I’m planning to move to Paris in the new year (2019) from the south of France and have had some reservations on the big change,especially after reading so many blogs about how hard the city can be for a foreigner.. However your was the perfect reminder that i needed to remember it is what you make it and to take all the opportunities that you are presented. I now can’t wait so a big thank you to you! <3
It is illegal to move to Paris on a Schengen visa, start a job, and then apply for a long-stay visa. A police check-up might be required before you relocate, and you may have to undergo a routine medical examination soon after moving to the city.
We found the move very easy. In terms of logistics and such, knowing that RER B is not all that regular, the bigger metro stations can be a nightmare to change at, and the quality of your local boulangerie can really change your life are the points I'd highlight.
Culturally, knowing that all rules are enforced only as much as the person you're talking to wants to enforce them is super important. A functionary who doesn't like you (or is having a bad day) can wrap you up in red tape forever. One who is feeling nice will have you sail through paperwork. Be nice. Chat. It's weirdly like living in the south (of the USA).
Meeting people is challenging, but worth it - work at it. Actively. Having a local to guide you can save your bacon in so many ways.
- Moving in Paris itself or in Parisian area ?
- Alone or with a whole family ?
What you should know ?
- Basic French language. No need to be fluent at first but frankly being able to read a map, administrative papers (to open a bank account, rent or buy a place, get healthcare, buy your food, etc.) would be a real bonus. And it will help you.
- Get all the info you want on your landing area (which district in Paris, which suburb city), most the road and mass transportation route available in and around. Get a Navigo Pass ASAP, check the time transportation. Going around in Paris by car is way too expensive, but unavailable if you live in the outer circle of the suburbs.
- Get all the info you want on your working area - see above.
- Get to know at least one or two locals before who will be able to help you around the first few days.
The accommodation is very expensive.
Getting a parking space is difficult but the public transport is good.
Learn basic French. English doesn't work at most places.
Some parts of the city can be dangerous. Do some research.
It's a heaven for people who like walking.
Beware of scamsters and pick pockets.
Recently the city has been very sensitive about security. Do not leave any bags unattended. Carry your ID all the time.
If you want to go somewhere take the metro, if you travel a lot take a monthly card that will cost you less than units tickets. Do not use the car unless you have no other choice. Traffic jam is a nightmare in the center of Paris especially since the mayor decided to go Green for the city and have ban the access of vehicle along the quai of the Seine river.
I've lived 17 years in Paris, so here is my experience, sorry if it's kind of buzzkill.
First forget everything you've seen in the movies, Paris is not a romantic place : apart from the very center and some touristic area (where you would not be able to rent, by the way) it's like all the capital in the world. Overcrowded, dirty , noisy and full of angry people.
regarding the flat its "Space, Location, Cheap : choose 2". If you can - regarding transport - go to the suburb. Rent prices inside Paris are just crazy now and with that, more and more convenience stores, supermarket and even nice and affordable restaurant are closing down making Paris habitable only by tourists passing by in their AirBnb rent. That or you're living in a worst part of Paris where it's not safe to go out alone at nigth (but you have a 24/7 convenience store around the corner...)
and for the job, as for everything else, now big companies and most corporate headquarters are now outisde of Paris - still the same rent price problem - in the "Petite couronne" (suburbs of Paris) apart from some luxury brand that still have their headquarter inside Paris, for the prestige.
TL;DR: Paris is really not like in the movies, rent are at their highest, finding a flat and a job inside Paris is nearly impossible. Go for the suburb near a train station with a direct line to your boyfriend school and/or your future jop.
If you find that the rents are too high in Paris (they are), you may want to look at renting a place in the surrounding suburbs, where it is much cheaper (e.g. Massy, Ivry...). Despite the commute and all the delays, it is easy to get in and out of Paris ! Although, if you can afford to rent a flat in the center, go for it :)
Things you have to know :
Life is expensive in Paris. Especially the apartments.
Paris isn't as beautiful as you may think
Paris is full of rude and disrespectful people
French is hard to learn
You will probably have to use the Metro or the RER. For that you have to pay for a monthly pass (about 70€).
Metro and RER are sometimes worse than hell. Many issues, especially in RER.
I’ve lived in France for 20 years. French people are actually some of the most polite people in the world, but they live by a very strict etiquette that is FULL of unsaid rules. If you don’t respect just one of them, they will feel that YOU are being rude to them (ALWAYS saying bonjour when you enter a room, never wearing sportswear…)
Also expat is actually a french word, “expatrié” wich is formed with “ex” (out of) and “patrie” (homeland)
I remembered visiting Paris and saying this place is not for me, and then I had to love there! It was nice, but probably are rude, too rude…and the air of superiority is something I don’t take well! We are all equal no matter what.
I love Paris, and I have been here exactly as long as you have. That said, I lived in Strasbourg for three years in my early 20's so I already understood French culture.
This is what I would say. Anytime you move to a new city (unless you have moved so many times that you are used to it), its hard. Then you hit a slump where it is really hard. It clears up around the 6 month mark (I have lived in 8 different cities long enough to go through this process). And you know what? Once you have that subway pass, you won't have to do it again. Once you have your carte vitale, you won't have to do it again. Those sorts of things all just sort of dissappear. And really. Once you understand the cultural logic of the place, you'll just understand how to do things.
Wait why is buying things online hard? Haven't had that issue..... And what arrondisement are you in if you feel unsafe? Paris feels pretty safe to me, in all honesty.
Yes, its an expensive city. But New York and San Francisco and London are crazy expensive too. And if you have a job that brought you to the city, hopefully you're getting paid for that job....
I agree with the comment that you should be making friends and doing things that you like to do. People love Paris (and other cities like it) because there is everything and anything to do just about at any given moment. Use the internet to find those fun things.... FB events and google are your friends......
And as far as stores closing early or on Sundays? Learn to think about what you want to eat the next day at 5pm. Stores in my neighborhood close at 21h of 22h so that's ample time to pick things up..... But, if you work on being just overall more comfortable, that type of annoyance won't even bother you so much any more.....
Good luck. You're at the point in your move where you hate everything just because you hate it because its not the same as where you were before. Make some friends, refind your hobbies, chill out a little bit, and you will be comfortable again three months from now. :)
I visited Paris for the first time this May and overall had a positive experience. I agreed that the architecture, food, and culture are the main reasons that appeal people to visit. Sorry to hear that people are not as friendly as expected, but I think that is generally the case in big cities, just that in Paris, it is worse.