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My husband was just offered a job for a couple of years in Paris and we are seriously considering a move from the US. If anyone had a chance to make a different decision from their move to France in this forum, would they have gone? And if so, what would you have done differently? We are trying to weigh the pros and cons....... No kids if that helps and I would like to find work once there. We are hiring a teacher to help with our French and his company will help with locating housing. Thanks for any guidance
 

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Hello

Welcome to the forum!

I'll answer but I'm not in the same situation as you. I came to France "semi retired" , recent divorce and started living in what was the ex family holiday home. For me the place, timing, village that I knew etc was ideal. I did not have "trailing spouse" or children, so I could be very egocentric.

Can you for a few weeks or a month to see what it's like? As with all countries there is a wide variety of climates, food, local accents, cities / countryside etc.

Overall, be prepared for MAJOR cultural changes, some pleasant, some difficult. Overall, if you treat it as HUGE learning experience you will both enjoy it and benefit from it.

DejW
 

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Depends on the type of visa your husband will be on as to whether or not you'll be allowed to work. And, to be honest, the job opportunities in France will be limited for you as a foreigner with no, or limited French and with a "short-term" time frame. Could be different if you will have the option to stay on.

A couple of factors to consider: Working a a foreign country for a couple of years is a major career/resume enhancement. Many of the cultural "shocks" are much easier to bear if you know they are time-limited, and you just might learn something. The whole experience will be a function of how much you're willing to put into it. People will not come to you when you move in. You'll have to go out and make contacts - either by joining local associations or putting yourself out there. It's tough at first, but the payback is enormous.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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We're Here and We're Thriving

My husband was just offered a job for a couple of years in Paris and we are seriously considering a move from the US. If anyone had a chance to make a different decision from their move to France in this forum, would they have gone? And if so, what would you have done differently? We are trying to weigh the pros and cons....... No kids if that helps and I would like to find work once there. We are hiring a teacher to help with our French and his company will help with locating housing. Thanks for any guidance
My husband accepted a job of the same duration. It has been an interesting, certainly challenging career move, but I see that he is actually thriving. His company has taken care of the major paperwork and visas (mine too) and set him up with a company that helped locate our apartment. The plus side is that we've been to Paris several times on holiday before, my husband is fluent in French and I'm coming along! We know our way around the city too. We don't have kids either.
As for me finding work here, the job market is very tough for the French themselves. I won't be working here, so I'll use it as an opportunity to explore Paris, join an ex-pat club and take classes.
Our difficulty is that I have several pets back in the States. It was too prohibitive to bring them all here and no way we were giving them up. It's been a big expense to hire a pet sitter and we also rely on my family to take care of the dogs. By finding airline "deals" on Iceland Air, I fly back and forth every 6 to 8 weeks or so.
I'm either missing my husband or missing my dogs, so it's not an ideal situation. But my husband was in the military so being apart for lengths at a time or moving a lot is our norm.
He has been working here in Paris now for 6 months now. He's driving in Paris, though the Metro is available, because he likes having a car for the weekends and apparently has nerves of steel. NO way would I drive here! I love it here. I'm getting to know our neighborhood, the merchants and others here and people think I'm French. Sure, there are difficulties--like the war I seem to be waging with our combo washer and dryer--but the benefits are awesome. We are living in the most beautiful city in the world (my opinion), so much to do and see and EAT and that's just here in Paris!
Did I mention that I'm an artist? We said "yes" to this job offer and our regrets are so minor. We are glad we took this chance. It's PARIS, after all.
 

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Things I would do again? I don't think I could have done more research, but the problem is that it is not a culture that uses the internet to communicate (which I didn't find out in my internet research ;). Personal relationships are key and you find out more about what is going on in your area through Associations and Expat clubs. It will take an effort to meet people but try to get to know the French as they are very sincere and kind when you are their friend. Think of hobbies you enjoy and at least that way you have some passion in common with the people you meet.

As for working... don't expect to work. It is difficult enough for the French right now, and I have found Paris an extremely difficult place to find work. I am not alone as many expat wives who moved here have said the same thing. Maybe you will be lucky, but I would focus on volunteering and enjoying the culture. If you need your income to have a decent quality of life, than no, sorry, don't move here. :(

I would suggest getting out of Paris often to really explore the country. Paris is not France and France in not Paris. It would be like saying New York is the United States, which it is clearly not. If someone went to the US and only lived in Manhattan they would not have gotten a flavour for the entire country. Transport is easy and inexpensive to take advantage of the trains to see other areas.

Oh, and as I mentioned in my Sunday Shopping post, forget about your ideas of good customer service or convenience. Just let it go now. Really, just forget about it ;) Stores are closed Sundays and many shops are closed Mondays as well. And banks take an hour or two for lunch so they close too.

I see that your post lists you in Denver. If you are sporty, or enjoy the outdoors, Paris is NOT a great city for that. Joining a gym is horribly expensive and although the bike-share program is popular, it is not like riding mountain bikes at home. Organic (bio) food is becoming more popular, but it is not what I would call a 'healthy' city. If you are not sporty and want to sit in a cafe with an amazing glass of wine and people-watch before you go to the Opera, which is inexpensive to see, then yes, Paris is your type of city :)
 

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I have not the skill to highlight the relevant section, but why does stores closing sundays or any other day for that matter constitute bad customer service?

Can't you organise (organize) your life to shop the other 6 days a week?
 

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Things I would do again? I don't think I could have done more research, but the problem is that it is not a culture that uses the internet to communicate (which I didn't find out in my internet research ;). Personal relationships are key and you find out more about what is going on in your area through Associations and Expat clubs. It will take an effort to meet people but try to get to know the French as they are very sincere and kind when you are their friend. Think of hobbies you enjoy and at least that way you have some passion in common with the people you meet.

As for working... don't expect to work. It is difficult enough for the French right now, and I have found Paris an extremely difficult place to find work. I am not alone as many expat wives who moved here have said the same thing. Maybe you will be lucky, but I would focus on volunteering and enjoying the culture. If you need your income to have a decent quality of life, than no, sorry, don't move here. :(

I would suggest getting out of Paris often to really explore the country. Paris is not France and France in not Paris. It would be like saying New York is the United States, which it is clearly not. If someone went to the US and only lived in Manhattan they would not have gotten a flavour for the entire country. Transport is easy and inexpensive to take advantage of the trains to see other areas.

Oh, and as I mentioned in my Sunday Shopping post, forget about your ideas of good customer service or convenience. Just let it go now. Really, just forget about it ;) Stores are closed Sundays and many shops are closed Mondays as well. And banks take an hour or two for lunch so they close too.

I see that your post lists you in Denver. If you are sporty, or enjoy the outdoors, Paris is NOT a great city for that. Joining a gym is horribly expensive and although the bike-share program is popular, it is not like riding mountain bikes at home. Organic (bio) food is becoming more popular, but it is not what I would call a 'healthy' city. If you are not sporty and want to sit in a cafe with an amazing glass of wine and people-watch before you go to the Opera, which is inexpensive to see, then yes, Paris is your type of city :)

Thanks for your post - while I received value from them all, your concern over your dogs you have in the states still made me sad. I was thinking of bringing my dog over after a bit. Is there a reason you have not? Loved your comment about health-wise Denver. But I am a jogger, so no gym necessary - but another reason I need my dog! :confused::confused:
 

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Thanks for your post - while I received value from them all, your concern over your dogs you have in the states still made me sad. I was thinking of bringing my dog over after a bit. Is there a reason you have not? Loved your comment about health-wise Denver. But I am a jogger, so no gym necessary - but another reason I need my dog! :confused::confused:
Hi!

I am from Boulder/Louisville. It seems there are even more dogs in France than in the Denver metro area. Between the cats and dogs our apartment building must have 20 units and at least 40 animals. I see no reason that you could not bring your dog. There is a process and cost, but I'd go for it.

Alison

Sent from my iPhone using ExpatForum
 

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I have not the skill to highlight the relevant section, but why does stores closing sundays or any other day for that matter constitute bad customer service?

Can't you organise (organize) your life to shop the other 6 days a week?
I said convenience 'or' customer service, not 'and'. The point is if you are coming from North America where you can go to Whole Foods until say 11:00 pm, or run to Staples for some last minute thing for a presentation you have to give the next day etc. it is a rude awakening to find out things are not only closed on Sunday, but also during lunch hours (banks, some pharmacies etc), and close early in the evenings.

Yes of course people can organise their lives; however, you can also end up shopping with everyone else trying to get their stuff done on Saturday. Personally I like spontaneity and if something better comes up on a Saturday afternoon I like the opportunity to tinker with my schedule and just get my errands done in the Sunday.

I think the reputation of French 'customer service' when seen through the eyes of North Americans does not need any further explanation ;)
 

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The French (and, indeed, the Europeans overall) don't place alot of value on the concept of "convenience." When I lived in Germany, shops closed at 4pm on the weekdays, and at 1 or 2 pm on Saturday afternoons - by law. The "sales" were limited to two two-week periods a year. OK, the laws there have changed (though they still aren't a 24/7 society either).

The laws here in France have changed. Stores are allowed to open a certain number of Sundays each year - and some choose not to. There is no requirement that shops close at lunch time. Small shops are more likely to do so than big stores - however they stay open until 7:30 pm or later. The culture here is not to "shop till you drop" (nor is it to drown yourself in debt simply to be able to have the latest and greatest of everything).
Cheers,
Bev
 

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This thread is departing in a big way from the question posed by the Original Poster.

Frankly, we have to accept that France is not an extension of our home country, and therefore you will find that things are different here. Whether it's better or worse depends on your needs, way of life and, of course, what you are used to. If you normally shop on Sunday in your home country then France will be difficult. When in Rome etc etc.

It's interesting to note that while France does have a high level of industrial strikes, these do not go so far as to closing down government business for an indefinite period - US readers here please note! (some people may say that that the Fr State closes for 2 months in every summer, but that is predictable, and everyone else is on vacation, so it has little impact.)

DejW
 
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