After a five-year run as World's Best Student City, Paris has been dethroned by Montreal. It was recently selected as the "World's Most Intelligent City", and there have been positive economic growth forecasts for the city for the year 2017.
Montréal's rise to the top sets a general national pattern for Canada, with other Canadian cities also improving their positions this year.
Paris remains a popular student city among students from overseas, as it only fell to second place. Mumbai and Delhi rank 85th and 86th in the list, respectively.
Amongst the cities in Asia, Singapore ranks fourth, behind Seoul (4th globally), Tokyo (7th globally) and Hong Kong (11th globally).
The slip from first to second place for Paris is attributed to cost and a loss in desirability, including safety.
Dublin experienced slight falls in four of the performance indicators, but improvements elsewhere more than compensated for those dips. Last year, Seoul ranked sixth, while Tokyo was third globally.
Sowter said those low expectations may be partly due to "a degree of modesty" that leads Canadian cities and institutions to play down their potential as destinations for worldwide students. Melbourne was the second-best student city last year but dropped three places to rank fifth this year. "It is particularly rewarding to get this kind of global recognition during our sesquicentennial year".
The rankings are based on a basket of measures - including the quality of universities, facilities for students, affordability, the "desirability" of the city for students, access to employers, the global nature of a city, levels of tolerance, pollution and safety.
Professor Joshua Mok Ka-ho, vice president of Lingnan University, said Hong Kong's slide in rankings does not mean the quality of education in the city has deteriorated.
It may seem like Singapore is losing its steam amongst the other student city peers, as the latest QS Best Student Cities revealed.
For the first time QS included a student view indicator.
The researchers polled students who are studying in a city and those who had studied here, and compared their views with those who thought they might like to study here.