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Paris - Accommodation and Property
That being said, many expatriate families express difficulties finding housing. The city is large, yet rental rates are considered to be very high and there is a steep demand for suitable living space in a desirable location. If you want to live in the city-proper, there are two options for you: 1) obtain the help of a housing search aid; 2) search for housing on your own.
If you work for a company that provides housing or housing assistance, you will likely want to take advantage of its program. Otherwise, if you don't want to search for housing on your own, then get connected with a real estate company that can do your searching for you. Real estate companies tend to be rather pricey and often take longer than going out on your own though.
The most important of these do-it-yourself methods are: networking and being proactive. Below are two tips for finding networking opportunities:
Head over to the American Church of Paris on the Quai for a Sunday service or meet-and-greet. This church is one of the oldest in Paris and is known both inside and outside of the city for being a mixing pot for English speaking expatriates.
New housing opportunities are posted on the bulletin board outside of the Church every single day, so make the church your first stop in your search each morning. Take along a cell phone so you can call the landlords right away to schedule an appointment to see the location(s) of your choice. Act fast because these spots go fast.
Pick up a copy of FUSAC, which is published bi-monthly. FUSAC, an acronym for France-USA-Connection, is the English-speaking expatriate's guide to living in Paris. The magazine not only posts housing opportunities, but also lists job and networking offers as well. The magazine is published in English and has a Web site that you can visit from anywhere.
Neighborhoods: an Overview
Paris-proper is divided into 20 neighborhoods, otherwise known as arrondissements. Each arrondissement is distinctly different than the arrondissements adjacent to it. Here's an overview of some of the most popular residential locations:
16th Arrondissement: The 16th is the more posh residential district located across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower. Many celebrities and businesspersons live in this district, making it very chic...and very expensive. Transportation to and from the center of Paris can take time, though, as the 16th is somewhat on the outskirts and only has one Metro line connecting it to the rest of the city.
5th and 7th Arrondissements: The 5th and 7th make up the residential capital for individuals wishing to live in the middle of everything. These two districts are located along most Metro lines and have world-renowned shopping available on every street corner. Cafes, music and easy access to many major museums and historical landmarks make this area one of the most culture-filled neighborhoods in the world.
14th and 15th Arrondissements: The 14th and 15th are located on the southern outskirts of the city-proper. The quiet neighborhoods and access to large grocery stores and parks make these neighborhoods popular for families. There are also many schools and ample parking spaces available for individuals requiring travel by car. The commute into the center of the city takes longer, as there are 2-3 Metro lines running into these districts, depending on your location within the district. Yet, the trade-off is an urban lifestyle for less cost, less commotion and more privacy.
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