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Moving to Paris

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    Famed for its true elegance and style, Paris is the beating heart of Europe. The city encaptures romance, and well-known as the City of Love, Paris attracts millions of tourists seeking style. Serving sensational cuisine and boasting beautiful architecture, this city is desired as a place to live by many.

    If you’re considering a move to Paris, you may be interested in what life is like there. We’ve put together the ultimate international relocation guide to provide further information on moving to Paris, France.

    View of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France

    Orientation

    With over 12 million in the metropolitan region, Paris is France’s largest city and one of the greatest in the world. Paris dominates the nation politically, culturally and economically, and remains the domineering centre of business activity. Paris extends as far as 105 square kilometres, and is home to a number of iconic European landmarks such as the Eiffel tower, Arc De Triomphe and the Louvre.

    Paris currently falls under the Central European Summer Time (CEST) zone, which is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Paris has four seasons and a continental climate, meaning winters are generally cold and the summers warm. The rain is frequent in Paris, often with higher levels of precipitation than in London, England.

    Public Transport

    Like many major European cities, Paris harbors an excellent public transportation system. The Paris public transportation system is currently run by RATP, and consists of the Metro, Tram, RER suburban express train and Noctilien. Paris divides into 6 zones, and passengers can arrange tickets based on which zones they plan on travelling to. The most popular method of public transport is Metro, as it provides a very efficient service and takes you everywhere within the city limits.

    Paris has two main international airports, including Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport and Orly Airport. Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport is 14 miles northeast of Paris, and it is the largest of the two. The airport was one of Europe’s first airports to incorporate train services, and with stations at the airport this allows passengers to directly connect and travel onwards. The airport also offers passengers a free shuttle bus service among its three terminals.

    Orly Airport is a smaller airport, and is situated 8 miles south of Paris. There are a number of ways to travel into Paris from Orly Airport including coach, Metro, bus and taxi. Depending on which mode of transport you use, the journey can take anywhere from 20-45 minutes.

    Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France in the evening

    Driving in Paris

    In Paris, you can get around easily without a car. The plethora of public transportation options mean that driving isn’t always necessary, but if you plan on living there on a longer term, you may wish to drive through the city. Before tackling the streets of Paris, be sure that all legal bases are covered. If you are an EU/EEA citizen driving in France, you can drive in the country for unlimited period of time as long as:

    • The license is valid
    • You are above the French minimum driving age (18 years for cars)
    • You are in compliance with medical restrictions

    If you are not an EU/EEA citizen and plan on driving a vehicle in France, you can drive with your current license for up to one year before acquiring a French one. You must, however:

    • Have a valid license
    • Have your license issued in lived in your previous country of residence and have lived there for a minimum of 6 months
    • Be accompanied by a French translated copy
    • You are above the French minimum driving age (18 years for cars)
    • You are in compliance with medical restrictions

    The Expatriate Community

    France has always ranked as one of the best countries for expats, not only because of its strong and growing economy, but also due to its high quality of living. Working in Paris can be a cultural and linguistic challenge, however living in the city will introduce you to a new way of life. Paris invites you to spoil yourself, and immerse yourself in the culture and beauty of the city. There is a strong expat community in Paris, and with English as a second language to the majority of residents there, you will not feel alone there.

    Parisians are known to enjoy the finer life, and whilst they can seem charmingly grumpy, most are welcoming to newcomers. If you are planning on moving to Paris, take a look at some expat networks or blogs to join ahead of your move. Doing so is a great way of meeting people with similar interests to yours, and can make the prospect of living abroad seem much more enjoyable. Here are some of our favourites:

    Can I Work in Paris?

    You can work in Paris regardless of your country of origin if you have the correct work visa and permit. Following Brexit and January 2021, if you are from the UK then you will have to apply for French Residency as well as a work visa, although you can apply to stay in Paris for up to 4 years.

    Housing in Paris

    The suburbs of Paris offer larger, and generally less expensive properties than in the city centre. In France, apartments and houses are identified by the number of bedrooms, with sizes expressed in square metres. Therefore, a studio would be named a one-room apartment.

    French living quotes tend to be fairly small, with the majority of properties not having basements, laundry rooms or built in closets. Properties also typically come without furnishings and appliances, unless stated otherwise on the market listing.

    Paris and the suburbs have a wide range of housing options available, and with a reliable transit system, good shopping, fine restaurants and plenty to do, the city itself is very livable. The suburbs, ranging 10-30 minutes from the centre, are generally more peaceful and offer a much slower paced environment. Where you decide to settle in Paris depends on your individual needs and requirements.

    The city is divided into 20 areas, ordered in a concentric circle around the centre. The oldest sections are positioned in the middle. Each area is identified by a number, from 1-20, which is the last digit of  property postal code.

    Learn more about the arrondissements of Paris here.

    If you’re looking for a short-term housing solution for your stay in Paris, there are a range of options available to you:

    • Long-term private housing rental, e.g. using a site such as Airbnb
    • Long-term hotel stays
    • Singular room rentals, available on a minimum stay basis
    • Apartment rentals, available on a minimum stay basis
    Old historical stone parisian buildings in the center of Paris

    Schooling in Paris

    France has a long standing and highly reputable education system, with children taught with traditional methods of learning and strict discipline. The French education system consists of three stages including primary, secondary and higher. The vast majority of French educational facilities are public institutions that have highly centralised administrations. The curriculum is standardised across all schools.

    International Schools

    There are over 30 international schools in Paris, with a wide range of nationalities represented including German, Canadian, and British, to name a few. There are also 6 international Baccalaureate schools in Paris. Selecting the right school for your child will boil down to individual requirements and needs. We suggest always arranging a visit to the school and to discuss any queries you have with the principal before making your final decision. To help, here are just a few of the international schools in Paris:

    • École Jeannine Manuel
    • Etre et Découvrir Ecole Paris
    • Prunelle School Montessori Bilingual
    • Open Sky International

    Preschools

    Unlike in the States, preschool in France is free for children aged 3-6 years old. Whilst preschool is not mandatory, the majority of parents send their children to preschool to ensure they enter primary school at a similar level to other children. It is also particularly popular for working parents to send their children to preschool.

    Do you have any further questions about moving to Paris or wish to get a quote? Make sure to get in touch with a member of the team to get a free quote using our online form system.

    Interested in information on another country? Take a look at our other International Relocation guides.

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