Expat Tales: A privilege to be in Paris

Cleo Mitchell lives in an apartment in Paris with a view of the Eiffel Tower. 
What inspired your move, and how long have you been there?
Two good job opportunities came up around the same time for my boyfriend and I. We had visited Paris a few times, and love France, so it was an easy "yes".

What do you do there? 
I'm about to start work as an Interactive Producer at The Zoo, Google's in-house creative team that works with brands and agencies (not the place where they keep giraffes).

What are the greatest advantages to living there?
The city is incredibly beautiful and grand, also full of street art and a bit dirty. Stepping outside is visually inspiring, full of rich history and a proudly passionate joie de vivre. It's a privilege to be a part of it. Of course the food is great, wine is cheap (and good) and the village vibe in each neighbourhood (arrondissement) makes for pretty pleasant culture shock.

Also, Paris is very well connected to the rest of Europe and international routes, which makes exploring the northern hemisphere cheap and easy.

Without knowing the language, getting set up to live and work is quite difficult. The layers and dead-ends of bureaucratic process are hilarious in their complexity.

How expensive is it compared to New Zealand? How much is a beer? 
Rent is more expensive in comparison, say 20-25 per cent and for much less space. Other things are much cheaper, like public transport. A beer could be €3.50 (NZ$5.80), up to €10 near the Champs-Elysees .

What do you do in your spare time?

We're quite new so it's mostly exploring the different areas, finding friends and nice cocktail spots (Canal Saint-Martin is great). There are many markets in each area full of antiques, furniture, art, food and fresh produce. We'll be checking out surf spots down in the Basque area, and visiting other parts of the country in the many long weekends coming up.

What's the local delicacy and would you recommend eating it?

Escargot, or snails, are quite iconic. Imagine a small piece of paua swimming in garlic,  butter and a slight earthy aftertaste. If you're not up for that, then you can't go wrong with a croissant or macaron from any busy  bakery (boulangerie).

Easiest way to get around?
The metro network is good, cheap and frequent. Although cycling with the Velib city bikes will get you most places in a similar time, plus bonus sightseeing as you go.

What's the shopping like?

Wonderful and everywhere. Luxury, high-street, boutique, local, cheap and cult brands can all be found along the streets or in gorgeous department stores like Galleries Lafayette or Le Bon Marche. It helps to be earning euros or pounds, it's not cheap.

Best after-dark activity?

Find a cocktail or wine bar in one of the cute pedestrian-only restaurant streets. If you visit the Eiffel Tower at night, it puts on a fairy light show every hour.

Best time of year to visit?
Paris is always busy, although shoulder seasons seem a little less crowded. Come in May to June for nice temperatures and spring blooms.
What are the top three things you recommend for visitors?
1. Stay, eat, shop and hang out in or near the Le Marais area. It has a little stylish village feel and is very easy to get to all the main sights.
2. Take a bike tour, they're a good way to get a brief history, your bearings and locals-only stories and tips. I recommend Fat Tire Bike Tours and asking for Johnny!
3. Forget about your diet. You can't miss trying the cheeses, pastries, bistro meals, wines and desserts.

Besides family and friends, what do you miss most about home?

Being close to big green spaces and the beautiful empty beaches.

How easy is it for you to get back to NZ?

Flights are 24 to 40 hours depending on your budget and urgency. After agonising stops in either UAE, Asia and/or Australia, then getting through customs at Auckland Airport (that's always a shock to the system after lax European laws), it's another two to three hour emotional drive through the Waikato to reach my parent's farm.

For Kiwis looking to move there, which industries are seeking fresh talent?
Unemployment is currently quite high so you might need to be a specialist or arguably more qualified than a French person to get the role (and a visa). Knowing French, or any other European language, is a huge advantage. However, you can find companies hiring (and in fact preferring) internationals in tech, finance, media & advertising. Teaching English and the tourism/hospitality sector is also quite accessible.

Published: http://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/kiwi-traveller/77995163/Expat-Tales-A-privilege-to-be-in-Paris



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