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Paris - Overview
Within the city of Paris proper, expatriates can find pockets of like-minded friends in just about every district. The convenience of transportation, abundance of entertainment and neighborly feel to the arrondissements make this city a much enjoyed home to many.
While living in Paris, you can expect to visit internationally celebrated museums, form tight bonds with other expatriate families and learn the intricacies of a culture known around the world for being unique and trend setting. There's simply no other place as fashionable, culturally rich and independent as Paris in the entire world.
Feeling comfortable in a new city often requires finding a strong community of friends and support persons. Be forewarned that you must be proactive about seeking out a community in which to engage when you move to Paris.
If you have school-aged children, you're at an advantage, as many Parisian expatriates form communities centered on their children's schools. You will also likely find a strong community at your place of work or your spouse's place of work.
Because of the strict socialist laws in France, it is exceedingly difficult for a non-European to find work in France. Therefore, if you move to Paris for a spouse's job, it may be challenging for you to find a community. Many expatriate spouses, therefore, join organizations, enroll in poetry workshops, or take classes at local continuing educational institutions to gain a sense of community and connectivity.
Many expatriates also express concern about the difficulties finding suitable and affordable housing in Paris. If you or your spouse work for a company that provides housing assistance, then you're at an advantage. If not, then you may want to dedicate a few months towards finding your long-term housing after you have already relocated, as it is difficult to find housing from abroad.
Despite the challenges and cultural cues that you will have to learn, Paris is an unforgettable city that lends itself to exciting experiences that will provide memories to last for a lifetime. Given the opportunity, few expatriate families would choose to live in any other city and many choose to stay for longer than the allotted time because the Parisian lifestyle becomes so engrained in one's practices that, after awhile, any other way of life becomes a challenge.
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