Are Mid-Sized Cities the Ultimate Urban Refuge?

While cities like London, Paris, New York, and Tokyo still dominate our imagination of the ultimate urban landscape, it's now time to look at mid-sized cities too. They might just offer urbanites that are tired of big metropolises what they need.

This might come as a surprise: Paris’ population is shrinking. As of 2011, Paris has been losing 0.5% of its population every year and this trend is not expected to end before 2024. It’s even rumored that 84% of highly educated young Parisians dream of moving out of Île-de-France, the metropolitan area of Paris. With the pace of life, alienation among residents, and housing prices of up to €9,560 for 1m2, this is not surprising.

Is it worth to stay in Paris if you paid €9.560 for 1m2 and have to endure this every morning?

Due to these factors, smaller cities in France like Lyon, Nantes, Montpellier and Toulouse benefit from population increase. While Bordeaux used to be known as ‘La Belle Endormie’, the sleeping beauty, it’s now a trendy, lively city. Parisians that move to Bordeaux are happy to settle for a lower income as they appreciate its milder climate, livability, and lower rents instead.

With new residents moving in, trendy amenities pop-up too, like the converted military barracks Darwin Ecosystème and specialty coffee bar Black List in Bordeaux

The fact that (young) urbanites are turning towards smaller cities in their quest for affordable housing and a healthier life is not unique to France. It’s a trend that is happening all around the world. Popular capital cities like London, New York City, Tokyo, and Amsterdam are under fire as young people prefer smaller cities or even small villages for a more authentic lifestyle. With affordability becoming a major issues in big metropolises, more people will look beyond their local Périphérique or M25 for alternatives.