“Paris is always a good idea,” as Audrey Hepburn said. Are you dreaming of living in Paris for a year to study, intern or work? It’s every bit as exciting as it is daunting, and not nearly as hard as you’d think.
Making the leap overseas, like going to live in Paris for a year, is more than manageable. It’s incredible; life-changing in fact.
nestpick’s offline marketing expert, Manon, has a love for the city that knows no bounds:
“It’s so multicultural, but at the same time you can enjoy the Frenchness that we’re all so proud of. Drinking wine on a terrace, whether you’re 17 or 45, sitting in a bakery, enjoying your daily routine. At the same time though, anything new you want to try, you can. It’s a static city without feeling fixed.”
These days, so many nomads, students and young professionals are saying yes to living in Paris, and what has been done before (many, many times) will be done again.
So read and learn, prepare as much as you can and enjoy the build up. Look forward to the day you can survey your new city from above at Parc de Belleville or at street level in any number of cosy bakeries and cafés. Paris is waiting for you.
Tu parles français?
I can’t stress this enough: learning French is one of the best ways to prepare for life in Paris. While a lot of people speak English in Paris, learning a language is a big part of the fun of moving to a new country. Besides this, speaking even basic French at the beginning will help you settle in from the word go.
Try out blogs like French Crazy and the YouTube channel and blog Learn French with Jennifer to get started, and use a language exchange platform like Speaky to practice with natives online. You might want to start with learning how to order a croissant; it could come in handy.
Plan a monthly budget
Not nearly as fun is looking at how much money you’ll need to live on each month. Start with your sources of income, savings, paycheck, student loan, bank loan and so on, and set realistic limits for yourself for each of the essentials: rent, food, drink, transport, other purchases and activities. And remember, even though Paris is an expensive city to live in, there are tons of cheap and free things to enjoy there.
“For nice vintage clothes and good deals, le marché aux puce de Montreuil in the north east. It’s a really authentic market where locals go.
“Every summer, one of the coolest museums in Paris, le Quai Branly (civilisation museum), hosts a chilled afternoon with good electro for free.
“The river banks are the place to be in summer. You can relax, do sports, learn how to medidate, visit temporary art installations or attend open air parties that often take place there. And again, all of this is for free!”
Talk to ex or current Parisians
Reach out to people who have spent time living in Paris to learn more about local life before you arrive. You might be surprised at the amount of invaluable advice they can give you, like where to find the best morning croissant, why to ride the city bikes (Vélib’) instead of night buses, and your best chance of finding a room or apartment in Paris that’s fully furnished, to prevent struggling up narrow staircases in a building with no lift.
Living in Paris: finding a room or flat
Speaking of which, you’ll want to start thinking about securing yours early in Paris. It’s a relatively expensive city, but you can get off to a good start by beginning your home search ahead of time. Select the right neighbourhood for you (the 13th, 19th and 20th arrondissements, as well as Bastille and Maubert-Mutualité are most popular with students and young people). Decide whether you want to live alone or with housemates, and start looking. You’ll thank yourself for sorting it out efficiently. Happy home hunting!