Overview of Paris

Economy of Paris

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France is one of the world's major economic powers as the fifth largest economy by nominal figures and the ninth largest economy by PPP figures. It has the second largest economy in Europe (behind Germany) in nominal figures (GDP) and third largest economy in Europe in PPP figures (behind Germany and the United Kingdom). According to the IMF, France is the world's 9th country by GDP of $2.808 trillion (US). The country has 39 of the 500 biggest companies of the world.

The country is a major part of the Eurozone and of the EU single market. It has a mixed economy, combining private and state enterprise. The government administers important infrastructure sectors with majority ownership of railway, electricity, aircraft, nuclear power and telecommunications. However, there is increasing Privatization as the government sells off holdings of France Télécom, Air France, and other industries.

The French GDP per capita is similar to the GDP per capita of other comparable European countries (Germany, the United Kingdom, etc). GDP per capita is determined by:

  • Productivity per hour worked
  • Number of hours worked
  • Employment rate
France ranks very high in productivity, low in hours worked (official time is 35 hours/week or compensated by additional holidays), but low employment rates in comparison to other OECD countries.


Tourism is an important element in the economy as the service sector makes up a majority of jobs. France attracts over 80 million foreign tourists, making it the most popular tourist destination in the world. This creates the need for positions in hotels, restaurants, cafes, transportation, and more.

France has the world's second largest number of operating nuclear power plants which produce over 75% of its electricity. This is one of the highest percentage in the world.

Agriculture is another important industry. About 60% of this large European country is still used for farming and France represents 20% of the EU's agricultural production. Over half of the value of agricultural output derives from livestock; leading crops are sugar beet, wheat, corn, barley, and potatoes. One of it's most important products, wine, is produced and sold in mass (only outdone by Italy).

Financial services, banking and the insurance sector are another contributor to France's economy. AXA is the world's largest insurance company, leading French banks of BNP Paribas and the Crédit Agricole are some of world's largest, and the Paris stock exchange (La Bourse de Paris) remains influential. Created by Louis XV in 1724, the market has combined with other markets to operate today. In 2000, the stock exchanges of Paris, Amsterdam and Bruxelles merged into Euronext. In 2007, Euronext merged with the New York stock exchange to form NYSE Euronext, the world's largest stock exchange. Euronext Paris, the French branch of the NYSE Euronext group is Europe's second largest stock exchange market, behind the London Stock Exchange.


Paris is the power house of France with an extremely diverse economy. The Paris urban area contributes nearly half of the Paris Region's GDP. It's impact can be felt not just in France, but in Europe at large and the rest of the world. Paris' GDP is the fifth-largest in the world (after Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, Osaka, and before Chicago and London). If Paris were a country, it would rank as the seventeenth-largest economy in the world. The Paris Region hosts the headquarters of 33 of the Fortune Global 500 companies. In addition, Paris is one of the world's most expensive cities in which to purchase goods and services.

Much of Paris economic activity takes place in central Hauts-de-Seine départements in a rough triangle between the Opéra Garnier, La Défense, and the Val de Seine. Many workers choose to commute from the suburbs to work in the city.


Paris is one of the most heavily touristed cities in the world and it's economy is dependent on the service industry. There are about 42 million tourists per year, making it the third most visited city in the world after Orlando and New York City, and the first by international visitors. The city and its region contain 3,800 historical monuments and four UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Visitors spend money in hotels, transportation, restaurants, and cultural activities. Tourism accounts for more than 83% of the employed people of the region.

Manufacturing used to be the base of the Paris economy, but that sector has declined since the 1970s. It now generates less than 10% of the region's GDP, but retains it's title as one of the manufacturing powerhouses of Europe. The economy has shifted toward high-value-added service industries like finance, IT services, and high-tech manufacturing.

Update 13/02/2013

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