expatriation), I would rather Darling and I took a cut in salary than go back and experience the dreary, ultra-liberal-faux-multi-cultural lifestyle in Britain....We are lucky in that we are a Franco-British family and have a choice. There is no doubt that we will feel "at home" in one or the other but will be much happier to be living for good in France than anywhere else.
Report by International Living:
To produce this annual Index we consider nine categories: Cost of Living, Culture and Leisure, Economy, Environment, Freedom, Health, Infrastructure, Safety and Risk, and Climate. This involves a lot of number crunching from "official" sources, including government websites, the World Health Organization, and The Economist, to name but a few. We also take into account what our editors from all over the world have to say about our findings.Here's what International Living says of the top 10 countries in this year's Quality of Life Index:1. FranceFor the fifth year running, France takes first in our annual Quality of Life Index. No surprise. Its tiresome bureaucracy and high taxes are outweighed by an unsurpassable quality of life, including the world's best health care.France always nets high scores in most categories. But you don't need number-crunchers to tell you its bon vivant lifestyle is special. Step off a plane and you'll experience it first-hand.2. AustraliaAcross the continent, Aussies and those who've chosen to emigrate there have access to an active and healthy lifestyle. But urban dwellers will find plenty of great culture and excellent food in Sydney and Melbourne, and a cost of living below that of some of the world's other great cities.3. SwitzerlandSwitzerland is an award-winning country because it turned all its natural disadvantages to its own advantage, ending up as a super-efficient, high-tech society while still managing to play Alpine inn-keeper to the world. Moreover the cuckoo clock comes from the Black Forest in Germany.4. GermanyWill your medical insurance fund a health spa stay? Probably not, but it happens here with a doctor's recommendation. Despite the global downturn, Germans have it pretty good. Along with 30 days paid annual holiday, the average employee earns €41,509 ($61,433).5. New ZealandFrom Auckland's waterfront to the Southern Alps, English-speaking New Zealand boasts some of the most pristine landscapes on earth. Much of the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy was filmed here. For younger migrants with the right skills, it's a wonderful place to relocate and raise a family. There's huge emphasis on sports, beach-life, and healthy lifestyles.6. LuxembourgIf we judged quality of life by a nation's Michelin-starred restaurants per square mile, the winner would be the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. A founder member of the EU, its national motto is Mir wëlle bleiwe wat mir sin (we want to remain what we are).Only 51 miles long and 35 miles wide, landlocked Luxembourg is relatively unknown to Americans. Yet with per capita GDP of $88,000, it's among the world's richest countries. Most apartments in its postcard-pretty capital—also called Luxembourg—cost at least $7,400 per square meter. But they come with an operetta scene of medieval turrets, bridges, and flower-filled squares.7. United StatesFrom Florida's palm-lined coasts to Alaska's snow-covered crags…from the dazzle of New York to the big skies of Montana…the U.S. has, arguably, something to offer everyone.And no question: It is the land of convenience. No place else on Earth is it easier to get what you want, when you want it.8. BelgiumRinged with parks, it's Europe's greenest capital. Along with many international schools, it delivers all an expat could desire: theater, English-language cinema, sports centers, great public transport, Trappist-brewed beers, numerous gourmet and ethnic restaurants, and fast trains to London, Paris, and Amsterdam. As they rarely plan to stay, most expats rent. In central Brussels, one-bedroom apartments start at $740 monthly.9. CanadaHealth care and living standards are among the highest in the world. Canada's economy is based on vast natural resources, a robust financial industry, and innovative manufacturing including the renewable energy sector. Canada has remained resilient through the global financial crises. The banks are considered "more Swiss than the Swiss banks," and property markets are "on fire."10. Italy...trains are often in ritardo (late), workers frequently strike, corruption isn't unknown, and red tape comes in slow-moving triplicate. But balance that against Rome, Venice, and Florence...against mountains reflected in sapphire lakes...against golden beaches and hill towns cobbled with secrets.Then throw in 60% of the world's art treasures. A national health care system rated second in the world by the WHO. Sunflowers, vineyards, and opera. And the best espresso, pizza, and ice cream you'll ever taste.
Pictures I took on Christmas Day in the northwestern coast of France: Cotes-d-Armor, Brittany
(1) Gites de France: sign of cottages to let; A cottage owner may put up the sign 'Gites de France' after fulfilling stringent standards imposed by a region's official tourism bureau.
(2) Kiddies right in front of the Bay of Paimpol across the Ile de Brehat in the background.
(3) Open air Coquilles Saint Jacques pond by Ploubazlanec in Cotes-d-Armor, Brittany(4 & 5) View of a rainbow from my bedroom window on Christmas Day 2009.
Lifted from Hllblogger3