I always receive a lot of questions about moving to Paris, and this time was no different. So this part of my answers are all about moving to Paris. How, when and why? You'll find out now. For even more info see the category "Moving to Paris".
What brought you to Paris? I always knew that I wanted to see more of the world than just Stockholm. At first I had my mind set on Italy but after yet another weekend trip to Paris in 2011 I decided that Paris was the place for me. I moved because I wanted a change in my life, I wanted a challenge and I wanted to experience and see something completely new. I moved to Paris in February of 2012 during four months (yes, that's how the name came to be) to study French. After my four months were up and I went back to Stockholm, I couldn't get Paris out of my head and decided to move back in January 2013.
I want to move to Paris… How should I go about it? This is one of the most common questions I get asked and it's such a hard one. Since I have absolutely no idea about each person's living situation etc. etc. it's really hard to give advice. But generally here's what I would say:
1) Visit the place you're thinking about moving to if you haven't already. I've heard about soo many people dreaming about moving to Paris and when they finally arrive here they don't like it at all. So I would say that a visit is a very good idea before you pack up your bags and leave. I think so many people have unrealistic expectations of Paris and have built up the city in their head to a point where the only possible outcome is disappointment. It's not all roses and macarons over here just so you know!
2) Make a plan. You can get help from the category "Moving to Paris" here on the blog where I've written down almost everything I know about moving to this city. Make a budget, look up different costs, look up options for obtaining a visa (if you need one), look for job opportunities or schools, look into the apartment situation and do your research.
3) If you, after these steps, still think moving to Paris is possible for you and it feels like something you want, I say go for it!
How do I find an apartment in Paris? You can find an apartment in a few different ways here in Paris. You can either go through an agency (where you can rent an apartment from 1 week to 1 year), look on your own or look with a real estate agent. I always recommend seeing the apartment in person before you sign any papers but if that's not possible one option is to rent something for a shorter amount of time so that you can look yourself when your on location, or you can go through a legit agency (although you can never be 100% sure unless you see it with your own eyes).
You'll find different agencies that deal with apartment rentals in Paris by doing a simple Google search. I think it's hard to recommend a specific one since it comes down to the apartment you pick yourself. You can read more about finding an apartment in Paris in this post.
How do you meet new people in Paris? You can meet people in a bunch of different ways in Paris! Perhaps the easiest way is through your work or school but if that's not an option for you perhaps these suggestions will help: Co-Lunching, different conversation exchange sites, social medias (a blog is a great idea), Meetup.com, a cooking class (art, photography or any kind of class actually), Voulez Vous Dîner and social gatherings like a book signing, opening of a new store or restaurant for example — the possibilities are endless! You just have to make an effort and not be too shy.
Is it difficult finding a job in Paris? This is such an impossible question to answer since it totally depends on what kind of job you're looking for, your qualifications and what kind of field you're interested in. It also depends on your contacts, your level of French etc. etc. Without knowing French and without any leeds for a job I think it can be very though to find a job in Paris and I even think it can be super hard to find a job with good French. Perhaps I'm not the best person to ask since I currently work for myself, but I've had friends who've lived in the city for up to 1 year without any job opportunities... But nothing is impossible, right?
Wasn't it nerve-wracking to pick up everything and move? How did you summon the courage? It was absolutely super duper nerve-wracking to pick up everything and just leave. I, a person who loves to plan and have everything figured out, was panicked by the thought of not knowing how things were going to turn out. I struggled with this during months before my move(s). What finally pushed me over the edge and what made me go for it was mainly two things that I realised: 1) I wasn't completely happy or satisfied with my life back home and my longing for something else was too strong to just ignore and 2) "What's the worst thing that could happen?" my mom asked me. "That I don't like it" was always my answer to this. "Well, then come back home then" she said. It's really not more complicated than that. If you don't like it, if you realise that this wasn't the thing for you, well then go back home then, but at least you've tried!