International Living has done its annual quality-of-life ranking of almost 200 countries. And the winner is (drum roll)…FRANCE! This comes as no surprise to anyone who saw the website’s winners for 2009, 2008, 2007, and 2006. Because France won for those years, too.
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.I always wish quality of life indicators could measure a country’s heart and soul. But it’s impossible to enumerate the joy of lingering for hours over dinner and a bottle of red wine in a Parisian brasserie. Or strolling beside the Seine on a spring morning, poking through the book vendors’ wares. Or buying buttery croissants in bohemian Montmartre…hearing Notre Dame’s bells…walking antique streets paved with poetry. Romantic Paris offers the best of everything, but services don’t fall away in Alsace’s wine villages…in wild and lovely Corsica…in lavender-scented Provence. Or in the Languedoc of the troubadors, bathed in Mediterranean sunlight.
The United States–land of opportunity, etc–ranked 7th.