Welcome to our Relocation Series!
Looking for better opportunities? Want to make a big life change? Finally found the dream destination you want to move to?
Our Relocation Series consists of the most popular destination choices for expatriates to relocate to. We will include all the details on what you need to know on each country and factors to determine if it would be the perfect fit for you!
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A comprehensive guide for moving to and living in Paris
The official language is French. English and Spanish are the next most common languages spoken in Paris.
The Euro (EUR) is used and credit cards are accepted in a large number of shops, hotels, and restaurants.
Paris has an overall medium risk to safety: while generally not dangerous, it is best to exercise precaution in public spaces. Keep your eyes open for pickpockets and scams and while taking public transportation.
The Universal European Emergency Number is 112 (equivalent to 911). For medical emergencies, call #15.
All hospitals will provide the same service whether you’re a citizen or a foreign worker or tourist. The public health care will cover hospital expenses up to 80 per cent or even 100 per cent for surgical hospitalizations. The remaining cost would be covered by your private health insurance. Our headquarters are based in Paris so we have an extensive medical network to cover your needs. Compared to North American rates, health care costs in France are quite reasonable. You should choose a family doctor within the first few weeks of your expatriation. You will also require them to refer you to see a specialist if needed. Doctor’s appointments are from Monday to Friday 8 am–12 pm and 2 pm–6 pm. On average, consultations cost between $24–32 USD and specialist visits are $45–50 USD.
The weather in France is temperate and the country experiences four distinct seasons. Summers in Paris are warm with an average temperature of 20°C while winters are cool with temperatures around 5°C. Rain is also common.
There are 3 different types of visas available:
1) Short-Term Visa – entitles its holder to enter France for up to three months within a six-month period without being able to study or work.
2) Temporary Long Stay Visa – strictly valid for only six months.
3) Long Stay Visa – available for foreign nationals who are going to Paris for work, studies or family reunification purposes. It should be processed in the French Embassy in the applicant’s home country.
The leading industries are tourism, services, commerce, finance, and fashion. Paris is considered the second-favourite destination for foreign investors in Europe. What’s more, 29 out of the Fortune 500 companies are based there, making Paris the top major global headquarters in Europe. A foreign assignee receives an annual salary of $54,000 USD. The highest paid are the paralegal and legal professionals and the lowest paid are tourism, hospitality and the services industry. The regular working hours are 9 am–6 pm with an hour lunch break. It is important to secure a job contract before flying in since a Paris-based company plays a significant role in obtaining a work permit, which is needed when applying for a visa.
Paris prides itself on having an excellent quality of education both in the private and public sectors. Expats who have proof of residency in the city can send their kids to any public school for free. Those who go to universities/colleges and can prove their residency will benefit from subsidized tuition costs as well. There is also an impressive selection of international schools.
Cost of living & housing
The overall cost of living in Paris is 18.5 per cent lower than New York. However, the prices in the local market are considered to be high and Paris has some of the most expensive restaurants in Western Europe. The highest expenditure is house rental costs which consume nearly 33 per cent of an individual’s/household’s income.
There are 20 neighbourhoods in Paris, each one having its own characteristics. Districts 1 to 11 (city centre) host the most expensive accommodations while districts 12 to 20 are more affordable. The 16th and 17th districts are considered to be the best areas for expats who are relocating with their families, with spacious apartments, private schools, and green spaces. The price to rent a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre averages around $1,150 USD per month, or $820 USD per month outside of the city centre. Water supply is distributed by private companies and each neighbourhood is assigned a different company. Electricity and gas are provided by public companies.
The Paris area has three international airports. To get to the city centre, you can ride the RER commuter train directly from the airport. Another popular option to reach the city is by Roissybus which takes passengers to the heart of Paris. The metro is considered the most extensive in the world and is the ideal way to get around Paris quickly and easily. Buses, trains, commuter rail, and biking are other ways to get around Paris. Driving is not a good option because of the heavy traffic that occurs at all times of the day. Parking spaces are also in short supply and can be very expensive.
Cellphones and Internet plans in France are considered affordable compared to North American rates. There are a few main providers in Paris for mobile phones and Internet services. Wi-Fi is very easy to find and Paris owns a good network of public Wi-Fi hotspots in parks, libraries, and other public places.
The food culture in Paris is very strong and you can mainly find French food in Paris. Locals pride themselves on their food and are well-known for their macarons, crêpes, croissants, and baguettes, and especially their wine. Some popular dishes are boeuf bourguignon, jambon buerre, coq au vin, French onion soup, and raclette. France also shares some dishes with neighbouring countries such as Germany, Spain, and Italy.
Things to do
Paris has world-renowned attractions such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum, along with its vibrant arts scene. The city centre is located along the Seine River and contains many heritage sites such as the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, with the beautiful Palace of Versailles being in easy reach of the city as well. Paris is also famous for its shopping on Champs-Elysées and it even has its own Disneyland!
Though Paris is highly diverse, it is still very important to understand the French business culture and its traditions and customs to avoid misunderstandings with local colleagues. Setting up appointments is necessary because the French find it rude when someone “drops in” without notice. It is also important to be well-dressed as Paris is a fashion capital.
To get International Medical Insurance for expatriates or to find out more information on how you can protect yourself in the process of relocating, CLICK HERE!