Post by CuriousToronto on Jan 15, 2004 11:10:32 GMT -5
Umm . . . a couple of questions to answer here.
In terms of L'Orangerie - supposedly it was set to re-open this year. Having said that people in Paris told me the re-opneing had been delayed several times already. As such, when it will actually re-open is a guess.
The Other Kim:
It's so very cool that you'll be living in Paris. Trust me it's an absolutely fantastic experience.
The entire city is filled with cool places to visit - and so much of "hanging out" in the city revolves around visiting cool places to eat. I'll start listing my hang-outs on the "Where to Eat in Paris" section. But other than that I do have my favourite places:
Luxembourg Gardens - this place is SO Paris! It obviously helps that I lived across the street from it and got to know it so well. It's a huge park full of so many things. A big pond like thing where kids play with sail boats. The Luxembourg Palace - home to the Senate in a palace build by a Medici queen of France to remind her of the Pitti Palace. It also holds the Medici Fountain which is absolutely gorgeous! There are tennis courts, petanque courts, playgrounds, a ton of things. Anywayz, the place is full of chairs that you can pull-up and sit in. Whether it's by the fountains or underneath the trees! I totally suggest grabing a sandwhich from one of the nearby places (I'll suggest one of my favourites in the Where to Eat in Paris section soon) and just enjoy your afternoon! It's a fantastic way to slow things down for a while. When my boyfriend was in Paris we did that one day and he absolutely loved it. In fact on my last Sunday in Paris I went and had breakfast at my favourite cafe (soon to be listed) with a friend and then we went and just lazed around the gardens. It was fabulous!
Saint Germain - this is kind of the COOL area to hang around in Paris! Just get off at the Odeon Metro and walk around. There are a ton of cool cafes and restaurants. It's a good place to spend an evening out.
Ummm . . . I could go on and on but if you give me more suggestions as to your tastes I could elaborate more specifically!
I too will be living in Paris.... I am moving there March 23!!!! Luckily I have a friend that I will be living with who happens to have an apartment in the Latin Quarter, which I love! Anyway, I would love to hear any advice you have in regards to moving to Paris - anything you wish you had known beforehand. Also, this is a bit random, but where in Paris can one buy a hairdryer? Mine blew out on my last trip there and I couldn't find one anywhere. Does Paris have something similar to a Wal-Mart or Target type of store, where you can buy most anything? I hate those kind of stores but they are so convienient! Thanks for any help you can give!!
Post by CuriousToronto on Mar 5, 2004 17:01:48 GMT -5
Haven't been on here for a while (busy with school and applications). Good to be back!
Now on to your question . . .
First of all congratulations on the move to Paris! And the Latin Quarter is great - that's where I lived and I wouldn't do it any differently. I'm sure you'll have a fantastic time!
Now in terms of do I wish I had known anything in particular before I got there. No not really. I had done my homework but nonetheless there were things that shocked me:
1) I expected French bureaucracy to be bad but I had no idea just how bad!!!! If while you are there you have to go the prefecture to get a Carte de Sejour I wish you luck. Be prepared to bring photocopies of absolutely everything. EVEN the stuff they didn't ask for. The French love their red-tape --- you've been warned!
2) I was not prepared for their banking services and financial transactions. I found myself in a place where at times people wouldn't take visa and interact was often out of the question. A direct deposit? Forget about it!!! Banking fees are so extra-ordinarily high in France that many transactions are often complicated as a result. Oh and don't be surprised if people don't give you receipts. Many places don't - not sure why.
3) Rudeness and a general lack of customer service is an issue. Parisians are special. That's the way I like to put it. Yes, it can be a HUGE turn-off at times. Especially on days when nothing is going right. But it's just something you live with.
4) This is a big one: THE BUSES IN PARIS ARE OFTEN BETTER THAN THE METRO!!! I didn't discover this one until very late on in my stay. For example, I was at the Luxembourg RER and to get to some parts of the Marais I had to switch lines several times. Included the dreaded switch at Chatelet - Les Halles. You can walk for kilometres just to switch lines at that station and the platforms themselves will often smell like urine. That and that's one place where you should becareful with your bags. One day I took the bus and was so surprised at how ridiculously quick and efficient it was. Not only that but you have the added pleasure of the fantastic sights out your window. It's spectacular! And since you are in the 5th/6th to go almost anywhere you have to pass the Seine. Glorious I tell you!
Ummmm......... just looked at your profile and realized you are female. That means I have some stuff to add to this.
The men in Paris can at times be SUPER agressive! And I completely highlight super. This is particularly the case in the hotter months of the year.
My friends and I have been randomly groped many a time. It is not rare to be followed by blocks and harrasment is a serious issue! It got to be so ridiculous that we basically didn't trust any male we hadn't met in class. I even got picked-up and harrassed at church.
Now this has to do a lot with the attitude of a lot of North American women. We tend to be friendly and might smile at a sales person or something and heaven forbid but we often notice what's going on around us. I had to learn to walk into a store really serious (that kept the guys at GAP from making any more suggestive comments about a room in the back for me) and I learnt to basically ignore everyone around me when I went to the Metro. It worked but it definitely was an adjustment. I'd just suggest that you becareful as they can be overly agressive at times.
And lastly about your blowdryer. The Paris equivalent of K-Mart/Walmart is Monoprix. It's actually more up-market than either one but it's the equivalent in the city. They also have a store in Montparnasse called INNO which is owned by them but also incorporates a supermarket. You'll be able to find your blow dryer at Monoprix!
Oh and if you happen to go outside of the city you will also find places like Carrefour. They are more like Walmarts but don't exist in the city proper - mainly 'cause they are "big surfaces" and take-up a lot of room.
I hope I didn't scare you here. Just trying to be honest. Now having said all of that I still wouldn't trade in my experience in Paris for anything in the world! In fact since I got back I often find myself wishing I could pop back for a visit or even to live there again (later on of course).
And the Latin Quarter in particular I loved - I'm all about the Left Bank!
Best of luck planning your trip and PLEASE don't hesitate to ask anymore questions. I promise to try to answer ASAP.
Post by CuriousToronto on Mar 5, 2004 21:59:05 GMT -5
Let me re-visit the first question about smaller cities to visit.
I didn't get a chance to do a whole lot of traveling in the outskirts of Paris but I do have a couple of suggestions:
1) You could head to the Loire Valley. There are companies that do day trips there if you want the tour thing. Maybe the best way to go as you get more chateaux for your money that way.
2) Chantilly. This is the home of whipped cream and one fantastic chateau. The chateau is home to fantastic book and art collections. They had these fouquet miniatures that were insanely accurate. You looked at them through magnifying glasses and they were so good you could swear the carpet in the painting had actually been woven by someone.
thanks for the advice!! i've been to paris 3 times before, so i have some idea of what to expect. i won't have a visa, so finding a job will be super difficult. i am hoping to take some language classes over the summer and then enroll at the sorbonne in the fall and get a visa then. i leave a week from tomorrow, and am sooooo excited!! i can't wait to start exploring my new neighborhood - the latin quarter!!!!
Post by CuriousToronto on Mar 16, 2004 11:26:23 GMT -5
Ummm......I have to say that this last post left me a tad bit worried. I don't know if you are a national of the EU - I'm guessing not or else you wouldn't be worried about the job situation. Here is the deal though, as a U.S/Canadian citizen you are allowed to stay in France for a maximum of 3 months. If you are going a week from now and staying through the fall you are definitely surpassing this limit.
Once in France you can NOT apply for a visa there. That's something that has to be done in your home country. Now if you are going to be studying at the Sorbonne during the fall they would normally send you a certificate of pre-inscription and you would use that to get your visa. Now the earliest you are allowed to request a visa is 2 months before the start of your course. Once in France you would have to get a residency permit where you would have to show documentation for everything including an official enrolment at the Sorbonne, fees paid, and details about your courses and/or schedule.
Some people I knew went and didn't get a VISA. You might not get caught - but what if you do? Is it really worth it?
Now as I understand it once your three months are up you have to leave and not come back for another three months. Some people just leave and come back-in right away though.
Truth is that passport checks and stuff are rather lax in Europe. Most of the time they would see my passport was Canadian and wouldn't bother opening it. But what if they do? What if they see you have been in the country longer than three months?
I'd just give some though to how you are planning to work things out. Just make sure you aren't breaking any laws. Getting caught I'm sure won't be fun at all.
Now in terms of the Sorbonne - they are good for the prestige of it all (the reason I went there) but there are other alternatives in the Latin Quarter. Once you get there you should look into the Institut Catholique (just on the other side of the Luxembourg gardens). I have had friends who have studied at both and they say the classes at the ICP are smaller and in some ways the language instruction is better too. They are also more expensive. I guess it depends on what you want out of your classes and what your language level is. Either way I'd look into the ICP - the Sorbonne isn't your only option.
As for work the no visa thing complicates matters. If you had a visa you could just ask for a work permit with your carte de sejour. I have a friend who did that and now works at GAP in Chatelet.
I will say however that even without proper paperwork certain jobs are a cinch to find. In particular there are ALWAYS advertisements for people looking for nannies for their kids - pick them up from school, take them home, and spend a couple of hours with them sorth of thing. The only downside is that since you are operating outside the law there's nothing to protect you from getting screwed over so you have to becareful.
Don't mean to scare you or anything. I just suggest you give some thought to your legal situation while over there.
yeah, i am aware of the visa thing. it is tricky. once i decide what i really want to do there.... work or school or whatever..... i will return home and do the visa thing. i am coming home over the summer for a few weeks, and may have to extend it to get a visa. i do have friends that have been living in paris for years without a visa, not that it is really how i want to live! for now i am just going to see what happens. i also need to see how i like living there before i go through the trouble of getting a visa. i would hate to pay for school and then realize that i hate living in paris! thanks for the advice!