The Challenges of Being an Expat in Paris

Moving to Paris

The world does not seem as big as it used to and with affordable travel, many people love to get out and experience everything our planet has to offer. Paris is one such place with millions of tourists visiting every year. Some love the Parisian experience so much that they decide to live there. Sometimes the move is temporary and sometimes it’s permanent.

There are many benefits to moving to Paris, not least of all the amazing cuisine, rich culture and iconic architecture. It’s easy to see why so many expats make the decision to call Paris home. However, relocating to a foreign city comes with many challenges and Paris is no different in that regard. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a wonderful experience living in Paris as long as you understand the challenges and how to overcome them.

Parles-tu français?

The first challenge any expat faces when moving to a foreign city is overcoming the language barrier. If you already speak French, you’re off to a great start. If you don’t, then there’s no better time to start. Enroll in French language classes or use a language learning app to get you started. It’s also worth remembering that one of the best ways to learn a language is to immerse yourself in your new surroundings and get to know the locals. Start by learning how to order a French coffee and take it from there.

Job Hunting

If you have the skills and know French, finding a job in Paris won’t take too long. However, if you can’t speak French, at least at an intermediate level, you may have problems finding a job. Don’t let that deter you. You may still be able to find work as an au pair or as an English teacher. You may also be able to find work independently as a remote worker. Look at your options before you decide on the move.

The Struggle with Red Tape

Obtaining residency permits, opening bank accounts, and registering with authorities as a residing foreigner are just some of the things you’ll need to do once you become an honorary Parisian. It sounds easy enough but getting through bureaucracy can feel like running through an obstacle course. If your French language skills are lacking, then the process can be even harder. If you find yourself having to deal with a mountain of red tape and your French is lacking, consider bringing a translator with you.

Finding A Place to Call Home

You don’t necessarily need to find a place to live before you land in Paris as you can always find temporary short-term accommodation such as a hotel or hostel. However, if you don’t like the idea of moving twice, it’s a good idea to secure your accommodations before you leave your port of origin. Fortunately, finding mid to long term accommodation is easy via online platforms. Choosing the right online platform makes this task easier so you can choose the suburb, the type of accommodation and the right price using the filters. Even then you don’t need to make a decision and you’ll get an idea of what is available and where the accommodations are located.

The Cost of Living

Living in any major city is going to be more expensive than living in regional centers and Paris is no different. Apart from setting aside a budget for rent and utilities, you’ll also have to consider the cost of healthcare, and education and you’ll need to decide whether it is worthwhile getting your own car or taking public transport.

Meeting People

The French are often referred to as somewhat haughty in nature but most visitors to France find them quite friendly and welcoming. You can expect to be greeted with a friendly smile while you’re out shopping or having a meal and Paris also has a diverse expat community so meeting people and making new friends won’t be a problem.

Moving to Paris will be a challenge despite how well prepared you think you are but if you are prepared before you leave your current home and with a little effort, you’ll feel like a Parisian in no time.

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