Child friendly areas of Paris

(56 Posts)
Turtlepower Mon 18-Oct-10 13:09:52

Help please!! I'm desperate for advice on where to live in Paris (and how to find an apartment!)

DH is finalising a secondment to Paris and we expect to move in December but I haven't been in years and we will only be able to make one or two trips before we move.

I'm American, DH is British and we've got a 4yr old and 18 month old. Ideally looking for somewhere with a lot of families and good schools - not too bothered about being in expat areas as I don't think we can afford the private schools, but wouldn't mind it as my french is pretty bad (10 years since I lived in a francophone country).

BriocheDoree Mon 18-Oct-10 13:51:00

OK, so for starters where does your DH work? Consider his morning commute. Is he in Paris or outside (e.g. La Defense) as this can make a big difference to where you want to live.
Do you want to live in the city, near a park, in the suburbs where it is greener...? "Expat areas" is kind of nonsense, really. I live in the same town as the British school and pretty much all of my friends/acquaintances are not English-speaking, as my kids are at the local maternelle. As yours are young you could probably get the older one into maternelle as even with no French they would probably cope. If you want to be within Paris there are some lovely areas but a lot depends on your budget and how much space you want/need. Do you get an allowance from your DH's company or are you paying your own way?

Bonsoir Tue 19-Oct-10 14:31:05

First of all, what is your accommodation budget and what is your minimum requirement (eg three beds/two baths)?

Bonsoir Tue 19-Oct-10 14:32:59

If I were you, I would compromise on the size of my accommodation in order to be in a nice area and to pay for a bilingual school - you will have much more fun that way. And living near one of the nicer parks (Parc Monceau, Jardin du Luxembourg) makes a massive difference to your quality of life - it more than makes up for having fewer bedrooms, IMO.

LillianGish Tue 19-Oct-10 15:00:12

If you are just moving there for a couple of years I would definitely reccommend living 'intra-muros' (to quote BBC correspondent Hugh Schofield!). Your dcs are little they'll be fine in neighbourhood schools, pick up the language with ease and you'll have a much more authentic experience. We lived in the 14th arrondissment when the children were small - it has some lovely villagey neighbourhoods and is very Parisian without being touristy. It also has good parks - George Brassen, Montsouris (where you can actually go on the grass!!!) and any number of playgrounds (I know them all so well!!) I liked being in Paris proper rather than out in the burbs.

frakkinstein Tue 19-Oct-10 15:05:46

The 7th is nice too - with a choice of excellent state schools and bilingual schools/nurseries and lots of nice little parks/green areas.

I agree that living inside Paris is well worth it if it's just for a couple of years and being near a park is a good plan!

teafortwo Tue 19-Oct-10 21:51:11

How exciting, Turtlepower!!! grin

Like Brioche and bonsoir say - it is hard to give you any further ideas without a bit more info on what you want in terms of area vibe, budget and apartment/house requirements though...

Turtlepower Wed 20-Oct-10 13:23:41

Thanks everyone, we're looking to spend €2000 or less for a 2 bed (any chance of a 3 bed???) and 1 bathroom is fine by us. We're used to small being in London but hoping to find something that's at least 70sq meters so a bit bigger than we have currently! I'd like to be walking distance to a park or playground (I've heard rumors that Paris isn't very green?).

The only other criteria is that my husband needs to be able to cycle to work within 30 minutes - which is right next to the Eiffel Tour (my requirement, we like having him around to help with bedtime!).

Really interesting to hear suggestions to stay in Paris as we were considering Boulogne. Also - we've been wondering about a bilingual school or a local maternelle. I think I'm just anxious about having a sad little girl for the first 6 months. Any tips for the transition?

Bonsoir Wed 20-Oct-10 13:49:57

You will find two beds/one bath/70 square metres in a very decent area for 2,000 euros per month.

Bonsoir Wed 20-Oct-10 13:53:13

How about the 16th rather than Boulogne? It's cheaper than the 7th/8th, but very accessible to the Eiffel Tower (and much nicer than the 15th), and there is a very good choice of schools.

Institut de la Tour is a French school that has English for native speakers as well.

slim22 Wed 20-Oct-10 14:17:00

Excellent advice from Bonsoir. 16e arrondissement around maison de la radio should not be too expensive and within easy reach of the eiffel tower.

teafortwo Wed 20-Oct-10 16:04:26

We have the basics but tell us more - What sort of ambience are you looking for in an area???

To be honest I think the 16th generally is quite 'Marmite'. I know people who live there and think it is really good fun, heavenly chic and are very very happy while others are quite unhappy because they find it lacks a sense of earthiness...

By the way - like Bonsoir I find Institut de la Tour an interesting looking school but it is for older children than your little girl. If you like the idea of it for her they do, however, run a little Wednesday Mother tongue school for younger ones.

BriocheDoree Wed 20-Oct-10 17:08:10

There is a little bilingual school in Boulogne...trying to remember the name of it. Personally prefer Issy-les-Moulineaux to Boulogne but you have to be a bit careful with areas and not sure how that would be for cycling to the Tour Eiffel. Some great parks round about there (Ile de Saint Germain, for ex.) If I remember the bilingual school I will post...

LillianGish Wed 20-Oct-10 18:40:11

I agree teafortwo - 16th wouldn't be my cup of tea at all. Also if you live somewhere a bit less chi-chi (but still desirable) you'll get more for your money. I also think there are more parks and playgrounds south of the river. A 30 minute cycle ride from the Tour Eiffel gives you lots of options - Paris is really quite small. I don't think you need a bilingual school - in fact if you want your dcs to speak French I'd go for a maternelle. You'll be speaking English at home so no need for any reinforcement and it's a brilliant opportunity. We moved to Berlin when mine were 5 and 3 and they went on to become fluent in German as well - effortlessly [green].

LillianGish Wed 20-Oct-10 18:41:09

Sorry that should have been envy blush

MrsSchadenfreude Wed 20-Oct-10 18:58:08

I thought you hated the 16th, Bonsoir? IMO it is very dull lots of tight faced mutton dressed as lamb ladies clutching small dogs, and huge swathes residential with nothing really close by.

Come and join the Mumsnet Mafia in the 17th!

teafortwo Wed 20-Oct-10 19:17:12

LOL at Mumsnet Mafia - MmeS!!! grin

Bonsoir Thu 21-Oct-10 08:40:03

16th is cheaper than the nice parts of the 17th/7th/8th, (much) nicer than the 15th and close to Eiffel Tower - that was my thinking (given the OP's constraints).

If I had no budgetary or school constraints, I'd live in the Palais-Royal grin.

Bonsoir Thu 21-Oct-10 08:45:08

This is the programme I'm thinking of at Institut de la Tour - many friends of mine have put their DCs in it, right through primary.

thirtysomething Thu 21-Oct-10 08:46:51

Not lived there for a while but when DS was little we lived near Porte de Champerret in the 17th - I loved it round there as there's lots of little playgrounds along Bd Pereire and it was easy walking distance to nice shopping areas around Ave des Ternes. It would be cyclable to the Eiffel Tower in under 30 mins. There was a little bilingual school there but can't remember the name. It's also walkable to Levallois-Perret which has some nice shops too for everyday things. If I moved back now we would go for the area around Parc Monceau as it seems to offer the best of everything - parks, schools, shopping and very good access to central Paris.

MaeMobley Thu 21-Oct-10 09:46:52

My sister lives in the 17th too. As far as I know she does not know about Mumsnet!

(Totally useless addition to thread)

Bonsoir Thu 21-Oct-10 09:55:41

Does your sister have DCs at EaB, MaeMobley?

LillianGish Thu 21-Oct-10 09:56:04

grin MaeMobley.

MaeMobley Thu 21-Oct-10 11:02:44

Not yet Bonsoir. I am trying to encourage her to send her DD there.

Her DD is 3 and has just started at the local Maternelle. She is bilingual (father Frensh, mother English) but my sister is finding it difficult because she is the only one speaking English to her DD.

Bonsoir Thu 21-Oct-10 11:04:35

I'm sure that if you send her to me and to TeaForTwo we will force her hand encourage her!

MaeMobley Thu 21-Oct-10 11:12:15

I am tempted to push her your way Bonsoir.

I am not however in a strong position re bilingualism as I stopped speaking French to DC1 when he was 6 months old and have refused to consider the French Lycee here in London.

Bonsoir Thu 21-Oct-10 11:13:55

It is not the end of the world if your DN goes to the local maternelle for Petite Section, because PS at EaB is half-days only and won't make all the difference.

The really crucial thing is that your DN goes to a bilingual school from CP onwards.

MaeMobley Thu 21-Oct-10 11:14:00

That was garbled. Meant I am not in a position to influence my sister as I have been rubbish at bringing up my DC bilingually.

OP, sorry for going off at a tangent on your thread.

MaeMobley Thu 21-Oct-10 11:15:00

Bonsoir, I will speak to dear sister and may PM you and Teafortwo.

Bonsoir Thu 21-Oct-10 11:16:12

Your sister will probably work it out for herself!

TBH, lots of children from Franco-Anglo families have joined EaB at CP after having done maternelle in their local French school. Parents have had time to wake up to the reality of seeing their DCs not speak one of their two home languages!

Bonsoir Thu 21-Oct-10 11:17:06

No problem - the more bilingual families at EaB the merrier better the level of English will be, so please get your sister in touch if you think it would help!

MaeMobley Thu 21-Oct-10 11:18:19

I see it already in my niece. She is much more comfortable with French.

Bonsoir Thu 21-Oct-10 11:20:13

My DD is still quite a lot more comfortable with English. Despite living in a Francophone family (only she and I speak English together).

teafortwo Thu 21-Oct-10 17:27:22

MaeMobley - your dn and dsis will love EaB! smile

Turtlepower Thu 21-Oct-10 19:43:39

I'm still catching up on acronyms...what's EaB at CP?

We're in East London so used to a very mixed environment, a lot of parks but very 'up and coming' (not many nice shops or restaurants nearby). As for priorities - schools, playgrounds and local parks/green space are top of our list.

Although I know there are more variables than just the school, I'd love to know if it there is any difference in adjustment time for children in the local maternelle versus bilingual schools.

Have many of you relied on the expat community? When I moved here I didn't contact any expat groups but not knowing much French has me thinking it might be very useful.

natation Thu 21-Oct-10 20:23:58

EaB is Ecole Active Bilingue, there are in fact 2 groups of schools called Ecole Active Bilingue :

CP is the name of the first of 5 school year in primaire, for children 6 years old in the calendar year of the September start. It stands for Cours Préparatoire. Here is a table showing the names of all the school years, from 3 to 18 years.

PS Petite Section
MS Moyenne Setion
GS Grande Section

Primaire / Elémentaire
CP Cours Préparatoire
CE1 Cours Elémentaire 1
CE2 Cours Elémentaire 2
CM1 Cours Moyen 1
CM2 Cours Moyen 2

frakkinstein Fri 22-Oct-10 04:14:51

Be aware EABJM doesn't have a petite section and not much green space either! IMO it's very academic from the word 'go' but an excellent school which produces very good results at 18.

The two schools have differences in the way the structure things but in maternelle that's not a massive issue. If you are staying them it's worth taking into account.

The expat community can be very helpful. Google message Paris for the English speaking parents group which produces a book with lots of useful information. Then you can find groups at WHSmiths or the American library, there are websites like Angloinfo as well.

If you 'go' fir a bilingual school you have a good mix of expats, long term anglophones settled in Paris, mixed nationality families and internationally minded French families

Bonsoir Fri 22-Oct-10 13:34:52

My DD is at EaB and I learned at the AGM of the Parents Association that there are currently 906 children in the combined maternelle and primaire at Parc Monceau, of which 75% have a nationality other than French (that figure includes French dual nationals).

EaB is very (increasingly) keen on streaming its pupils. I am very satisfied with the education my DD is receiving in CP this year - she seems to be moving ahead fast in both languages (she is a true bilingual) and has fabulous teachers - energetic, knowledgeable, kind, glamorous. What's not to like?

frakkinstein Sat 23-Oct-10 11:44:34

Bonsoir - did you find EAB pushy in maternelle? I think that would be my one criticism of EABJM, beyond the green space which I could compensate for out of school. When I helped out in the younger years reading stories etc they seemed extremely focused.

Bonsoir Sat 23-Oct-10 12:47:27

No, I didn't find it pushy at all. Having said that, about 1/3 of the DC (mostly MT French) learned to read in Grande Section. That may reflect the socio-economic background of the children as much as the teaching, however.

EaB has a strong streaming policy, so that DC can proceed at their own pace. It is not a school for strugglers (who get asked to leave), nor for the exceptionally gifted (who are well-served by the Cours Hattemer down the road!).

teafortwo Fri 29-Oct-10 21:51:13

My dd is in Maternelle and 'pushy' is not a word I would use to describe our experiences at all!!!

Ontop of that being in a Paris park makes 'the school run' a complete delight for dd and I. We usually spend at least one hour enjoying different areas of the park with friends after school.

rosietoes Mon 01-Nov-10 21:43:38

Turtlepower, I just did what you are planning to do! And the Mumsnet mafia have been invaluable!! (um, and yes, we are now in 17th with DD at EaB) grin

Where are you in London now? We moved from E11

rosietoes Mon 01-Nov-10 21:52:34

Also lived 5 months in 16th, rue de la Faisanderie, which had a handful of nice shops, boucher, boulangerie, but's in new Houellebecq with reference to those who 'fart money' (can't quite remember exact phrase now) but it was appropriate & funny! I giggled anyway

Turtlepower Tue 02-Nov-10 09:18:12

Rosietoes - we're in E9. How old is your DD?

I've heard a couple of times that the 17e is nice but none of the websites seem to have any apartments in that area.

We're going to Paris in two weeks so I think we'll focus on the 15, 16, and 17 arrondisements as well as Boulogne and Issy. I doubt we'll have time to look at all 5 areas, but it feels nice to have it at least narrowed down.

Bonsoir - what is streaming?

I am a little concerned that there won't be any space for DD if we arrive in January. Do public schools have to find space for new children or are they referred to less 'oversubscribed' schools? Do the private schools have a problem with oversubscription as well?

DD is quite bright but I know she'll be behind because of the language and may get frustrated. We're listening to a French CD at the moment and have enrolled her in a weekly french class for the next few weeks, but I don't know if any of it will really prepare her!

rosietoes Tue 02-Nov-10 21:30:07

DD is 4.5, we were on wait list for EaB, but had a spot at another local maternelle Petit Cour du Rocher which is nice.
There is a French website, (which I can't connect as I'm on my phone tapping this. Computer is broken) that tells you where you live and the local school you are sent to. I'm not sure they are oversubscribed here in 17th, but haven't researched it.

DoubleDegreeStudent Sat 13-Nov-10 12:02:15

I'm in the 13th, right up by the border of the 5th. There are local parks all around Paris, so it is worth going on google maps and doing street view to see how easy it would be to get to if you end up sorting an apartment online. The one by me has a great playground for children (no dogs allowed) as well as benches and grass for sitting on.
I have friends in the 16th, by the river. It's an amazing apartment and you do feel like you are in "proper" Paris but I'm not too keen on the atmosphere. It might just be that I am too young for it though...

milaF Tue 14-Jun-11 13:30:16

Hello All,
We just moved to the 14th. Any mumsnet moms around? We'd love to make friends. Our daughter is 4,5 y.o. I didn't put her in school yet, still looking...and she keeps asking smile

BriocheDoree Wed 15-Jun-11 19:18:29

Hi Mila,
I'm just replying 'cause I saw you posted on Message as well and you're probably getting rather frustrated that no-one is replying to you. Trouble is, you've picked the busiest time of the year to land in Paris: it's a couple of weeks to the end of term, everyone is busy with school fete, end of term shows, you name it. Not to mention trying to fit in birthday parties as well, in my case, as my kids have their birthdays in the summer holidays. To make it worse, France will shut down completely over August.
Anyway, I'm not in the 14th. I used to work there but I live out in W. suburbs. Have you tried looking out some summer activities for your daughter. There are some that run in English (lots of the international schools run summer camps, for example, or roaming schoolhouse or similar). I could also send you details of some activities in English, if that would help? It must be frustrating for your daughter: she will have to wait until September for things to really get going!
Anyway, welcome to Paris. It's lovely, really, just not so great in the summer always smile

BriocheDoree Wed 15-Jun-11 19:19:30

Sorry, really bad grammar in that last post grin

teafortwo Wed 15-Jun-11 21:06:47

MilaF - We are all feeling fed up and stressed! I'll PM a few people I know who have children your dd's age.

teafortwo Wed 15-Jun-11 21:09:40

Sorry - pressed 'post' too soon. I'll see if we can organise a park outing before the summer...

Superspudable Thu 16-Jun-11 12:33:09

We're hoping to move to the 15th next month so could be close by and looking for new playmates! Have two boys, 5 and 3...

IntlMum Wed 23-Jan-13 05:46:08

Hello everyone

(Just joined Mumsnet and am not sure how this works - hoping someone replies!)

We are moving to Paris in September 2013 - wanting to live in the centre. Because we are considering putting our DDs (5 year old will be going into CP, and 9 year old into CM2) in EAB, I was wondering whether anyone had thoughts about nice places to live in the 17eme. Do children take the Metro to school (with parents for young ones obviously!)? Or is walking the only realistic option? (We were hoping to avoid having a car as everyone has told us it's complicated and expensive...but perhaps that's the wrong idea?).

Many thanks!

IntlMum Wed 23-Jan-13 05:47:32

Hello everyone

(Just joined Mumsnet and am not sure how this works - hoping someone replies!)

We are moving to Paris in September 2013 - wanting to live in the centre. Because we are considering putting our DDs (5 year old will be going into CP, and 9 year old into CM2) in EAB, I was wondering whether anyone had thoughts about nice places to live in the 17eme. Do children take the Metro to school (with parents for young ones obviously!)? Or is walking the only realistic option? (We were hoping to avoid having a car as everyone has told us it's complicated and expensive...but perhaps that's the wrong idea?).

Many thanks!

jamaisjedors Thu 24-Jan-13 16:51:19

Hi Intlmum.

You should start your own thread I think because this one is 3 years old!

But as you can see, there are lots of mners in Paris with good advice for you.

BTW, I live in France (but not in Paris) and my 2 bilingual DS are in the local village school (in GS and CE2) and their English is great. A bilingual school is not an absolute necessity (although we are considering it for secondary).

MrsSchadenfreude Sat 26-Jan-13 20:57:25

There are quite a few MNetters in the 17th! I don't see why you shouldn't take your child to school on the metro - lots of people do! We live near Parc Monceau - it's a lovely area, but not cheap.

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