"In Paris we work harder, and we work better. London is the second division."

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As banks begin moving staff to Paris because of Brexit, anyone hoping for an easy life in the French capital might want to reconsider their expectations. French bankers say life at banks in London is far more laid-back than across the channel.

"If you're an investment banker, you need to understand that Paris is different," one anonymous banker recently told German publication Handeslblatt. "We work more intensely here. We also work better. London is in the second division." 

This was followed by a statement this week from Arnaud de Bresson, the director general of Paris Europlace, the organisation that promotes Paris as a financial centre. Paris is already "very close to the capital markets culture," said de Bresson. - It's not about a 35-hour week.

While plenty of French bankers are sniffy about Paris's claims to investment banking preeminence, this isn't the first time France-based employees have expressed their superiority.

Sixteen months ago, one Paris-based IBD analyst told us that because teams in Paris are smaller, the people need to be of a higher calibre: "We can each do everything. We can originate and execute deals. We work across sectors."

Similarly, in 2013, we spoke to a junior banker in France who told us that, "If you work in M&A in Paris, it will kill you...It's a small market and local banks like Rothschild, Lazard and BNP Paribas are all fighting for their share. You will do 30 hours work in two days."

There are also issues of culture. "When you're at a French bank in Paris, the managing directors won't talk to anyone below vice president level," one ex-analyst in Paris told us. "French banks are incredibly hierarchical," agreed another French M&A banker. "At the US houses a lot of people have worked in London and New York and it's a lot more inclusive."

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