This is the second part of my little series about moving to Paris. You can find the first post here.
...Now when you know what you want to do during your stay: Start planning! Before looking at apartments, signing up for a new cellphone number and getting insurance you really should start planning your stay. A few questions you should ask yourself are:
How long do you want to stay? When do you want to go and how long do you want to stay in Paris? That could be good question to figure out before going any further. During which season(s) do you want to be in Paris? And which time is the best to go depending on what you've decided to do during your time?
What is your budget for an apartment? Set a maximum price for what you're willing to spend per month on an apartment before you start looking, and stick to it! It's very easy to change your price limit once you actually start browsing through the list of apartments... The price for an apartment in Paris can vary a lot, depending on where you would like to live and how you would like to live.
If you're not in Paris yourself and don't have anyone there who could help you with the apartment hunting, the safest thing is to find an apartment through an agency. It's a little bit pricier, but it's better than getting scr**ed, which can be pretty common unfortunately. I've heard horror stories about mould and apartments that doesn't exists... I would absolutely recommend getting your apartment through an agency, it can feel safer to have somebody that could get in contact with if something turns out to be wrong. The agencies usually take an "agency fee" for their services. The fee can vary but it's often around one month's rent. You usually have to pay a security deposit as well, which you'll get back at the end of your stay — if the apartment is in the same condition that you received it in.
To give you a rough idea of what it could cost to rent an apartment in Paris (through an agency) I would say that it cost you anything between 600 - 2 000 € (for a studio that is). For 600 €/month you often get very few square meters and the toilet or bathroom is usually shared with the other residents on the same floor. For 2 000 €/month you can of course get an apartment with a bigger surface or/and with a better location. Don't forget that you usually have to pay for gas, electricity and sometimes other things on top of the rent. For a cheaper option you can live together with a roommate, or live together with a family. It all depends on what you're looking for.
...But more about apartments later on!
What are you planning to spend on food? Make a little budget for your daily food purchases and things you need for the apartment. This amount is also very individual and can vary a lot depending on your habits. Remember that it's cheaper to shop at the bigger stores than going to your local épicerie (= often a very very small grocery store located very central). Even though it can be quite comfortable, it can ruin your budget in the long run! Monoprix, Carrefour and Franprix often have bigger stores around the city with somewhat better prices.
What will your living expenses be? Don't forget about all those macarons (≈ 1,50 € each), baguettes (≈ 1 € each), croissants (≈ 1,10 € each) and tarts you'll be buying! All the new clothes you're going to want to shop for and those café au laits you'll be drinking. Those bus tickets (≈ 1,90 € each) or bus/métro cards (≈ 62 € per/month) you're going to have to buy. All those movie tickets you might want to purchase and those glasses of wine you want to spend your evenings sipping... Don't forget bout your cellphone bills, the costs for electricity and gas etc. either. These are important expenses as well, and it's good to make a plan for this too!
But most important... DON'T STRESS YOURSELF OUT. It's going to be fine. I wish someone would have told me this before I started planning my move! When you're at this stage everything feels a million times harder than it actually is.