Attractiveness: international investors prefer small cities 

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According to figures published by Business France, municipalities with fewer than 20,000 inhabitants were home to almost half of all international investment projects in 2022. And the Atlantic France region is not to be outdone, thanks to the dynamism of several of its medium-sized cities. 

France has become the most attractive country in Europe for investors. This leadership has been confirmed by the 2022 report on international investment in France, which was published by the public agency responsible for promoting the attractiveness of each region. 

Cities with fewer than 20,000 inhabitants attractive to international entrepreneurs 

The 2022 foreign investment projects report published in May 2023 by Business France shows that municipalities with fewer than 20,000 inhabitants “are the main recipients of projects and job creation and maintenance“. 

With 43% of the projects and 39% of the jobs created by these investments, medium-sized municipalities have benefited from the consequences of Covid and the geopolitical tensions that are encouraging large companies to repatriate some of their production to Europe. 

The manufacturing industry is particularly fond of these areas. According to Business France, 72% of new factory sites last year were located in municipalities with fewer than 20,000 inhabitants. 

This attractiveness is also the result of a number of criteria that are important for businesses: less pressure on land than in big cities, local labour resources, and support schemes introduced by local authorities to attract businesses. 

Dynamic medium-sized cities in Atlantic France

In this French panorama, Atlantic France comes out on top.  According to Business France, the region attracted 87 international investment projects in 2022 and benefited from a significant increase in job creation and maintenance – a total of 3,445 jobs (+49%).  To date, nearly 65,000 people work for internationally owned companies in Atlantic France.

In recent years, the region has boasted a number of dynamic medium-sized towns, as recently noted in Arthur Loyd’s annual barometer on the attractiveness of French cities. In 2022, Angers was ranked first in the most attractive intermediate-sized cities category. Other small towns in the region also managed to secure a place in this ranking, including Le Mans, Laval, and La Roche-sur-Yon.

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