Advice for moving to Paris

For most people, moving to France is a very exciting prospect.  It is the most visited country in the world with 78,95 million people visiting last year. What’s not to like about its appearance from a foreign perspective, what with its gastronomy and culture as a whole. Paris in particular gives the impression of being very romantic and stylish. Although there are so many positive things to say about France as a country and Paris as a city, there are certain pieces of advice it is worth taking into account before making the decision to settle down there.

Copyright by Moyan Brenn

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The English speaking community in Paris is renowned for avoiding the use of French when confronted with a French speaking person. How polite you are tends to affect the quality of service you get for example. If you are polite, normally, you will be treated well. However, if you don’t make an effort with the language when going to a restaurant or café and don’t say your ‘bonjour’, ‘merci’ and ‘au revoir’ (which is the least you can do really) you are likely to have a very ill-tempered and irritable Frenchman/woman on your hands! Make an effort with the language and you will see that what goes around comes around.

Transport

On the whole, public transport is very reliable and available in Paris. The Paris Metro is by far the most time efficient way to travel around and having a car is really not necessary. It is definitely worth investing in a Passe Navigo, which is basically Paris’s Oyster Card. It costs around €60 a month for zones 1 and 2 (the main zones in Paris; if you are in the outskirts of Paris it will cost you more depending on which zone you are living in and travelling to). Once you acquire the card, you can top it up at any ticket office/booth and pay a fixed fee either weekly, monthly or annually. You will then be able to use the Passe for all forms of transport in your allocated zones, including Metro, RER, Tram and bus. If you are working full time, you will get a percentage of your transport reimbursed by your employer.

Banking

It goes without saying that if you are working in France, you will need a French bank account. Getting one is by no means an easy procedure, but a bit of preparation will make the whole process much less overwhelming. First of all, you will need to choose your bank. Crédit Agricole seems to a popular choice for non French residents and they tend to have a good English speaking department. However, it is worth trying to contact other people you know who have been in the same situation as you to get a better outlook. In addition to completing the application form – called a mandate – you will need to provide a reference from your current bank, a copy of your passport, a signature witnessed by a solicitor (non-residents) and evidence of residency which can be anything from a utility bill to a copy of a house permit agreement. Basically just be prepared for a very different banking experience! In France, you are charged for more or less everything and nothing seems to happen quickly.

Accommodation

You shouldn’t find it too challenging to find accommodation in Paris. However, if you are looking for somewhere central, it will come at quite a cost! The average price for one square metre in an apartment is 8, 487 €. Property prices have shot up in the last few years, making property in Paris some of the most expensive real estate in the world. It’s true that finding a place to live in Paris can be tough but it’s not as bad as you may think. All you need is to know how to go about it. Here are some useful contacts to get you started:

The most economical way to stay in Paris is to find an apartment that’s for rent by owner (FRBO). These deals will probably require a fair bit of digging, as residents will often post to online bulletin boards or send out e-mails to friends rather than listing them with agencies. Apartments that are rented from non-commercial agencies may not have the appropriate insurance that traditional agencies might offer and one should accept any risks associated with that.

Moving to any foreign country can be daunting, especially when your destination is a big city like Paris. It is very important to come prepared and as long as you have done your research and keep an open mind it will make the experience much more enjoyable.

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