New in Town – Paris City Guide for Expats

Paris has long been romanticised and has a history of attracting intellectuals, artists and musicians from around the world, drawn to its bohemian lifestyle. Modern Paris is a little different, a bustling high-tech world city that is a centre for European business.
In-between the high-rise office blocks and modern infrastructure, it’s still possible to find quintessentially Parisian gems. Cobbled streets run alongside the famed Champs-Elysées, home to boutiques, studios, cafes and restaurants.
British expatriates who are positioned in the city for work, will find they have plenty to look forward to upon relocation. The cost of living is on par with London, though accommodation can be a little cheaper, enabling you to get more for your money. The work-life balance, however, is definitely skewed in favour of Paris, with shorter working weeks, long lunch breaks and plenty of annual leave. The French work hard in business, but they also value their leisure time.
Many expatriates will opt to live right in the middle of Paris, in a city-centre apartment overlooking the Seine. However, there are many suburbs close to Paris that are also worth considering, particularly for those moving with family who want a little more floor space.

City life

The city of Paris is home to many British expatriates. Data provided to The Local by the INSEE (National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies in France) said that there were just over 8,500 British residents living in the French capital. The excellent transport links to the UK, by way of the Eurostar and regular flights from London, help to make a relocation to Paris more viable for those with ties in England.
It’s easy to navigate around Paris, thanks to its straightforward numbering system of its 20 main areas, or arrondissements. When looking for somewhere to live, many expatriates endeavour to be in the same arrondissement as their place of work. Many Parisians and expatriates will drive to the city, but there are often long queues and serious congestion at rush hour. In a bid to cut down on pollution in the city, drivers are required to get a Crit’Air vignette – clean air sticker – for their car.
This identifies a vehicle’s emissions and puts it into one of six categories. This scheme runs in Paris every weekday 8am-8pm, and if your car doesn’t conform to emissions regulations, you won’t be able to drive it during these times. There is also a large-scale bike-sharing scheme in place around the city, adding to the city’s eco credentials.
Paris is an incredibly multicultural city and has become a a popular destinationfor immigrants and foreign workers from all over the world. The official population of Paris is around 2.2 million, but that is just within the city limits. When you include those living in the surrounding suburbs, the estimate is closer to 11 million. According to World Population Review, Paris is considered the most diverse city in Europe, with an estimated 23% of the population having migrated to Paris (this includes French-born nationals from other regions). The demographic is younger than in other areas of France and incomes are far higher than the national average.
Paris is characterised as having a temperate climate and lots of sunshine – even in the winter – made possible by its location. Average temperatures in the city are around 20°C in the summer (July being the warmest month) and 5°C in the winter (January is the coldest month).

Art and culture in Paris

Paris is one of Europe’s most beautiful and culturally vibrant cities, perfect for art and architecture enthusiasts. If you’re looking for alternatives to the Louvre, Champs Elysées and the Eiffel Tower, there are plenty of museums and points of interest to explore.

Espace DalÍ

Just a short stone’s throw from the spectacular Sacré-Cœur is a rather different spectacle: the permanent exhibition of works by Spanish surrealist painter Salvador DalÍ. Boasting an impressive collection of 300 original works (one of which being the Mae West lips sofa), this is a must-see museum for anyone interested in art, especially those who have an eye for anything that is a little out of the ordinary. The gallery was closed for work over the winter of 2017-2018, and is due to reopen in April 2018 with a brand-new exhibition.

Shakespeare and Company Bookshop

This charming and unforgettable bookshop was opened in August 1951 by American George Whitman on the river bank opposite Notre-Dame. It has kept its ideals and ethos intact ever since. Shakespeare and Company often holds events such as book signings, readings and even the occasional children’s hour. In 2006, George Whitman was awarded the Officier des Arts et Lettres by the French Minister of Culture in recognition of his ‘significant contribution to the enrichment of the French Cultural Inheritance’. Today the shop is managed by his daughter, Sylvia Beach Whitman, and stocks a large selection of new and second-hand English language books.

Le Stella Brasserie

Almost halfway along Avenue Victor Hugo, is one of a few typically Parisian independent brasseries left in the city. Where most have been taken over by the large chains, Le Stella still holds a firm place in Paris’ heart, serving fine French oysters, seafood and traditional cuisine and is open every day till late. If you are looking for an authentic example of true French dining in Paris, Le Stella is perfect.

Shen Hong Biao’s Mongolian

Standing very proudly between the Pantheon and the Sorbonne on Rue Soufflot in Paris is Chinese artist Shen Hong Biao’s 3.7-metre-high statue of a traditional Mongolian wrestler. It was moved to Paris in 2014 and installed by Cadogan Tate (read the full story here). The statue weighs approximately 1,000kg, took around eight months to complete. It stands on a bespoke platform that was built to compensate for the dual sloping surface. While you are there, don’t overlook the incredible 18th century architecture of the Pantheon, which also houses a large crypt that is the final resting place for some of the most iconic Parisian residents including Victor Hugo, Jean Monnet, Marie Curie and Voltaire.
If you are interested in moving to Paris, click here for more information on Cadogan Tate’s international removals service.