The Mulling of a Foreigner: Attempt at the Parisian Life

Fulfilling every stereotype, moving to Paris in your 20’s comes with most of the clichés one would expect. Being in a large city, trying to enjoy the lifestyle without spending your entire life savings, finding yourself and your place here can be tricky.

So, how do you make it in the city of love and lights?

(Photo courtesy of Nina P.)

Firstly, it’s important not to over romanticize things. It is true, this city is stunning, and yes, almost every street looking like it would make a great watercolor painting. But, Paris has its ugly sides too.

Intense gentrification in the 1980’s has lead to little affordable housing, rats run along the Seine at all times, coffee can be 5 euro, the metro stops at 12:30 AM, and the catcalling is bad. Really bad.

On top of all this, adjusting to any big city as a foreigner will lead to at least a few weeks of loneliness, and confusion.
Aside from these things, Paris is a lot of what you may expect.

Sunset of the Seine (Photo courtesy of Nina P.)

Along the river Seine, things are touristy yet still beautiful, the water giving life to the city and its inhabitants. Museums are free for Europeans under 26, so if you fit demographic, take advantage of D’Orsay, the Lourve, and L’Orangerie, and so many others in your free time.

While all of this is great, for me the best parts of Paris were the things I could have never expected. Once you leave the tourist hubs of Notre Dam, Tour D’Eiffel, and Les Invalides, you get into the good places.

Tucked away from the tourists, guide maps, and cameras, if you wander enough you’ll find yourself in the 10th or 11th arrondissements along the canal, and in my opinion the coolest area of the city.

(Photo courtesy of Nina P.)

Edgy bars, plentiful nightlife, veggie restaurants and much more, you don’t necessarily feel like you’re in Paris. But honey, this is it. From outdoor garden cafes near Gare L’Est, bars around Le Republique, looking at the reflections along the canal: you lose the clichés of Paris while gaining things way better.

While the types of places you’ll find here could also exist in New York or London (and let’s be honest, they probably do) you have the charm of the big multicultural urban metropolis with the quaint Parisian architecture leaving you with a killer combination that finally feels like home.

About the writer:

  Thanks again for our European correspondent! We hope to hear much more about Nina’s abroad experience soon and her Parisian progression. Get ready for more abroad tales and tips as I begin applying for my year abroad in October and more guest writers! Stay tuned and travel often.