Living Better in Paris

Top Reasons Why Paris is Perfect City for Expat Families

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Are you looking for the perfect place to relocate your family abroad or spend a sabbatical year? Paris isn't just a city; it's also a lifestyle. Imagine strolling along the Seine with your family, exploring the Louvre Museum, enjoying delicious and quality local food, and being surrounded by the timeless beauty of iconic monuments, beautiful architecture, and the vibrant urban life scene. Paris isn't just about romance; it's a fundamental choice for expat families looking to discover a new environment. From top-class international schools and excellent healthcare to a rich cultural tapestry that enriches daily life, Paris has everything for expatriate families looking for adventure and opportunity. 

Paris Family-friendly infrastructure and services

Paris offers a range of family-friendly infrastructure and services, including:

Education for expat children in Paris: International and bilingual schools in Paris

Paris is a hub of prestigious international and bilingual schools, offering a diverse range of educational options for expatriate families. These schools provide a multicultural learning environment, a variety of educational programs (IB, American Program, British Curriculum), and high-quality academic standards. This comprehensive guide to Paris International Schools will provide you with more detailed information.

International school in Paris, students and teachers

Green spaces and family-friendly parks in Paris:

Paris is renowned for its abundant green spaces and parks, offering families expansive playgrounds and leisure areas for children. With over 530 parks, gardens, and squares in central Paris, ranging from cozy neighborhood parks to larger, more iconic ones like the Luxembourg Gardens, Tuileries Garden, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, and Bois de Boulogne, which are particularly beloved by families, Paris ensures a serene and comfortable environment for your family.

Bois de Boulogne - Paris 16th district

Bois de Boulogne - Paris 16th district

Accessibility to French healthcare:

In France, the health of children is a top priority. All children, including expatriate children, are covered by the French national healthcare system, renowned for its high quality and comprehensive coverage. Every child in France, including expatriate children, is entitled to 20 health check-ups during childhood and adolescence up to 16 years old, all of which are fully reimbursed by the Assurance Maladie, with no upfront payment required. Refer to this comprehensive guide for a more detailed understanding of the French healthcare system.

French national healthcare system - Assurance Maladie

Medical services and healthcare for expat families in Paris:

Paris offers a secure and comprehensive pediatric medical service for expat families, with many specialized children's hospitals and clinics. These include the Hôpital Necker Enfants Maladies - AP-H and the Hôpital Armand Trousseau AP-HP, ensuring that your children's health is in safe hands.

Hôpital Necker Enfants malades - AP-HP - Paris 15th district

Hôpital Necker Enfants malades - AP-HP - Paris 15th district

Cultural and leisure activities for expat families in Paris

Paris offers a diverse range of cultural and leisure activities tailored for expat families, including:

Cultural activities for families in Paris: 

Expatriate families in Paris can embark on a journey of cultural exploration with many enriching and educational experiences suitable for families with children. From museums and historical sites to creative workshops and theaters, these activities are designed to inspire and excite young minds. 

For example, many museums in Paris offer family-friendly exhibits, interactive workshops, and guided tours designed specifically for children where children can engage in artistic activities like painting, sculpture, and theater performances, such as

  • Musée du Petit Palais: offering workshops for children aged 5 to 13
  • Musée d'Art Moderne de Paris
  • Musée d'Orsay

Paris also offers many workshops and ateliers tailored for kids and families, providing enriching experiences and opportunities for creativity and learning, such as:

  • Philharmonie de Paris: music and instruments workshop for children to take their first steps into music
  • Cité de l'Histoire: French history workshop
  • Ecole Ducasse and Cordon Bleu: Family cooking class 
  • Cité de l'architecture & du patrimoine: Family craft workshops

Workshop at Philharmonie des enfants - Paris 19th district

Philharmonie des enfants - Paris 19th district

Extracurricular and Sports Programs: 

Paris is a hub of diverse extracurricular activities and sports programs for children, offering various options to cater to every child's interests and talents. There's something for everyone from dance classes and music lessons to sports clubs, horseback riding, and martial arts training. The accessibility of these programs, including the local 'center de loisirs', empowers expat families to find the perfect fit for their children. 

Registration for Paris municipal kids' leisure center is available online or from your local town hall. Fees are generally affordable, with discounts available for large families over three kids or people on a modest income.

children's leisure center "center de loisirs" - Badminton

Family-friendly neighborhoods in Paris

Neuilly-sur-Seine

Neuilly-sur-Seine, a prestigious residential suburb outside Paris, is a haven for expat families. Known for its leafy boulevards, upscale residences, and family-friendly environment, it's no wonder it's considered one of the wealthiest towns in France. With its excellent private, public, and international schools, such as Marymount International School Paris, École Sainte-Croix de Neuilly, Institution Saint-Dominique, Lycée - Cité Scolaire Pasteur, it guarantees a high level of education for expat children. The abundance of spacious parks and green space, including Bois de Boulogne, Parc de la Folie Saint-Jame, and others, adds a touch of tranquility and nature to residents' lives, allowing them to escape the urban hustle and bustle. And let's not forget the high standard of living, a testament to the refined lifestyle that awaits expat families in Paris.

Neuilly sur Seine with view of La Défense

Neuilly-sur-Seine

Passy - Paris 16th district

Nestled in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, Passy is an affluent neighborhood known for its elegant Haussmannian buildings, upscale residences, chic streets, and lively atmosphere. Expat families are attracted to Passy because of its proximity to the green spaces of Bois de Boulogne, Jardin du Ranelagh, and Parc de Passy, as well as its top-rated international schools, such as the International School of Paris (ISP) and Kingsworth International School, École Internationale de Paris – Cortambert, etc. The neighborhood of Passy offers a mix of residential properties, from spacious Paris Haussmann apartments for rent to family-style townhouses. Besides, Passy has a lively neighborhood life. You will find plenty of shops, specialty food shops, cafes, and a farmer's market - Marché couvert de Passy opens six times a week, and Marché Gros-la-Fontaine opens two times a week, making it an ideal choice for expat families seeking a refined yet convenient lifestyle. 

Maison de Balzac in Paris 16th district Photo by Cultur'In The City

Maison de Balzac - Photo by Cultur'In The City

Paris 15th district

The 15th arrondissement of Paris offers a family-friendly atmosphere with numerous parks and playgrounds, providing opportunities for families to stroll along the left bank of the Seine River and picnic in the Parc André Citroën or enjoy outdoor activities in the Parc Georges-Brass. The neighborhood boasts excellent international schools such as ICS Paris - International School and Bilingual International School of Paris (BISP), welcoming expatriate families with diversified educational and after-school programs. Besides, the housing price in the 15th district is relatively more affordable, ranging from traditional Haussmann buildings to modern apartments, allowing expat families to find quality apartments to rent in Paris without breaking the bank. Besides, the 15th district has a lively side as well, especially around the convention neighborhood and La Motte - Picquet Grenelle area, which offers a wide range of amenities such as supermarkets, farmers' markets (Marché Convention, Marché Saint-Charles, Marché Grenelle), shops, cafés, restaurants, and cultural venues, fostering a strong sense of community.

Parc André Citroën - Paris 15th district Photo by Gamma Rapho

Parc André Citroën - Photo by Gamma Rapho

Paris 14th district

Paris' 14th arrondissement is known for its residential charm, picturesque streets, green spaces, and quiet neighborhoods, creating a peaceful yet lively atmosphere and a strong sense of community. It offers families easy access to beautiful parks such as Parc Montsouris, which provide opportunities for outdoor activities and strolls. The 14th district is rich in cultural attractions such as the Catacombes de Paris and the Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain, many art galleries as well as theaters (Bobino, Théâtre Montparnasse & Petit Montparnasse, Théâtre Montparnasse) in the Montparnasse area. The neighborhood offers diverse dining options with cafés, bistros, and restaurants, especially in the Montparnasse and Denfert-Rochereau areas. What's more, the 14th district offers many great farmers' markets where you can get quality local produce, such as the organic market of Marché biologique Brancusi, Marché Mouton-Duvernet, Marché Jourdan, Marché Brune, Marché Edgar Quinet, and Marché Villemain. 

Parc Montsouris - Paris 14th district Créateur : Clement Dorval, Droits d'auteur : Sonia Yassa / Ville de Paris

Parc Montsouris - Paris 14th district
Créateur : Clement Dorval, Droits d'auteur : Sonia Yassa / Ville de Paris

Tips for Expat Family Life in Paris

Housing options for expat families in Paris

Ideal types of accommodation for expat families in Paris: 

Expat families in Paris have various rental accommodation options that cater to their needs, including spacious Haussmannian and modern apartments, duplex apartments, and townhouses. A little reminder for our expat families: Haussmannian apartments in Paris are beautiful, with high ceilings, large windows, and elegant moldings; however, there might be better options for families with young children due to inadequate floor sound insulation. When your kids play or run on the parquet floors, the noise and cracking sounds can disturb neighbors, potentially leading to complaints. Families may better consider modern apartments or townhouses, which typically offer better soundproofing and more practical living spaces for young children. Besides, townhouses and suburban houses in areas like Neuilly-sur-Seine and Boulogne-Billancourt provide more space, privacy, and gardens and can also be ideal for larger families.

Finding a family apartment for rent in Paris:

To simplify your search for a family apartment to rent in Paris, you can contact specialized real estate agencies such as Paris Rental. Focusing on helping expatriates, they have a variety of long-term furnished family-friendly rental apartments in Paris close to international schools, equipped with modern amenities well adapted to families, and can help expat families navigate the rental process, assemble the rental file, arrange utility services, and more.

Family apartment

Family-Friendly Transport in Paris:

Paris has an extensive public transportation network, including metro, buses, trams, and RER trains. Purchase a Navigo Pass for unlimited travel on public transport within designated zones.

  • Zone 1: Central Paris (within the city limits)
  • Zone 2: Covers the inner suburbs of Paris, i.e., Hauts-de-Seine (92), Seine-Saint-Denis (93) and Val-de-Marne (94), including cities like Boulogne-Billancourt, Issy-les-Moulineaux
  • Zone 3: The area around the inner suburbs (around Petite Couronne), such as La Défense, Asnières, Saint-Cloud, Courbevoie
  • Zone 4: The outer suburbs (Grande Couronne), including Essonne (91), Val-d'Oise (95), Seine-et-Marne (77) and Yvelines (78).
  • Zone 5: The rest of the Île-de-France region, Disneyland Paris, Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport, Rambouillet forest, Château de Fontainebleau, etc.

While the metro is a convenient mode of transport in Paris, there may be better options for families with young children in strollers due to the lack of adapted elevators in many metro stations. Instead, buses and tramways offer more accessibility and convenience for families, with many stations equipped with ramps and spaces for strollers. These options provide a smoother and more comfortable travel experience for parents navigating the city of Paris with young children. 

Grocery shopping in Paris for families: 

In central Paris, you'll most likely find small grocery stores like Carrefour City and Franprix, convenient for quick errands but with limited product choices and relatively higher prices. On the other hand, larger Monoprix supermarkets in many districts throughout central Paris offer quality products at slightly higher prices. For more budget-friendly family grocery shopping, you might consider heading outside the city center to larger supermarkets like Carrefour, Lidl, or Auchan Supermarché. For families seeking organic produce, Paris is one of the best places to be offering a wide range of organic grocery stores, such as Naturalia and Bio c' Bon, as well as farmers' markets in every neighborhood, offering fresh, local produce for families looking for more sustainable choices.

Bio c' Bon - Organic shop in Paris

Bio c' Bon - Organic shop

Healthcare for expat families in Paris:

Paris offers excellent healthcare services, encompassing both public and private options. Expat families must have supplementary health insurance ("Mutuelle" in French) covering their entire family. Upon arrival in Paris, signing the local French healthcare system, if applicable, and registering with a local general practitioner (médecin généraliste) is essential. Utilizing applications like Doctolib can facilitate finding nearby general practitioners who speak foreign languages, streamlining the process of accessing quality healthcare services for expat families in Paris.

Childcare and Schools for expat childrens in Paris:

Check out this expat parents' school guide, which offers detailed information about different educational programs, the school registration process, top international schools in the Paris region for expats, and essential tips and resources for expat parents in Paris. 

Look into crèches (daycares) and "assistantes maternelles" (childminders) for younger children.

Crèches - Daycare Centers

Crèches, existing both public and private, are available in each arrondissement or town for young children (typically from the age of 10 weeks to 3 years old) and offer structured childcare services in group settings, providing a stimulating environment for children to learn and socialize. Availability is extremely limited in public daycare centers (crèche), often given to working parents. Public daycare center offers a structured, regulated environment for children's development and early learning at a relatively low cost; for example, for a family with one child and a net monthly family income of 5,000 euros, the child is looked after five days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the daycare center, the daily cost will be 27,87€ and 558 euros per month. So, if you need a crèche service, register as soon as you find out you're pregnant. 

Private crèches often charge higher fees than public ones, around 2000€ per month or even higher. Still, they provide more flexibility and personalized care options tailored to individual family needs.

Assistantes Maternelles

On the other hand, "assistantes maternelles" are registered childminders who offer personalized care in their homes, creating a nurturing, home-like atmosphere for children. The number of children in a home varies depending on the "assistante maternelle"—childcare provider's accreditation—and the age of the children being cared for. Most of these childminders are French-speaking. Contact your local Mairie for more information.

Haltes-garderie - occasional childcare

Haltes-garderies are a type of childcare facility that offers more flexible, occasional care for young children. They cater to children from 3 months to school age. These centers provide temporary care, allowing parents to leave their children for a few hours or part of the day rather than requiring a regular, full-time commitment like crèches. Haltes-garderies are ideal for parents who need short-term childcare solutions, whether for work, appointments, or other activities, and they help children socialize and engage in developmental activities in a safe environment.

Daycare center in Paris

Managing Family Budget in Paris

Paris is an expensive city, so budgeting is crucial. In Paris, the cost of living for an expat family of four typically ranges from €3,500 to €6,500 per month, excluding rent. These costs vary based on the family's lifestyle preferences and dining habits. Nevertheless, living in central Paris with kids is approximately 27.3% less expensive than living in New York City. Also, Paris's housing prices average 59.6% lower than New York City's.

To better manage your family budget in Paris, track expenses and adjust your budget regularly to account for unexpected costs. To save money as expat families in Paris, here are some tips for you:

  • Consider living in family-friendly suburban neighborhoods outside Paris city center to find more affordable apartment rental options, such as Boulogne-Billancourt, Courbevoie, Vincennes, etc.
  • Prioritize public transport or bikes over owning a car.
  • For groceries, shop at big supermarkets for the best deals.
  • Opt for homemade meals over dining out frequently.
  • Take advantage of free or low-cost entertainment options like parks, municipal libraries, and community events.
  • Many museums in France are free on the 1st Sunday of the month
  • Explore affordable public schooling and public daycare options for your children.

Library with kids

Adapting life in Paris as expat family

Cultural Adjustment and Support Networks:

Learn basic French phrases to help with daily interactions and integrate into the community. Participate in local events and community activities to meet neighbors and other expat families in Paris.

Education and Activities:

Enroll your children in extracurricular activities and sports to help them make friends, adapt to their new environment, and learn French daily. To make the most of your time in Paris, explore the city's rich cultural offerings, such as museums, theaters, and historical sites.

If you're ready to swap the ordinary for the extraordinary, pack your bags and dive into the Parisian dream. Your family adventure awaits! If you need help finding a furnished apartment for rent in Paris, Paris Rental is here for you.

Editor: Siyi CHEN

Photo by Unsplash+

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