You probably already know that Paris is an incredible city to visit. But you might not know what it’s like to live there – and the fact that it’s got much more to offer than Euro Disney.
As well as 18 million tourists passing through the city each year, Paris has plenty of work opportunities. Around 2.5 million people live in urban areas of Paris, with another 12 million in the suburbs. It’s the capital of the third-largest European economy and one of the ten leading economies in the world.
France’s official working week is capped at 35 hours. If you work a minute more, you’ll be paid double. So Parisians make the most of their time, with leisurely lunch breaks in the parks or strolling around the markets after work.
Plus, you get five weeks paid holiday and 13 public holidays each year. And while the French work less on average, they’re still more productive than most employees in Europe. Maybe that’s why they retire about four years earlier than the British.
Around 30% of French taxes go to welfare and social funds. The country’s famous for its generous childcare and family allowances. If you’re not earning a lot, especially in Paris, you can get extra money to help with rent.
There’s also a double taxation agreement for expats who live in Paris less than 183 days a year and get a salary from abroad, so you only pay taxes once – in your home country. France’s healthcare system is one of the best in Europe, with up to 70% of the cost covered by the state.
There are 421 municipal parks and gardens in Paris, covering more than three thousand hectares of the city’s territory. So if you’re a nature lover, you’ll never get bored.
Some of the city’s landmarks are the secret orchid fields in the Luxembourg Gardens, and the waterfalls and cliffs of Parc des Buttes-Chaumont grottos, right in the centre of the capital.
Building structures over 37 metres in Paris was banned between 1977 and 2010, in response to the widely-disliked (and rather tall) Tour Montparnasse. The ban changed to 180 metres in 2010, but the tallest building in the city is still the Eiffel Tower at 324 metres.
As a result of these height bans, Paris is a pretty flat city with very few skyscrapers. But it has plenty of Beaux-Arts, Gothic and Romantic buildings – plus façades and small street passages – to please architecture buffs.
Paris’ public transport is a well-oiled machine, so you’ll be able to save plenty in petrol. The Metro, buses or RER (suburban railway system) take you anywhere within the city for as little as €1.90.
You can also take the train to nearby cities in other countries, like Brussels. And if you miss England, you can hop on the Eurostar and be home in a few hours.
Naturally, Paris has all the big fashion houses like Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent, Paris. But the city has tonnes of other options for people on a tighter budget, too.
Rue de Charronne (behind the Bastille) has fashion boutiques and independent shops. Canal Saint-Martin boasts new brands and up-and-coming designers. And Marché St. Pierre in Montmartre is the place to find your personal tailor.
Foodies will never be bored in Paris. From baguettes in vending machines to ancient patisseries, Parisians’ love of food is on display wherever you look.
The best way to get a flavour for the city is probably to swing by its markets. We recommend Marché des Enfants Rouges for food from around the world, Marché Rue d’Aligre for local favourites, and Marché Biologique des Batignolles for organic goods.
From sophisticated experiences, like going to the opera and visiting art galleries, to open-area mime acts and artistic street performances, you’ll never get bored in Paris.
Le Lucernaire is a good place to head. With theatres, cinemas, bookshops and exhibition places with bars and restaurants, this cultural hub provides all-day activities for when you want to escape the house.
Although they have a reputation for being a little snobby, Parisians are actually pretty open-minded people who don’t care about social status or financial means.
If you’re looking to make new friends, there are lots of meetup groups on Facebook, Meetup, and other sites.
Dogs make everything better, and there are plenty of them in Paris. There are dog fountains on the streets and dogs are allowed in restaurants – which means that plenty of people own a pup.
Even if you don’t want a dog yourself, your new Parisian life is sure to be made better by all the opportunities for dog-spotting.
The information in this article is correct at the time of publishing (September 2019). It could change depending on the outcome of Brexit.
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