Fireworks burst above the Eiffel Tower in Paris, on July 14, 2015, as part of France's annual Bastille Day celebrations. (Francois Xavier Marit/AFP/Getty Images)

What's the world's greatest city? Okay, perhaps that's hard to say for sure, but certain cities do have a reputation. Ernest Hemingway dubbed Paris a "moveable feast," saying that the French capital stays with you for life. "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life," English writer Samuel Johnson said. And prideful references to the awesomeness and uniqueness of New York are too numerous to list.

However, in 2016 these cities may still be remarkable, but perhaps they are not so great to actually live in. The annual Mercer Quality of Living ranking finds that neither Paris nor London nor New York are especially livable for expats.

Instead, the top 25 list goes as follows:

1. Vienna (Austria)

2. Zurich (Switzerland)

3. Auckland (New Zealand)

4. Munich (Germany)

5. Vancouver (Canada)

6. Dusseldorf (Germany)

7. Frankfurt (Germany)

8. Geneva (Switzerland)

9. Copenhagen (Denmark)

10. Sydney (Australia)

11. Amsterdam (Netherlands)

12. Wellington (New Zealand)

13. Berlin (Germany)

14. Bern (Switzerland)

15. Toronto (Canada)

15. Melbourne (Australia)

17. Ottawa (Canada)

18. Hamburg (Germany)

19. Luxembourg (Luxembourg)

19. Stockholm (Sweden)

21. Brussels (Belgium)

21. Perth (Australia)

23. Montreal (Canada)

24. Stuttgart (Germany)

24. Nurnberg (Germany)

For reference, Washington is 51. In fact, as you can see, no American city cracks the top 25. San Francisco comes highest at 28, just beaten by the Australian city of Adelaide. In fact, Aussie cities do very well on the list, but mostly the list is dominated by Western European and Scandinavian cities. Paris comes in at 37 on the list. London at 39. New York City is further down the list, at 44.

Mercer's ranking could be debated, sure. The human resource company bases its annual report on surveys that are designed to probe the quality of life in a city for expatriates. The final ranking is intended to be used for international firms to understand how much extra they should pay employees to move to certain areas. While the company doesn't give away its exact formula, it does give an indication of how each city is ranked, with elements ranging from the availability of consumer goods to the "socio-cultural environment" (which they describe as "media availability and censorship, limitations on personal freedom").

For Paris, London and New York City, personal safety may be an issue. Mercer ranks Paris 71st on the list of the top cities for personal safety, while London comes just before it. Notably, the shifting security situation in Paris appears to have cost it dearly in the overall rankings: It has dropped 10 places from last year. If you care less about this or other factors that Mercer ranks highly, you may feel differently about what city is best to live in.

Think these cities are viewed unfairly? A rival ranking designed by the Economist Intelligence Unit last year offered a similar but perhaps even worse diagnosis, with Paris ranked at 29 (before the November 2015 terrorist attacks), London at 53, and New York City at 53. At the top of this list was Melbourne, while Vienna came in second. For their part, the Viennese seem happy but perhaps not excited about their status as residents of the most livable city in the world. The city so frequently tops these lists that perhaps it seems mundane.

"The city is safe, clean, and runs smoothly on excellent public transport," Austrian journalist and writer Klaus Hübner told the Local.

The status quo held at the other end of the list, too: Mercer found Baghdad to be the least livable city in the world, a title it has stubbornly retained in recent years.

More on WorldViews

Why do people choose to live in the ‘worst city in the world?’

Americans can study in Germany free, in English. An increasing number are doing it.