Moving to Paris during a global pandemic has brought with it some interesting experiences. Since September 2020 when I first arrived to France, there have been lockdown announcements, an 8pm curfew, a 6pm curfew, the finalisation of Brexit and a new president in America. Within this unusual welcome to living abroad for the first time as a young adult, here are some considerations I wish I knew about before moving to Paris.
French Bureaucracy: The French love paperwork. I mean it, they love to ask for as much about you as possible in every situation possible. For every application there is a large system of handing in birth certificates, pictures of signatures, passport photos, bank statements, adress proof, the passport picture of your tenant. The list goes on. So tip number one is bring all of you important documents with you. Luckily, with the presence of the pandemic, France has been increasingly moving its application processes online. I recommend creating a folder with PDFs of every document you need.
Food: France is very well known for its food. From the classic baguette, award winning croissants to snails and foie gras. This is reflected all around the Parisian streets. However, thing get a bit more difficult when you start adding dietary requirements. I have a gluten intolerance and am a vegan- this makes finding food a little challenging if I don’t want to break the bank. There are good health food shops around which satisfy most of your diet needs but be aware that this can cost more!
Police: Paris is infamous for having a huge number of police walking around, and as a person who gets nervous in the presence of the police for absolutely no reason, it has taken some getting used to. Police are always around in big cities though and I love seeing them on horseback passing my ground floor window!
Apartments: If you are going to live in Paris it is important to consider that you are going to be paying to live in such a beautiful area. If you are a student who wants to pay a little less and live in a good area, chances are, your apartment will reflect that. Maybe there won’t be windows in you bedroom, maybe the toilet will be next to your bed or perhaps a shower in your kitchen! However, when is a better time to live a little rough than right at the beginning of your adulthood.
Supermarkets: According to The Economist, Paris is one of the most expensive cities to live in. In order to save money, it is important to know which supermarkets to go to. I recommend ignoring the small convenience stores and finding a large grocery store. Usually, these big shops have more opportunity to lower prices on delicacies and have far more option. Sometimes go to a variety of stores. For example, I always go to an English chain or small Asian store for peanut butter because it is much cheaper. I definitely made this mistake when first moving to Paris and was spending far more money on less variety of foods! Also check out the various markets that offer a huge spread of fresh produce.
Project developer & real estate expert
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About Thomas Friese:
The real estate expert and project developer Thomas Friese, Berlin / Oldenburg (Lower Saxony) has been training in the tax area since the mid-1970s in the area of real estate development and marketing.