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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi. My husband, an EU (non-French) national, has accepted a job in Paris. They are providing us relocation expenses and his job (academic) starts Sept. 15, 2010.

I am an American citizen and so is my daughter.

Anyway, I have so many questions about the move. I actually speak fluent French and taught it at the college level, so at least the language isn't a problem! Actually, nothing is a "problem" - I'm so excited. But we are a bit confused about the best way to go about renting an apartment, I guess that's the biggest thing. I also have questions about school for my daughter, who will be 5 when we move.

So...

1) Is Lodgis dot com a good choice to rent a furnished apt. for a year, as we wish to do, so we can be sure we want to stay long-term in France before renting (or buying) a more "permanent" place and buying furniture, etc? Any other good ideas?

2) Regarding school, something I read (maybe on the gov't schools website?) said that the kids need to be enrolled for maternelle by the end of January before the Sept. in which they wish to begin school. But you have to have an address to enroll them, among other things. How can I register my daughter for school?

Any ideas, or more general advice, would be so welcomed! :)
 

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So...

1) Is Lodgis dot com a good choice to rent a furnished apt. for a year, as we wish to do, so we can be sure we want to stay long-term in France before renting (or buying) a more "permanent" place and buying furniture, etc? Any other good ideas?

2) Regarding school, something I read (maybe on the gov't schools website?) said that the kids need to be enrolled for maternelle by the end of January before the Sept. in which they wish to begin school. But you have to have an address to enroll them, among other things. How can I register my daughter for school?

Any ideas, or more general advice, would be so welcomed! :)
I'm in no situation to recommend or not any particular agency handling furnished rental apts. If you go to FUSAC - Petites annonces pour anglophones de Paris (an English language want ad paper) you'll find ads from several agencies offering furnished rentals. Probably best to compare their offerings before making a decision.

As far as the maternelle is concerned, it will depend on where you wind up renting. Once you have an address, contact the local mairie (in Paris, the mairie of your arrondissement) to see about registering her. Maternelle isn't required, so if they are full booked, they may have to ask you to wait. However, if they have available places, she may be able to start right away.

If your husband's employer is providing relocation expenses, you may want to check to see if they have or can recommend a relocation agent, who could help you find both a furnished apartment and something long-term down the line. I know lots of expat wives do relocation consulting in Paris, so you may even find someone who speaks English.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Renting

One thing to keep in mind is that French Law is very favorable to Renters, so do not hesitate to sign a long term lease. Your Landlord can't break the lease, you on the other hand can, with a simple 3 months notice.

the best website for realestate in France is probably

www dot seloger dot com (It seems I can't post URL's yet)

Maternelle is indeed mandatory in France at least the last 2 years (4 and 5 yrs old). Public schools are free, and you will be entilted to register your kids for school as soon as you start living there, you will need a proof of residence (certificat de Domicile) such as a Utility Bill or a Lease. French People who move within France mid year go tru the same process all the time , the fact that you are American and your Daughter is American does not really change anything.

Have you done your homework in terms of making sure your Compensation package will enable you to lead the lifestyle that you expect.


Petrol tends to me a lot more expensive than in the US.

School expense and healthcare is a lot more affordable (in many cases free)

Internet TV and Telephone tends to be cheaper.

Food tends to be a little bit more expensive.

Housing, well it all depends if your are moving from the Upper East side of Manhattan to Creuse you will find it a lot more affordable.

If you are moving from the middle of nowhere in TX to Ile de la Cité in Paris you will find it more expensive.

a Small Unfurnsihed 2bdr Appt in Paris (Okay but not Swanky area) will cost approx 1500€ (60m2).


Anyway, good luck with your move.....


Joel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Bev and Joel! Useful info, thanks.

I have already found seloger, good to know it is "the" site, as it seems active but I didn't know if I was missing an even more active site. We currently live in a large U.S. city and although we will have to rent a smaller place for more money, my husband's salary will be adequate for our needs. Our budget is 2000 euro for rent, which will be our main expense besides travel, as we won't have a car. We eat out tons here in the U.S. and I know we won't be able to afford that in Paris!

And yeah, we're looking at places 60m2 and up, it's tiny but that is what we lived in in Los Angeles when my daughter was a baby and we didn't feel crowded; I've always lived in cities and am used to smallish spaces. Our current place is 800 sq. ft. (so, 75-ish square meters) and feels really quite large! We will miss having a yard, but again, am used to not having one - the neighborhood is really the important thing for me, that it be friendly, good for families, lots of parks.

Lodgis dot com is appealing to us b/c we can do it all from here. Their prices for 2-bedroom furnished apts. are comparable to seloger, and they seem to be able to streamline the rental process as their core business is this type of thing. A future colleague of my husband's can do the walk-through to make sure the apt. is OK. I would just so like to have the place settled
ASAP!

I did read on the French education website that maternelle isn't required; no school is required until 6 years. However it seems almost all French kids go to maternelle by age 3 or 4 and I really want my daughter to go, for language and socialization and to have a "preschool" year which is a little gentler before she starts "real" school the next year in primaire.

Just curious, what do you guys think a minimum salary for a family of 3 in Paris should be, to live a decent lifestyle? (not looking to live a life of luxury by any means) My sister who has lived in Europe for many years (but not France) thinks our income will more than suffice and my number-crunching works out, but I'm always curious to hear what others think.

Thanks for the help, any other opinions/advice are also welcomed!
 

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Trying to figure the "minimum" salary for a "reasonable" lifestyle is one of the world's great trick questions. There are people who live perfectly happy lives on not much more than the minimum wage in Paris - but their lifestyle may not be anywhere near what you would expect - especially using LA as a basis of comparison.

If your sister thinks your salary will be adequate, then it probably is. Given that you're planning on 2000€ a month for housing, and most landlords won't rent to you if the rent is more than about 30 - 35% of your income, I'd say she's probably right.

You'll spend your money very differently in France than you do in the US, thanks to the national health care system, public transport and various benefits and services not generally available in the US. And, like Julia Child, you may well find you become far more interested in preparing food yourself. Avoid the high priced, fancy cooking schools for expats with nothing better to do. Nearly every expat association and club, as well as other social organizations in France offer cooking classes and demonstrations for very reasonable prices - and the local marchés have some of the best quality "real" food you'll ever see. Besides, the schools make a point of educating students - even in the maternelle - in eating and appreciating real French foods, so your daughter may start demanding it!
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Bev! Yes, I hope to learn some French cooking techniques, and that my daughter will finally learn to like cheese. :)

I was in Ikea yesterday and they had mock-ups of 500 and 600 sq. ft. apartments, which correspond to the sizes of many Parisian 2-bedroom apts. Really it is more livable than it seems when everything is a bit scaled down - Ikea obviously plans the space out perfectly and maybe better than most people could do, but I've seen from my in-laws apt. in Greece (around 6-700 sq. ft.) that an average family can live perfectly well in that space, although it's very small for America.

And surprisingly, I've seen a number of 85-100 sq. meter apts. in our price range, esp. if we stretch our price range a bit. We could theoretically go as high as 2500 euros or so but I don't want to do that b/c I know from experience that there are always expenses you can't plan for when doing a budget and I wouldn't want us to feel broke.

One question: when an apt. is "charges comprises" (utilities included) that includes heat, water, trash, right? Many of the listings also say internet is included, which surprises me. How much is TV service and/or internet service and how does that all work in France? I'm guessing it's different from the U.S. Currently here in the U.S. we get broadband and cable TV from the same provider and it's about $100 a month. Would it be more or less in France, on average?
 

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Yes, flats in France, and especially in Paris, are considerably smaller than the American standards - but given the local lifestyle, are perfectly serviceable. Bedrooms, in particular, are smaller and are considered single-function rooms, i.e. to sleep in.

And charges comprises does include water, heat and trash service. You should check whether or not it includes electric. For phone, television and Internet, you'll probably find that rates are cheaper than in the US, and often the three services are bundled through a single provider - though you may want to explore separate providers, if only to have a backup should the Internet service go out, which would leave you without phone and television, too. The big providers are: Orange, SFR, Bouygues and Alice. Google their sites and you'll find all sorts of deals and packages, depending on what you need.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Broadband

Broadband is cheaper than in the US.

Most providers offer high-speed internet, phone Service, and Basic Cable for 29.99€ per month. You can add various packages for premium channels (sports, movies, etc)

The main technologies are Cable and DSL.

For Cable you can check Numericable

For DSL you can look at Free (google free adsl)
Orange, Bouygues.

I'm using Free, and we have been very happy with it. Very reliable, Very fast Internet access, and they offer unlimited calls to Landlines in France and a number of countries including all of North America, and Western Europe. They also provide a pretty sophisticated TV Media player (think of it as a Tivo), that enables you to pause Live TV, record your fav shows, etc.

Now if you are concerned about living space, you need to think about where you want to live. Paris can be compared to Manhattan, (I have friends paying more than 3K$ for a 1Bdrm in Manhattan). So you are ready to consider communities outside paris (I would recommend the western suburbs) you can easily find 100 M2 or more within your Budget. Rueil, Boulogne, Levallois Perret, these are nice locations, not very far from Paris, that will provide more affordable options.




Thanks Bev! Yes, I hope to learn some French cooking techniques, and that my daughter will finally learn to like cheese. :)

I was in Ikea yesterday and they had mock-ups of 500 and 600 sq. ft. apartments, which correspond to the sizes of many Parisian 2-bedroom apts. Really it is more livable than it seems when everything is a bit scaled down - Ikea obviously plans the space out perfectly and maybe better than most people could do, but I've seen from my in-laws apt. in Greece (around 6-700 sq. ft.) that an average family can live perfectly well in that space, although it's very small for America.

And surprisingly, I've seen a number of 85-100 sq. meter apts. in our price range, esp. if we stretch our price range a bit. We could theoretically go as high as 2500 euros or so but I don't want to do that b/c I know from experience that there are always expenses you can't plan for when doing a budget and I wouldn't want us to feel broke.

One question: when an apt. is "charges comprises" (utilities included) that includes heat, water, trash, right? Many of the listings also say internet is included, which surprises me. How much is TV service and/or internet service and how does that all work in France? I'm guessing it's different from the U.S. Currently here in the U.S. we get broadband and cable TV from the same provider and it's about $100 a month. Would it be more or less in France, on average?
 

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Broadband is cheaper than in the US.

Most providers offer high-speed internet, phone Service, and Basic Cable for 29.99€ per month. You can add various packages for premium channels (sports, movies, etc)

The main technologies are Cable and DSL.

For Cable you can check Numericable

For DSL you can look at Free (google free adsl)
Orange, Bouygues.

I'm using Free, and we have been very happy with it. Very reliable, Very fast Internet access, and they offer unlimited calls to Landlines in France and a number of countries including all of North America, and Western Europe. They also provide a pretty sophisticated TV Media player (think of it as a Tivo), that enables you to pause Live TV, record your fav shows, etc.

Now if you are concerned about living space, you need to think about where you want to live. Paris can be compared to Manhattan, (I have friends paying more than 3K$ for a 1Bdrm in Manhattan). So you are ready to consider communities outside paris (I would recommend the western suburbs) you can easily find 100 M2 or more within your Budget. Rueil, Boulogne, Levallois Perret, these are nice locations, not very far from Paris, that will provide more affordable options.
You've recommended the western suburbs. It is apparently more affluent.

Would you recommend the eastern suburbs as well? I've heard the east being dubbed the ghetto before.
 

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suburbs

You've recommended the western suburbs. It is apparently more affluent.

Would you recommend the eastern suburbs as well? I've heard the east being dubbed the ghetto before.

Well, the northern and eastern suburbs tend to be not as nice as the western suburbs, with a few exceptions like Vincennes for instance. But you are right most of the northern and eastern suburbs tend to be very poor, with a lot of immigrants, and fair amount of crime. So I would recommend the western and some southern suburbs (Issy les Moulineau for instance,). Now has you go further away from Paris the prices will go down even further, and the scenery will also change to a more rural/country side type setting.

You also need to look at your/your husband place of work, and your commute.

You can google RATP, RATP has a trip calculator you can use to understand your commute using public transportation.

Realtors can also help you, and provide advice on the desirable locatins, and the not so desirable locations.

Also keep in mind that if your child is to attend a Public School, you want to make sure that you live in a nice area, as this will directly impact the school. The Funding/staff allocated to the school is exactly the same in affluent or poorer communities, but the student body is not the same.
 

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Well, the northern and eastern suburbs tend to be not as nice as the western suburbs, with a few exceptions like Vincennes for instance. But you are right most of the northern and eastern suburbs tend to be very poor, with a lot of immigrants, and fair amount of crime. So I would recommend the western and some southern suburbs (Issy les Moulineau for instance,). Now has you go further away from Paris the prices will go down even further, and the scenery will also change to a more rural/country side type setting.

You also need to look at your/your husband place of work, and your commute.

You can google RATP, RATP has a trip calculator you can use to understand your commute using public transportation.

Realtors can also help you, and provide advice on the desirable locations, and the not so desirable locations.

Also keep in mind that if your child is to attend a Public School, you want to make sure that you live in a nice area, as this will directly impact the school. The Funding/staff allocated to the school is exactly the same in affluent or poorer communities, but the student body is not the same.
are there pockets on the east that are decent?

are there sources for the crime level you site as a cause for concern?

in the western suburbs, the price of a house, or rent, is rather expensive.
 

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suburbs

Yep a few, for instance:

Vincennes, Maison Alfort, Jointville le point, St Mandé, Nogent sur Marne are all okay (for the most part).
 
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