Living in Paris had always been a dream of mine. Last summer, it was finally time to start living this dream. I got a summer internship as wedding planner in the city of love, and was finally able to grab my luggage and move into my very own Parisian apartment.
I still smile when I think back to my time in Paris. It has been a great summer with tons of memories. But what is it really like to live in Paris as a foreigner?
You get to feel very fast, that living in Paris is much different than the impressions movies and series give us by showing off people living a romance, eating macarons and walking along the Champs Elysées wearing their barrett – that except for some Asian tourists hardly anyone seems to wear in Paris – day in, day out. To comfort you, the first few days or even weeks in the city will be all stereotype, about baguettes, croissants, cheese, Nutella crêpes, and basically any other French thing you can stuff in your mouth. Cause after all, we all want to get to know the city, and that typically starts with touristy clichés.
During my first few days in the city I was, well, lost! After struggling with finding a suitable place to stay beforehand, I only learned in Paris how Google Maps really works. The big city life has been such a big step out of my comfort zone by then.
Apartments are very expensive, if you want to stay inside the city and close enough to the happenings, and not take the long journey from the banlieue (suburbs) every morning. I have been lucky enough to find my own little Parisian apartment without spending a fortune. Plan ahead and take some time in advance to search for the right place, and don’t be upset if it do not find the perfect one right away.
In Paris, don’t bother asking people for directions, all you will get is either a shrug or a really long and confusing explanation of how to get to your destination. Trust me, you will better off looking for it on your own, especially since the best way to discover the city is just by walking it, even if that sometimes means not knowing where exactly you are. I spent so much time just walking through the city, enjoying every aspect it has to offer. And even after these months, I could still catch myself staring at the magnificent Parisian facades.
Find you own favourite spots, the city has so much more to offer than the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre.
Still, one of my favourite spots to hang around and enjoy the city may be one of the most stereotyped ones, the famous steps leading up to the famous Sacré Coeur and Place Montmartre. Even though it is very touristy, I could just go there, on a hot summer evening, sit on the steps and listen to what the street artists had to offer, all by ignoring the crowds surrounding me.
During the summer months, Paris is filled with tourists, but still rather quiet. Parisians tend to get lazy in summer and escape the city to go to the South. Especially in August, be prepared to find shops or coffee places that are closed during the whole month. And don’t expect anything to be open on Sundays, or even on Mondays, depending on the business. Many things in the city also depend of the strikes, blocking streets and annoying people each and every day. But Parisian usually take their time and arrive late anyway, so don’t panic if you run late.
Even though it is not worth mentioning again that Paris is great for shopping, people might not be aware that the city has much more to offer than fashionable department stores and designer boutiques. There are countless flea markets open every day, where you can find everything from second-hand books, postcards, arts and craft to fashionable vintage clothing, and it is so inspiring to just pass by them every now and then.
What I loved most about Paris is its quality of life, the enjoyment of everyday pleasures like sitting on a terrace on a sunny day, in one of the numerous parks in Paris, or even along the river with a glass of wine, how most Parisians like to spend their evenings. They even have an outside cinema during summer time, where you can just go, relax and enjoy a movie all while staring up at the sky.
If you have ever seen the movie “Amélie”, awkwardly introducing its characters and all their little pleasures, compare it to the real life in Paris and you will notice quickly that it is the little things that Parisians enjoy.
Paris has inspired my in so many ways, and I could go on and spend hours talking about it, but I decided to stop at this point. Instead, I want you to leave a comment and let me know what inspired you most in the city, or what makes you want to go to Paris, if you have not been there yet (It is definitely time for you to go!).