Editor’s note: If you haven’t read the first of this series, Paris and its suburbs, head over there now. We’ll go through the criteria that we selected to compare, what benchmarks we’re using, and a note of caution about how to interpret the results. You won’t want to miss it!
The Hauts de Seine, one of the most popular suburbs of Paris, isn’t particularly “green” or particularly “cheap” (although it is slightly cheaper than Paris). And if you are looking for a house, you will keep on looking. Most of the communes that border Paris, like Boulogne-Billancourt, Courbovoie, and Neuilly-sur-Seine have less than 2% of houses in their residential market. And yet prices for apartments in certain areas are nearly as much as they are in Paris.
So what gives? In a word: La Défense. If you are looking at living on the West side of Paris, there’s a decent chance that you are looking here because you are working in La Défense (the red point in the map below). It is the largest financial district in Grand Paris, it tends to dominate the Hauts-de-Seine.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to work in La Défense in order to live in the Hauts-de-Seine. The area benefits from good public transportation, good government services, easy access into Paris, and prices that tend to be lower than in the Parisian métropole.
Best Suburbs in this area
Overall the percentage of housing in Hauts-de-Seine compared to apartments is around 55% per Insee. But as I said before, some communes such as Neuilly sur Seine and Boulogne Billancourt have mostly residential apartments. These are two of the most expensive areas in Hauts-de-Seine, as they are right on the border of Paris. They both have the charm of the Haussmannian-style buildings and the multiple stops on the Parisian metro. If you commute to La Défense however, Boulogne will probably take you 2-3 changes on the metro!
Another interesting point is the number of households that have at least one car. The % of car ownership by commune is in the Comparison Table above, but in general, in the Hauts-de-Seine, the percentage is around 66% (per Insee). This compared to Paris, which is at 35%. So you may not get a house in Haut-de-Seine, but there is a good chance you will have a parking spot to be able to get a car. (And depending on where you are, you may need it!)
For public bilingual schools, Sévres has the well-established Sections Internationales de Sèvres (SIS). The demand for spots is quite high in the area. More recently, with the impact of Brexit, the French government has opened several international sections in Courbevoie, the commune that is right next to La Défense. These sections have opened over the past couple of years, with a European school opening as well.
☞ READ MORE: Demystifying the French Education System
Zoom in below to see towns and their closest public transit options. Note: the Map and the Comparison Table are best viewed on computer and large tablet.
The large and most popular suburbs for families have been highlighted below.
All information has been provided for entertainment purposes only, and we are not responsible for verifying the accuracy of the figures noted below. Caution: Use at own risk !
1. Brevet scores will vary from classroom to classroom and school to school, and year to year. Calulation is a “rough average” of Public school data, which is subject to interpretation and changes over time.
2. Population Data is from Insee Public Statistics and is subject to change.
3. Metro, RER and other public transport links are based on current state of public transportion (Oct 2019), and not future plans that under construction.
4. Greenery distinctions include “Fleurie” designation by the “Site officiel du Label Villes et Villages Fleuris” and is subject to personal interpretation.
Hauts de Seine (92) by Commune - Comparison Table
Public Transport and the RER A
Since the finance industry is implanted in this area, many of the transport links like the Transilien and Tramway, prioritize access to La Défense. The main train line here is the RER A that runs from the East side of Paris into La Défense and beyond. Many companies have placed themselves along the RER A line, from La Défense to Rueil-Malmaison.
And while there are often strikes and other outages with the RER and Metro, generally they try to prioritize RER A to keep it going (more often than RER B at any rate!)
In addition,several public transportations projects are in the works at the moment, which are expected to be finished before the 2024 Olympics in Paris:
- There is a new line RER E which is currently being built to transport commuters from the Northern suburbs to La Défense.
- Two new metro lines, #14 running into Paris and #15 running on the outskirts of Paris.
- 5 new tramway lines extensions across the Hauts-de-Seine.
Most of the people I surveyed said there was a small park or green space near where they lived. So to identify what communes were “green”, I have noted the Ville Fleurie distinction that was given by the government association Le Conseil National des Villes et Villages Fleuris. They denote if the town has received the designation, and how many plants (1-4) the town has received.
The results are interesting because towns such as Paris and Neuilly-Sur-Seine have not received the label “Ville Fleurie” (or not applied for it?). Both cities, however, have next to them the large Bois de Boulogne forest.
So you can see that this isn’t a very precise distinction. But as public records don’t show the number of park spaces per town, this is the best basis of comparison there is, at the moment. As is the case for the Collège Brévet scores, you have to do your own due diligence.
If you are looking for more greenery and a house with a backyard, but still want to stay in the West of Paris, you might also want to look at the Yvelines. It likely won’t be cheaper but it will definitely be more green. As well, the Eastern Suburb Val de Marne which is also on RER A, will easily get you to central Paris and La Défense (if that is your priority). And of course, you can have another look at our other neighborhoods in Paris, Seine-Saint-Denis and more.
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