Why move to Paris, Why move to France, you ask? Well, pourquoi pas? After having lived here for many years, I’ve come up with some really good reasons to do so. Below are a mere handful of them. The list grows daily.
To follow/find love
One could argue that Paris is the most romantic city on the planet, with its picturesque setting, beautiful structures, and la vie en rose. France was one of the leading voices in Romanticism in the 1800s, and its effect on individual expressions of emotion and imagination are still part of the emotional landscape today. Perhaps that’s why so many movies and songs about love have been made in, or come out of, Paris. Love is definitely in the air.
2. To get quality health care
The French healthcare system is one of the best in the European Union. A majority of the cost is covered by the State (up to seventy percent), with the rest either coming out of pocket, or via complementary (“top up”) insurance, depending on your needs and preferences.
Access to the system is done through a carte vitale. This green plastic card has your social security number, medical insurance, and family information, all in one place. It can be tricky to acquire this little slice of healthcare heaven, but once past that hurdle, you’ll have access to wonderful care. Just take deep breaths while waiting in line, dealing with frustrating requirements and the inevitable return trips to see officials about…whatever.
3. To eat well
Gastronomy is a French art. To eat in Paris is sublime. From haute cuisine and modern French offerings to French fusion, Parisians take their food very seriously, and you will, too. There’s always something that will match your budget, whether it’s a café on a street corner or a five star restaurant. If you’re a foodie, you’ll be happy, no matter what. Even if you don’t have a discerning palate, you like to eat, right?
And the wine is enough to lure this writer out on many a night (or early evening) to find a wine bar like Septime La Cave to mingle with friends, old and new while nibbling on cheese or enjoying a full gourmet meal.
4. To learn how to cook (French style)
Cordon Bleu, anyone? What could be more satisfying (and Parisian) than learning how to cook fantastic French dishes from a world-renowned chef, and impress your friends? You can learn all about haute cuisine, whether traditional or avant-garde from a cooking class, or take a wine or gastronomic tour. If you want to become a chef, Paris is likely the best place in the world to discover your inner Paul Bocuse.
5. To get deeper into art.
Art is just as important and life-changing as the food culture in Paris. This is where some of the great masters resided for a time, such as Picasso and Dalí. You will also find some of the greatest collections of art in the world here. Naturally, there is the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay. But there are also many other venues with equally stellar exhibits, including the Centre Pompidou, Musée Rodin and the Musée National du Moyen Âge. Your inner artist and voyeur are sure to be content with the wealth of opportunities in this city. There aren’t that many places in the world where you can do this in your own backyard.
6. To develop artistic skills.
With the wealth of art and the heritage that Paris holds for Impressionism and Post Impressionism, you couldn’t find a better place to hone your skills and become the next Manet. Attend an art class, or go to school at the Paris College of Art to study painting, drawing or whatever moves you artistically. Maybe the muse of all the great artists who have ever lived or worked in Paris will inspire your paintbrush.
7. To study
Some of the best schools in the European Union can be found in Paris, and you will encounter a diverse population, perhaps learn a new language and see the world like never before. Make sure your paperwork is in order, though, because that can cause unimaginable delays and difficulties. But once you do, you will have access to the experience of a lifetime.
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8. To explore the heart of international diplomacy.
France’s unique place in the European Union and willingness to take a harsh look at itself and make changes, when necessary, makes it a great place to live and learn about international relations and politics. You can even do that on the streets of Paris, since the city is a melting pot of foreigners and locals, rubbing shoulders every day.
The French have high expectations of their government, and when things aren’t right, they readily take to the streets in protest. Free speech is prized in France, as well as open-mindedness to different cultures and ways of life, as evidenced by the fusion of food, fashion and art in the city from all over the world.
9. To learn French
Well, it is France, after all. Learn the language of haute cuisine, exquisite attire and flirting. So many French words have filtered into other languages. English, for example has borrowed heavily from French. For example: agent provocateur, à la mode, faux pas, femme fatale, gamine, genre, nom de plume, nouveau riche, papier mâché, petite, risqué, sauté, touché.
Over 220 million people in the world speak French. It will help you navigate the landscape and appreciate your new home that much more. You’ll sound like a local and fit in perfectly.
10. To understand French fashion & style.
Christian Dior, Givenchy, Coco Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, Jean-Paul Gautier. Need I go on? France, especially Paris is considered the “fashion capital of the world.” What better place to be at the forefront of cutting edge couture? Jeans will become passé, and you’ll discover a love for trendy fabrics and styles with unique colors and cuts as only the French can create.
11. To accumulate knowledge.
There is much to be learned in Paris. Its history and architecture are spell-binding. Great writers such as Hemingway made it their home for a time because every street corner, building, and bistro has a story to tell. You can feel the history of Paris while walking down the street between structures old and new, feats of construction still amazing to this day, such as the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe.
Paris was a part of the Renaissance and Age of Enlightenment. You can learn about Napoleon, the French Revolution, the Restoration and Romanticism. Museums covering not only art, but also science and technology, among other things, will broaden your mind. Great French thinkers and inventors, people who changed everything by thinking outside the box and daring to be different will give you a lot to ponder and expand your knowledge about the world, and yourself.
12. Getting exposed to world cultures
Paris is a melting pot. According to the 2011 Census, over 450,000 residents of the municipality of Paris, or roughly twenty percent of the population was born outside of France. These foreign residents come from countries such as Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Algeria, Poland, Spain, Japan, Sri Lanka and Portugal, to name a few.
Imagine that! You can learn about the world practically by stepping outside your front door.
13. Gain respect back home for your courage in moving to a new country.
If you’re like me, you may have come from a city that is nothing like Paris. Perhaps you left behind friends and family who either thought you were crazy or a traitor for daring to consider such a strange thing as moving to another country. What’s wrong with staying where you were born and raised?
Well, nothing at all. Except, this is Paris! And even though there are those who might think you’re rejecting your culture or betraying your heritage, secretly they’re jealous and wish they were you. Just smile and take it in stride.
14. To start a business
Paris is as good a place as any to set up shop. The sky’s the limit, really. If you’re brave enough to rush into the unknown by moving to a new country, especially one where you don’t speak the language, then you can certainly do this. Be sure to do your research. There are plenty of cafés and bistros out there already. Stride into something new. Check out how businesses are regulated, or consider doing something online. What is the cost of renting property? Can you register as unemployed to get benefits for a time while you’re figuring out what to do?
15. To look for a job.
Imagine living and working in the city of your dreams. It can be done, but it takes effort. Many people, with the exception of workers such as housekeepers and language teachers, tend to find work in France before they arrive. Just like any other country, if there is a French person who can do the same job you’re looking for, it may be difficult to find work in that field, unless you can fill some kind of niche.
Your CV must be in French, and you need a titre de séjour which is designed particularly for non-European professionals who have special skills. (It’s like a resident alien card). A French employer, if he wants to hire you, must sponsor your work papers. Learn more here: www.vosdroits.service-public.fr.
It’s easier if you’re from the European Union (EU) as the expense would be less for your potential employer. It’s much more complicated if you’re not from the EU. Websites such as jobs.expatica.com; www.monster.fr; www.justlanded.com/english/France/Jobs; www.recrut.com; www.cadremploi.fr; or www.keljob.com can be helpful. Knowing the language is a huge plus, so take a French class or two.
You can also register as an auto-entrepreneur if you have a “side business.” The official website is: www.lautoentrepreneur.fr. There you can find out in what category your home massage therapy practice, for example, would fall.
16. To invest your money.
France is the fifth largest economy in the world and second largest in the EU. There are many options to consider when it comes to investing your money, from Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and American Depository Receipts (ADRs), to direct investment on France’s stock exchanges. If you prefer to buy land or fund a business venture, that’s possible, too. Make sure you look into taxes and all the legal aspects because it can be tricky to negotiate such purchases.
17. To teach English.
English is becoming the lingua franca of global communication. Countries all over the world are scrambling to learn the language, and opportunities abound in France for you to share your knowledge. Imagine living in Paris and teaching a businessman or student for a few hours before heading out to the majestic Moulin Rouge for a night with friends? How rewarding would that be?
18. To start a new life.
Starting over has never been so appealing. Being in Paris is enough to invigorate even the most hardened or jaded cynic. Who can resist the beauty of the streets at sunset? The fantastic food? The opera, ballet and theatre? Possibility abounds. Whether you’re retired, or want to begin anew, Paris has something for everyone.
19. To volunteer
From hospital workers and English tutors to teaching assistantships, the opportunities are plentiful, whether you’re a student or retiree, to volunteer in France. It helps to speak French for most of these jobs, though if you’re teaching English in exchange for room and board, for example, then that may not be as big of an issue. Here are some suggestions:
France Bénévolat - has hundreds of listings.
BeneNova - this is a search portal.
Je Veux Aider - donate through time, money, and “other” (used items).
Restos du Coeur - soup kitchens and grocery distribution centers.
Orange RockCorps - donate your time in exchange for free tickets to music concerts.
Secours Populaire Français - similar to Red Cross.
20. To raise your kids
Starting a family in Paris is no-brainer. From stellar healthcare to high quality schooling, your kids will get the best that France has to offer. Standards are high and your children are sure to grow up well-educated, healthy, likely bilingual and able to communicate with people from a variety of cultures and backgrounds. All because they were raised in the unique environment that is Paris.
Paris, with all its rich cultures, fashion, the fine wine, the cuisine, the art - you name it- is one of the best tourist destinations in the world. It might take you much time to make your way to France but, moving to France is something quite different. It is a truly life-changing move that usually involve a great deal of thought. Still wondering whether coming over to Paris is the right decision for you? Whatever the reason, just move and, I promise, you’re efforts will pay off!
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