Those were the words my landlady said to me on my first day in Paris, as she helped me lug my two enormous suitcases up the narrow spiral staircase to my new apartment. Little did I know that I was in for the best time of my life studying abroad in Paris. I had never lived abroad before, but after living in Paris, I knew I wanted to come back again one day. Some people will tell you that living in Paris isn’t actually all that glamorous or exciting, but for me, it always felt like it was! There’s truly nothing like living in Paris.
There are so many things I miss about living in Paris (and only a few that I don’t…) My apartment in Paris was truly one of a kind. I lived in a beautiful studio in one of the best neighborhoods in the city: Saint Germain des Prés. This was by far the nicest apartment I’ve ever lived in, and it was worth every penny I paid to live there. (Even though I cringe now thinking about how high my rent was.) How could anyone ever get tired of living in a place like this?
I’m not actually a huge fan of typical French cuisine. Being a vegetarian makes eating French food difficult because a lot of the dishes are very meat-heavy. However, I ate all the bread, cheese, pastries, crepes, and macarons I could get while in Paris. Even McDonald’s serves macarons and pastries in France. And it was all delicious.
I also loved going to different places for brunch in Paris and trying out new types of cuisine, like Ethiopian food at a cool restaurant near me in the Latin Quarter. I made friends from the United States, Canada, Scotland, Turkey, Lebanon, Colombia, and more during my time living in Paris and attending my exchange university, Sciences Po. Some of them I still keep in touch with today, over four years later. Ironically enough, I didn’t actually make that many French friends. But I attribute that to mainly hanging out with the other foreign exchange students in my program.
Similarly, if you’re an expat moving to Paris, it’s easy to hang out with only other expats. It’s worth the effort to make local friends though – all the French people I met were very nice and welcoming! A lot of people I know use study abroad as a way to take weekend trips all around Europe. But for myself and my study abroad friends, we usually didn’t leave the city on weekends. There was just so much to do in the Paris that it was impossible to get bored.
My neighborhood alone provided me hours of entertainment, as I explored every narrow cobblestone alley and side street lined with rare book stores and art galleries. I could have spent years there and still not seen everything that Paris has to offer.