Have you ever dream of living the Parisian lifestyle? Strolling by Eiffel Tower in the early sunrise, sitting down in the café while having croissants and a cup of latte.
For a start, whenever my family, friends or somebody found out that I was living in Paris, these were the questions that I normally would get :
How it feels like living in Paris?
Are you a Parisian now since you’re living in Paris?
Oh, so you lived near the Eiffel Tower huh?
I moved to Paris in October 2018. Two months after my graduation. The main reason was to find a job. Always on constant fear thinking on how it feels like living in Paris. Will I be okay surviving the city life? Is it possible to make new friends? Could I survive in the big city?
Living in Paris didn’t mean that I am a Parisian. But I guess I did live the Parisian lifestyle. You have to sort of adapt to your environment at one point.
I’d never been a fan of Paris. To be honest with you, I hated Paris. I hated it so much because I was pickpocketed when I first travelled to the so-called city of love and lights. Well for some of you it may be it, but it wasn’t the case for me.
The love-hate relationship
However, when I settled down in Paris, as time goes by, I figured that its richness is incomparable. The hatred towards Paris turned more into a love-hate relationship. Certain things are okay and certain things that are not okay. Like how easy it was to find a boulangerie anywhere I go, but I would have to go through the certain metro that has this intense pee odour.
When I was doing a small part-time tour guide, I would just introduce Paris as the city of pickpockets! Tourists would just laugh after that because they find it funny 😉
No doubt that Paris is beautiful. La Tour d’Eiffel, le Jardin de Luxembourg, le Marais, and the everlasting classic Montmarte. The morning markets at below Bir-Hakeim Metro station… the fresh flower markets at Maison Meunier…There are a lot of things to do, places to go and delicious food to eat. It is constantly a new exploration and it never ends!
That is the beauty of Paris. It gave me a reset button every time I go out. Always giving a fresh experience and feeling in Paris.
How it feels like living in Paris?
Everything is on fast forward
Similar to other big capitals, Paris has the hustle and bustle of a typical city. Every morning, I would find myself running after the public transportations.
To avoid peak hours? Yes. To get to the job on time? Yes.
During the weekdays, there is no such thing as to dilly-dally in the morning. People usually do not take their own sweet time. It’s always fast pace walking rhythm up and down the escalators/stairs to catch the metro or the bus.
I had to walk fast to avoid slowing other people down. I did not understand why at first. But the main reason for it all is to avoid any unfortunate disturbances (also known as ‘perturbations’ in french) that could take place. 5 minutes difference in going out from home would change your commuting time: either you get to your job on time or you’ll be late for two hours.
The culture of “apéro”
This culture is very common in France. It is an activity where it involves snacks, drinks, and friends. Normally, we would go for an apéro after work, just before having dinner. There are endless of cafés and bars that you can drop in and have a drink with your friends, with great ambience and comfortable beautiful terraces! Head over to Chatelet or Montmarte to enjoy your evening.
Going for apéro doesn’t necessarily mean going to a bar or a restaurant. Locals do it at their home as well. If you’re feeling like you need fresh air, you could go to Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, Parc de la Villette or sit along with Canal Saint-Martin! Bring some drink, snacks and go have an apéro picnic.
Gives you a little break from the day and gives you a relaxing feel at the end of the day as living in Paris could make you go nuts as well.
The smell of fresh pain au chocolate and croissants
This is my favourite part! When I wake up in the morning and go to the bakery. The smell of freshly baked baguettes and croissants. My knees would just become soo weak and wobbly!
The smell of the crispy buttery croissants would just go up the nose, crawls down the throat and spread the butterflies in my tummy. The golden shiny surface would just make me drool. Although it may seem very cliché in France, it is pretty regular to see locals coming in and out the boulangerie.
On the weekends, I would go and get my morning breakfast set. They would serve croissants or pain au chocolate with coffee and orange juice. Sometimes, they would give me freshly baked slices of baguette as well.
Start the day with a cup of coffee and croissants while sitting in a charming Parisian café.
Hang about around the local neighbourhood
As Paris has more than 10 arrondissements, each of the neighbourhood areas has their little hidden gems here and there. It is not all about fine dining with les escargots, le tartare and les huitres! The uncommon streets in Paris will always keep you surprised.
One turn will take you to a rooftop bar with a view, another turn will take you to hot banana bread topped with butter and the next thing you know, you end up with a plate with layers of fluffy pancakes with a touch of maple syrup and freshly pressed orange juice.
Explore the less popular flea market in the south of Paris, Marhés aux Puces at Porte de Vanves. Have a stroll with your friends and loved ones down Canal Saint Martin (Yes, I’ve mentioned this place twice now. This is my favourite go-to place as it is so beautiful and peaceful).
Or, spend the time discovering covered passages in Paris such as Passage des Panoramas or Passage du Grand-Cerf.
“Metro, Dodo, Boulot”
“Metro, Boulot, Dodo” is an informal french phrase that is often used to describe the life in Paris – live to work. One sad yet truthful reality in Paris.
Metro symbolises the commute by train commute, Boulot means work and Dodo simply defines sleep.
It is a weekly routine that kind of drains you out by the end of the day. Sometimes, I would keep myself busy by reading a book or listen to some music.
It does take a while to settle down in the Parisian life. Life is not always on the bright side. Behind every beautiful story, there are always the struggles and obstacles one need to face.
If you’re planning to move to Paris, let your expectations down, as low as possible. This will reduce your frustration if things are not as what you expected. Nevertheless, I assure you, Paris is a very nice place to live in. I really loved it and enjoyed every second of it.
Just thought of sharing my 2 cents on how it feels living in Paris, as I was once living the french dream. Love it, and it will always remain as one of the memories carved deep down in my heart!
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