Forget Paris: why are young people abandoning the French capital?
Expensive, dirty, not managed properly and throws out young couples who are looking for a green space for their children.
No, we are not talking about Tel Aviv.
The French capital, once one of the most desirable cities in the world, is losing 10,000 residents every year, will the trend continue?
Dr. Maya Gaz
Thursday, 04 August 2022, 14:26 Updated: Friday, 05 August 2022, 08:02
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Sacre Coeur church in Paris.
The tourists are less bothered, but the Parisians are fed up (Photo: ShutterStock)
No one can deny that Paris is an exciting city, where at every moment something is happening: an exhibition, a party, a new restaurant, a fashion show.
Paris, in my eyes the most beautiful city in the world (I lived there for a decade during which I worked and studied in its field) is a pampering city.
It has everything, especially chic and a comfortable and good life, and it is comfortable for living and living.
French people who came to Paris from different places in France as part of academic studies or their first job stayed in the city and became real Parisians.
The beautiful city is a wonderful place to live.
On the one hand it is big, on the other hand the metro that connects its ends turns it into a small and friendly village.
But since the outbreak of the corona epidemic, Paris has also discovered a dark side: the panic, the tension, the uncertainty and especially the price increase, have made Parisians suspicious.
The overcrowding, the noise, the pollution, the concrete, the crowded and slower subway, the small accommodations and the exorbitant prices, drive people away from the city.
The fact that the city has returned to being as dirty as it was in the seventies makes many residents of Paris dream of a more peaceful life in other cities, towns or villages.
Many Parisians are fed up with the city and are considering a future elsewhere.
Two banks of the Seine - and both young people are no longer enthusiastic about the city that once attracted young people from all over the world (Photo: ShutterStock, Jorge Felix Costa)
Rabbah every year
According to a study by "Amfrontis", 46% of Parisians want to leave the capital.
The most expensive neighborhoods in the city are also the ones whose residents want to leave.
Two thirds of the residents of districts 1, 3, 4, 6 and 8 are considering moving.
Worse, every year, Paris loses almost 10,000 inhabitants and not because of the corona virus.
Between 2011 and 2016, 60,000 of its residents left, mostly to the inner or outer suburbs.
During the last ten years, Paris lost an average of 10,800 inhabitants every year, when during 2020 with the outbreak of the plague, the number rose to 12,000.
According to INSEE, this trend is expected to continue at least until 2025. These figures are surprising when you find out that the trend was reversed between 2006 and 2011 - when almost 14,000 people moved to the city each year.
Among the expatriates from Paris, three main typical profiles can be found: couples in their thirties who are unable to balance professional and personal life, and young couples who decide to expand the family, but also people at the end of their careers, who are looking for a final professional retraining and are considering retiring early.
In such a situation, couples have to find a place where they both agree to live and also find a job, usually for two people, in a place they like but don't know much about.
Out of this need was born a new website, "Paris, I'm leaving you" (paris-jetequitte.com) and it accompanies the Parisians who leave the city and dream of a different life.
The website allows the residents of Paris and Ile-de-France to realize their plan to leave the city and to introduce them to new and less familiar places to live, and also to find them less traditional employment in order to contribute to the dynamism of the French economy.
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Well, you wouldn't really think of reading an article about Paris without the iconic tower that attracts tourists and repels locals (Photo: ShutterStock)
Cost of living
The reasons for leaving the city are varied, but the first and most significant of them is the cost of living.
According to a study by "The Economist", Paris is ranked first among the most expensive cities, alongside Hong Kong and Singapore.
To determine this ranking, the research unit of the British magazine scanned a large number of different and diverse criteria and prices, including education, commerce, research and development.
The cost of living is mainly caused by the increase in real estate prices. The real estate market in Paris is crowded and according to the demand, the price increases.
Renting a 14 square meter room is the same as renting an apartment larger than 60 square meters outside of Paris.
In the fall of 2019, the price per meter in the city crossed the amount of 10,000 euros, which caused many Parisians to leave the city to become owners of residential properties.
The miniature Parisian apartments and the desire to increase the living space significantly and significantly, while improving the living environment, made the parents-to-be and actual parents leave the city.
Another decisive factor is the lack of green space or outdoor space, especially after the corona closure periods.
On the one hand, in terms of housing, if living in Paris is seen more and more as a luxury, an apartment with a balcony becomes many times more expensive.
The Parisian expats prefer to live in the suburbs in an apartment with a balcony or a house with a garden, and even better is living in the countryside in the clean and open air.
Others will prefer the proximity of a large forest or Parisian parks.
Another stress in Paris is the general noise level of the city.
It is impossible to escape honking horns, road or street works, traffic and even cafe terraces, which have slid even further onto the sidewalks following the Corona epidemic.
Chaos became part of the atmosphere.
To this is added the presence of tourists who travel everywhere in the city.
One can understand the tourists, but this situation makes the average Parisian as stressed as a champagne cork.
Add to this the typical Parisian grayness, which gradually enters with the arrival of autumn and leaves at the beginning of May.
This grayness is due not only to the weather, but mainly to pollution.
This menacing cloud of smog that hangs over the rooftops is a reflection of Paris' status as the most polluted city in France.
The overproduction of fine particles harms the health of Parisians and sometimes makes the air in the beer unbreathable.
Most expats from Paris feel the need to recharge their batteries, and escape from all the harmful conditions.
It is evident that a change in consciousness is affecting the residents of the capital more and more, hence the reversal of trends.
Leaving the capital is above all the best way to upgrade the living environment and in particular the accommodation, while making it easier on the pocket.
Low purchasing power, excessive costs, especially in the real estate market, living conditions in Paris are becoming more and more restrictive for some. Awareness also exists at the environmental level. Life in Paris seems to some Parisians to be less and less good for physical health, but also for mental health.
In reality, this return to a rural and green area is not new.
This migration from the city began in the 1970s, and since then no less than 4.5 million French people have left Paris in search of a better, more comfortable living environment that includes green spaces.
"I receive 60 requests a day for rural houses, double the number before March 17," explains real estate agent Patrice Bass. "These are serious and thoughtful projects, with a desire to settle in a place and create activity there.
In the emails I receive, the most common word is "environment".
Customers yearn for space and a greener place."
The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo.
Some of the leavers see her as responsible for the "evaporation of the city's heritage" (Photo: Reuters)
Look for the woman
According to those leaving, one of the main reasons for the city's decline is Mayor Ann Hidalgo.
In the book published in January 2022 "The Disappearance of Paris", the author Didier Raqueiner (founder of "La Tribune de l'Art") emphasizes the evaporation of the city's urban heritage.
In a 240-page book, he writes about the new movement that has arisen against Hidalgo, which is reminiscent of the Me Too movement, which even received the hashtag #SACCAGEPARIS that was launched on Twitter in March 2021 and already has more than two million publications.
This hashtag is considered the new civil rebellion, a kind of Parisian revolution in a small enfin with the methods of the new millennium.
According to the book, Paris is going through a terrible process over which the mayor is "leading".
It destroys the heritage, degrades the public space and leaves a dirty city.
Reikner deals with the double benches, cast iron street lamps and newsstands that have disappeared from the public space.
Billboards stand in front of historical sites.
The perfect perspective of symmetrical streets was broken and trees were cut down illegally, destroying the city's delicate ecology and green spaces.
If the municipality announces a 40 percent increase in green areas, Reichner rules that the figure is false because the municipality does not know how to maintain its green areas.
In sight you can find the lawns in the Champ de Mars that are rapidly deteriorating.
The book presents Paris as polluted, with 84% of Parisians thinking it is dirty, full of rats and rude residents.
No wonder, writes the author, that they are leaving Paris, a city that has become tough to live in for old Parisians.
"Thomas Dutronc's song 'I don't like Paris anymore' is very appropriate to describe the situation," my friend Marise, who left Paris after decades in the French capital, tells me.
"There is too much filth, tension and disrespect of the Parisians towards each other. It is not a coincidence that so many Parisians have left the city, which has become difficult to live in," she adds and says that, in Normandy, where she moved two years ago, Parisians just like her bought all The beautiful houses.
"I lost the Parisian pace of life, I no longer know where to go, I don't know the new places in the city."
My friend continues to work happily from her home in the village.
If she needs to get to Paris for meetings, she gets on a train and travels an hour and a half to the city.
"It sharpens my affection for Paris and makes me discover new places in the city."
After all this has been said and written, it is advisable not to forget that Paris was and remains one of the most beautiful and pampering cities in the world, a stronghold that many imagine, a city that is named after a syndrome and quite a few men and women (including me) still dream of returning to live there.
Cost of living