In my fifties, I want to move and live in Paris. I guess that by living there, I will also become one of those charming, well-dressed, cool-looking women I always see down les boulevards Françaises. Out of stereotypes, I do think French women, especially the older ones, have something special about them and I've decided I'll be one in a decade or two. Bien sûr!
Anyway, regardless of my ambitions as an old French woman, my love-hate relationship with “le Français” is a popular one. I told everyone going to Paris to pay attention to the baguette’s gender when attempting to speak a bit of the language of love in a boulangerie. Things’ gender is a serious business in France. Don't tell me I didn't warn you!
But, if you are planning or thinking to relocate to Paris, there is more than learning the gender of things, here a few tips and tricks to remember. The following list is going to help to make a smooth transition into the City of Light.
Paris is expensive
Long are gone the days when penniless and hopeful artists from all over the world would come to the French capital because it was dirt-cheap. In fact, a recent study by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) rates Paris as the second most expensive city in the world. (PS: Singapore is the first one)
Renting in Paris is très difficile...
Ok, so you've decided to move to Paris. Marvellous! Be prepared however that finding and renting in Paris is quite trickly. A couple of my friends took months before it happened. Bureaucracy, in the form of a box filled with paper to prove your eligibility, will most likely tear you apart. Unless you rent through Spotahome where we take the assle to do the job for you.
Learning French will take you a looooong way
Like anywhere else in the world, speaking the local language will help you to connect with the people. Some people speak English, but still so much is lost in translation, and without speaking the language you’ll end up being an outsider with expat friends and never really understand the cultural shades.
Yes, the French are a bit posh
The other stereotype about French people is that they are quite posh and take themselves too seriously. But what? This is what makes them so charming and interesting! Also, what about the Brits? And the Italian? Oui, c’est normal and most nationalities look a bit pretentious at first.
Les amis, mon ami
Moving to a new country can be scary. Especially if you are on your own. However, the solution is...to make new friends! I promise, once you start hanging out with new pals, you'll immediately start drinking Sauvignon and eat croissants with the locals and your expat experience will improve dramatically!
Even before you move to Paris, learn to greet anyone with bonjour. In fact, in the French capital is quite rude not to greet people. Make a habit of this wherever you come from and Parisians will love you!
So, see you there. I can wait to be walking down Rue Cler with a baguette under my armpit as the French do.
It’s une baguette ? by the way.