Pros and Cons of Moving to Paris

Paris—the name itself conjures images of romance, elegance, and timeless beauty. I adore this city. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have moved here. Despite its challenges, Paris hasn’t made me bitter—yet. Just kidding! I don’t think it ever will. I hope it never does.

So, here are a few pros and cons of moving to Paris, based on my personal experience.

The Allure of Paris

Paris has an enchanting aura that draws people in. There’s something about its streets, the Seine, the Eiffel Tower, and the quaint cafes that casts a spell on everyone. I’ve done my part to contribute to its dreamy, romantic vibe. I’m always cheering for the French and trying to convince my friends and family to visit or even move here. Paris, to me, is the most beautiful city in the world. Debate that if you want, but I stand by it.

A Dose of Reality

However, I have a responsibility. Some people come to Paris after reading my travel guide article, and I want them to know the full picture. If I’m critical of the United States, I must be fair and point out the downsides of living here in Paris too. So, despite my love for this place, here are the things that drive me crazy about living here.

The Nightmare of Deliveries

During the pandemic, you’d think we’d have perfected delivery systems. Not in Paris. Ordering something to my apartment is incredibly stressful. You must answer calls from the delivery person, or you won’t get your package. Despite providing detailed delivery instructions, nobody reads them. And my apartment doesn’t even have a number—just codes and directions like it’s the 1300s.

Some buildings have a “guardian” to receive packages, but that’s no guarantee either. Our guardian retired months ago, and the building hasn’t found a replacement yet. Even with a guardian, they’re only available for a few hours a day, making it almost impossible to get packages reliably.

The French Attitude towards Work

In contrast to the unhealthy work culture in the United States, the French have a more relaxed approach to work. A law passed in 2000 limits the workweek to 35 hours, but with numerous loopholes. While I’m all for work-life balance, clear communication about working hours is essential. Unfortunately, stores here often don’t adhere to their posted hours, and many businesses close for a two-hour lunch break, making it hard to get things done.

Endless Vacation Time

The French take vacations seriously. August is essentially a write-off; almost everything is closed, and everyone is on vacation. My banker took three separate vacations while I was trying to secure a loan for my apartment. While I respect the emphasis on work-life balance, it can be frustrating when you need to get things done.

The Chaos of Biking and Metro

Paris is becoming more bike-friendly, which is great. However, some bike lanes are dangerously designed, going against the flow of traffic. The metro, while generally efficient, can be unbearably hot and crowded in the summer. The weekly or monthly passes are inconveniently structured, and the countless stairs make it difficult for people with disabilities or those carrying luggage.

The Smoking Culture

Smoking is still a big part of life in Paris. While it might look cinematic from a distance, it’s unpleasant up close. Many people smoke in public places, and it’s disheartening to see young teens smoking outside schools. This aspect of Parisian life is hard to get used to, especially when it impacts personal interactions and public health.

Lack of Open Green Spaces

Paris is densely packed with attractions, but it lacks large open green spaces. While there are beautiful parks like the Jardin du Luxembourg, the biggest green spaces are on the city’s outskirts. This makes it challenging to escape the urban hustle and find a peaceful retreat without considerable effort.

Parisians’ Inaccessibility

Making friends with Parisians is tough. Most of my friends here are either expats or French people who have lived abroad. Despite being fluent in French and loving to immerse myself in local culture, I find Parisians hard to connect with. They tend to stick to their established social circles, making it difficult for newcomers to feel included.

Bad Service in Bars and Restaurants

Paris has a reputation for indifferent service in its bars and restaurants. Not every place is like this, but it’s common enough to be frustrating. Sometimes you wait ages just to get a menu or the check. The best solution is to leave if you feel mistreated, but it can still put a damper on your dining experience.

Despite all these rants, I definitely don’t hate Paris. It’s a city I deeply love. Venting about these frustrations doesn’t change that. Paris, with all its flaws, is still my dream city.

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