Relocating to Paris - primary schools and neighbourhoods(20 Posts)
Greetings! We will likely be relocating to Paris (from London) next year, and I am grappling with practical questions surrounding schools and where to live. Any advice would be appreciated, given the following considerations:
-4YO DD to start full time school (reception) next year, so big move coincides with first experience of all day school. She is social and confident, but it will still be a major upheaval leaving friends etc. Our 6 month baby will probably stay home with nanny initially, but I would like him to join nursery at DD's school eventually.
-My work will be in the 7th, Grenelle area. DH's work will be north side of Parc Monceau. DH's schedule will be demanding with long hours/travel, mine will be more predictable hours but still busy with some evening events and juggling work and home life (have been on extended parental leave and nervous about transitioning back to a fairly senior position!). We will probably have a live in nanny to support us.
-My work will cover ASP, ISP, or BSP tuition. DD is active and needs fresh air and space after not enough of either in London, as well as a challenging academic environment and nurturing culture. She is already studying and picking up French, which I would like to build on.
-We will have a fairly generous housing allowance through my work, so could reasonably choose to live wherever suits best.
-I am Canadian, DH American, both French speakers but English at home; multicultural background. We will be in Paris for 4-5 years, and potentially back to Canada or the US after or perhaps another international move. We would love to enjoy city and cultural life, but obviously want to set our lives up so school and work commutes are as smooth and painless as possible. Not too worried about expat bubble vs having French friends etc, as we will be busy enough with two professional networks to cultivate along with whichever school community.
I am thoroughly confused after receiving so much different advice from various sources. Please help me figure out this puzzle, I understand that we need to start school applications shortly and housing concerns will soon follow suit!
I should have added that I would love school advice, primarily. Once that is determined, any advice on best place to live in light of school and workplaces would be very much appreciated. Thank you!!
I d go for a local public or semi public school
Thank you - yes I've looked into those schools (which seem very interesting), but challenge is that my work will cover cost for ASP, ISP, or BSP only.
However it means limited French and no fluency at those schools. If you want to have French speakers, avoid the 3 schools you listed.
I don't see it as a challenge to choose a more appropriate school that is cheaper.
Lifeisunjust - my two attended ASP for four years and speak excellent French (particularly the older one - she was pushed and put into the bilingual class after two years, went into the native speaker class at her next school and did brilliantly in her higher level French IB). I would agree that BSP don't do brilliantly with French, but I also knew children at Marymount and ISP who spoke excellent French. So don't write them all off!
Lifeisunjust - by challenge, I meant that costs would be completely covered at those three schools vs. EAB etc. So although the latter is cheaper, would be much more expensive as compared to zero cost!
MrsSchadenfreude - I'm encouraged to hear about your positive experience of bilingualism out of ASP (and potentially ISP etc). BSP probably out of the question anyway due to impracticality of commutes etc, but if we can figure out the magic formula for where to live for an easy commute for DD and reasonable commutes for us then ASP could be a good option. If she were older the school bus would be a no brainer, but I'm hesitant for her first experience with full day school. Where did/do you live during ASP?
We lived in the 17th, and the girls went on the school bus, but they were older than yours (they were 9 and 11 when we went to Paris). We liked ISP a lot, but they didn’t have spaces at the time.
We will visit ASP and ISP in the new year, I know time is of the essence in terms of spaces. I suppose we could try to live in Boulogne, such that bus ride is manageable for DD.
What about Victor Hugo school? I have read good and bad reviews, although can't seem to find anything recent. Is it worth considering?
Yes I agree with pp, I'd go for ASP or ISP for better chance of speaking French. Or go for one of the EJM bilingual schools. There's a nice one at Parc Monceau.
Ancienchateau, I already suggested the EIM network of schools - that includes Monceau and Victor Hugo - but the suggestion did not go down too well.
It really depends on whether you want children to be fluent in French or to just be functional in French. For the former, you need a school where at least half the children speak French.
Thanks for the suggestions. As mentioned, I am interested in learning more about the EIM schools (Monceau and Victor Hugo) but it's a trade off in terms of better locations (near our offices)/bilingual schools vs costs.
EIM we would be out of pocket, ASP or ISP would be covered by work.
Is it crazy to think of living out near ASP and both adults commuting in to central Paris for work?
From what you have described : neither of you French, rather American / Canadian both with full
on careers, not staying in France for good, it seems obvious to go for ASP (with the children from US consul) and live right near there. I’d get an Alphard plus a driver. Sounds like you will have an amazing time, and I agree to focus on social world of each job and the school. Be sure to host dinner parties, it’s what I miss most from Paris.
It would be nice to rent a house in Saint Cloud.
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I am a huge fan of Monceau x rue du Rocher area around Villiers to live and for schools x work but given your particular circumstances ASP seems obvious.
lemonapple - thanks for the advice, much appreciated. ASP does sound like the practical option, especially the way you put it (preferable to ISP?).
I have just started poking around online exploring housing in the ASP area. Is it very residential/suburban in Saint Cloud? We have always been fairly urban creatures. I do love hosting dinner parties - will friends from Paris come out to Saint Cloud for those?! I don't seem to have a good sense of real distance and logistics.
As for logistics, forgive my naivete, but is hiring a driver a real option? DH will probably uber back home at night since he can bill it, but would be amazing to have someone to ferry the rest of us around!
I think this will be a good move for us, I just hope I am able to juggle it all!
Off to join message...
St Cloud is not Villiers/Monceau but you said your daughter needed more green and space. Lots of Paris CAC40 power couples living in Neuilly, Bois de B, Meudon, Saint Cloud. So, Yes guests will come to your dinner party, so long as you host them on weekday nights ! The Alphard/driver is a dispensable luxury but I see it as a great business/family time investment. Paris is not a “hail a taxi” city like London or New York and it would be very swish (but also practical as a working mum) to have your driver take you and colleagues to dinner, meetings etc. Personally I found Paris a fab place to be a working mother. By the way, it is quite chic to take Wednesday afternoon off if you can to be with your children, plus take a day off for Soldes . Even if you are working in an international setting read 3-4 books on Paris working culture before you go.
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