| The best market streets
|| Prices in France
certain streets have very good food shops, with fresh products.
Some of them :
- Rue Montorgueil (1rst Arrt)
: with many friendly bars around
- Rue Cler (7th Arrt) : with one
of the best cheese shops in Paris
- Rue de Buci (6th Arrt) : charming
and friendly, in Saint Germain des Prés
- Rue Daguerre (14th Arrt) : great
- Rue Lecourbe (15th) : wonderful
- Rue Poncelet (17th) : with a
wonderful pastry-shop and tea-room
- Rue Mouffetard (5th) : fantastic
vegetables, the whole street is a show
- Rue des Rosiers (4th) : for
- More to come ...
Some open-air markets are also remarkable. They
- Marché des Sablons (Neuilly,
near Porte Maillot) (Wednesday and Sunday) : everything, including
- Marché Raspail (Blvd
Raspail and Rue de Rennes) (Tuesday, Friday and Sunday) : famous
for natural food products
- Marché d'Aligre (12th
Arrt) for inexpensive fruits and vegetables (and then, visit
the Baron Rouge wine bar nearby!)
- Avenue du Président Wilson
(between the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris and the
Musée Galliera) (Saturday)
- Marché Saint Denis, Place
Jean Jaurès near the basilica, easy access by metro :
very colorful, African fruits and vegetables, all kinds of ethnic
products (Tuesday, Friday, Sunday mornings)
- More to come...
kilogrammes etc...? Click here for a better understanding of the metric
system (kilogrammes, litres, etc...)...
A very good book
(with good photos and recipes) : Nicolle Aimée MEYER & Amanda
Pilar SMITH, Paris in a Basket - Markets - The Food and the
People, Köneman, Köln, 2000
be expensive in France. According to International Mercer Consulting
2003, Paris ranks 23rd among 140 world metropolis (see the comparative
figures). Here are some standards
for the price of things in France (compare to US prices...)
- Gas : $9 to
$11 per gallon (pretty expensive, isn't it?)
- A driver's license
requires taking driving lessons : minimum $1,500
- A parking ticket
(minor violation) : $ 18 to 45
- Buying an apartment
in Paris : $500 per sq ft (in the good but not the fanciest parts
of the city) ; in 2003, from $400 per sq ft in the 18th, 19th
and 20th arrt to $850 per sq ft in the 6th and 7th arrt (source
: le Monde July 4, 2003)
- Renting a one-bedroom
apartment : minimum $750 to $900 per month (not including heating,
- Having one room
of an apartment painted : $2,000
- A marriage gift for a distant
friend : $60 minimum, a close friend : $200 +
- One hour of a cleaning lady
: $13 to $ 16
- A mortgage loan : 4,5%
- A newspaper $1,80 to 2,00
- More to come
But certain things are
less expensive :
- A visit to a doctor : $28 (house
call : $40) ; see more about health
- One year tuition in a good university
: $300; see more about education
- More to come
Visit a site which gathers prices of most common products/services for different countries and cities.
However, the French have a strange
relationship with money and they don't like to talk about it
: read more about it.
|Deciphering a Paris bistrot
|The circled object (1) is the symbol of a carot : it means that tobacco is sold in that place (in the old days, people kept a piece of carot in their tobacco bag to prevent it from becoming dry). The circle object (2) is a four leaf clover and it means that lottery tickets, including for the very popular loto, are sold here. The circled (3) "brasserie" means that the place has
|a full kitchen and can serve meals all day long (whereas in restaurants, you can be served only at meal times).
DID YOU KNOW
THAT....? The Euro is the official currency for 17 countries
of the European Union (except UK, Denmark and Sweden and 10 out
of the 12 recently admitted countries). The banknotes represent
various bridges, gates, etc... but not existing ones and they
are the same all over Europe. The coins have one side identical
all over Europe and one side illustrating one of the European
countries, but of course they are valid all over Europe.
| Practical tips on life in Paris
|| Driving in Paris
If you're looking for:
Addresses : visit the site pagesjaunes (yellow pages) : it
gives adresses, phone numbers, email addresses, a picture of
ALL the buildings in Paris (when they include a shop or a business)
and how to get there !
Antique shops, 50 (or more) in a row! Visit the "Village
Suisse" (4 blocks, with only antique shops, in the 7th,
corner Avenue de Suffren and Avenue de la Motte-Picquet) or the
"Louvre des Antiquaires" (a building rue de
Rivoli, facing the Louvre Museum), both good places to stroll
around in search of an (expensive) find.
Auctions, every day, Salle Drouot, rue Drouot 75009
help (in English)
: Assistance Informatique, 15 rue Commines 75003 Tel. (0)1
42 71 10 96 WebSite www.assistinfo.net
or Dress Material : go to Marché Saint Pierre, right
below Montmartre: great savings and great choice
Flowers : Marché
aux Fleurs, Ile de la Cité near Notre-Dame, daily (and
birds Sunday morning)
courses : Alliance Française,
101 blvd Raspail 75006 Tel. (0)1 45 44 38 28 ( also provides
services for students)
: the Galerie Commerciale of the Louvre Museum (especially
beautiful copies of ancient jewels, for instance), the Rue des
Francs Bourgeois (for clothes or gift-hunting on Sundays).
Store : Epicerie du Bon Marché, an (expensive) Ali
Baba cavern of wonders from France and other countries, 38 Rue
de Sèvres 75007
: play and learn at Ecole de Jazz de Paris/Centre
International de Musique, 83bis rue Doudauville, 75018 Tel 01
42 58 03 40 and remember : jazz
is alive and well in Paris !
Hardware : the
basement of the Bazar de l'Hotel de Ville is a MUST and
you can find everything !
- As a visitor, you can drive
with your US driver's license but
if you become a resident and want to have a French driver's license,
you must go through the whole (very expensive : 1,000 $ minimum)
process : taking courses and passing a test. Only 14 States in
the US have a reciprocal agreement with France which allows a
simple conversion of the license (Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware,
Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, New Hampshire,
Ohio, Pennsylvania, S.Carolina, Virginia & Texas), as of 2010.
- Click here
for a reader's opinion and here for Driving
Rules in France !.
- Consider (like they do)
any other driver as an enemy and
a potential threat. Selfishness, lack of civic sense and
aggressiveness of French drivers is beyond anything you can imagine....
Driving in Paris is a real sport ! If you can drive around the
Arch of Triumph at 6 p.m. and survive, you are becoming a real
- French respect, revere and respond
to repression : due to tight repression (and not at all to civic
sense...), the number
of accidents has diminished steadily in the past years and seems to stabilizedn.
The legal limit for % of alcohol in blood while driving is 0,5
grammes/liter : it is quite low (two glasses of wine) so be careful
limit : 50 km/h except in residential districts (30 km/h) and on the ring road (70 km/h).
- More to come...
for the innocent American driver in Paris.....
- Do NOT take
the concept of "lanes" too seriously : like the concept
of "priority" for cars coming from the right, it is
purely indicative (like, sometimes, red lights, pedestrian crossings,
- When parking
your car, you may hit (gently!) the two cars you are squished
- You can scare
pedestrians and make them run : it is part of the game
trucks can do whatever they want (like double park) and as long
as they want : if you are blocked, do not wait and try to escape.
that street numbering starts from the river Seine (the smallest
Where do young people like to hang around in Paris ....
Many fun places for music, terraces, restaurants, etc. in a NW-SE strip :
- Along the Canal Saint Martin in the 10th (quai de Jemmapes, quai Valmy)
- from Place de la République 11th to Place de la Nation 12th (rue Oberkampf, rue de Charonne, etc.)
stores : you can buy
liquor anywhere and anytime but Nicolas is a good chain
of liquor stores
and bus tips : see the
site ; you can also use one of these double-decker buses, yellow
(Paris Open Tour) or red (Les Cars Rouges) : for EUR 21, you
can go on and off the bus for two days and the most famous monuments
are along the routes ; you can also take a boat and use "Batobus",
a line along the river Seine (EUR 3 or so).
Music in Paris : visit the Cité de
la Musique (221 avenue Jean-Jaurès 75019 Paris, tel
33-1 44 84 45 45), which is part of the Parc de la Villette :
several concert halls, the Musée de la Musique, the Conservatoire,
and many events all year round.
Pets : many pet
shops Quai de la Mégisserie (between La Samaritaine and
information click here... and read our
Sports : cafés
where you can watch baseball or football games on TV
(in English/home delivery)
: Reels on Wheels, 35 rue de Croix Nivert 75015 Tel. (0)1
45 67 64 99
: see a list.
Wine : why
don't you try Bercy ? On the site of former wine warehouses,
a very beautiful park, a charming street with restaurants and
bars, many wine shops of all sorts and a wonderful "Musée d'Art
Forain" (a collection of merry-go-rounds and various
- More to come (click here
for more tips) ...
- For vital
issues (Marriage, Job-hunting, Real Estate, Divorce, Senior
Citizens, Retirement, Wills and Inheritance), read the book published
- If you speak French, Paris Pas Cher
is an indispensable guide for budget shoppers
- And visit BoomerCafé
USEFUL TIP : you know its address and
you want to see what a shop looks like : go on pagesjaunes (yellow pages) ; almost
all buildings in Paris are listed with their picture and a view
of their street !
Renting an apartment
Renting an apartment
in Paris can be an excruciating experience : you can do it all
by yourself (i.e. without an agency, using only classified advertising)
but then consider it a full time job for two or three weeks.
Furnished and unfurnished apartements are two very different
markets : the first being more on case by case basis (lease duration,
A FEW USEFUL TIPS
for unfurnished apartments.....
- Do not expect
the owner to repaint it before you move : it is your job... ;
when you move in, the owner will have an official statement of
the condition of the place you rent ("état des lieux")
established and signed by you : mention on it everything you
would hate to re-do before you leave ; you must pay most repairs
except those which are related to the building itself ;
- Of course
you must sign an insurance contract ("assurance habitation")
with any insurance company and the owner may require a proof
that your income is sufficient to pay the rent (classically,
three months of salary slips showing that the rent would not
represent more than 30% of your income or, for young people",
a formal duly signed guarantee by the parents). If you are shocked
to see how demanding the owners are, read why.
- Be ready
to pay the agency a fee ("honoraires d'agence")
of around one month rent and a cash deposit ("dépot de garantie") of generally 3 months
- The rent
("loyer") will be between 1.30
and 1.80 $ per sq.ft per month within Paris according to the
quality and the neighborhood
- In addition
to the rent you will have to pay the maintenance of the building,
central heating, various facilities ("charges") : 10 to 20% of the rent and the local
d'habitation") every year (a very rough estimate is $1,000 per
- If you leave,
you must give notice ("congé") 3 months in advance,
by registered letter to the owner (or its official representative)
- Always require a written bill and avoid paying with cash.
- If your building
has a "concierge", you are lucky and your
interest is to become a good friend with her (do not forget the
sweet tradition of "étrennes"
: some money
- More to come....
If you want to
know more :
- Read FUSAC
or (in French) "Particulier
à Particulier" (no agency) or "Le Figaro"
- see where the American
Community lives in the Paris Region
- www.seloger.com is the best site to find an unfurnished apartment in Paris
- Read Paris
Diary about it
- Erasmus H.KLOMAN, Apartment
in Paris,UPG, Norwalk CN, 1998 contains many useful tips
and a directory of rental agencies in the USA and in France
- More to come....
in Paris have a very particular
for some of them, you can find the itinerary in Paris
Mosaïque, with the comments by the authors, two sociologists:
- African :
XVIIIth Arrt (around
Place du Chateau Rouge) : African market, etc...(rue de la Goutte
d'or, rue des Gardes, rue Leon, rue Myrrha)
- Young and Branché
("in") : Bastille
11th Arrt (passage du Cheval Blanc, rue du Faubourg St Antoine,
rue de Charonne, Rue de Lappe) : latino music, cafés philosophiques,
tapas bars, etc...
: XIIIth Arrt (Avenue de
Choisy) : food, Chinese clothes, etc... (avenue d'Ivry, dalle
des Olympiades, rue Nationale, avenue de Choisy) : shop at Tang,
THE Chinese supermarket in Paris, with food you've never seen
before and inexpensive kitchenware ; visit the Buddhist temple
rue du Disque. See our page about Chinese
: Xth Arrt around Gare de
l'Est and Gare du Nord (Passage Brady)
Or visit useful sites such
If you want to BUY a house, you'll have
to live in a suburb (see the difference of meaning of center
vs. suburb between France and USA) ; outside Paris, in the
"provinces", it can be a wonderful experience : read
Peter Mayle (Provence)
or Betsy Draine (Périgord).
You can also buy "en viager"
through a notary.
If you want to exchange temporarily your home for a home in Paris, click
here to find several addresses on our link page.
: IVth Arrt (Rue des Rosiers)
: food (Goldenberg's is a major Jewish landmark in Paris but now it is a fashion store and no longer a magic restaurant), bookstores,
about the Jewish community.
- Gay : IIIrd Arrt (Le Marais : Rue du Temple,
etc...) : bars, etc...
- Japanese : around the (old) Opera House : rue Sainte Anne,
etc... See our page about Japanese
- More in the section :
if you are not American...
inside the city : in some
parts of Paris (mostly in the XVIth, but also in the XIXth),
you can find individual houses with gardens, sometimes built
in the XIXth century for the working class and now passionately
looked for by Parisians, if they can afford them (Villa Molitor,
Hameau de Boulainvilliers, villa du Progrès, etc...)
Some streets or neighborhoods
have an amazing number of shops
for specific needs :
- Antiques : Village Suisse (VIIth Arrt) or Louvre des Antiquaires
- Art Galeries
: Rue de Seine (VIth Arrt)
- Comic books : Rue Dante (Vth)
- Computers : Rue Montgallet (XIIIth)
: Rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine
Drums : rue de Douai (IXth),
- Luxury jewelry
: Place Vendôme/Rue
de la Paix (Irst)
- Costume Jewelry : rue Réaumur/Rue du Temple (IIIrd Arrt)
: Avenue de la Grande Armée
: Quai de la Mégisserie
: Rue de Paradis (Xth Arrt)
- Religious artifacts : around Saint
Sulpice Church (VIth Arrt)
: Rue Lafayette/Rue de Chateaudun
(IXth Arrt) and a market every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday on Avenue Gabriel (8th
: Rue de Rome (VIIIth Arrt)
- More to come...
DID YOU KNOW
THAT.....? In French, moon-lighting translates as "travail
au noir" (i.e. "black-work") : many craftsmen
may offer or accept cash instead of a check payment and make
you benefit with a reduced price from the money they'll save
on taxes (value added tax : 19,6%)
or on social benefits for their workers (see the anatomy of a
Be careful : it is illegal and you can be fined and, of course,
you have no guarantee if anything goes wrong with the work or
the product you purchased... Think twice when you pay in cash
: In France a "Deux Pièces" is NOT an apartment
with two bedrooms : it is an apartment with one bedroom and a
living room. A two-bedroom apartment is a "Trois Pièces".
The first floor ("premier étage") is NOT the
ground floor (called "rez-de-chaussée") : it
is the second floor ! Also, remember that apartments are smaller
than in the USA (average surface for housing in France : 90 sq.m
i.e. 900 sq.ft, vs. 148 sq.m in the USA i.e. 1480 sq.ft). People
rent more often than in the USA (% of owners 56% vs. 68% in the
DID YOU KNOW THAT ......? In France, a significant
proportion of property (2 to 3%) is sold in return for a life
annuity. It is called " viager " and it is often
used by people with no heirs and who want to improve their income
when they retire. The buyer owns the property when the contract
is signed but can benefit from it only after the seller's death. The
funniest story about the viager is the story of the man who,
in 1965, bought the house of a woman named Jeanne Calment when
she was already 90. He made the wrong choice and died long before
her because she was the oldest person in France when she died
at age .....122 !
For other ideas about life in Paris,
the sections : Learning French,
Studying in Paris, Gifts to bring or take back...,
Meeting the French : a real challenge ! and if you are invited by a Parisian...
More about life in Paris : see my
favourite links , some
useful commercial links
and read Paris diary.
If, when in Paris, you had to face some practical problems and
want to share your experience, please let me know : I'll
mention it in this page or in irksome France....
To related pages : more on life in Paris (#2)
and retirement in France (#4), Joie de Vivre in France, intercultural differences,some French specificities, etc...
To top of the
Back to home
In France, small things procure big joys. In fact, la joie de vivre is composed of many small and simple pleasures : a stroll on the banks of the Seine, a tiny taste of dark chocolate with your wee espresso, a petit verre de rouge (little glass of red wine). Small is good . . . Do you wonder why the French aren’t fat ? Here’s the answer : portions are petites.
For more on inttercultural differences, order Harriet Welty Rochefort's books : Joie de Vivre. Secrets of Wining, Dining and Romancing like the French, St.Martin's, 2012, French Toast.An American in Paris Celebrates The Maddening Mysteries of the French, St.Martin's Press, 1999, French Fried. The Culinary Capers of an American in Paris, St.Martin's Press, 2001. More on Harriet's books (excerpts, upcoming events, testimonials, etc).
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