Moving to Paris
Take it from me moving to Paris when you don't speak French is quite an adventure.
Everything from finding the right schools, picking a place to live, opening bank accounts, getting insurance, finding doctors, choosing cell phone plans.... it can all feel very intimidating when you have to deal with it in French.
The better informed you are in advance the easier it will be to make the right decisions when you get here.
Hopefully some of the practical information on our web site will help ease your transition and save you from some costly mistakes.
Good Luck with your move.
Schools in ParisIf like us you're moving with children then schools will be one of your top priorities. We have tried to give you an overview of school options in Paris to help you select the best fit for your children - see choosing a school in Paris.
If you would just like a list of international schools with contact information and pricing then click here.
I've been very honest about our family's experiences as I know this is the sort of information I would have found useful before choosing a school. If you're a parent in Paris we would love your feedback on any of these schools so that we can be sure to supply accurate, relevant information to families moving here (contact us).
House HuntingRenting in Paris is very different from the US or Britian. To help you get started read our brief list of 10 things to know when renting in Paris.
We're currently living in a three bedroom house in Paris's 14th district. We found our house on Craigslist Paris and have been very happy with the area, the house and the landlord.
I recommend trying Craigslis Paris as the ads are in English and although you might not find a house or apartment it will give you an understanding of prices and locations . Most of the listings are posted by real estate agents but a few are directly by owner and in these cases you can save the real estate commission.
Another useful website is www.pap.fr which also lists properties directly from owners. This site allows you to search not just by price or number of bedrooms but also by proximity to your required metro or tram line.
Remember the golden rule with online shopping "If it looks too good to be true it probably is!".
Banking in FranceIt's not complicated to open a bank account when you move to France you just need the usual paperwork (copy of lease, utility bill, and passports) and it takes about 10 days to 2 weeks to receive your debit cards and checkbooks. Click here for full details on banking in France with information on currency conversion, writing checks and debit vs. credit cards.
When it came to banking in France once again we started out the easy way... we opened our French bank account while still in the US by going to an HSBC bank. There was a fee of $200, but they took care of all the paperwork and our bank account with debit cards was waiting for us when we arrived in France two weeks later.
HSBC also managed to set us up with an account manager who spoke English. The only paperwork we required was passports and our address in France. Using the same bank in the US and France does make it easier for wire transfers but there are still transfer fees charged by both banks.
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