Expat Forum For People Moving Overseas And Living Abroad banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone!

My husband has recently been offered an amazing opportunity of relocating to Paris with his firm for a few years, and naturally we have jumped at the chance. We are flying out on 30 Sept and his company will be putting us up in one of their apartments in the centre of Paris for the first 8 weeks until we find something more permanent.

Naturally we have lots of questions, but the main one for me, is where to settle. We have an 18month old son, so it is important to me to live somewhere where there is lots of outdoor green space that he can run around in (seeing as it is doubtful we will have a garden of our own), and a nice family-friendly atmosphere. We have a trip planned at the beginning of August where we will be coming out and looking at lots of different potential areas but we have heard very good things about Saint Germain en Laye?? My husband's office is in Rueil Malmaison - what's that area like to live in??

Any advice/tips you can give us about the different Parisian suburbs would be great!
(apologies for the long post!)

Beth
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
50,414 Posts
Actually, you'll be in a lovely area in general. The west side of Paris has traditionally been where the expats "hang out" and there are some lovely towns and homes to consider. Saint Germain en Laye is fine, but even closer to Rueil-Malmaison, there are Chatou and Le Vesinet, which might be of interest as well.

Or head a bit south to Vaucresson or even as far as Versailles. All nice areas with reasonable sized expat populations - though you may have to go into Paris to find the expat groups to link up with the other expats.
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
480 Posts
I teach in Rueil-Malmaison--it's a beautiful but definitely ritzy/expensive area. Pretty much anywhere around there is about the same, except for Nanterre, which can be seedy the further you get away from the mairie/prefecture.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi both, thanks for your replies.

We definitely don't want to live in a seedy area - we live in a lovely area now, and want something similar for our son. Will definitely look at Rueil-Malmaison and the other areas suggested.

What's the shopping like in Rueil-Malmaison? We won't be having a car (something that I'm not used to) so shopping needs to be easily accessible, especially in the rain/wind/ice and with a buggy.

Also what is the surrounding area like? Will there be lots of things for us to do during the day to keep us both (including my son) occupied? As we settle in I intend to find out where the nearest baby/toddler groups are, but in the meantime, it's just going to be us a lot of the time.

Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
480 Posts
Hi both, thanks for your replies.

We definitely don't want to live in a seedy area - we live in a lovely area now, and want something similar for our son. Will definitely look at Rueil-Malmaison and the other areas suggested.

What's the shopping like in Rueil-Malmaison? We won't be having a car (something that I'm not used to) so shopping needs to be easily accessible, especially in the rain/wind/ice and with a buggy.

Also what is the surrounding area like? Will there be lots of things for us to do during the day to keep us both (including my son) occupied? As we settle in I intend to find out where the nearest baby/toddler groups are, but in the meantime, it's just going to be us a lot of the time.

Thanks
Rueil is huge (well, comparatively speaking. It is one of the larger towns in Hauts-De-Seine) with a fair amount of what I would call traditional suburb-style housing (i.e. actual houses as opposed to apartment complexes), so if you are not near the city center, you could have a 25-30 minute walk to the train/shops. I'm only really familiar with the aforementioned walk from the station to my student's house, but there is a beautiful tree-lined walkway right on the river, and at least one large park with a playground.

I think you may struggle a bit if your French isn't at least conversational--though as Bev said, there is an expat population and maybe even an English-language mom and baby group (though maybe not necessarily in Rueil itself), but as many have also said before me, handling the ins and outs of daily life here is not easy, even if you have a decent command of the language.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
50,414 Posts
When you get here, look into the organization Message. Welcome to Message Paris It's an English language parenting group and they have clusters all over France with regional contact members. (A friend of mine is one of their contacts out here in the boonies.)

Google the town name with "mairie" and you should be able to find the official town websites. They normally have lots of information about the various associations in town, local public transport, parks and other practical information about the town. (And you might want to check out the adjacent towns, too, since you aren't limited to just "your" town.)

Don't forget Google Earth to get a sneak preview of what various towns and areas look like.
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes, I'm worried about the language. I speak a little, but wouldn't say it's enough to get by. I'm hoping more will come back to me when I'm out there. My husband doesn't speak a word, but his company will pay for him to have lessons, so as he's learning, so will I.

We are hoping to find somewhere that is pretty central so that shops/station etc are close by so that I don't feel isolated during the day, and also easy travel links for my husband to get into the office everyday.We also want to be somewhere that has easy rail links to the airport for when we have family come and stay or for those weeks when I go home. There's so many questions going round in my head at the moment...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi Bev,

Yes, I have already registered :) I'm just waiting for them to confirm. Hopefully it will be a good way of meeting people. I don't want my son to miss out on playing with other kids. We'd also look into placing him in a nursery maybe one day a week initially, when we're settled and I'm comfortable.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
50,414 Posts
If you've got the backing of your husband's employer, things should go reasonably well - and you can always fall back on the employer for help if they don't. Start looking at the RATP transit maps Plan Interactif des transports en Ile-de-France (Where you will note that you may want to look around the A1 RER line, which runs out to Saint Germain en Laye and through Rueil Malmaison.) There are limo services that run out to both airports from the west side of Paris - or you can hop the A1 RER line into Chatelet-Les Halles and change trains north for Roissy (Charles de Gaulle to you) or south for Orly.

The language issue is always the biggie, but I suspect your husband's employer may offer you a few classes, too. Still, even after years of classes, you don't really "learn" the language until you have to use it out there in the real world.

And, not to worry you, but if you run into a medical emergency, you've got a choice of the American Hospital of Paris (actually in Neuilly) or the Hertford British Hospital in Levallois-Perret. Either one is on that same west side of Paris and not difficult to get to. They all speak English there. (Every expat's dream is to have English speaking medical facilities - and you've got a choice!)

And you'll still feel kind of foolish for the first few years, no matter how well you do in any classes. Get used to laughing at yourself and your mistakes and you'll make much more progress much quicker (as well as having more fun). One of the first phrases to learn is: Would you please say that again, but slowly this time please!? Still, in and around Paris, you have a much better chance of finding someone who can understand and maybe even speak English.

Keep us posted on your progress!
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
50,414 Posts
Not sure how you get into the loop, but there is a group in Paris called the AAWE (Association of American Wives of Europeans). Obviously, you don't have the American connection to get in - but many of the members live out there to the west of Paris (in Chatou, Le Vesinet, Saint German en Laye and thereabouts). The AAWE mums are always organizing play groups for English speaking children, and they don't necessarily limit it to other AAWE families.
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Read Only
Joined
·
18,642 Posts
Your husband's company may be able to easily provide you with information on the areas around Reuil, especially public transport information. Some multi-national companies even provide activities or welcome events for the trailing spouses of their expatriate staff. It might be a good idea for him to ask them what information they can provide to assist you. They can probably also provide you with contacts for local real estate agents. It really is a good idea to take advantage of all assistance that they provide.

Oh and congratulations - you are so lucky to have this opportunity and clearly have the right frame of mind/character to embark on the adventure. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,787 Posts
Lol Bev I tried the "more slowly please" thing once finally (since people always mention it) earlier on when I was here, and got a "huh?!" kind of reaction, like it was a weird thing to ask. It might have been when I was on the phone asking about something. So I just ditched that plan and continued the struggle without it (I forget the context of the rest of the convo, but I do remember that part). Just saying, that's not necessarily the magical ace ;)

bethanr, charades and miming things will probably get you by to some extent (though not helpful on a phone, duh). But for actual interaction with words...you might want to invest in some classes when you get here. Knowing just a handful or high school french won't cut it. (Not saying that's your level because I don't know...but, just as an example).

oh and I agree with Everhopeful...congrats on this opportunity!!! There'll be the obstacles and struggles but overall...it is very exciting! :D
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
50,414 Posts
Actually, try one of those language exchange things - you know, where you speak in a group together for half the time in English and then the other half in French. The French will ask you right away to slow down, please, and what you find is that, instead of slowing down, you have a tendency to talk louder (but just as quickly).

It's a weird phenomenon, but part of the value of those exchanges is that you find out how you sound to French people trying to "practice their English" with you. It can be a humbling experience.
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,787 Posts
I did do one of those! It was ... yeah it was funny for me to have to slow down in English when it was the English convo time. I'm used to being the one confused and not understanding what's being said...not the one needing to slow down!

However I still think I'd benefit from more lessons too to get a better grasp on grammar and whatnot.

Anyway those were some of the people who told me I should be less shy about it and just speak it because I'd be surprised that I'm probably better than I think....and that they'd understand me more than I think and would be willing to help me. It'd be better than just clamming up all frightened. So that was actually nice to hear. Then I had someone else in a different setting tell me the same thing. Heheh
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top