Paris – A Charming City

Paris is an amazing city. We have all heard the sayings “The city of love” “The most romantic city in the world” “The city of lights”, well after visiting this city and experiencing it first hand, I can tell you that it is all true.

The city is very beautiful. The architecture is stunning, the tourist attractions amazing and I found the people to be friendly. Paris is a place you can’t describe in words to someone, it is a place you have to experience for yourself. The city is like a living museum, with architecture dating back to the 13th Century. That is when Notre Dame began to be built.

The grandeur of Paris really became evident in the 16th century, when Versailles became Louis XIVs headquarters. In the 19th Century, Napoleon appointed Baron Haussmann to develop modern Paris, with its long boulevards and beautiful buildings, the wide avenues and parks that still make the city unique today.

Paris is internationally renowned for its architecture and its influence in fashion and the arts. Walking is the best way to see and get a feel for the city. You can explore the citys districts, its old centres, cemeteries and great parks. When you first arrive in Paris, I highly recommend getting on the Hop on, Hop off buses. Stay on and do a circuit and get a feel for where everything is. It is very easy to walk around once you know where you are.

I remember one day, later in the afternoon, we walked from Notre Dame back to our hotel near the Place de la Concorde. It was very charming and it turned dark and the lights came on. We stopped to have a meal in a restaurant. It was just wonderful. The Champs-Elysées is a fantastic place to experience people watching. Another one is the Place de la Concorde.

Those who fancy a trendier atmosphere, can visit districts such as Le Marais, Quartier Latin, or the quaint Canal St-Martin. If you like art galleries, museums, or famous cabarets such as Folies Bergères, Paris has everything to meet your dreams. Be aware, Moulin Rouge, does not look like much during the day but it comes alive at night when the lights go on.

The top attractions in Paris are certainly the Eiffel Tower, originally a temporary construction for the 1889 Universal Exposition, the Arc de Triomphe, commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte and the massive cathedral Notre Dame. A walk from Place de la Concorde towards Champs Elysée is also a must as well as the world famous Louvre museum. One place you must visit is the Montparnasse Tower. There are less crowds than the Eiffel Tower, it has an enclosed viewing area as well as being able to go onto the roof. The best part is that you get the Eiffel Tower in your photos! I highly recommend it.

There is obviously much more to explore! Père Lachaise The largest cemetery in Paris, and said reputed to be the most visited in the world. A huge and peaceful park home of those who have experienced French life over the past 200 years. Jardin du Luxembourg. The garden of the French Senate which is also a large public park. A recommended place to relax and savour the cosmopolitan atmosphere of a rich palace garden.

Musée d Orsay. This is the place for art and artifacts from the Middle Ages and Impressionist eras with leading collections. Originally a railway station and the building itself is worth a visit.

Le Marais. Situated on the right bank (3rd and 4th Arr.), this trendy district has beautiful architecture of the 17th century. There are also many museums, art galleries and historic sites such as Paris oldest square, Place des Vosges where you can find Victor Hugos residence.

Montmartre. One of the most popular historic areas with the Sacré Coeur Basilica on the top of the hill, the highest point in Paris. It is also famous for the cafes and studios of many great artists. I recommend taking the tram to the top, then walking down the steps and then browsing the artists work in the narrow streets at the bottom. A fantastic experience.

Versailles. Near Paris, this is where King Louis XIV built his Palace in the 17th century. For those who love Renaissance architecture, do not miss it! The Palace has been recently renovated and you will also enjoy lovely walks in the well kept gardens.

Bateaux Mouches. One of the most relaxing, and romantic ways to view some of the city’s oldest and most majestic historic monuments is to get a ride on the famous and unique long-boats that leisurely glide along the Seine. Despite the number of operators from which to choose, most of the boat lines offer similar itineraries and are equipped with an audio announcement system, providing commentary on the passing sights in several different languages.

In Paris, you must differentiate between restaurants, bistro or brassieres. A bistro is usually small, featuring simple food, sometimes with entertainment. A brassiere serves hearty meals along with beer and wine, usually cheap and with a liquor and coffee bar. Like New York or London, the choice is huge. Each place has its own particular atmosphere and style whether recipes are local or from all over the world.

However Paris is internationally renowned as a food capital. It is the right place to test the high-quality French products and delights of traditional French cookery thanks to the talented and creative chefs. Parisian restaurants are real gourmets delight. There are good places for all budgets. Whether it is a restaurant, a bistro or a brassiere, you will be able to enjoy a real culinary feast with gourmets from all over the world.

In Paris you will find lots of trendy and popular bars serving all kind of drinks with a good mix of music and sometimes with DJs. Take your time and sample a few, they are all open late! Paris has a very diverse nightlife. From high-tech dance clubs to mellow jazz haunts, there is something to fit your mood. Also try the famous cabaret venues for a great night of vibrant entertainment!

Paris is home to some of the most famous designers and luxurious brand names in the fashion industry like Louis Vitton or Dior. But you will also find more affordable brands matching your budget in the huge department stores or many popular neighbourhoods. Paris is served by two major airports, Roissy Charles de Gaulle (CDG), 25 Km and Orly 15 Km from the city centre. A third airport, Paris Beauvais, is mainly served by low cost airlines. A paying shuttle service (EUR13) is organized to and from its terminals and Paris-Porte Maillot.

From CDG terminals, the Roissybus leaves every 15 minutes from 6.00 and arrives to the city centre (at Opéra) after a journey of 45-60 minutes. (EUR8.40 one way). After midnight there are night busses going to Place du Châtelet, 90 rue de Rivoli every 30 minutes (EUR8 one way). The cheapest and fastest (30 minutes) is the underground RER B to Gare du Nord running from 4.56 in the morning to 23.56 at night (EUR8 one way).

From Gare du Nord you are connected to Paris metro network. Air France buses go to Porte Maillot. Taxis can be found near the terminals baggage collection area exits. Average day fares are EUR50. From Orly, the automatic metro Orlyval takes you to RER B Antony station from 6.00 to 23.00. Combined ticket price (Metro+RER+Orlyval) is about EUR9. Other options are the airport shuttle buses going to RER C Pont de Rungis station. Combined ticket price (Metro+RER+shuttle) is around EUR5.60. As for buses, the Orly bus takes you straight to RER B Denfert-Rochereau. Daytime taxi rates are approximately EUR35.

Public transport. The RATP runs the city’s local transport system. The bus, underground (metro), and commuter train system (RER) is divided into five zones, and is cheap and efficient. The underground runs from 5:30 in the morning to 0:30 in the night. Tickets are valid on both buses and trains, and can be purchased from the stations and in kiosks. Travel cards, ranging from one to five days, are also available at the airport, at underground stations, and from tourist information offices. 1 day travel card zone 1-3 costs approximately EUR8.30.

There is so much to see and do in Paris. If you are going to visit, make sure you allow enough time so that you can experience all that it has to offer.

Paris Hotels – Your Guide to Paris’s First Arrondissement

You’re nearly there – Paris, the fabulous city of lights! You can hardly wait to arrive. You’ve gotten your flights to France, now you’re considering some great looking offers on hotels in Paris, France. Where you are staying in the city is always an important consideration for accommodation for Paris, France even if you are looking at hotels in Paris city centre. Here’s a guide to Paris’s First arrondissement so you can learn more about whether this part of Paris is where you want to be!

Paris: The First Arrondissement

Paris’s 1st arrondissement is filled with the sort of elegance and grandeur that centuries’ worth of tourists have imagined when thinking of Paris, the City of Lights. Broad boulevards, haute couture, and well maintained parks overlooking the smoothly flowing River Seine are all to be found in this neighborhood, a district mainly of office space and tourist sites. Les Halles, Paris’s weird take on a shopping center, can be found here as well.

What To Expect If You’re Staying Here:

What’s Good: Spending time here has many benefits. When you stroll beneath the nineteenth-century arches of the Rue de Rivoli arcade, you will be following in the footsteps of generations of dandies and duchesses: vanished citizens of Paris of long ago. You will be near some of Paris’s most remarkable tourist sites – the Tuileries garden to Chatelet – site of the Comedie Francaise, where Moliere once produced his plays – to the world renowned Louvre. And the shopping, on the elegant Faubourg Saint Honore, is without peer!

Why You Don’t Want To Stay: While during the day in the First Arrondissement provides you access to some of Paris’s best sights within a few moments’ walk, the business-like nature of the area means that nightlife, by contrast, is limited within the arrondissement. So unless visitors go to the Les Halles/St. Denis area there’s not much to do. Les Halles/St. Denis’s low brow pleasures may appear slightly seedy to those over the age of 21 (that said, the section bordering the Les Halles mall is consistently nice – a fine place to stop after catching a film in Les Halles’s enormous cinema, which presents many US and English films in their original languages. But avoid going towards Rue St. Denis/Blvd. Sebastopol unless you’re consciously seeking that sort of milieu.) What’s more, this area can get very touristy – especially around the otherwise lovely Rue de Rivoli. So watch your purse and control your buying impulse for souvenirs until you’re a bit further off the beaten path.

What To Do: Sites and sights abound here. Take a stroll down the Faubourg Saint-Honore, where nearly every famous fashion house of the world has a presence. Visit the Louvre or Tuileries Gardens near the Place de Concorde, see a play at the Comedie Francaise in the Chatelet area.

Places To Eat: Finding untouristy food is almost impossible in this area, but finding great desserts is not. Angelina, on Rue de Rivoli, has lost some of its legendary elegance, but the aging-grande-dame feel of the place makes the yellowed mirrors and creaky chandeliers worth seeing on their own merits. Plus, their famously rich hot chocolate and Mont Blanc desserts are among the best in Paris. For a more contemporary hotspot, Cafe Marley in the Louvre offers views not only of the museum’s art, but also of Paris’s current celebrity scene. For better food, the area right around Les Halles has a number of good brasseries, but, as said earlier, the area closer to Rue St. Denis and Sebastopol has a slightly rougher character – not at all dangerous, but nevertheless unsavory.

Shopping Spots: If the high fashion of the Faubourg Saint Honore is a bit out of your price range , head to the Les Halles mall. A surprisingly beautiful, art nouveau-inspired underground city (complete with street names, a swimming pool, park, and more), Les Halles proves that even Paris’s shopping centers have a particular Parisian flair. While the area around the mall is useful for really cheap (think 3-5 euro) clothes and shoes, the mall itself has much higher quality items at reasonable prices.

From Paris With Love

Paris the “City of Love”. Who has not wished to live in Paris once in their lives? There is a line in a Baz Luhrmann song called Sunscreen that goes “Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.” I think this applies to Paris too, perhaps the saying should be “Live in Paris once but leave before it makes you too French,” unless you are French of course.

Paris has a magic about it that draws people. What is it about this city that is so special? Is it the notion that French people are undeniably romantic? Couples walking hand in hand along the Seine, sharing bread, wine and cheese in the gorgeous green parks, snuggling up on park benches in winter, whispering to each other in cafes! Or is it just that the French sound so unbelievably sexy when they speak?

I am not sure, but whatever it is I would love to live in Paris just once in my life. Paris has all the romantic attractions for me, I could imagine myself as an expat walking the streets, shopping at Galleries Lafeyette or Avenue Montaigne and Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré for the crème de la crème. Left bank or right bank you will have a ball.

Then there are the museums from The Louvre (which could take your entire stay in Paris to get through), Musee D’Orsay and the Centre Pompidou. The beautifully manicured parks will take your breath away and you could spend hours sunning yourself in deck chairs while life passes you by, from the elegant Luxembourg Gardens or Place des Vosges which is in the fashionable Marais quarter, and most importantly the Chatèau de Versailles which is opulent, fanciful and luxurious, the gardens cover more than 800 hectares – with woodland, ponds, fountains and statues. Picnicking is certainly one of the best Parisian past times that I have ever experienced.

Then there are the flea markets to browse, cafes and tearooms to experience, street markets, and last but not least the architectural wonders of the Eiffel Tower, The Opera House, Arc de Triomphe, Montmartrè, Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, and Notre Dame Cathedral to name a few. Oh Paris, you are calling.

This is certainly not where it stops, as living in Paris gives you access to the rest of the France and well, Paris may well take you a year or two to get through, and then there is the rest of the country to experience.

Certainly enough good reasons to want to be an Expat in Paris!

But what will Paris cost you if you decided to make a career move here? What are you earning and what would you need to earn to live it up in Paris and her night clubs?

Using a SPPP calculator which calculates how much you need to earn in Paris to compensate for cost of living, hardship, and exchange rate differences, in order to have the same relative spending power and as a result have a similar standard of living as you have where you live now. If, for example, you live in New York and earn 100,000 USD, what would you need to earn in Paris to have the same spending power?

Salary Purchasing Power Parity
Applying the cost of living difference based on what will be paid from salary, together with the hardship difference, and arbitrage exchange rate, the calculation is as follows:

Home / Current Location Salary 100,000.00 US Dollar (USD)
+ Cost of Living Difference 4.9121% 4,912.08 US Dollar (USD)
+ Hardship Difference 0% 0.00 US Dollar (USD)
TOTAL 104,912.08 US Dollar (USD)
x Exchange Rate 0.7186
Salary in Host/New Location 75,389.82 US Dollar (USD)

This means, based on all the above factors, that you would require a salary of 75,389.82 Euro (EUR ) in France, Paris to have the same standard of living as currently enjoyed in USA, New York NY on a salary of 100,000.00 US Dollar (USD ). This salary compensates for the overall cost of living difference of 4.9121%, the hardship difference of 0%, and the exchange rate.

And to end off with Baz again:
Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.