J’adore. Je deteste. I love Paris; I hate it. It has a rhythm all its own. Paris is delicious, but there is a certain order to accomplishing even small tasks. Understanding the “process” is perhaps something innate to locals, born & bred; however, to the new arrival, it is knowledge you will (eventually) acquire.
The average tourist is unlikely flustered by the natural order of all things French. After all, the tourist is on holiday & as long as he eats & sleeps well, the rest can be chucked up to a romantic experience. Should you choose to transgress the tourist status into resident, you will quickly develop a keener sense of the French “process.”
Even during financially tumultuous times, the socialist system protects those in need. It is well-worth taking the legal leap, albeit a lengthy & often frustrating bureaucratic process, towards legal residency. There are many available social & fiscal benefits, even if you are single, are over 60, have dependent children, or all of the above! For this, I love France.
As a foreign student on a mediocre income, complete with my carte de séjour, I had the right to apply for rent assistance. I received over a third of my total rent through Allocation de logement sociale (ALS). That was the easy part. The hard part was acquiring all the necessary documents for the residency permit. Considering my situation, however, the effort was well worth it!
Calculations for benefits are based on your financial situation & employment status, your post code, your living accommodation (studio, 1 bedroom, apartment, house, etc.), your living situation (single, co-habitation, with family, handicapped or elderly…) You can estimate how much you’ll receive at the Caisse d’allocations familiales (CAF) website. Enjoy the process.
Autumn classes at Alliance Française are about to start, so get your papers in order & enroll in a lifetime experience waiting to happen. Because it is a private institution, the process is pretty minimal & easy. Alliance is where our own Parisian journey began! ParisExpat.com has lots of nearby apartments to house you during your stay, & who knows, perhaps you’ll never leave…
When I’m starving in the middle of the night, I do miss hopping into my car & driving to any number of open food sources, be it supermarket or fast-food. That is an advantage to living in North America; 4AM in Paris is a tricky time to find anything open, even the Parisian late-night special, Sandwich Grec. However, there is nothing like an international experience for an authentic & unexpected life education.
Save up your money & buy that plane ticket. Embrace the romance of Paris. Nobody ever said love is easy. But you’ll remember it for a lifetime.
A few properties near Alliance Française: