By Gregory Pruidze
Finance consultant Gregory Pruidze, originally from Georgia, moved from Luxembourg to Paris for work in January 2019.
Moving from Luxembourg to Paris was quite a change. Going from a small and cosy town to the concrete jungle that is the French capital was both fascinating and a bit intimidating. Even though before Luxembourg I used to live in sizeable cities (Dubai and Tbilisi in Georgia), the Parisian hustle and bustle still struck me.
One thing I wish I had been aware of before I moved is how hard it is to find an apartment in Paris. Initially, I rented a flat on a short-term basis in the 9th arrondissement, which cost slightly more than the market rate for longer-term rentals. Living in the 9th arrondissement was much more enjoyable than I could imagine. It is fascinating with beautiful streets and a wide variety of restaurants. I particularly liked brasserie Choron, and advise anyone to go and have lunch or an aperitif in spring on its beautiful terrace.
You then have the option to head off to Pigalle for a couple of photos in front of Moulin Rouge, before walking around to choose your favourite bar, brasserie or cocktail bar for the rest of the night. I suggest having a couple of cocktails from the huge menu at Dirty Dick and experiencing Parisian tiki culture.
If you crave a stroll in Montmartre, take a 10-minute walk and you will be on top of the hill at Sacré Coeur. I recommend exploring the other side of the hill; I loved it when I discovered it. The streets are enchanting.
After some unsuccessful attempts to find a permanent apartment, I started spreading the word in my small Parisian network, which proved to be a successful strategy. Within a few weeks, I found an apartment in the 16th arrondissement. The Eiffel Tower is within 30 minutes’ walking distance and the Arc de Triomphe within 20 minutes. The 16th is one of the calmest districts in Paris, so if you are looking for a vibrant area full of bars, it will not be your cup of tea. However, it is ideal for those who want a green area. Its proximity to Bois de Boulogne is great for weekend jogging, a walk in the forest or chilling out beside the lake.
The Musée Marmottan Monet is around the corner from my apartment. I particularly enjoy the walk on Avenue Victor-Hugo and once I reach the Arc de Triomphe there are plenty of choices of avenue to take on the way back. When it gets warm and sunny you should rush to get a table in the restaurant Le Flandrin on Avenue Henri Martin.
If I feel the need to get out from 16th, I hop on bus number 63 going to Boulevard Saint-Germain to have a salmon tartare at Le Hibou in the heart of Odéon. I enjoy the minimalist cocktails prepared by its professional bar staff. Move on to Prescription cocktail club and and enjoy its quality music and chilled ambience.
To buy property in Odéon is not cheap — be prepared to pay €16,010 per square metre on average. According to the Chambre des Notaires de Paris, it was the most expensive place in Paris in the third quarter of 2019.
For anyone looking to go crazy and have long nights out, I recommend the Grands Boulevards area, where you can find many bars open after midnight. If you like techno and house music, go to Rex Club; top notch artists perform there.
If you are moving to Paris, I recommend learning some French to help you crash the language barrier. It is not an easy language. I spoke some French before I moved, which helped me to interact with people, but it was not easy because when you go for a beer in a bar you need a good level of French to keep up with the jokes and conversation.
People are normally very nice, helpful and respectful, but do not forget if you make eye contact with anyone, to smile and say, “Bonjour!”
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Photographs: Alamy; Dreamstime