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Expats in France: 10 Tips For Living in Paris

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Summary: Expats in Paris live in the fabled City of Lights, but what do you need to know to actually get there and establish yourself? Here are a few basic steps to help get the ball rolling. Includes information about visas, health care, where to live and more!

Expats in France - 10 Tips For Living in Paris

Expats living in Paris enjoy a lifestyle that has been romanticized by people all over the world for centuries. But where are a few good places to live? What about health care? More importantly... where should you eat!?!? Find out below.

Getting to Know Paris

Getting to Know Paris

The city of Paris is located on the Seine River in North Central part of France. The city is divided up into sections called Arrondissements.

The city has an administrative area administrative-limits area of 105 square kilometres (41 square miles), and about 2.2 million people live in the city. In the greater Paris area, known as Ile de France, there are about 12 million people.

Entry Visa For Paris

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As noted in our article 8 Things to Know Before You Move to France:

Visit the website of the Consular General of France in Washington, D.C., which includes general visa information and long stay visa information.

Information about France's embassy in the U.S. can be found on France in the U.S.

French visas must be requested at a consulate; you cannot request one at the French Embassy. Here is a list of French Consulates in the United States.

Here is a list of U.S. Consulates in France.

Here are the websites for the British Embassy in Paris and the Canadian Embassy in France.

Where to Live in or Near Paris

Where to Live in Paris

An expat in France wrote that "the western suburbs of Paris are a huge area for english-speaking expats with children. In particular, Croissy-sur-Seine which has the popular and well reputed British School, and Le Vesinet which has the international school, not sure about the name.

"The western suburbs are lovely, the neighbors friendly, and it's easy to get around in the car, AND it's only 15/20 minutes to the center of Paris on the train (RER A) or, traffic permitting, 20 minutes to Paris in the car.

"Among the more popular arrondisements in Paris for expat living, in particular for those with children, are the 16th (most of it) and the upper 17th.

Each arrondisement has it's own character and feel, and it really takes going there and 'trying it on' to see what 'fits' your preferences and priorities best. In Paris, there's a bit of something for everyone!"

Work Permits For Moving to Paris

Work Permits for France

One expat in Paris noted that "There are a lot of job opportunities in Paris for skilled finance, IT, and other specialty fields."

In our article about work permits in France, a few of the options that are available to expats are described.

American Expats should visit the website for the Embassy of France in Washington, D.C. to stay updated. Expats in any country should always remember to contact relevant embassies and consulates directly to keep abreast of the most recent changes, which are not always widely communicated.

Citizens of the EU, European Union Economic Area and Switzerland are able to work in France relatively easily. It remains to be seen how Brexit may affect U.K. citizens in France in the future.

Moving to France soon? Crown Relocations owns and operates over 207 facilities in almost 54 countries. Their global network means they're unique in the relocations business and they're able to use Crown crews and vehicles wherever possible. Get a quote online by May 25, 2019 and you'll be entered to win 1 of 5 $250* Amazon gift cards.

Cost of Living in Paris

Cost of Living in Paris

The cost of living in Paris is on par with many other big international cities that are popular with expats.

Via Numbeo, here is the cost of living in Paris compared to:

New York
London
Tokyo

Every person and family has their own unique needs and lifestyle. It will take quite a bit of legwork to accurately establish what the cost to live in Paris will be like for YOU. It's one of the most important reasons why anyone considering moving to Paris needs to visit and do all of the necessary research.

Culture Shock in Paris

Culture Shock in Paris

In an expat culture shock report for Paris, an expat wrote that "the bureaucracy is pretty irritating.

Probably the worst is the tendency of the French to keep to themselves and their network of friends. Makes it exceedingly difficult to rebuild my social network.

"The language is causing me a lot of trouble..." and that "language skills cannot be overemphasized. Learning after you arrive is too late, as it prevents quick integration."

In an Paris, France Dream vs. Reality expat report, an recently moved expat shared that:

[I] miss friends and family, lots of people come and go and I miss the stability. But on the flip side I am seeing the world, and living in France! Another expectation I had was that my extended family would venture to France and nearly all of them have! This has been great for me and amazing for them!

Driving in Paris

Driving in Paris

According to France in the U.S.'s webpage about United States's citizens driving in France, U.S. expats in France can drive for a full year on their license provided that they have a notarized translation in French. It adds that an international driver's permit is "highly recommended."

U.K. Citizens can drive in France on their Great Britain or Northern Ireland driver's license.

In France, you must drive on the right side of the road.

You need to have a car safety kit in France, which includes a breathalyzer kit.

Residents of New York City will feel right at home... there is no right on red in Paris, or anywhere else in France, for that matter.

Best Restaurants in Paris

Cafe in Paris

People that relocate throughout the world want to be thought of as expats... or locals... anything but tourists!

So here's some information from around the web that will help you learn to dine in Paris like a native.

Huffington Post notes that local input in any country is essential, adding that "In fact, in recent years classic French bistro food may have seen something of a decline. Thankfully, it is now seeing a revival."

Epicurious has a list of 10 restaurants in Paris that locals WON'T tell you about.

Afar.com also has a great list of where the locals eat in France.

Expat Health Insurance in Paris

Health Care in Paris

Every expat in Paris, and France in general, must have health care coverage. Tips for managing expat health care in France include obtaining a Carte Vitale, private health insurance and supplemental health insurance.

Expats living in France interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA.

International Schools in Paris

expats kids in Paris

An expat writing about the American School of Paris wrote:

"I think this school has a lot to offer our children due to vast resources available. They take frequent field trips which tie in with their classroom work. There is a lot of creative writing done at all grade levels which I think prepares them well for upper school and college."

An expat reviewing the International School of Paris suggested:

"Try to visit if you can. If you are looking for something in central Paris and want a happy, open learning environment this could be for you."

Join our France Expat Forum

Visit our France Forum and talk with other expats who can offer you insight and tips about living in France.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000. Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Some of Joshua's more popular articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and 5 Best Places to Live in Spain. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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First Published: Mar 27, 2018

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