Hi, I am currently applying for a new job in Paris. At the moment my fiancée and I are living in London. She's British and I am French (having lived here for 15 years). Moving to Paris presents a lot of challenges for us. In no particular order: fiancée losing her ability to maintain the freelance activity that occupies about half her time (and gives her income - as a household we'll be very comfortable but technically she would lose her own income source/independence until she speaks French well enough to work there - she currently distance-studies the rest of the time), getting pregnant and having first baby in Paris for an English mum, risk of isolation for my fiancée due to lack of professional activity/possible difficulty in making friends in Paris and having to rent house we have in London (and doing works required to bring property up to scratch). Those are probably the main ones we can think about ! My fiancée does speak French relatively well but not fluently enough to work there yet.
I've seen on the forum that people have moved there in seemingly much more challenging conditions that we would (ie with children/young babies) so that cheered me up a bit. However while the professional opportunity is likely to be very good for me, I really don't want the move to destroy our relationship.
I would be interested in all views/experiences that people have had in moving to paris, the challenges, where to live to make life easier, ways to meet and makes friends (expats and French), ways to enjoy the experience. Any tips, anecdotes, anything at all really would be greatly appreciated.
The big issue seems to me whether your fiancée is employable in the medium/long term in France. Life in Paris is not particularly challenging - in many ways it is much less challenging for families than London (shorter commutes, lower transport costs, lower housing costs, cheaper school costs, cheap childcare costs etc).
Thanks Bonsoir. Re employability I think it would be ok once her French is fluent. How would you rate the risk of her feeling isolated ? Is it easy to meet other expats/French people ? Would you advise to stay within Peripherique or go to suburbs (nb we don't have DC yet). Thx
Gosh, stay within Paris! No question in my mind. Is your office within the périphérique?
If you are thinking forward to having DC, you should move near one of the bilingual schools.
Your fiancée would need to have a plan for improving her French and making friends. The best way (IMVHO) to improve French is to take the Sorbonne course for foreigners - tough and hard work but really effective and properly French. Gives insight into French education!
As for having babies you learn an awful lot of obstetric French whether you are French or not! I had my first child in a DOM-TOM, no anglophone doctors or midwives - the only ones with any level of English beyond the bac were my students (I taught English to med students and midwives) so there was no way in hell I was having them there. We all survived. There's always the Hopital Franco-Brittanique.
When I lived in Paris I made a lot of friends through the Anglican Church there and the American library. There are lots of expats. But obviously the sooner she learns enough French to be employable the better. What does she do?