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Child friendly areas of Paris(56 Posts)
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).
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?
First of all, what is your accommodation budget and what is your minimum requirement (eg three beds/two baths)?
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.
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.
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!
How exciting, Turtlepower!!!
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...
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?
You will find two beds/one bath/70 square metres in a very decent area for 2,000 euros per month.
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.
Excellent advice from Bonsoir. 16e arrondissement around maison de la radio should not be too expensive and within easy reach of the eiffel tower.
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.
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...
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].
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!
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 .
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.
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.
My sister lives in the 17th too. As far as I know she does not know about Mumsnet!
(Totally useless addition to thread)
Does your sister have DCs at EaB, MaeMobley?
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.
I'm sure that if you send her to me and to TeaForTwo we will force her hand encourage her!