Britain has dropped to 25th place on a list of the best places in the world to live - behind countries such as the Czech Republic, Lithuania and Uruguay.
While France tops the poll for the fifth year running, the UK’s climate, crime rate, cost of living, congested roads and overcrowded cities have pushed it even further down from last year’s ranking at 20.
The Quality of Life Index, published by International Living magazine for the 30th year, says the French live life to the full, while Britons are over-worked.
In all, 194 countries are surveyed on nine criteria, including the cost of living, culture and leisure, environment, safety, culture and weather.
Australia is placed second after France, followed by Switzerland, Germany and New Zealand.
Even former communist countries where unemployment is still rife are considered better places to settle down in than Britain, with Lithuania and the Czech Republic coming in at 22nd and 24th place respectively.
Variety is also seen as a major factor in France’s appeal, with the survey noting: ‘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.’
Britain does not top a single category in the survey, which is compiled using official government statistics, data from the World Health Organisation and the views of the magazine’s editors around the globe.
The U.S. fell from third to seventh place because of the economic crisis last year. A magazine spokesman said: ‘Sustaining the American Dream has escalated out of the reach of many.’
Germany is widely praised for its efficiency and leisure facilities, with the magazine noting that ‘the Harz Mountains now has a specialist hiking trail for nudists. Germany is arguably the world’s most naturist-friendly country’.