Unfortunately, it was not with my own wit that this phrase was thought up. I read it in an article in the Figaro yesterday (an advert by Place de la Défense, the businessy area of Paris, apparently you’ll see it in a lot of London underground stations). But it caught my eye and I decided to steal it, as it is specifically aimed at us English folk. But it’s true to say, while reading this article about how President Hollande wants to “make the most of” Brexit, I can’t help but think about how many bussiness people from the UK are going to want to move abroad and work now that the pound has dropped to an all-time low (lowest in 168 years, £1 = approx. €1.11).
However, I’m not going to bore you all with a post about the plunging exchange rate and the UK’s unequivocal mistake of leaving the EU. THIS post is about my personal pros and cons of living here in Paris, and if you are tired of the fog, whether you really should try the frogs … (Paris has fog too, one morning lo and behold I couldn’t even see the Eiffel Tower from my bedroom window).
Now of course I am encouraging living abroad, hence the name of the blog, so I am not saying don’t move to Paris. But at the same time I aim to be truthful, about the good and the bad of all the places I go to, so here goes:
- Paris is obviously a beautiful city, I don’t really need to mention that. The Haussmanian architecture, the gardens, the monuments, the art … it’s never-ending and there is always something to see.
- It’s always buzzing, so going out at night is just as fun and busy as at daytime (this can also be a con considering my window opens out onto one of the busiest streets off the Champs Elysées …)
- The metro is very well connected to all parts of Paris – you can get from the heart of Paris, out past the ringroad into zones 3-5 in under an hour just using the metro lines (plus it’s €1.80 for a trip anywhere in zones 1 & 2, it’s not like London where it charges you by distance)
- A glass of wine can be as little as €4 (that’s the cheapest I’ve found so far, I’ll update if I find cheaper, of course I would recommend just buying a bottle for a fiver)
- Museums are free if you’re under 25, which is amazing if you’re a student travelling or if you are living here like I am because you can go to all these major museums (Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Centre Pompidou) and be able to see all the exhibitions free of charge – just make sure you bring your ID with you.
- Amazing for shopping … need I say more?
- Paris prides itself on la gastronomie (gastronomy) and la gourmandise (love of good food) so wherever you go its likely the food you eat will be pretty great.
- Pickpockets. I’ve already had the experience of a young girl approach me on the busy Champs Elysées and ask me if she could use my phone “to call her sister that she’d lost”. She looked about my age, and I noticed she had no handbag, a major red flag in the identification of a pickpocket. I politely said my phone was an English phone (true) and that it couldn’t make calls abroad (false), but that she should talk to one of the many police officers strolling nearby or go into a shop and use their phone. Sorry, but if you don’t have a handbag and say the police aren’t helping you, I’m going to automatically assume you’re a pickpocket. However, I’m sorry if you had actually lost your sister.
Hotspots for pickpockets: Champs Elysées, Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower and Opéra, however you never really know and they are pretty much everywhere (I’ve even heard of someone having their phone swiped on the metro), so just keep a look out and your stuff close to you. Check out my post on useful things to know about pickpockets in Paris and of all the different things you need to look out for – there are so many ways people can scam you in the streets.
- Paris is expensive. It may be cheaper than London but it is still pretty pricey. However, there are ways of budgeting and as mentioned before, plenty of places to go for free to get a taste of French culture.
- Paris is … I wouldn’t say safe, but well-patrolled in tourist areas. It’s like any city, but when you’re out in Paris at night you have to have your wits about you. You can’t just go wondering around by yourself at 2am after a Friday night ‘after-work drinks’. There are some areas which are considered quite dodgy, and I wouldn’t recommend using certain metro lines too late at night.
- Nightclubs are expensive. Drinks usually start at €10, plus in most places it’s a €20 entry fee. I personally prefer going to bars where there’s a bit of a club scene too (the music is played loudly like a club so people tend to dance more as the night goes on) where drinks are cheaper and you don’t have to pay to get in.
As you can see, the pros outweigh the cons, and the cons really just mean you have to plan and think ahead while on your trip. Hopefully some will find this useful!