Moving to Paris from the US
Paris needs no introduction. It is known for its culture, art, fashion and food. Everyone wants to visit Paris. Living in Paris allows you to experience a lifestyle where family, friends, food and relaxation are enjoyed. Everything that is available in the States is available in Paris, and more. Shopping is an absolute pleasure, whether it’s for clothes or food, or just eating a pain de chocolat with a café au lait for breakfast before heading for work. Paris is special.
Upper West Side vs 17e
Many people feel Upper West Side, New York is like the area in the 17e near the Parc Monceau. Both are quiet residential neighborhoods of mainly wealthy business people. The cost of a two-bedroomed apartment in this area in Paris will cost $2,200 per month, and in New York it will cost anything from $3,000 upwards.
Paris is made up of areas called arrondissements. The low numbers are in the centre and are the most expensive. A good area for families is the 16th arrondissements which is close to the Champs Elysées and the La Défence, which is one of the big business areas in Paris. The International School of Paris is also in this district. Many expat families love the 14th and 17th arrondissements, which are quieter and the apartments are cheaper.
The 7th and 8th arrondissements are very expensive and full of celebrities and the affluent. The 7th has the Bilingual Montessori School and the American University of Paris. The 5th arrondissements, the Latin Quarter, is close to the Sorbonne and is full of life, students and Parisian charm. Like the 5th arrondissements, the 10th and 11th are extremely vibrant with a great mix of nationalities and more affordable rents.
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House prices and renting
Finding property to rent in Paris is not easy as there is such a high demand. On the plus side you’ll always be able to rent out a property if you buy one. There are very few houses in the city as most older properties were built as apartments, and Parisians value their privacy so flat shares aren’t common.
A 484-square foot furnished studio in a good area will cost $1672. The same in Manhattan, New York will cost over $4,000 a month. An 915-square foot apartment in Paris will cost $2,738 per month. The equivalent in an expensive area in New York will be between $5,000 and $6,000.
Buying a studio apartment in a good area in Paris will cost around $1.5 million, and in New York it will cost anything from $2 million.
There is a good selection of schools and colleges in Paris both in the government and private sector. Younger children may cope well with a completely French speaking school. Older children may fare better at a bilingual school such as Ecole Active Bilingue.
Government schools are free and children start school at the age of 6. They move onto secondary school at the age of 11, where they attend collèges until they are 15. Pupils then move onto lycèe, where they can choose vocational training or the academic route.
There are many international schools, for parents who feel their children would cope better with being educated in their mother tongue. Among others, there is the American School in Paris, the British School in Paris and Marymount which is an American, Catholic school. Be warned, French schools do not welcome parental intrusion into the schools. They strongly believe that education is the domain of the teachers and generally don’t welcome parental involvement. Fees for private schools are around $15,000 per annum.
There are some excellent colleges and universities in Paris, all of which welcome international students. The Sorbonne is the most famous but not necessarily the best. Ecole Normale Superieure is ranked as one of the top universities in the world, and Paris Tech is sought after for science and medicine. You will find the University of America in the 7th arrondissements.
Getting around Paris
Paris is one of the easiest cities to get around. There is a comprehensive system of buses, trams, the metro and trains which are affordable and efficient. Few people have cars because they just don’t need them. For those cycle lovers, there is a bike sharing system called Velib. Children under 4 travel free, and children between 4 and 11 pay half price. Commuters can buy weekly season tickets, valid on all forms of transport for $23.50. There are also monthly and annual tickets available.
Things to do in Paris
There are the obvious things to do in Paris, such as visiting the Eiffel Tower, the Sacrè Coeur, the Notre Dame, go for a ride on the Bateau Mouches and the Arc de Triomphe. There are museums and art galleries which will keep you coming back again and again – the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Petit Palais – the list is endless.
Walking along the Seine and stopping for coffee or lunch is very popular with Parisians and expats alike. There are many theatres in Paris, including the two opera houses, but, not surprisingly, most of the productions are in French. This is not a problem for the opera or ballet, and there is always a good selection showing.
Paris is a shopper’s dream. Each arrondissement is different. Le Marais is the place to go for affordable fashion, with up and coming designers showing their wares in the various streets in the area. Classical, and expensive, fashion is to be found in the 1e and 2e. Go to Le Bon Marché food hall for a foodie treat. Every area in Paris has something to offer, whether it’s food, fashion, antiques, art or books.
Food, drink and nightlife
It is impossible to single out excellent restaurants in Paris, as there are so many which produce mouth-watering dishes which suit every palate. For that celebratory dinner, try Pierre Gagnaire at the George V. Their set price dinner menu is $313 a head and worth every cent. Try Septime, Bertrand Grébaut delights his diners by changing the menu every day. A dinner set price menu will cost $58.50 a head. Visit Les Enfants Rouge, where the food is produced by Japanese chef Dai Shinozuka for a set price menu of $37 a head.
For vegans and vegetarians, visit 42 Dégres which is the first vegan raw food restaurant to open in Paris and is receiving rave reviews. After dinner head off to one of the many night clubs – Paris is a city that doesn’t sleep. The main clubbing areas are in the 13e by the river, in the 2e, near Grand Boulevards and the Champs Elysées in the 8th arrondissements. Most the LGBT bars and nightclubs can be found in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements.
There are restaurants, cafes, bars for every age group, for families, singles: for those who want a quiet evening and those who want to dance the night away.
Most French celebrities live in Paris and many international celebrities visit regularly. Gwyneth Paltrow can often be seen dining at Restaurant Hélène Darroze and Jay Z and Beyoncé love Hotel Meurice. The Beckhams enjoy Baccarat and Kate Moss can often be seen sipping coffee at Café de Flore.
There are over 470,000 trees in Paris and each one is referenced and measured. Paris is rightfully famous for its bakeries, of which there are 1,748. These bakeries supply the 9,057 restaurants, bars and cafes that have a terrace for you to sit and watch the world go by.
A word of warning; it is illegal to kiss on a train, but it’s legal to marry a dead person!