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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Weekend warriors

Au Pairing in Paris

I’ve had such a fun, busy week. I’m finally catching up with everyone after the Christmas break, spending too much money and eating (and maybe drinking) more than I should. Januarys not so blue!

IMG_0602 I’ve started to notice the crazy houses in our little suburban town. Theres so much dramatic architecture around Paris but even when I just take a 5 minute walk I see some crazy and beautiful houses. House envy on every corner.

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We (Judit, Bethany, Camilla, Yasmin & Susanna) went out on Thursday night to celebrate the end of exams (which I didn’t do because I don’t go to uni but I can’t miss out on the celebrations can I?!) to a club called Le Duplex, right by the Arc De Triomphe. We all had a pretty fun night; the music was mainly pop and house from what I can remember. I have a thing against the techno music that the french love so anywhere that plays music you can actually sing and dance along to is a winner for me. And I find it jokes when they throw in a random ‘Alors on danse’ or other french song and everyone goes crazy. Plus free entrance and not crazy overpriced drinks = happy gals!

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There was a creepy dancer who politely pushed me off his podium then wanted me to touch his abs. Which I wasn’t too excited by. Look at my face for proof.

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I managed to pick up a few copies of Charlie Hebdo as I arrived at Saint Lazare station at 6am as the newsagents were opening. There was already a queue, lots of pompous people giving their opinion of the magazine and a limit of only buying 5. I hope this and the fact that eBay have reportedly disallowed them to be sold stops people making obscene amounts of money from selling them on. I saw a copy go for £100,000!

On Friday night Judit, Bethany, Yasmin and I had a chilled out evening watching ‘In her Shoes’, a cheesy rom com with Cameron Diaz and some other randomers. It’s a decent film but way too emotional for my liking; like why are they trying to upset me, I just wanted to see an easy flick. Don’t get deep with us and kill off characters?!

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I was back in Olympiades again on Saturday morning to run with Judit (see my previous post!). We went shopping with the others in the afternoon in Chatelet. The forum des halles shopping centre is so much bigger than I realised, after only seeing one half of it the other times I’ve been. We probably spent more time trying to find each other than actually shopping. I somehow managed to buy a h&m jacket that I totally needed because you know, having 7 other jackets in Paris and more at home just isn’t enough is it…?

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diets are going well.

Saturday night was my chance to finally see Amrita and catch up. We drank gross wine at Le Perchoir, the cutest rooftop bar in Paris. You get an amazing view of the Sacre Coeur and theres fairy lights, comfy sofas and fires to help you forget that it’s actually like 2 degrees up there. Unluckily for us we had an overly PDA couple going for it on the sofa opposite to us.

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We did the horrible 10 minute walk to La Bellevilloise. We always meet some strange characters on this road and we’re always hating life because it’s the steepest hill in the world. 

Once we actually got there we had a wicked night. Even if we had to deal with even more awful PDA in there as well. When will people learn eh?

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On the metro in the morning I made friends with a guy with the cutest puppy ever! I managed to get a good 10 minutes of cuddles before the owner gave me a can of juice and his business card. Which I accidentally threw away. Ha oops, not the biggest loss.

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I’m now listening to Sia’s album ‘1000 forms of fear’, I’d forgotten how much I love it. And I also want a big cage like the one she uses for the elastic heart video, would be so cool for photos!

I’m excited for next week, I have nothing solid planned but maybe bowling and hopefully get a pizza in town. Praying the forecast of snow is a wrong because I don’t have the energy to deal with cold weather!

Mary x