There are cities in the world that are on most people’s bucket lists to visit, but what would it be like to actually live there? In this instalment of our ongoing series about living abroad, we take a look at one of the most famous and iconic cities in the world; Paris.
Population: Approximately 2,242,000. However, when the entire metropolitan area is taken into account that number swells to more than 10.5 million, making the Paris metropolitan area the most heavily populated in the European Union.
1 bedroom apartment City Centre €1,079
1 bedroom apartment outside City Centre €775
3 bedroom in City Centre €2,183
3 bedroom outside City Centre €1,472
Average salary: €2,294 net after taxes
Where to Live
Paris is a sprawling metropolitan area that has suffered for hundreds of years from a disassociation between the city and the suburbs. Over the past few decades, different political initiatives have attempted to create a more cohesive area with varying success.
The more well-to-do residents tend to live in the west and southwest areas. The lower middle class and low-income residents live predominately in the northern and eastern areas. Middle class neighbourhoods are found in the other areas, although it is not unusual to find small enclaves of upper income residences in the otherwise middle class sections.
Paris’ reputation as a world-class centre for arts, entertainment, dining, culture, and nightlife is well deserved. Dining options range from 5-star rated luxury restaurants to small family owned coffee shops and cafes. Nightlife options range from opera to the latest electronic dance music spots and everything in between. No matter what area you choose to live, you will have a multitude of options for entertainment, dining, cafes, and nightlife nearby.
Paris has a comprehensive public transportation system, which serves the city and the surrounding suburbs. The Metro has 14 lines and all but 2 service the suburbs. The rail system (known as the RER) is also very robust and services a far wider area than the Metro. The long abandoned tram system has been making a comeback in the last two decades. The bus system is vast and has benefited from a number of ‘bus-only’ lanes which greatly decrease the time of the typical bus trip.
One-way Ticket € 1.80
Monthly Pass € 70.00
The French healthcare system is generally regarded as one of the best in the world. It is one which offers universal cover and which provides healthcare for every citizen without regard to income, age or social status. Rates for doctors, specialists and prescription drugs are set by law. The French healthcare system, like many others, faces challenges, especially in light of an ageing population but is one that is fiercely defended by virtually everyone living in France.
With very few exceptions, everyone living and working in France and their dependents are covered, as are all pensioners.
Banking in Paris
There are no legal restrictions prohibiting non-residents of Paris from opening a bank account. In fact, you will find having a local bank makes taking care of day-to-day activities and paying bills far easier. It is important to note that using cash to make purchases is the preferred method and many shops and market stalls do not accept credit cards. Credit cards and debit cards can be used in the most of the larger shops; online bill paying is typically only used to pay rent and utility bills.
You have a number of options for banking in Paris. The banks are semi-notorious for having a complex fee structure for some services. The good news is that the service fees for basic accounts are either free or less than €10 per year. International money transfer fees can be quite expensive but TransferGo serves customers in Paris and offers transfers for 99p.
Banks in Paris
You have a large number of options for choosing a bank in Paris. This includes the high-street banks, smaller local financial institutions, branches of international banks, and internet banks. Most of the high-street banks and the international bank branches have some English speaking staff.
Here are some of the options in Paris:
- BNP Paribas
- Societé Générale
- La Banque Postale (French post office)
- Credit Agricole
- Axa Banque (internet)
- Groupama (internet)
- BRED (internet)
- Boursorama (online bank that is part of Societé Générale)
- Hello Bank (online bank that is part of BNP Paribas)
- Filbanque (online bank that is part of CIC)