Experience in Paris, France by Jack
What is it like to live in Paris? Would you recommend it? What is the city like?
Paris is definitely a must. The best part is when it becomes normal, like a second-home. My favorite thing about Paris is the diversity, tons of cultures and languages can be found here, whether in one of the Chinatowns or any Algerian or Moroccan wedding party making its way down your street.
What is the student lifestyle like in Paris?
This is definitely a university city–there are tons of Erasmus students, but also many non-european students. There seems to be a lot of solidarity among international students living in Paris.
How much does it cost to live in Paris?
It's ridiculously expensive, but for an American, where university fees cost around $40 000/year on average, French university is pretty much free. It doesn't just balance out, for an American, you end up saving thousands of dollars by attending European/French universities–fully enrolled, that is.
Is it difficult to find accommodation in Paris? Is there any advice you can give?
There's a lot of accommodation in Paris, tons of Parisians rent out rooms in their apartments. Whatever you do, avoid using Craigslist to find a place to live, IF YOU DO, make sure it isn't a scam, and DO NOT wire any money.
What is the food like? What are your favourite dishes?
The food is great! It's just expensive to go out and eat all the time, so cooking at home is usually best. The quality of meat in most grocery stores is quite low, if you want good quality meat, you have to pay a bit more than you would for the same back home (Dallas). There are lots of decently-priced Asian, African, and Eastern European restaurants. You can easily find Eastern European, Russian, African, Asian, and Caribbean produce. It's hard to find REAL American cuisine. There's only one good place to get Mexican food and it only has one large table and a bar, so the wait is quite long (not to mention it's over-priced). I have yet to find good pad thai, hopefully, with the grace of God, this day shall come.
What places would you recommend visiting in Paris?
-Cathédrale Ste Alexandre Nevsky (check visiting hours, never cross your legs when sitting, girls should cover their hair (dress modestly))
-The tearoom at la Grande Mosquée de Paris (though it's usually overcrowded, the tea is great!)
-Parc de Belleville for the best FREE view of Paris
-Parc des Buttes-Chaumonts (if it ever stops raining/snowing)
-Ave de France is a good place just to hang out/see a movie
-Palais de Tokyo
Is it good to eat out in Paris? Can you tell us your favourite spots?
There are lots of great restaurants, le O'Paris is my neighborhood favorite, and it's worth every penny.
Is the nightlife good in Paris? Where is good to go?
The nightlife is good since there's a bit of everything.
-Wanderlust is kind of the go-to club, especially in the summer
-Dame de Canton, ALG, la Java, and la Bellevilloise sometimes have world music, including great Balkan and Roma (gypsy) nights.
What advice would you give future students heading to Paris?
Learn French before you come, Most Parisians have little patience if you have to take a second to think about how to say something before they just start speaking to you in English. I see this happen all the time and feel bad for those students because they are trying to practice their French. It's really best to be at least intermediate to advanced before coming to Paris.
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