When relocating to Paris, finding the right place to live is a key part of the initial research. Living in the centre of Paris is fairly typical of any major city, with high rents and small apartments, but with the advantage of being close to the city with a small commute. The many Parisian neighbourhoods (known as ‘arrondissements’) each have their own character and distinct feel.
However, city living isn’t for everyone, especially for those moving with family. There are few houses in the city itself and outside space is lacking. Therefore, expats may prefer to take a look at some of the outlying suburbs of Paris, where prices are lower and there are houses with gardens. Life can be a little slower and the commute into Paris takes longer, but there are good transport links and for many it’s worth the travelling for the benefits that suburban life offers.
Here we explore four suburbs near Paris worth looking at.
This north-western suburb is a popular choice for expat families, especially as it is home to a well-known international school, the Lycée International of Saint Germain-en-Laye, which has enjoyed a strong reputation since its foundation in 1951 as a place to offer multicultural education to the children of military personnel. It’s popular thanks to its blend of teaching core subjects in French, as well as also teaching in a number of international languages so that students leave bilingual. It isn’t the cheapest of suburbs nor the most expensive, with a typical two-bedroom apartment cosying around €900-1,500 a month. It is linked to Paris via the RER A commuter line, though many residents also have cars given that there is space for driveways. It’s a pretty tree-lined suburb and it is also considered safe.
This is another popular area for expat families, again thanks to a range of good international schools within close proximity. It has a really ‘French’ vibe, with small bakeries, cafes and boutiques, and with a quiet lifestyle. It is friendly and safe, with a wide choice of houses with gardens. It is, however, quite pricey, with a two-bedroom apartment costing up to €1,700 a month, rising much more for houses. It is located to the west of Paris and has both Metro and bus connections into Paris. It’s also quite close to La Défense, the business district. With lots of open spaces and amenities, it really gives a break from the hustle and bustle of the city centre.
Located to the south-west of Paris, this small suburb is close to the main ring road and on the Metro line, so it’s a good commuter area. It’s one of the more popular suburbs for native Parisians to choose to move to to get out of the city centre and it is attracting expats too. The new Grand Paris Express project, offering rapid transit lines to connect more of the city, will also include this area, which means that it will likely start to go up in popularity and price as transport links and further improved. There are a lot of media and technology companies in this suburb, with a creative and cosmopolitan feel to the area as a result, attracting young professionals.
This is another option in the south west of Paris, although a little further out than Issy-les-Moulineaux. It is a really good option for those who are active and want an outdoors lifestyle. The area is perfect for walking, running, cycling and wearing out young children. It has large parks around its borders, as well as the River Seine, which offers some great weekend activities. It also local schools that offer a bilingual education, with rents fairly well priced. There are plenty of transport links into the main city centre, although it’s not uncommon to drive given that many homes have parking facilities. It is also an area full of cultural, famed for its porcelain, which has given it the nickname the ‘city of ceramics’. The porcelain factory here is one of the biggest in Europe.