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Discussion Starter #1
We're moving to Paris (from the U.S.) this summer. Although I'm open to living in the surrounding areas on the long term, for this first year abroad we mean to rent a furnished apartment in central Paris, so I am only considering neighborhoods within the 20 arrondissements within the Peripherique.

My husband will be working in the 14th, so our first thought was to live there, especially as it's a neighborhood we're familiar with. But now I'm looking at the area around the Parc de la Villette/Cite des Sciences in the 19th and it looks like a fun, interesting, family-friendly neighborhood. I'm sure there are tons of great neighborhoods in Paris for us but I'm having trouble finding good info online besides the very superficial.

Briefly, if you live in Paris or know it well, can you share info about the neighborhoods you like? We want a safe neighborhood with good public transit access, ideally a friendly place for a family to live with a lively cultural environment.

Thanks so much! :)
 

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There is a large expat community on the west of Paris. You also have lots of anglophone and bilingual schools there. Personally, I found that Cite Sciences is a little far on the metro from the center, but I've been there only once. The dangerous areas in Paris are the northern suburbs. And in general, I found that the city is rather safe and compact.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your reply. I have heard a lot of general info that agrees with your assessment. As far as the expat community and bilingual schools, while I would consider living in areas with lots of anglophones, it isn't what I am looking for specifically. As for the Parc de la Villette area, I have been to Cite Sciences and it seemed a decent area, but I only went once, and I'd love to know if it's a nice place to live or only a nice place to visit during the day.

Any Parisians on who can share something more specifically, about any neighborhood in the city really? for example, 'I live in X quartier and there are lots of young families and X park is a great place for kids,' or 'don't live in X part of the 19th because it is really not safe at night'. Maybe I'm asking too much, I just wish there was somewhere kind of like the U.S. site city-data.net where I could get very specific information about neighborhoods. If anyone knows a website that could help me, let me know.
 

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there is a large anglophone mom's network in Paris - MESSAGE. There are lots of moms in a similar situation as yours - expats for a couple of years. If you join, you can post your question on the forum and you would probably get more specific details.

We live in a suburb outside of Paris, so I can't help you with Paris arrondissement experience.
 

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Oh my, their forums are members only (not viewable to those who don't join) and it's 64 euros to join! That's a pity. I'm sure they have a lot of valuable info but I can't bring myself to spend that kind of money to access it, at this point.
 

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Western suburbs vs central paris

Western suburbs and western arrondissements (XV, VI, VII, VIII, XVI XVII, ...) are favoured both by expats and wealthier classes . In fact they look cleaner and safer even if it is a perception. You will immediately notice on a public transport map that this part of town is better equipped with public tramsports although more people use their private car because of class standards.
Eastern arrondissements were historically for workers and artisans and now migrant workers and other bobos (bourgoeis boheme).

Some parts of XVIII (18) XIX (19) and XX (20) are not recommended due to the presence of violent gangs (related or not to narcotics distribution). But the same arrondissement can propose many different facettes and you will find a charming accomodation. Beyond the peripherique might be just the same, Montreuil and Vincennes have become so popular that prices have become outrageous. Some towns beyond peripherique and some parts of these towns might not be a clever choice as they are sometime insecure and life at night is inexistant (Les Lilas).

If you don not have children, your best bet is IX (9) or X (10) or even XII (12) or XIV (14). XI, III and IV are rather noisy becquse of tourists, some parts of IX are not adviceable for the same reason.

Price and school are common choice criteria. Second criteria: public transport.

Good hunting
 

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Oh my, their forums are members only (not viewable to those who don't join) and it's 64 euros to join! That's a pity. I'm sure they have a lot of valuable info but I can't bring myself to spend that kind of money to access it, at this point.
I think you're going to find that any expat group in Paris will cost you between 50 and 100€ to join. Cost of living is high and unless the groups meet in the homes of members, they normally have to pay to rent a room for meetings, programs, etc.

You could try contacting the AVF for the 19th AVF -- Présentation and ask them about their "pre-accueil" service. They should be able to answer a few reasonable questions about the area by e-mail, and you would find out much more by dropping by one of their permanences (see the website page I've given you).

Parts of the eastern side of Paris are being renovated and have actually become rather "trendy" areas. The western side and western suburbs are known for being a bit stodgy and expensive.

It's a bit tricky to talk about specific neighborhoods because the neighborhoods in the sense you mean it tend to define themselves (often around the street markets). The area around La Villette has some lovely areas and some really groady bits (IMO anyhow). Might be best to invest some shoe leather to scout out the sort of neighborhood you're looking for.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Oh my, their forums are members only (not viewable to those who don't join) and it's 64 euros to join! That's a pity. I'm sure they have a lot of valuable info but I can't bring myself to spend that kind of money to access it, at this point.
Personally, I think it's worth it. The org is run well and it's a great network for anglophones w children. (I am sorry I forgot to mention it on my previous post. As Bev mentioned most orgs are in the 100 euro range.)

And if budget is an issue, I would not be looking in the western part of Paris as it's wealthier and therefore more expensive. In addition, I would look outside the peripherique as you can find some bargains with access to the metro/RER.
 

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Superfluous?

Membership to AVF is designed for 25-35 age layer.
And in my opinion it looks a bit superfluous if you are able to liaise with locals in a proper fashion.

About XIX, where I lived for a long while, here are my comments
- western XIX (west of Canal de l'Ourcq), not very good due to large buildings and excessive gethoisation. Great number of reported violence between youth gangs.
- Avenue Jean-Jaures vicinity can be better, nice flats and great shopping place
- the rest of XIX is far better (strongly recommend): Bolivar, Danube, Pre St Gervais, and around Parc des Buttes Chaumont with some restrictions for some areas around Rue Manin where extremist Jewish radical groups clash with pro-palestinian groups or other youth Gangs, and some times non designated community members.

XIX is one of the rare parts of Paris to have private house (villa) with outrageous purchase prices. No rentals there. Mixed communities. It is also the only part of Paris where Jewish communities feel threatened by other communities, most probably because of the Palestinian conflict voiced by youth gangs from mulsim or other extractions. XIX accounts for the largest Loubavitch community in Paris

Ask questions if need be. Do not hesitate to ask.
 

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Membership to AVF is designed for 25-35 age layer.
And in my opinion it looks a bit superfluous if you are able to liaise with locals in a proper fashion.
Sorry, Gallus, but I do have to correct you here. AVF is an association for newcomers to an area and it is designed to help you integrate into the area by means of activities and meeting people.

We often get the complaint here that AVF's tend to be made up mostly of retirees, since those are the people who have the time to organize this type of activity. But the specifics of each AVF group depend entirely on the members and the newcomers to the area.

But the organization is definitely NOT geared to the 25 to 35 age group. The AVF in the 19th does brag of having a large proportion of its members in that age range, but the association itself is certainly not limited. (I think you'll find that the 19th arrondissement tends to draw younger families, which is what got us into this discussion in the first place.)
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Thanks Bev for the correction.
You probably know better which I accept.

In the case of Isabelle/Solange my point was to say that as a Foreigner feeling insecure to settle down in a new world is quite normal. Some people might feel the necessity to purchasing assistance that might look a bit superfluous, after all considered. This forum essence is the exact opposite (thanks again): it provide crisp clear infos, for free.

I strongly recommend it ...
 
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