As a person born and raised in an Anglophone country, one would ask why i decided to relocate or live in a non English speaking country like France, especially for a guy whose specialty was skipping french classes back in senior high school.
Its a simple question that comes with a complicated answer; An answer I plan to share with you in the near future. The aim of this article is to share my personal experience as a Parisian and what its really like to live in Paris. My intention is not to change your perception about Paris or France as a whole.
Now that you know what my intentions are, lets get on with it :
Paris, pronounced ‘Pahree’ by the locals is a place like no other. A city that has so much to offer and if you think Paris is all about the awe-inspiring Eiffel tower, Champs Elysee or the Arc de Triomphe, then you better think again. King Francois the 1st famously said “Paris Is not a city; its a world”. A sentiment I firmly share.
Art – If you are a person who’s into art, then Paris is the place for you. There are so many artworks in Paris that its almost impossible to miss them. Even though the city of Paris hosts around 130 museums including the iconic Louvre, most of its aesthetically pleasing work of Art can be found on its streets and buildings.
Transportation – Paris is home to one of the best transportation systems in the world, period ! One of the things i love about living in Paris is its advanced transportation system; you can get everywhere with a snap of a finger. The transportation system in Paris is so advanced that it sometimes makes owning a car a waste of financial resource. Ever wondered how it feels like to travel in an autonomous train (a train without a driver) ? You can get that experience for half the price of a cup of coffee in Paris.
The Parisians – Parisians know how to chill and party, not just party but party hard. There’s always something going on in Paris, regardless of what time it is; from parks and gardens to clubs and bars or rooftop pools with views of the Eiffel Tower. Are you a Jazz lover ? No problem, the city of Paris is a certified jazz capital – The city of Paris is literally a huge playground.
The Fashion – Paris is regarded as the world’s fashion capital for a reason; the most important fashion shows are held in Paris. It is also home to the biggest fashion brands in the world; Givenchy, Dior, Chanel, Lois Vuitton, Christian Louboutin, Pierre Cardin, Balmain, Hermes, Kenzo, Fendi, Sephora etc.
Ever heard of the aphorism ‘All that glitters isn’t gold’ well it surely isn’t, at least in this case. The Paris you’ve been imagining is far from reality. I sometimes feel like the image of Paris being portrayed is an illusion. Don’t get me wrong, Paris is still the indisputable city of love with an elegant landscape and a rich French culture. There are limitless reasons to travel or relocate to Paris but it fell short of my expectations when i first moved here; from urine smelling subways to pick pocketing In metros.
The Language – I always said to myself that the French Language is boring and that nothing would encourage me to learn it. I kept this thought locked in my head even when i knew i would be migrating to France and held on to the notion that most Parisians speak English, boy was I wrong ! When i first moved to Paris, the only french word i knew was vien , meaning come. My inability to speak French made things very difficult for me when I first moved here; from filing forms, assignments to asking a girl out (Don’t judge. Lol ). Even though I have my sister to thank for helping me out with a lot of things, there were still some personal stuff i couldn’t ask her to help me with .
Cost Of Living – Living in Paris isn’t cheap; the cost of living is so high that some people spend two thirds of their salaries on rent alone. Parking on the street costs not less than 4 euros an hour. Food from Parisian cafes and restaurants doesn’t come cheap either.
The Food – Ive never been a fan of French cuisine, something my ex girlfriend would attest to. I believe french food is simply overrated and does not live up to its reputation.
Homelessness – The number of homeless people sleeping on the streets of Paris is shocking. Absolute shocking ! Some studies estimate that homeless people in the Paris region add up to about 44 percent of homelessness in France. Out of the 44 percent, 38 percent are women.
Filth -The Paris I imagined before moving here had dirt-free/clean streets but the one I see everyday is close to the opposite of what I imagined and it keeps getting worse as the days goes by. The garbage in Paris is so severe that it sparked uproar online earlier this year with the hashtag SaccageParis, meaning thrash Paris.
In 2015, there were series of terrorist attacks across Île-de-France, particularly Paris. Terrorists in the Arabian peninsula later claimed responsibility for the coordinated attacks revealing that those attacks had been planned for years. Following the attacks, it became public knowledge that Paris is a target for terrorists and as such, some measures were taken to foil future attacks. One of these measures include saturating the streets and key sites of Paris with soldiers in full combat uniforms and gear ; Operation sentinel.
Although opinion polls suggest most people are reassured by the sight of soldiers patrolling the city with their rifles in hand, I’ve never been comfortable with it. The regular sight of Soldiers on streets, markets, malls or even schools has become a constant reminder to me that there’s a possibility that something bad might happen.