Non-tourist tips for living in Paris

Au Pairing in Paris, Europe

I spent 8 months in France’s capital city –  the most visited city in Europe. Seeing the City of Light as a ‘local’ instead of a tourist is an important part of settling in and enjoying a new city. Here are some of my tips for when you arrive in Paris; my favourite spots to visit (& drink and dance lol), best steps to take in your first few days and where to avoid like the French plague… I’ve added cickable links to most points to make life a million times easier for you. wooo

Go to at least 3 picnics. They’re awkward at first and organisers can seem totally creepy but I would’ve had ZERO friends if I hadn’t of forced myself to a fair few in my first weeks. Check out Youth Events in Paris for organised picnics, take a thick scarf or blanket, go to Carrefour for screw top wine and snacks. Add people on Facebook afterwards; if you really want to be the glue that holds the group together take photos and tag everyone.

Don’t be surprised if you’re joined by a few rats if you go to Champ de Mars.

Avoid Cafe Oz (internationals galore) and head to Le Perchoir. It’s pricey but pre drink and then share one glass of wine between four of you; super savin’.

visit The Local for english news, jobs and advice from Europe

Go to a metro party if you’re not claustrophobic and don’t mind a few runs from the police

Get a local sim and not just an English sim with the ability to make calls from France. Makes life easier for everyone else

Try out the bars in Bastille but don’t end up here every weekend. Theres more to Paris than Bastille!

Get to know some dance songs as that’s what you’ll be dancing along to in the cheesy europop bars. The French love their electro; I made a short soundcloud playlist to get you started. 

Go to 1979 on a Saturday if you like hip hop and RnB, the DJs are fab

Check out Shakespeare and Company for English books

Grab a few metro maps and download the RATP app. Learn your line and the lines your friends live on, work out how far it is to walk to certain places. Find out what time the first and last trains to where you live are to avoid unpleasant surprises at the end of the night. Learn the night bus route and don’t be afraid to just get it! I avoided countless pricey taxis because I just faced up to the ‘night bus fear’ straight away.

Buy at least one jar of Speculoos and thank me later.

Like the Seventy Fifth Facebook page and follow the blog to keep up to date with the cool shizz happening about town (it’s for english speakers, yay)

Accept the price and inconvience of location and visit the Foundation Louis Vuitton

Head to Couchsurfing parties for pool, beer pong and sumo fights

Wander round a flea market on a Sunday but don’t expect to find anything too exciting. They’re a bit overrated in my opinion but theres a nice atmosphere if you’re into that

Go for a walk down canal St Martin in the day and return in the evening

Square du Vert-Galante by Pont Neuf for picnics

Download Tinder to meet some weirdos. Dating in the ‘city of love’ is as actually about as unromantic as it gets so you might as well admit defeat and get some free meals & bizarre conversations out of it.

Go to Place de Republique on a Sunday and join a demonstration if you want to express your opinion

Go to the Kilo Store in Le Marais, don’t expect any bargains but have a browse

Marks and Spencer’s is pretty much cheap here so cheer yourself up with Percy pigs

Visit Galeries La Fayette to appreciate the ceiling and then head to the roof for a pretty cool view

Buy your homeware from Tati and feel like you’re floating in a Poundland-crossed-with-Wilkinson-cheapo heaven

Don’t upset any homeless people. You might not live to tell the tale (I have huge amounts of compassion for homeless people and their living situations but remember wine is cheaper than water in Paris. Be careful gals)

Get to know when your local post office is and expect to spend a long time in there as everyone is so slow!

Bear in mind that McDonalds have different stuff on the menu. The chips are never salty enough.

If you need anything for a Sunday either be prepared and get it on Saturday, go early Sunday morning or head to the Jewish area.

Go for a run, walk or picnic in Parc Buttes Chaumont, it’s real pretty.

Vending machines aren’t all that reliable.

Stand up on the metro if it’s busy and you’re on a foldable seat.

Go to Le Comptoir General; it’s an amazing place the bar tenders know how to make the strongest drinks.

If you’re stuck in an uncompromising situation there are 31 street condom vending machines in Paris. You’re welcome.

AAAAAAnd that’s all. There’s no reason to ever be bored in Paris; the gender based harassment and general cringe-ness of the lovey dovey couples walking too slowly down the street might get you down but there’s definitely worse places to live in.

Oh and drink all the peach wine.

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Mary x

Overheard this week

Au Pairing in Paris


I feel kinda guilty for not posting for a while. Sowwwwrry! Here’s some funny things I’ve heard this week from the kids.

Running away from the little ones in the park –
F – ‘I’m going to die! I’m going to die!!!!’
Me – ‘Why? Are they the monsters?!’
F – ‘Noooo my sister. My sisters in love! I’m going to die!!!!’
Me – ‘Did she tell you?’
F – ‘No I asked the boy and he said its true. Aaah!’

With J, looking at family photos while he was peeing –
Me – ‘Is that your uncle?’
J – ‘Noooo that’s my un-cool!’

Mid tantrum (apparently I’m the baddy for sending her to her room for spitting on and punching her siblings)
F – ‘Mary you are really not nice! You are even more not nice than my teacher at school! I really think you are so mean.’

Whining while walking home from school
F – ‘Why can’t I be 3? Why can’t you push me in a buggy?!’
Me – ‘you’re 7, its great to be 7’
F – ‘No its not, I hate being grown up’

J looking down at his thing whilst changing his nappy
J – ‘Mary its grown. Its getting bigger.’

Aaaaand that pretty much sums up my week

Mary x

What should I do? Why not move to Paris?! – 15th August 2014


If you read my post yesterday, have me on Facebook, Twitter or know me in real life you should know that come 30th August I’ll be moving to Paris to become an au pair!

I applied for the position on Gumtree (maybe my favourite website of all time.) whilst aimlessly wondering ‘what to do with my life’. I have a lot of these moments of having no idea or direction with what to do with myself and it can take a few days of convincing myself that I actually have loads of interests and maybe a few talents that will get me by. If I don’t come up with that then I can easily spiral into ‘I’ll never get a job, I have no skills, I’m going to end up penniless and homeless, I’ll be eaten by foxes on the street’ mood. Which is no fun. 

I searched for any job overseas; I decided England was the enemy and staying here would be like giving up. Which I now see as completely ridiculous but when you return from an unreal few months half way across the world you don’t get too excited by going to Howard Centre or getting a food shop at Sainsbury’s. I had my mind set on Asia; specifically teaching English in China because it was so far away and is unknown territory for me. I applied for every Asian teaching job I could find but many required a TEFL qualification or a degree, which I have neither of. My next step was looking for jobs closer to home and where visas weren’t an issue so searched for jobs in Europe.

In the back of my mind Au Pairing was always an option; I love kids, usually get on well with adults, want to learn a language and it provides accommodation and food. I read a family’s profile and liked the idea of their ‘everyday life’ – 3 young children who enjoy singing, dancing, sport and playing with 2 lovely parents and a beautiful house near central Paris. Parfait! I decided to apply with my CV and a cover letter. I must’ve done something right because a few days later I was having an interview with the children’s father and a week later I got an email to say I’d got the job!

Now I have just over 2 weeks before I get the Eurostar to  my new home for a year in Paris. I have a lot to organise and prepare but as usual I’m distracting myself with more exciting options and running from my responsibilities, woo!

Mary x

Sacre Coeur

Sacre Coeur