Paris, France Report of what it's like to live there - 06/27/13

Personal Experiences from Paris, France

Paris, France 06/27/13

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No, 4th.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Washington DC, an 8-hour flight.

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3. How long have you lived here?

1 1/2 yrs.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, military, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

US Embassy.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Apartments in the city vary in size and layout. I think the housing is very nice.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Expensive but really good quality.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Seasoning packets. I've always needed these everywhere I've lived.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

McDonald's and KFC. Many restaurants and cafes. Prices are varied -- as is the quality of the food.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Really none. We don't have screens on the windows and may get the occasional fly in the house, but
that's about it.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

DPO

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

I am doing my own cleaning since leaving Asia -- help is much more expensive here.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

No problem using them.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Yes.

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

The internet has made it possible to stay American.

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Well, let's say it helps a lot!

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Europe in general is not good for people with physical disabilities. Many metro stops only have stairs. The
sidewalks are narrow. Buses seems to be better, but Europe really doesn't take disabilities into consideration at all.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Local trains and buses are the best modes of transportation. Taxis are safe but pricey.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

I have been doing fine without one. Just rent one for trips outside city. I wouldn't recommend bringing a large
vehicle, as parking spots are small. Also, everyone's cars get banged up because the French use touch to gauge distance.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes, and not THAT unreasonable.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Orange seems to be fine.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Yes.

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

You will blend in better if you are chic.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

You need to be aware of your surroundings -- as in any larger city. There are many pickpockets on the metro.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

None. Healthcare is good. But luckily, I have no experience.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Fine.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Don't come here if you like hot summers. Summers are cool, but winters have not been that cold -- just long, rainy and gray.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?


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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Huge.

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2. Morale among expats:

Varies with the comings and goings of personnel. Right now it is great ,but who knows who will show up to ruin it.

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Again, It's Paris.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Families I know seem to be happy with the schools, and there are many family-friendly activities.
It's great for couples and singles, too.. It's Paris!

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Yes. Many bars and clubs. Lots of rainbow shops and restaurants.

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

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7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Going to the numerous museums, people watching, enjoying the cafe culture.

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

You name it and you can do it here.

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Fine wine, pastries, great bread, fashion, travel, cooking classes and copper pots.

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Fashion capital of the world. CULTURE at every turn. Close to fly thru out Europe.

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11. Can you save money?

No... again, it's Paris!

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

In a heartbeat.

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

baseball caps and ill-fitting capris.

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3. But don't forget your:

sense of style.

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4. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

Julie and Julia.

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