- Download our Moving to Paris Guide (PDF)
Expats moving to Paris will discover that the City of Lights holds many delights, from grand boulevards and quaint cobbled streets to the pretty River Seine and museums and galleries galore. It is one of the most romanticised cities in the world, and expats relocating to the French capital will soon learn why.
Living in Paris as an expat
One point that expats can count on is the city’s thriving, robust economy. As a home to a number of Fortune 500 companies as well as global humanitarian and financial organisations, Paris is one of continental Europe’s largest economies and produces over a quarter of France's total GDP. Well-qualified French-speaking expats will therefore find plenty of job options available and can take advantage of the famous 35-hour workweek and large allotment of holiday time. Non-EU nationals will usually need to organise a work permit prior to arrival through an employer sponsor.
Expats moving to Paris will find it one of the easiest cities in the world to navigate. Orientation is simplified by the 20 numbered arrondissements, and an extensive system of buses and trains provide accessible and affordable public transport. A private car is a luxury that only businesspeople and status-seekers confess to needing. The city also has a large-scale bicycle-sharing system in place called Velib.
Those with the intentions of learning the local language, aggregating career skills or furthering their education can reap the benefits of the city’s impressive infrastructural assets and social services.
Cost of living in Paris
One downside to the many upsides of living in Paris, however, is the high cost of living. Accommodation is particularly expensive. Expats on a budget should be prepared to downsize and live outside the city centre if they want to cut costs. Apartment hunting can also be very challenging. Expats should expect to compete with large numbers of people for a living space that they may not be particularly passionate about.
Families and children in Paris
The French healthcare system is among the best in the world. Those who contribute to social security or who have reached retirement age in their home country can often benefit from the fantastic public health insurance system, which is funded by tax deductions and can cover up to 70 percent of healthcare costs.
Many of the best educational institutions and schools in the world are located in Paris. Foreigners enrolling their kids in Paris public schools will find it a rigorous and high-quality educational environment, and the capital is also home to many excellent international schools.
Climate in Paris
The climate in Paris is pleasant, rarely peaking above 25°C (77°F) in summer or dropping below freezing in winter. With so many fantastic activities to enjoy, restaurants to sample, museums to meander and parks to explore, there's very little reason to spend too much time at home.
On the whole, expats are sure to have a magical time in the City of Lights, for however long they decide to stay.
►For more on entertainment and exciting annual events in the city, see What's On in Paris
►See Accommodation in Paris for all you need to know about renting an apartment in the city
"What do I enjoy most about Paris? A hard question to answer in a single breath. Of course there are the art exhibits just a metro ride away, world-class monuments and architecture, and restaurants with vendettas against my waist line. But what I enjoy the most is picking up a simple spread of bread, cheese and wine from any local shop and then sitting by the Seine with friends." Read more about Canadian expat Dorian's experiences in Paris.
Are you an expat living in Paris?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Paris. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
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