33 Pros and Cons of Living in Paris (Local’s Guide 2024)

Wondering about the pros and cons of living in Paris, France?

Well, you’re in the right place!

I had the privilege of calling Paris my home for over three years. I lived and worked through transport strikes, smog, and crowded trains. I ate croissants, watched the sunrise over the Eiffel Tower, and became fluent in French.

I experienced the ups and downs, the good, the bad, and the beauty of everyday life in this mesmerizing city. And, today, I want to share with you the real Paris.

I’ll cover all the pros and cons so by the end of this article you’ll be able to decide if Paris is the right city for you.

So, let’s dive in.

Pros and Cons of Living in Paris France
Living in Paris – Pros and Cons

Pros of Living in Paris

Living in the City of Light can feel like being at the heart of the world, and it’s not because of its central location in Europe. There’s something about the Parisian lifestyle that leaves you feeling invigorated and inspired. Every corner you turn, every street you wander down, brings a new discovery.

From the sheer beauty of the city to the rich culture and vibrant social scene, here are all the pros.

1. Parks and Gardens

This is the 18th-century colonnade in Parc Monceau. It's surrounded by lush greenery.
Parc Monceau

Paris is home to over 421 parks and gardens, each adding a dash of tranquility to the bustling metropolis. Among these, the Jardin des Plantes is a botanical beauty, and the elegant Parc Monceau is a testament to Parisian charm.

Then, there’s Bois de Vincennes, brimming with gardens, a zoo, and other attractions. It’s often called the eastern lung of Paris and rightly so.

I used to go running here every weekend. The air always felt cleaner to me, somehow. It was my escape from the hustle and bustle.

But the pièce de résistance is the Jardin du Luxembourg. It’s located right in the heart of the city and is famous for its beautiful gardens and fountains. It’s the perfect spot to unwind and enjoy a picnic.

2. Central Location

This is a French High-Speed TGV Train. They go across the country and internationally. And there are tons of trains that go to and from Paris everyday.
High-Speed TGV Train

Paris’ is located right in the heart of Europe. It’s a hub, a launching point from which you can easily explore the rest of the continent. Be it a romantic weekend in Rome or a Champagne tour in Reims, all are a few hours away by plane or train.

Paris has two well-served international airports, Charles de Gaulle Airport and Orly Airport. Both are less than an hour from the center, so you’ll have your choice of travel options.

Then, there are a whopping six major train stations – Gare du Nord, Gare de l’Est, Gare de Lyon, Gare d’Austerlitz, Gare Saint-Lazare, and Gare Montparnasse. They connect Paris with the rest of France and even go to other European destinations.

So, for someone like me, who is both an expat and a traveler, I love knowing that international trips won’t be a hassle. And when I lived in Paris, I didn’t have to make elaborate plans to go to Luxembourg or Brussels. I could buy a ticket and go. Then, when I wanted to visit my family back in the United States, it was just as easy.

3. Work-Life Balance

Locals enjoying lunch on the green grass terrace in front of the Sacré-Coeur in Paris.
Enjoying Lunch at the Sacré-Coeur

Unlike other big cities, Paris has mastered the art of balancing work and life. It’s an undeniable advantage that you can’t overlook.

The culture in France values rest and relaxation, making it normal to take long lunch breaks or leave the office on time. It’s a balanced approach to work and life that greatly reduces stress.

Thanks to France’s labor laws, the standard work week is 35 hours, spread across five days. Not only that but the minimum number of vacation days is 25. And when I worked in Paris, I had 40!

That means you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy leisure activities and engage with all the cultural experiences this city has to offer.

4. Community Markets

If there is one thing I love about life in France, it’s being able to shop at local markets. And Paris has one of the most enthralling and extensive market scenes that I know of.

It’s home to over 80 markets, each offering a distinct shopping experience. Whether you’re looking for fresh produce, antiques, books, or local delicacies, there’s a market in Paris for you.

The famous Marché Bastille, one of the largest food markets in Paris, is a haven for foodies. Here you’ll find an array of seasonal produce, cheeses, meats, and seafood. Then, there’s the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen. It’s the largest antique market in the world and is perfect for anyone who loves hunting for unique treasures.

But my favorite was the local market outside my apartment in the 11th arrondissement. This is where I did most of my grocery shopping. It was a unique and enriching experience. I got to know the local vendors and practice French, something that wouldn’t have been possible at one of the larger markets.

5. Incredible Benefits and Healthcare

Healthcare products from a French Pharmacy. There's a bottle of mouth wash, a bottle of doliprane, a bottle of ibuprofen, band-aids, deodorant, and tea bags.
Healthcare in Affordable

Living in Paris means that you’ll have access to world-class healthcare. In fact, the French healthcare system is regarded as one of the best globally.

It’s a unique blend of private and state-funded services. And it’s not about treating illnesses. There’s an emphasis on preventative healthcare too, with regular check-ups being encouraged.

So, how does it work?

After you’ve lived in France for three months, you’ll have access to the healthcare system.

Useful Tip: This doesn’t mean you can’t see a doctor within those first three months. It means you won’t be reimbursed for your expenses.

On average the cost to see a general practitioner is €25. And with the system in Paris, 70% is reimbursed, which means you’ll only pay €7.50.

This is the standard rate across France, except in Alsatian towns like Strasbourg where it’s 90%!

For me, this is the biggest advantage of living here.

When I lived in the United States, I always hesitated to go to the doctor, but when I moved to France, I stopped worrying. I started getting regular check-ups from the moment I was eligible for healthcare.

6. Exceptional Wine and Food

This is a typical French Cheese and Wine Board. There's a bottle of white wine next to two empty glasses. Then there is cheese, saucisson, and a baguette. Everything in a wood cutting board.
French Cheese and Wine Board

Paris is a food and wine lover’s dream come true. The city is renowned for its world-class gastronomy, offering an impressive array of eateries. From charming sidewalk cafés to Michelin-starred restaurants, there’s quite a selection.

And who can resist a warm buttery croissant from a local boulangerie.

Here, there’s an art to dining. Every meal is an experience rather than a rushed necessity. And what’s more, there’s always a new place to discover. You’ll turn the corner and find an incredible bistro that’s not in any guidebook.

The wines are also exceptional. Whether you’re a sommelier or simply enjoy a good glass of wine, the city’s wine culture is sure to impress.

Needless to say, Paris offers an unparalleled culinary journey. And you’ll have unlimited access to it if you live here.

7. Tons of Cultural Experiences

A giant mural at Boulevard Paris 13. It's a woman painted on the side of a building. Her hair is green-blue and her lips are bright red.
Boulevard Paris 13

Living in the French capital opens you up to an unimaginable wealth of cultural treasures. The city boasts a robust roster of museums, art galleries, and historical landmarks.

Imagine having the world-renowned Louvre, home to the Mona Lisa, right at your doorstep. Or consider the magnificent Eiffel Tower, a quintessential symbol of French ingenuity.

When I lived in Paris, I spent many mornings watching the sunrise over the Eiffel Tower at Trocadéro. And I was impressed every time.

Of course, the Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Palace of Versailles are also unforgettable. Both showcase the history of a once-powerful empire.

A more recent example of Paris’ commitment to art and culture is Boulevard Paris 13.

Located in the 13th arrondissement, this open-air museum showcases the work of street artists from around the world.

These life-sized murals are painted on the sides of buildings, adding color and life to the area. Best of all, it’s free to visit!

Each weekend can be a new cultural exploration, a journey through time and art. And it’s not about having access to these iconic spots, it’s about being part of a city that cherishes history and art. For culture enthusiasts, life in Paris is a dream.

8. Supportive Expat Community

If you’re considering moving overseas, you’ll need to have a strong network. And one of the biggest advantages of living in Paris is the supportive expat community. No matter where you’re from you’ll find a network of fellow expats ready to welcome you with open arms.

There are in-person clubs like the American Club in Paris as well as online platforms like InterNations. And these groups provide both emotional and professional support to help you navigate the challenges of life abroad.

From my personal experience, feeling out of place was the biggest hurdle to overcome. It’s very easy to feel isolated as an expat. So, having a friendly and vibrant community, like the one in Paris, is very important.

9. Beautiful Architecture

View of the Pont Alexandre III in Paris France. There are golden statues and elegant lamp posts all along the bridge. Then in the background you can see the Hôtel des Invalides.
Pont Alexandre III

Paris is like an open-air museum where every street and boulevard tells a story. Its awe-inspiring architecture is second to none.

The cityscape is a mesmerizing mélange of styles, from the medieval charm of Le Marais to the neoclassical grandeur of the Palais-Royal. Then, there are iconic structures such as the Pont Alexandre III and the Haussmann buildings. It creates a diverse architectural landscape that is unique to Paris.

Having such beauty at your doorstep not only enriches daily life but also fosters a deep appreciation for art, history, and culture. I never got tired of wandering the streets of Paris. These incredible structures added that touch of magic to everyday life.

10. Very Walkable

This is Promenade plantée in Paris. There a walkway surrounded by tall green bushes. Then on the left there is a bright rose and white flower. I used to go walking here when I lived in Paris.
Promenade Plantée

Despite the size of Paris, it’s a very walkable city.

From winding cobblestone alleyways to expansive boulevards, every street is a joy to explore on foot.

Each arrondissement is like a little city. In a small area, you’ll find tons of cafés, markets, and boutique shops, all within a few minutes of each other.

The short distances combined with the city’s flat terrain make walking very pleasant.

I found no better way to immerse myself in the Parisian atmosphere than by strolling through its streets. Not only that but I was also able to do daily errands without a car. The pharmacy, grocery store, and market were all within five minutes of each other.

And after I did my grocery shopping, I would walk along Promenade Plantée. It’s a linear elevated park and it’s designated as a pedestrian-only area.

I felt like I was able to live a healthy urban lifestyle without having to run around everywhere all the time.

11. Efficient Public Transportation

This is a photo of Paris' metro line 6 zooming by in the 13th arrondissement.
Paris Metro Line 6

One of the biggest advantages of living in Paris is its efficient public transportation system. The city boasts an expansive network of metros, buses, trains, and trams. With 16 metro lines and hundreds of stations, you can easily cross the city without needing a car. It makes daily commutes easy and hassle-free.

Not only is it efficient, but it’s also affordable. A single ticket costs €2.10 and you can save even more money if you buy tickets through the Bonjour RATP app.

Tickets are also flexible. So, you can hop between different modes of transport without needing separate passes. The system is designed to be fast and affordable.

Useful Tip: Tickets for the RER and Metro are not interchangeable. Make sure you buy the correct ticket for your destination.

12. Festivals and Events

Throughout the year Paris host a jam-packed calendar of festivals and events. It’s a lively atmosphere where something is always going on. From Bastille Day on July 14th to the Paris Carnival, there’s always something to look forward to.

The city’s events span a wide array of interests, including art shows, food events, and concerts. These are fantastic opportunities to engage with both the culture and locals.

Some of my favorite festivals were the Open Air Cinema at La Villette, the Musical Fountains Show at the Palace of Versailles, and Fête de la Musique.

13. Historical Significance

Jen holding the Histopad while exploring the Conciergerie in Paris. This is a small tablet that you get at the museum. You hold it up in a room and it shows you what the room looked like in the past. On the histopad I'm holding it shows what the Hall of Men at Arms looked like during the French Revolution.
Conciergerie

Living in Paris is like stepping into a time machine, each boulevard and café is steeped in rich history. And being surrounded by iconic landmarks, like the Louvre and Sacré-Coeur, is a constant reminder of the city’s illustrious past. After all, Paris was once an island, confined to Île de la Cité.

The city has seen epic events, from the Roman conquest of Gaul to the French Revolution. Each has left an indelible impact on the city’s character. And today, every corner of Paris tells a story of its past.

There’s the Concergerie, which was once a prison and a courthouse during the French Revolution. Here more than 2000 prisoners were tried and sentenced. Now, it’s a historical monument and museum dedicated to educating visitors.

The Louvre was the home of French royals until 1682, and now, has a reputation as one of the most impressive museums in the world.

But the city’s history isn’t confined to museums and monuments. It permeates every aspect of life, from food to fashion to festivals. By living here, you become part of this ongoing historical narrative, gaining a deeper understanding of the world and your place in it. It’s more than a pro; it’s a priceless privilege.

14. Fashion Capital

This is the exterior of the modern Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris. It's made of entirely of glass with a few wooden supports.
Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris

Paris has been at the epicenter of the fashion world since the 17th century, consistently defining and redefining trends. And, today, it’s the undisputed fashion capital of the world.

Whether it’s the haute couture houses of Dior or Champs-Élysées, Paris is an eclectic blend of classic elegance and modern edge.

Then, of course, there’s Paris Fashion Week, a key event on the global fashion calendar. This fabulous event brings together the world’s top designers, models, and celebrities.

But the influence Paris has on fashion extends beyond clothes. It shapes its architecture, cuisine, and lifestyle, infusing everyday life.

As a resident, you’ll get to experience this creative energy firsthand. It’s inspiring and contagious all at once.

15. Language Learning Opportunities

Jen's Textbooks for level A1 and A2 from Alliance Française Paris. This is where I first started studying French in Paris.
My Textbooks from Alliance Française Paris

Paris holds a special place in my heart for several reasons. It’s where I fell in love with France and its culture. It’s where, my then-boyfriend, now husband and I celebrated our wedding. It’s where I met lifelong friends. It’s also where I learned French.

I started at Alliance Française Paris, and, eventually, found an affordable private tutor. In fact, Paris has tons of language schools, tutors, and meetups that are affordable.

Not only that but it’s the perfect place to completely immerse yourself in the language. It’s an exciting environment where you can practice your French daily.

Of course, you could choose not to learn French. There are plenty of people who do. But if you want to have the same fulfilling experience as I did, I recommend that you learn at least basic greetings.

16. Vibrant Nightlife

There’s no denying that Paris has an exciting nightlife scene. It’s one of the biggest advantages of living in a city this size.

Whether you’re a party-goer, a theater buff, or a quiet soul seeking a calm riverside spot, Paris has something for everyone. Not only that but each district has a unique atmosphere.

Chill in Le Marais, get quirky in Pigalle, or hang out in Villette. Either way, there’s a neighborhood that will fit your style.

Moreover, the nightlife scene here is always evolving, with new bars, clubs, and events popping up regularly. You’ll always find something new to discover.

Needless to say, the city’s after-dark offerings are diverse and exciting. And, if you need to live in a city that has an active nightlife scene, then there’s no better place than Paris.

Cons of Living in Paris

As with any city, Paris is not without its drawbacks.

The very charm that draws millions to call it home can also be the source of some challenges.

Below I’ll delve into the less glamorous side of Parisian life, so you can make an informed decision.

17. Weather

A rainy day in Paris. I was walking in Père Lachaise Cemetery and all of a sudden it started to downpour. Here everything is wet including the cobble stone path.
Rainy Day in Paris

In general, Paris has a temperate climate, but it comes with its fair share of discomforts.

Summers can be hot and humid, with sudden downpours that can disrupt plans.

Winters can be cold and damp, with temperatures often dipping below freezing. And while snowfall is rare, the chilly winds and overcast skies can be dreary.

Parisian weather also transitions quickly. So, carrying an umbrella is as essential as having a map.

It’s not the biggest con on this list unless you’re someone who likes sun year-round. But it’s important to consider all the living in Paris pros and cons. 

If you do need a lot of sun, there are plenty of other places to live in France.

18. High Cost of Living

Not only is Paris the most expensive city in France, but it’s also one of the costliest in the world. From groceries to rent, there isn’t a single thing that’s cheap.

As an example, I lived in a one-bedroom apartment with a kitchen that wasn’t big enough to fit a stove. My monthly rent was €1000. And that was in the 11th arrondissement, far from the main attractions.

While my monthly income supported it, this isn’t the case for everyone. And don’t forget all the daily expenses you’ll have on top of the rent.

For some, especially expats and students, living here can be a huge financial burden.

It necessitates careful budgeting and may limit some lifestyle choices. So, while Paris offers an enriching lifestyle, it does come at a price.

19. Language Barrier

French words written on the wall of museum. It says vivez votre futur which means live for your future.
You’ll Need to Know French

While many Parisians can speak some degree of English, the official language is French. And contrary to other countries in Europe, English isn’t widely spoken among locals. So, the language barrier can pose a significant challenge when settling into life in Paris.

In many places, like doctor’s offices, the staff only speak French. And it can be frustrating and isolating not being able to communicate. Plus, there’s an inevitable cultural barrier that comes with not speaking French.

When I first arrived, I didn’t speak French. I was signed up for courses, but it took six months before I could have a conversation. At that time, I felt like an outsider, and it was difficult to make friends with the locals. But once I was able to speak French all that changed, and I felt engaged and involved with my surroundings.

So, if you plan on moving to Paris, I recommend learning some French before you arrive. It will make your life a lot easier.

20. Crowded Public Transport

While the public transport in Paris is efficient, it’s also overcrowded, especially during rush hour.

Every morning I fought my way onto a packed RER train. I was squashed, shoved, and pushed around the entire way to work. Sometimes I hit the jackpot and scored a seat, but it was rare.

Then, there were the transport strikes. On more than one occasion I got dropped off in the middle of nowhere and had to find a taxi. Other times the train didn’t show up.

Add to that frequent mechanical failures, sick passengers, and dirty stations and you’re in for a stressful commute.

Using public transport in Paris is a daunting ordeal and there’s never a moment when everything is working. So, if you’re someone who values personal space and comfort, you’ll find it a significant drawback.

21. Bureaucracy

Jen's Paperwork for a Long Stay French Spousal Visa. I applied for several visas in Paris and each time it was an exhausting process. This is only some of the paperwork I had to submit.
Tons of Paperwork

France is known for its extensive administrative procedures. From opening a bank account to setting up healthcare, you’ll find yourself navigating a maze of paperwork the moment you arrive.

But the bureaucracy in Paris is a whole other beast.

The delays are long, the administrative employees are meaner, and there are more unexpected hurdles. And, if you don’t speak French, double your anticipated anxiety and stress.

To give you a few examples, setting up my internet took three months, and every single visa renewal was delayed without reason. It also took me two years to exchange my driver’s license.

For comparison, when I exchanged my driver’s license in Switzerland, my new Swiss license arrived in my mailbox two days later. When I renewed my spousal visa in Strasbourg, it arrived before my other visa expired.

22. Safety Concerns

Paris, like any cosmopolitan city, has its fair share of safety concerns. Pickpocketing, particularly in crowded tourist areas or on public transportation, is frequent. And, even if it’s a petty crime, it can dampen your experience.

Then, there are the protests and strikes. These are commonplace and often lead to road closures and service disruptions.

It’s a city where you need to be mindful of your belongings, keep up with local news, and have a good understanding of the neighborhoods.

For reference, I lived in Paris for three years and I never had any problems. I was always aware of my surroundings and didn’t flash fancy camera gear. I never listened to music on public transport and always acted like I knew where I was going, even if I didn’t.

If you are aware of and prepared for these potential safety issues, you shouldn’t have a problem.

23. Tourist Crowds

This is Montmartre in summer and it's packed with tourists. There's several people standing in front of this photo I took. They were all trying to get the same photo.
Montmartre Packed with Tourists

As one of the world’s most visited cities, Paris often sees its streets swamped with tourists. And it’s even more crowded in July and August.

This influx can detract from the city’s charm.

Plus, constantly navigating through crowds can add stress and inconvenience to daily life. Imagine trying to buy toilet paper and fighting your way past a tourist taking a photo of you – “a local.”

Of course, tourism contributes to the economy, but there’s a negative side as well. It results in a less authentic experience, higher prices, and increased noise levels.

When I first moved to Paris, I stayed in the 1st arrondissement. And I hated it.

There wasn’t a day without a tourist yelling or trying to push their way somewhere. It was exhausting and I was happy when I moved to the 11th district.

24. Lack of Air Conditioning

Despite its many charms, one con of living in Paris is the lack of air conditioning. This can be a significant drawback during the summer months when temperatures soar.

By the time June rolls around, your quaint Parisian flat has turned into an unbearable hotbox.

I spent many nights tossing and turning, unable to escape the heat. And while you might think this gives you a perfect excuse to spend your summers lounging at Bois de Vincennes, it loses its allure after a few years.

Add to that the pollution and you’ll be rethinking calling Paris your home.

25. Pollution

View of the Eiffel Tower from the Lookout Point at Parc de Belleville. It's entirely covered in smog, which is a big con of living in Paris.
Eiffel Tower Hidden by Pollution

Despite attempts to improve air quality, Paris still records pollution levels above World Health Organization standards. More often than not you can see the smog. There’s a yellow-orange haze that seems to hover over the city. Sometimes it’s so thick it covers the Eiffel Tower.

And breathing it in can pose serious health problems.

I, actually, developed a serious cough because of it.

The primary culprit is vehicle emissions, particularly from diesel-fueled cars. I felt like I could never escape the smell of car exhaust.

But the problem extends beyond that. Noise pollution from traffic and crowded tourist spots can also detract from the quality of life.

So, if you want to live somewhere with clean air, I recommend considering cities like Dijon.

26. Small Living Spaces

In Paris, every square foot is at a premium. Apartments are often tiny, sometimes without a separate kitchen or bedroom. If you’re moving from a place where space is a luxury, this can be a major change.

Forget about big closets or a home office. In Paris, you’ll likely be living, working, and cooking within a few feet of each other.

While it can be seen as cozy and charming, it can also feel cramped, especially if you value your personal space. You’ll have to embrace a minimalist lifestyle and get creative.

Moreover, despite their size, these apartments do not necessarily come with a smaller price tag. The cost of renting even a tiny apartment in central Paris can be quite steep.

27. Busy Lifestyle

This is a jam packed highway in Paris. Everyone is rushing to get to where they need to go. When I took this picture everyone was honking.
Everyone is Always in a Rush

Living in Paris means adapting to a fast-paced lifestyle that might not be everyone’s cup of tea. The city is always buzzing, and the constant flurry of activity can be overwhelming.

The quick tempo of life is a byproduct of a city that thrives on culture, commerce, and charisma. But this endless hustle and bustle can lead to a feeling of being rushed and unable to fully enjoy the city’s charm.

Crowded metros, long lines, and noisy parks are all part of the Parisian lifestyle. For those who prefer slow, relaxed rhythms of life, this aspect of Paris can be a significant downside.

28. Competitive Job Market

Paris is a magnet for talented and ambitious individuals. As a result, the job market is fiercely competitive.

Not only that but there are a significant number of highly skilled domestic workers. And French employers prefer to hire someone who doesn’t need visa sponsorship or French lessons. It’s easier and cheaper for them.

Plus, most foreign diplomas don’t have a French equivalent. As an example, if you apply for a job with a Bachelor of Arts, a French employer might not know what that is. So, you’ll get moved to the bottom of the pile without a second thought.

And this type of competition is not just for one sector. It’s for everything.

It’s somehow both a pro and con of living in Paris. It means there are lots of jobs, but you’ll have to compete to get one.

29. Social Etiquette

This a café in Paris at Gallerie Viviane. There's a couple sitting a table talking quietly. This is the social norm in Paris. Talking loudly is frowned upon.
Talk Quietly in Cafés

Parisians are known for their strong adherence to social norms and etiquette. From the outside, it can come off as aloof or even stern. So, you should familiarize yourself beforehand so you can avoid awkward interactions.

The two most important unspoken rules are:

  • Greeting someone with ‘la bise’ (cheek-kissing)
  • Saying “bonjour” before any social interaction

Then, in restaurants, speaking loudly is frowned upon. And it’s not common to see people striking up conversations with strangers in the metro.

If you can adapt to these before you arrive, you’ll find that the others are easy to learn.

30. Picky Landlords

Finding a good apartment is challenging. And a lot of that has to do with the high demand and picky landlords.

With rental laws favoring tenants and a saturated market, landlords can afford to be selective. This often means an exhaustive review process. More often than not you’ll need to provide proof of income and a French guarantor.

For expats, this can pose a significant hurdle. Without a local guarantor, you may be asked to pay your rent in advance for the entire lease.

Useful Tip: I recommend looking at apartments before you arrive so you have a rough idea of how much it will cost. I would, then, save two to three months’ rent, if you can.

31. Difficult to Get a Bank Account

Opening a bank account is difficult. This is CIC Bank. I was eventually able to open and account here.
CIC Bank

Navigating the banking system in Paris is quite a challenge, especially for expats. The bureaucracy involved in opening an account is frustratingly complex. Banks typically ask for several documents, including proof of employment and address. None of which is possible to get when you first arrive.

Banking services are also carried out in French and in person.

As an example, when I first arrived, I was denied by three different banks because I didn’t have proof of address. Then, when I tried to move money from my account in the United States to my one in France, I couldn’t because my French bank didn’t allow online transactions for countries outside the European Union.

Not every French bank is this archaic, but, in the beginning, you might not get to choose.

So, to avoid any potential issues, I recommend signing up for either Wise or Revolut. I’ve been using both platforms for about six years and they are both very easy to use. It’s a great alternative you can use while you get your French account set up.

Useful Tip: CIC Bank and BNP Paribas are two very good banks in France. They have several branches in Paris.

32. It’s Dirty

Paris is unfortunately not the cleanest of cities. From litter-filled streets to the stench of stale urine, it’s a startling contrast to the city’s romanticized image.

Public areas are often marred by discarded cigarette butts, food wrappers, and dog poop.

Frequent strikes by sanitation workers further exacerbate the issue. When this happens, it’s not uncommon to see overflowing garbage bins and heaps of trash accumulating on the sidewalks. And when locals are tired of the mess, they burn the trash.

This lack of cleanliness, sadly, taints the charm of Parisian living.

33. Far from Nature

This is a brown bird surrounded by green bushes and plants. I took this photo in Paris, but it's rare to be surrounded by calm nature.
Far from Nature

Paris, while famed for its beauty, is far from national parks and reserves. Although it does have some incredible parks, these are not the same. They are often overcrowded and don’t quite compare to a big nature reserve.

For me, the tourists were sometimes overwhelming, and I wanted to go hiking in a forest somewhere. But the nearest nature reserves or hiking trails were a few hours away, making it impossible to do as a day trip.

While it wasn’t the biggest downside, it was frustrating. So, if you enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and camping, you may want to consider somewhere closer to nature like Lyon or Grenoble.

FAQs About Life in Paris

Is Paris a good place to live in?

Absolutely! Paris, despite its challenges, is an incredible place to live. The city is brimming with culture, history, and life. It’s home to world-class museums, restaurants, iconic landmarks, and shopping. And the vibrant nightlife, diverse neighborhoods, and excellent public transport only add to its appeal.

What is good salary in Paris?

A good salary in Paris depends on your lifestyle and personal circumstances. To cover basic expenses such as rent, food, transportation, and leisure activities, a single person needs to earn around €2,500 to €3,000 net per month.

What are some negatives of Paris?

Just like any city, Paris has its downsides too. Besides the cleanliness issues, the cost of living is very high. Paris is also known for its heavy traffic and often overcrowded public transportation. Lastly, if you don’t speak French, you might encounter language barriers.

Do a lot of Americans live in Paris?

Yes, a significant number of Americans have found their home away from home in Paris. There are approximately 30,000 Americans living in the city.

Can you live in Paris and not speak French?

Yes, it is possible to live in Paris without speaking French. The city is a global hub with an international community, and English is widely spoken. But you should learn some basic French. It will only enhance your experience and help you integrate more into the local culture.

Is Paris a stressful city?

Paris, like any bustling metropolis, can indeed be stressful at times. The city’s fast-paced lifestyle and high cost of living are the biggest sources of stress.

Is homelessness a problem in Paris?

Yes, homelessness is a significant issue in Paris. And there’s a stark contrast between affluence and poverty.

How can I move to Paris without a job?

Moving to Paris without a job can be challenging but it’s not impossible. First, it’s important to secure a visa that allows you to stay in France for an extended period. If you meet the necessary requirements, you shouldn’t have a problem.

Can an American move to France permanently?

Yes, an American can move to France permanently. But this requires obtaining a long-term visa, also known as a “visa de long séjour.” After living in France for a set number of consecutive years on this visa, you’ll be eligible to apply for permanent residency. The number of years depends on the type of long-stay visa you were issued.

Can I live in France with a US passport?

Yes, you can live in France with a US passport, but for a limited period. US citizens can stay in France without a visa for up to 90 days. If you wish to stay longer, you will need to apply for a long-stay visa before you travel.

Can a US citizen become a citizen of France?

Yes, a US citizen can certainly become a citizen of France. A common pathway is to first live in France for five consecutive years on a long-stay visa. Some exceptions to this rule apply, such as for those who have a French spouse or who have performed exceptional services for France.

Conclusion: Pros and Cons of Living in Paris

Paris, much like any city, comes with its own unique blend of delights and challenges. From awe-inspiring architecture to the occasional bout of “Paris Syndrome,” the city of love is a thrilling blend of highs and lows.

On one hand, you have incredible iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower coupled with rich and vibrant culture. On the other, you may find the cost of living, language barrier, and bustling city life a bit daunting.

But, if you’re willing to navigate these waters, you’ll find Paris absolutely rewarding.

So, weigh the pros and cons of living in Paris and prepare for an unforgettable adventure. And what better way to start preparing for that than by learning some French?


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Jen Ciesielski
Jen Ciesielski

Jen Ciesielski is the creator of Dabbling in Jet Lag. She has lived abroad for over ten years, traveled to more than 50 countries, and speaks French and English fluently. Her areas of expertise include moving abroad, learning languages, and travel planning. Originally from the United States, she now lives in France, where she has been for more than six years. She has also traveled extensively around the country. She shares her experiences as an expat living in France and helps thousands of people plan their trips every month.

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