Most Parisians live in apartments; while that may seem like a straightforward statement, the types of apartments range from old and charming, modern and efficient to ancient and shabby and new and ugly. You will also find small, hidden sections of Paris with tiny row houses, or nearby suburbs with refurbished turn-of-the-century cottages and new developments complete with backyard. Where you live depends on what you like and while the search may not always be easy, it is one of the most important steps in making Paris your home.
Whether you ultimately choose ‘une immeuble pierre de taille’ or ‘une résidence récente’, which will be discussed in the Type of Accommodation section, you must first decide where, within the city, you will live. Take into consideration the charm of the neighborhood, but also the practicality of its location and its amenities. Of course, interesting and attractive housing can be found throughout the city, but the highlighted arrondissements tend to be the most comfortable and popular for expatriates and their families.
If integrating into French language and culture is essential for your and your family, then you may want to shy away from the arrondissements where anglophone communities congregate. Even though it may be shocking to spend a few days, weeks or months not quite understanding what the grocer is saying, in the long run you will learn French faster and you will integrate into the French community, if you are forced to speak by necessity – and need we say – for survival. Sometimes you have to work for it.