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Thread: Is there a life outside Paris ?

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    Question Is there a life outside Paris ?



    Every Wednesday night, A vous de juger ("for you to judge") on France 2 (TV channel) is an programme that holds two debates with famous people knowledgeable on the topic, including writers, singers, humourists, politicians, religious leaders, but also ordinnary people whose work or experience in related to the discussion. Tonight's second debate was "Is there a life outside Paris ?" The question could be understood as "in the world", but the debate quickly showed that the opposition was "Paris against the rest of France", or the "province" as the French call it. So "Is there a life in France outside Paris ?"

    The debate was subdivided in 3 questions :

    1) Do (the French) people need to go to Paris to succeed in life ?
    2) Is the the province boring ?
    3) Is it necessary to leave Paris to be happy ?

    Here is a summary of what has been said :

    1) Indeed, to suceed in politics, in fashion, in the show business, one must be in Paris. Likewise all the big business are headquartered in Paris, as are the media. However, the local culinary specialities (foie gras, wines, cheeses...) and a good part of the tourist industry (including outdoor activities, winter sports, etc.) are outside Paris.

    2) Many big events are held in Paris - some exclusively. Nightlife on week days is rare outside Paris. But many other French cities also enjoy concerts and other events, and the most beautiful festivals in France are all outside Paris.

    3) People are more stressed, rude,, arrogant and aggressive in Paris. Life in the country or in smaller cities is more relaxed. Some people need Paris to realise their dreams, while others just cannot bear the pressure and will be happier outside the capital.


    The debate concludes on a vote from the public. Here 84.5% of the audience voted that "yes, there is a life outside Paris".

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    I think this is a similiar situation in other countries where a capital or major metropolis has a lot of government/cultural/business elements which may be nonexistent in outlying areas. Cities in the US like NY and Chicago sometimes launch the same kinds of arguements, though some people now opt for living just outside in well placed suburbs.

    Personally myself, I would prefer to live in Strausbourg (sometimes called the little Paris) rather than Paris, as it much more pleasant and of course less crowded. Of course, the museums are the same scale, but the restaurants are comparable in quality and usually cheaper and the cultural events are just as rich with less crowds (and thieves).

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    Quote Originally Posted by gaijinalways View Post
    I think this is a similiar situation in other countries where a capital or major metropolis has a lot of government/cultural/business elements which may be nonexistent in outlying areas. Cities in the US like NY and Chicago sometimes launch the same kinds of arguements, though some people now opt for living just outside in well placed suburbs.
    The USA is very big and very decentralised. The political power is in D.C., the finance is in NYC, the showbiz in L.A., the high-tech in the Silicon Valley, CNN in Atlanta, Microsoft in Seatle... It's all split up. In France, 95% of all big companies are headquartered in Paris. Good comparison would be London and the rest of the UK, or even Tokyo vs the rest of Japan despite some rivalry from Osaka and Nagoya. Small European countries are almost always based around their capital. For instance, Brussels is dominant within Belgium, but Belgium is like one big suburb of Brussels, as 95% of the people live within 90min from Brussels by car.

    Personally myself, I would prefer to live in Strausbourg (sometimes called the little Paris) rather than Paris, as it much more pleasant and of course less crowded. Of course, the museums are the same scale, but the restaurants are comparable in quality and usually cheaper and the cultural events are just as rich with less crowds (and thieves).
    The other 4 big French cities (Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux) are good alternative too, for the same reasons as you mentioned, all with their own atmosphere. Lyon is probably the most similar to Paris, and Marseille the most different.

    The title of Little Paris is usually bestowed upon Brussels, though. Similar in size to the other four, it beats them when it comes to political influence (with the EU and NATO, it is even more important than Paris itself), economy (the GDP per capita is higher in Brussels than in Paris or any French city), food (more Michelin-starred restaurants than in any French city outside Paris), museums (Brussels Fine Arts Museum would be Paris' 2nd best after the Louvre, were it located in Paris), and life is cheaper than in Paris (esp. for real estate).

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    Quote Originally Posted by gaijinalways View Post
    I think this is a similiar situation in other countries where a capital or major metropolis has a lot of government/cultural/business elements which may be nonexistent in outlying areas. Cities in the US like NY and Chicago sometimes launch the same kinds of arguements, though some people now opt for living just outside in well placed suburbs.
    Personally myself, I would prefer to live in Strausbourg (sometimes called the little Paris) rather than Paris, as it much more pleasant and of course less crowded. Of course, the museums are the same scale, but the restaurants are comparable in quality and usually cheaper and the cultural events are just as rich with less crowds (and thieves).
    Oh, I live in Strasbourg. We have the lowest unemployment in France; the quality of the life in Paris is incompetent unless you can afford a very dainty, tranquil suburban area which is very pricey. My husband has been offered to go to Paris for CEO positions there but he has refused so far.
    Last edited by Minty; 18-11-06 at 02:55.

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    I think as Maciamo also mentioned that "London and the rest of the UK" is a similar kind of parallel with "Paris and the rest of France".

    IMO in such cases (where most of the big important companies are located in the capital) there are always pros and cons to living in the capital vs elsewhere, depending on your preferred lifestyle and priorities.

    So, of course France has many, many things to offer outside of Paris! and also many benefits to living in the capital, depending on for example the requirements of your job, and your own personal tastes.

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    I've heard this argument many times over. I wouldn't really like to live in such a huge city. When i was visiting in Paris that was the impression i got. Brussels is a good compromise between important city life and needed relax from the chaotic urban atmosphere.

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    ^ I suppose it's a question of proportion as well, because Paris feels quite small to me compared with London - but that's going by mainly the centre, as opposed to living in the suburbs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kinsao View Post
    ^ I suppose it's a question of proportion as well, because Paris feels quite small to me compared with London - but that's going by mainly the centre, as opposed to living in the suburbs.
    The Greater Paris has almost the same population as the Greater London, but indeed the centre has only 2m people in Paris City as opposed to 6m in Inner London. Maybe that is because London has two centres : East (City) and West (Westminster).

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    Hmmyeah. Maybe it's also to do with the way the city is laid out - because London has very much the feel of being lots of smaller towns melded into one big city (making it feel perhaps bigger than it is), whereas Paris has a more... coherent feel to it.

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    You can be happy anywhere, not just in Paris.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad VanGuard View Post
    You can be happy anywhere, not just in Paris.
    The ideas discussed here is that French people regard Paris as a necessary place to go to succeed in business, and the best city in France for eating out, night-life and entertainment (which it hard to argue against). Yet people usually feel less happy in Paris because of the stress, pollution, crime, less friendly people, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Is there a life outside Paris ?
    Paris, to me, is a wonderful museum, but there is no life there. Yes, theres a lot of hupla and parties and such but thats what I call diversion from life. Life begins outside Le boulevard périphérique de Paris and then it goes on and on and on...

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    There is much more to France than just Paris, of course. Paris is but a starting point.

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    ..... or the finishing point (of departure).

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    ..... or the finishing point (of departure). 

    One of us has to have been drinking for that to make any sense.

    My only problem with Paris is after the sightseeing and food, the evening entertainment can be a bit sparse on the ground. No doubt Im just looking in the wrong areas any suggestions where you might go to listen to some music?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Starship View Post
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    ..... or the finishing point (of departure). 

    One of us has to have been drinking for that to make any sense.
    Ha-ha!

    I meant if you´ve arrived in Paris from another city and your flight/train/bus back home leaves from there, making Paris your journey´s departure/finishing point. Hmmm. Now that I´ve written it out in more detail, I´m no longer sure that it does make sense!

    "Music", you say? On any week-end there´ll be several parties going till dawn. Stop by at the Red Lion or any other Brit Pub to find out what´s happening "on the day". If it´s concerts/live music you´ll be in wont of, there´s tons of it. Check out tourist info.

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    Thanks next time Im over I'll go to Tourist information, I dont think a British pub in Paris would be my first choice then again I wouldn't go to an Irish pub on holidays either.

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    I would not live in Paris if you paid me - dirty, noisy, over crowded, poor restaurants, poor services, - need i add to the list - LOL - I think it is hard to fail if you avoid paris on moving or living in France where you have really nice palces.

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    Quote Originally Posted by seymourjames View Post
    I would not live in Paris if you paid me - dirty, noisy, over crowded, poor restaurants, poor services, - need i add to the list - LOL - I think it is hard to fail if you avoid paris on moving or living in France where you have really nice palces.
    Welcome to the Forum SeymourJames, I have to agree with you, Paris is a lot like mega cities everywhere. When you said Paris is dirty, noisy, over crowded, poor restaurants and poor service, it reminded me of my opinion of New York City. Of course there are some very good restaurants in Paris and New York, that's where I disagree with you. However in most giant cities people are rude, inconsiderate and pushy.
    I love Paris for what it is and appreciate it for that and that alone. If I am spending time in France I'd much rather spend time well outside of Paris.

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    Seymourjames, Aristander, and others, you are missing the point of the discussion. This thread is not about how nice a city Paris is to live in to to visit, but how necessary it is for French people who want to succeed in business or politics. Unlikely many other countries (Germany, Italy, Spain, USA, Canada, Australia...), France is an extremely centralised country and there is often no alternative than "moving up to the capital" for people who are ambitious and/or talented.

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    I had the privilege to live in the South-West, near Agen, and as far as my experience goes, life in France is better anywhere outside Paris. I travel on a regular basis to Nantes, and I am well acquainted to Bordeaux and Carcassonne. All these places are much more appealing than Paris. Unless you're born in Paris, there's no reason to move up to Paris anymore, the costs of living far outweight the benefits of a better-paid job.
    If life is certainly more buoyant in Paris, the real quality of life that gives France its reputation of good living is only to be found in the countryside, la province.

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    France is a developped country of course there is life outside Paris :)

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    There are three No-Go Areas in France... Paris, Marseilles and Lyon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reinaert View Post
    There are three No-Go Areas in France... Paris, Marseilles and Lyon.
    I've been to a few places in France, and Paris was my least favorite. I suppose I enjoyed Granville the most.

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    I'd love to live in Paris. If one day I'll leave Roma, I'll live in Paris...
    Anyhow, I love France in general. Quite strange for an Italian, but that's so. =P

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