Cost of city living: Paris (price index 215) is Seattle plus change.
Proportion of English speakers: More than a third
Americans living there: Eurostat found almost 50,000 in 2005.
Why you'd want to live there: Here's the norm in France: 35-hour workweek, 90-minute lunch breaks, wine at pretty much every meal, no open-container laws, unpasteurized cheese, great soccer... living the dream, in short. Recent terror attacks have the politics in a jumble, but if you want calm, simply grab a coffee by the Seine to pass all the time you have off. In addition to the short workweek, French employees are given five weeks of paid leave along with 12 federal holidays a year. Prowl the restaurants of Lyon, the museums of Paris, the beaches of Cannes, the vineyards of Champagne. As you work less in France, you'll live more.
What's the catch: The French aren't renowned for their embrace of foreigners. And no, high school French and an admiration for Amelie aren't going to help you cozy up to the cool Parisian crowd. If you don't have a French-born significant other, expect some serious social isolation. You'll most likely find your social circles among other expats, but hey, Jazz Age Americans in Paris essentially invented expat cool. Also, getting a work visa is notoriously difficult, so if you don't have full-time employment in France, expect to live below the law. -- M.K.