Moving to a new country whether it's on your own or with your family is a big step to take. Our aim at Paris Attitude is to help your move go as smoothly as possible. Below are a few helpful tips we've put together about how to move to Paris.
Getting the basics out of the wayThe first decision you need to make is whereabouts in Paris you'd like to live. Our beautiful city is divided into twenty arrondissements, each with its own distinct characteristics. When making your choice, take into consideration your budget and transport links to your office or college.
Areas to consider include the 16th arrondissement with the Bois de Boulogne at its heart. This is an area of prestigious schools, many cultural activities, and attractive 19th-century buildings.
It's also an area of high rents. In contrast, rental prices in the 2nd arrondissement on the River Seine are lower. This district is full of historic streets with gracious arcades of shops and is also home to the Paris Opéra.
The next step in your journey is getting your paperwork in order and tackling the French bureaucratic system. Even born-and-bred Parisians find this tricky at times but, don't worry, at Paris Attitude we'll do everything we can to help.
You will need some photographic identification such as your passport, plus your student visa or proof of employment, and a bank account showing you have sufficient funds to support yourself. Much of this can be done before you leave your home country but if you have to visit any official departments in Paris, go prepared for some waiting around.
Finding your feet in Paris
The quickest way to feel at home in a new country is by having a basic understanding of its language. Start with the words and phrases you need to order your favorite dishes in a restaurant and complete minor transactions in banks and shops.
The success of this will quickly spur you on to greater progress. And, of course, having a few words of French makes it much easier to make new friends. One tip to bear in mind, however, is that until they get to know you Parisians like to converse with a certain degree of formality.
Having friends and establishing a social life is a very important part of settling into a new environment. You'll quickly meet fellow students or colleagues at work, so don't be shy about inviting them for a coffee or a drink.
Think about joining a sports or leisure club in your arrondissement as well as taking advantage of the many cultural activities in the city. Expat newspapers and online forums are also a great introduction to venues where you can meet people from around the world and discover new friends who share your interests.
As you explore your new environment, get to know the shopkeepers and staff in your favorite restaurants, bars, and shops. Being polite and tipping generously to reward good service is important in Paris, and pays dividends when you do so.
They'll soon recognize you, welcome you like a long lost friend and even save you the last freshly baked baguette or the best table by the window. Many bakeries and bars also display information about forthcoming social and cultural events in your arrondissement, another great way to expand your social circle.
What else can I do to feel at home?
As well as reaching out to make new friends and take part in local activities, keep your finger on the French and Parisian pulse.
Reading French newspapers and watching French TV are not only some of the quickest ways of developing your new language skills but having current topics at your fingertips gives you something to talk about and discuss with your new friends or even the person standing next to you in the bakery queue.
All Parisians love discussing politics and politicians!
Paris is a large city, so as well as exploring the charms of your own arrondissement, you'll need to get a fix on the city's transport system. Buses, trams, and the Metro all provide an efficient way of getting around.
For a newcomer, buses and trams have the advantage of giving you a glimpse of the city's sights and attractions but do have the disadvantage of being at the mercy of congested roads.
For a quick journey, especially when en-route to college or the office, the Metro will be your most efficient choice. Take advantage of monthly travel tickets which give you unlimited travel across five-zones on buses, trams, and the Metro.
Finally, while Paris has more than enough cultural, shopping, dining, and leisure attractions to keep you busy for several months, don't forget it's just one part of France. While you are living in Paris, take the opportunity to head out of the city occasionally and see what else the country has to offer.
You'll find diverse scenery that takes in everything from snow-capped mountains to golden beaches with a tropical flair as well as historic cities like Boulogne, Limoges, Perpignan, and Toulouse. Medieval fortresses and fairy-tale castles dot the countryside or why not take in a wine-tasting tour of France's Champagne region?
With a few days away from the city, you'll appreciate the charms of Paris even more when you return.
We hope our short collection of tips on how to move to Paris has inspired you for the adventure that lies ahead. Don't forget, our Paris Attitude multilingual advisors are always just a quick phone call or email away. We're here to help you with renting apartments in Paris as well as for ensuring a smooth transition to your exciting new life.