Want to live in Paris? 10 tips for moving to the City of Light

Posted in: Paris Planning


Paris apartments
Turn your dream of living in a Paris apartment into a reality with these tips. Photo: Paolo M

So you visit France every year—maybe two or three times a year—and you are thinking that you’d rather just move here for a while. Airfare does add up, after all.

Well there’s no easy way to stay in France legally for more than 90 days unless you are a EU citizen, but there are plenty of ways to consider coming to France for a chunk of time to put all of these budget tips to use over the course of a year or so.

1. Get a degree

The Sorbonne University, Sciences Po, NYU in Paris, American University in Paris—the list goes on. Whether it’s in French or English, there are many degree programs that offer you the chance to stay at least a year in Paris. While some like the Sorbonne are extremely affordable, others, like NYU in Paris, are less so, but don’t rule out scholarships!

Related: 12 tips for studying abroad in Paris

Paris commute

Join the Metro commute when you convince your company to transfer you to the Paris office. Photo: Mark Turner

2. Work

Does your company have an office in France? Poke around and start asking. You’d be surprised at the number of expats who are hear because work forced them to come to Paris, so why not volunteer yourself and help out someone who doesn’t want to make the move?

3. Intern

There are internship opportunities available to young professionals, with a visa specially dedicated to it. All it takes is a company to hire you, and then you can apply for the visa through the French Chamber of Commerce. It’s not going to be easy to find someone to take you on for the year, but it’s worth a shot.

Paris Marriage

Falling in love with a citizen of the EU is one way to live in Paris. Photo: Gus Valentim

4. Marry

Does that Bruno Mars song come into your head every time you meet a French person? Marriage is one of the easiest ways to move to France. Any EU citizen can be your key to moving abroad, but it’s also a slightly bigger step than taking a yearlong work exchange to France. Moving to Paris should be the fringe benefit of getting married, not the modus operandi, but what do I know anyway?

5. Tourist visa

If you have some pennies saved up, you can take a sabbatical year and move to Paris with a tourist visa. You can’t seek employment, but you can live here for the length of your visa and travel around without any worries. You have to prove that you have enough money to live on and even then, it’s not always a sure thing, but it’s an option to consider.

Related: A guide to beating the crowds at top Paris attractions

6. Launch a business

You want to make some money and move to France, so why not start a business in Paris? Easier said than done, but check out the news about startups and new businesses on the Rude Baguette, France’s startup blog, and maybe you’ll be inspired to start drafting a business plan while signing your visa application.

La Sorbonne Library

Picture yourself studying at the library at the Sorbonne when you take a class at this famous university. Photo: abac077

7. Study for fun

If you don’t care about a degree, the Sorbonne offers a course in French language and civilization that gets you a visa. It’s not cheap, but it’s a lot easier than trying to become a full-fledged Parisian student. And you should be speaking a little French by the end of it…

8. Become Italian or Irish

Have a great grandfather who was from Italy or Ireland? There are ways to apply for citizenship in these EU countries if you can gather all of the paperwork. Once you become an Italian or Irish citizen (read: EU citizen), France is all yours.

9. Research

There is a visa especially designed for researchers, so if you are a chemist or biologist, why not see if collaboration is possible with your French counterparts? It’ll score you a visa and some really cool international contacts.

10. Become French

I mean come on, just do it already.

About the author

Bryan Pirolli

About the author: With his college diploma fresh off the press, Bryan Pirolli headed for Paris and four years later he’s still there. A journalist and a tour guide, his main M.O. is pursuing a doctorate degree in communications at the Sorbonne Nouvelle. Bryan regularly travels on a budget, experiencing the best of European culture while still trying to make rent.  So far, so good. You can follow his adventures on his blog: www.bryanpirolli.com.

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