How to move to Paris with no money

Feature photo by untipografico / Above photo by malias

To Americans who’ve been scared by the wannabe expats who call Paris unattainable: have faith.

PARIS IS POSSIBLE. You do not need a French relative or a dowry of millions. You only need ingenuity and thirst. If you’ve got those, this storied city, the matron saint of expatriation, will be yours.

This guide is for Americans with insufficient funds and little tolerance for endless preparation (or any preparation), for those who rely on that special brand of luck crossed with tenacity and patience. Here’s how to begin: Save no money. Make no plans. Just get on the plane.

Once you get there, as an American passport-holder you’ll have 90 days before your tourist visa expires, so you’d better hit the ground running.

1. Find a place to stay.

Start your sojourn with free accommodations through CouchSurfing. Beyond being completely free, CouchSurfing also guarantees that you’ll meet people who physically live in France, who have a roof, and who pay rent.

You’ll avoid the pitfall of befriending only transients and hobos. Not only will you emerge with a set of Parisian friends, you will gain passage behind the doors of the city and into the lives of its locals. You’ll dispel the stereotypes that keep the timid at bay and grow wiser for it.

Still, finding the right people via Couchsurfing is never guaranteed. Here is an in-depth guide to improving your odds.

Cheap transportation. Photo by austinevan

2. Make money.

For short term employment without papers, you’re restricted to working under the table. France respects its bureaucracy and finding work for cash will take some pavement pounding.

Check the bulletin boards at the American Church, American Library, American University in Paris, and the Real McCoy Cafe. They all post job opportunities for teachers, tutors, nannies, babysitters, and day laborers. For more stable income and to stay legally for more than 90 days, you’ll need a visa.

3. Get a visa.

Multiple types of visas enable you to work. You can become a student and get a student visa, which will allow you to work for 20 hours per week (full-time for an English teacher).

You can become a student by signing up for French classes at any of the many language schools, or you can take a regular course at one of the universities, many of which are surprisingly affordable.

If you don’t want to be a student, you’ll need a work visas.Normally, employers will not expend the energy to get you a visa. But, if you are an American between the ages of 18 and 35 and you want to work in the French private sector (including ESL teaching at a private language school), the French American Chamber of Commerce will sponsor your work visa.

Once you receive a job offer, the FACC will guide your visa application from start to finish. It’s surprisingly easy. Once you get this visa, you’ll be able to access the French national health system, too.

Note: Once you arrange a visa of any kind, you will have to fly to your home consulate to get them to stamp it into your passport. If you are from San Francisco, you’ll have to fly all the way there. Home consulate means home consulate. New York or Boston will not suffice.

4. Find long term lodging.

The bulletin boards are also great for lodging, especially if you want to work in exchange for a room. Otherwise, expect to pay an absolute minimum of 350 euros per month. FUSAC, both in its biweekly print publication and on its website, offers the most apartment listings aimed at foreigners.

The print publication is available for free at English speaking establishments across the city. By advertising to the Anglophile community, landlords are prepared for people who cannot provide multiple guarantors or a year’s rent up front.

Craigslist is a good source for international roommates, while Colocataire will connect you with French roommate seekers. Scared off by high prices? Sharing small spaces here is no faux pas. Get creative.

5. Minimize all expenses.

Lunch. Photo by malias

Lastly, make your dollar count, but stay healthy. The cheapest lunch in Paris is a 150 gram bag of peanuts and a carrot salad from Franprix (a convenience store with locations all over Paris). For about 1.50 euros, you’ve got over 1,000 calories, nearly 40 grams of protein, and all the vitamin goodness of carrots.

You won’t have to eat the poor man’s lunch for long. If there’s one thing you’ll do in Paris, it’s learn how to live right. No matter how broke you are, you’ll find a way to eat the food that perfumes the air and drink the wine that colors cheeks. Not sure how that’ll happen? Don’t worry. The city will help you. That’s why you’re here.

Bulletin Board Locations


The American Church of Paris

65, Quai d’Orsay
75007 Paris
Metro: Alma-Marceau, Invalides


American Library in Paris

10, rue de General-Camou
75007 Paris
Metro: Ecole Militaire, Alma-Marceau

The American University of Paris

6, rue de Colonel Combes
75007 Paris
Metro: Alma-Marceau, Invalides

The Real McCoy Cafe
194 rue de Grenelle
75007 Paris
Metro: Ecole Militaire

Community Connection

Looking for free cultural events in Paris? Check this guide. And for shorter-term travelers to Paris, here’s a guide on how to travel for $100 a day.

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What NOT to do in Paris 52

10 things first-time tourists always end up doing in Paris 5

Picnicking in Paris is the way to go to save in style 4

  • http://www.michaelliuzza.com Michael Liuzza

    I have a 5 person group assisting me with my artistic endeavors. We are in the process completing our plan to be in Paris, France for August 1st.

    Your information is fantastic, and it was needed. Thank you.

    All the best,

    MVL

  • Katie King

    Hi,

    Your post has made me much less stressed about moving to Paris in September with only $5,000 to my name!

    I am very interested in what you wrote about a work visa from the American Chamber of Commerce in France – can you give me any more information on this? I have scoured their Web site but didn’t see anything about this.

    Thanks so much!

    • Dan Barrera

      So out of pure curiosity, did you ever go to Paris?

  • WorldCS

    I’m a couchsurfer and don’t like it that you suggest couchsurfing as a “crashing” option. Couchsurfing is intended for members from around the world to meet one another and not just an option of free housing.

    • http://matadortravel.com/travel-community/david-miller David Miller

      that’s a good point, and a point taken. there have been a variety of other articles at matador which look at couchsurfing more in the context of a community.

    • http://carlo-alcos.com Carlo

      I’ll admit, I had the exact same reaction when I read that too. I’m an active host (about to turn guest) and totally agree.

      As a host you can usually ferret out those that are simply seeking a free place to stay.

  • Rehman AliWaris

    plz sir send visa and job full time work one chise
    rehmanyousaf54@yahoo.com

  • Lupita Franco

    Thank so much for this information. I am ready to move to Paris. I so love the way you make it easy yet very realistic. thank you! thank you!

  • Matt Scott

    Great article, I wonder how long one can live on carrots and peanuts!

  • http://reverouge.blogspot.com/ Betsy

    It is remarkably easy to make cash money in Paris if you’re a native English speaker! Between tutoring, teaching, and babysitting, my year in Paris was the “richest” year I’ve ever had. For example the going rate for a French babysitter is between €8-10 an hour. But I was an English-speaking babysitter… one family paid me €15 per hour.

    • bella

      Hi, how long did you work in Paris as an english-speaking babysitter? I heard that most french would only hire nannies that are from EU. Also, 15 euro per hour is pretty good, did you get paid weekly or monthly in total and how many hours per week did you work? Are you able to give me some advise regarding english-speaking babysitter employment in Paris? I would like to find out more information if they have a website for applicants.

      Thanks! ;)

  • http://Clanofants.com Leah petersen

    Great article! In preparation to move to Paris all my research has returned doom and gloom, thanks for the unique perspective, anything is possible!

  • medjine

    thank you for your great article. I am a french citizen who lives in the us. I been here since the age of 15 and now 30 i’m thinking on going back. your article was very helpful and I would like to know do you have any more recommendation for me or advices thank you.

  • Anne

    I would like to emphasize – whether you are a student to be or a future employee in France, you MUST return to your native country and file for your visa there, wait the 4-6 weeks, then come back to France. Depending on where you are from, it can be quite costly. You must also be medically insured for the time that you are in France, and you must prove it. Not to mention, only three percent of work visas given every year are to Americans.

    Without a visa you are not entitled to open a bank account, and a bank account is needed for the most essential services here. And don’t count on your ATM/debit card always working here – French cards have microchips in them that allow them to be easily scanned which most countries have not yet implemented. If you notice above on the picture of the Velib bike, there is a scanner station next to it – it only accepts cards with chips. If you don’t have that, you have to go to the Velib office. Good luck finding it. The metro isn’t “cheap” either, it will cost you anywhere from 1,60 per trip to about 20,00 a week.

    The cost of living is high, very high. France’s goal is to keep foreigners out. It is not easy to live in Paris without a plan or some type of support. Trust me, I am writing this from Paris as a million doors close in my face and not a single window opens.

    Good luck.

  • HK

    I don’t think anyone wants to trample on people’s dreams, but it is very difficult to permanently move to France and make a living as a non-EU citizen. This article does make it sound deceptively simple–truth is that you will be competing with a LOT of other Americans for the very few jobs on the bulletin boards, and it is very hard to get a visa to work legally. And as many people have mentioned, it’s very expensive in France, particularly for any sort of decent housing. It might be more realistic for most people to consider living there for a limited period–maybe six months to a year. That’s what I did in Italy and it was wonderful!

  • http://theworldistoobig.wordpress.com Matt Scott

    I totally agree with Anne and HK, but don’t like life is easy for EU citizens either when it comes to work. The French market is really difficult to break into and it’s more a matter of luck than anything else. Still, that shouldn’t put anyone off, it’s a great place to be.

  • Louis F.

    I love this article. But I have 3 cats, which I cannot abandon. How do I move to Paris with 3 cats ? I couldn’t couch surf, I’d need to find an apartment for myself and my pets, it seems….

  • http://www.7jades.com/ 7jades

    This is a great article with lots of information. Its hard to live without money!! How long can someone live on carrots?

    Bises,
    7jades.

  • Dave

    “The cost of living is high, very high. France’s goal is to keep foreigners out.”

    This upsets me. Just because I was born here in the states, doesn’t mean that I should be forced to stay here. I really do love the entire living climate in Paris, and I should be allowed to enjoy that climate regardless of where I was born. I like this article because it takes the stance that one should not allow themselves to be restricted in such a manner.

    • jARED

      Your attitude is a large part of why it’s so difficult for U.S. citizens to move to large European cities and why they resist. No one owes you anything because you were born in the US. Maybe have the Teaparty sponsor you a trip to France instead of whining that the world should be cheap for you to explore.

  • myrihl

    Dear Dave

    Let a EU citizen introduce you to the reality of life.

    A mexican who want to enjoy “the pleasant weather of New York” legally would have to pass through restrictive immigration laws, this mexican citizen should not be forced either to stay there, should he?
    If I want (which is not the case but who knows the future…) to immigrate and work in the USA as a EU citizen (and not with low level of education…..) I will have to be allowed to do it by the USA’sgovernement.
    Should I be forced to stay in my country because of restritive law ?
    No of course, but I will have to accept and respect the regulations imposed by the US administration, and its final decision.
    Then if you were an EU citizen enjoying the “parisian weather” would be easier for you (no visa), and living in paris would be allmost like living in your own country (all european can live with no time limitation in all european union countries).

    But you are facing “The Mexican citizen Situation” : immigrating for a foreigner is never easy…even if you are from the USA.
    The EU as France or United Kingdom (or the USA), have for good or bad reasons the full and complete right to limit immigration through regulations……

    I do not mean that you should not try to obtain a visa, I am just explaining why you have to ask for it….living abroad is never a right, it is an oportunity,it is a kind of present other countries are giving to you.

  • myrihl

    I forgot to tell that life is never cheap…in Paris as in London or in Barcelona, and sorry to tell it but especially for people alone abroad, i;e the foreigners….

    Nevertheless I wish you to enjoy parisian weather as soon as possible.

  • Fred la parisienne

    Here are for links for flat-sharing in Paris and eslewhere in France :

    http://www.appartager.com

    http://www.partage.senior.net

    http://www.paris-colocation.fr

    http://www.recherche-colocation.com

    Of course a minimum of knowledge of the Fench language is required ! I have found a good opportunity through these websites. I am a French unemployed lady who couldn’t have found accomodation by an agency.
    Bon séjour les amis !

  • Marsha

    Well, I did all that was described in the article when I was 21. You most certainly cannot depend on getting employment in France.

    I was offered a permanent job, but needed a green card. I went through all the steps to get one; sitting for days in waiting room after waiting room with ‘de monde’ from all over the world, who desperately try to get into France because it’s a democracy. UK and USA so out of reach.

    I went through every step, tested for TB etc. then at the last appointment I was stopped and the agency was furious. I was told I needed to leave the country and apply for a visa. Exactly as described in the comments.

    Luckily the American embassy helped me smooth this over and I stayed another few months. Those were the days you could just walk into the embassy, even brought the dog.

    It was a wonderful amazing experience to live in France/Paris for a year. I left a piece of my heart there. But be under no illusions. The comments explain this quite well. Why should France offer employment to anyone who comes looking? Does the US do this? No. It’s called illegal immigration.

    Thanks for this thread. I would still like to go back, but not on a couch. ;-)

  • Angela

    I am so glad I found this website. I am constantly searching for true budget travel and have discovered that it is all relative. Spending $500.00 a week is not budget travel to me, nor is a hotel for $100.00 a night or paying high prices in restaurants. Traveled to Europe a few years ago and did all the touristy stuff but had more fun people watching,locating good cheap food in markets, having picnics in the park,talking to other travelers and just being. I’m older now and don’t necessarily want to couch surf but would like to travel on a budget somewhere between couch surfing and say 200.00 a day with occassional splurges. I want to keep traveling. I know there are some cute little clean hotels out there who would welcome a frequent visitor staying for three weeks or more 2 or 3 times a year. I know lots of seniors who think they can’t fulfill their dreams of traveling because of the “too expensive hype”. What was really expensive were those “budget group tours” I took years ago. I spent more in tips and side excursions only to find out that I could have hopped on a bus for a lot less.
    I am interested in the smaller cities with good transportation options. Always interested in more ideas.

  • Adrianne

    I just went ot Paris this past May and I’m dreaming every day of moving there. I’m not rich, but I’m a writer and all I need is a laptop to contniue my job. I guess I could just sign up for a language school in order to stay. I guess the only other thing is acquiring insurance. Any info on where to purchase that that over there?

  • Mary

    Any suggestions for an American that would like to retire in Paris? I know I need a carte de sejour, show my social security statements, am I missing anything? let me know, thanks

  • Jonathan

    I’m thinking to move to Paris with 2800 dollars. Is that money a good start?

  • Stephan

    How are you supposed to “get on a plane” with no money?

  • Crystal

    I am an American student who really needs a break from family and school. I would love to be able to take a year off to explore the world and meet different people. I would really like to travel around Europe preferably France. Besides this article, is there anymore advice I can get from the people as to the best way to approach my plan?

  • pixie

    not to crush anyone’s hopes and dreams, but here’s a dose of reality:
    Paris is VERY expensive. you will need a minimum 1080 euros to live very modestly and just get by: with subsidized rent, home cooked meals, metro pass (this is not taking into account travel, or ANY real shopping in paris). if you want to eat at a GOOD restaurant, be prepared to budget in 80 euros, sans vin 40-50 euros, you do not want to go to a kitsch tourist trap restaurant for a budget meal, you are better doing groceries and eating at home. Franprix is gross, Monoprix is better but even then, you are better off buying a tradition (softer than baguette from a local bakery than shaved carrots with lemon juice in a plastic container which is the salad mentioned). truth is, unless you speak french and have some regular occupation, whether it is going to a good school or a real job, it can get depressing. sure it is beautiful but you need to plug into a society or you will simply waft about. also, you need to get medical insurance and remember about paying for things like the cell phone bill, very high, setting up a bank account, real concrete things that need you to be established.

    i would highly discourage anyone from packing up there bags and moving there thinking magic will just happen, make sure you have a concrete plan. being a writer just by living in paris isn’t going to happen, you need to be disciplined, have an outlined source of replenishable income and most importantly, have a plan for WHEN not IF you return to North America. if you think the market is rough here you can only imagine how bad it is in Europe. if you want a vacation great! but don’t believe you can just pack up and things will fall into place, there is a huge culture shock and life is difficult in a foreign land when you have no employment prospects — there are already immigrants there, don’t believe that just because you’re american you’re special and will be given VIP treatment, this is not the case, and unless you want to stay with all the expats and have an international experience, make sure you do some more research before hopping on the next flight over.

    • Dave

      I take Pixie’s remarks to heart, but I’m still seriously considering taking the plunge and moving to Paris to study and possibly later to work. I have a couple of significant advantages to other Americans wanting to live in Paris, namely I have an Irish/EU passport (Irish father) so work permits are not an issue for me. I also have a modestly-paying (though stable, for the time being) job working from home, so my work would naturally come with me if I went there. I have lived in the U.S. all my life and I’ve grown disenchanted with living here, my biggest gripe being the pedestrian-unfriendly nature of most American cities and the need to own a car (which is a huge expense and hassle). NYC, Boston, SF and Washington are happy exceptions to the car-centric design of most American cities, but even with Paris being as expensive as it is, I feel as though I would make a better living there instead of a place like New York. My biggest obstacle is (and will continue to be) the exchange rate, as my income is entirely in dollars. But I’m growing tired of having to own a car and I want to sell mine in favor of living in a city/country/region where I can get around on foot or by public transportation…thoughts anyone???

      • http://www.facebook.com/BlissfullAbyss Stephanie Thomas

        Dave–(and anyone else that is doing this)
        I really would like to do this as well- if it would not be a bother to you, do you think you could email me your progress? I am really scared to take this plunge and perhaps if I know of a brave soul that has conqured the obstacles….
        sthomas.blissfullabyss@gmail.com

        Best of luck to you
        Stephanie

        • http://TheAchievableMarketingBlueprint.com Michael Leedy

          Well… depending on what you do for a profession, it can totally be realistic. I left my job about a year and a half ago (with no plan) to reset my burnt out soul (after being in the music industry for 10 years)… and upon my return to NYC (after traveling throughout Spain, Marrakech & Istanbul), I discovered way’s to start generating income online.

          It was kind of a pain to get started, but the new system that I just found is super exciting, to the point where I’m planning on quitting my ‘bill paying’ Job by July (at the latest), so that I can buy a one way ticket to Barcelona and work (online) from over there.

          What type of work do you do? Have you ever considered tweaking your skills, so that you could use them to free yourself from a job that requires you to sit at a desk?

          It would never have crossed my mind when I was in music… but now that I understand how it works… lol… I’m never working for anyone ever again!

          How does THAT idea feel?! It super relieving to me!!

          You (or anyone) is welcome to friend me and message me on facebook, if they want to get more info to see if it could work for them.

          • Jacquie

            Hi Michael, I am currently mentally sorting out what kind of real employment options I would have if I made the move to France and creating online revenue sounds like a very appealing one. Do you mind me asking what is it that you do, and how its possible to get into an online start up.

            Many thanks!

    • Aphrobelle

      Thank you for the dose of reality because  I started packing and now I have to sit do and make a plan…LMAO.

    • Jhgosnell

      Maybe so…but, I think that these worries are what the author was attempting to bypass or get through. In other words, most people never even make it over due to these concerns. And, of course, if you fail, you can always return…wiser for it perhaps. But, I suspect much of your advice will help…as long as it doesn’t induce paralysis. Most people start thinking about all of these things and then they stop it seems.

      My sister, interestingly, did this very thing and moved to London at age 22 about 5 years ago. She now has a degree and is working in film. At first she had odd jobs, low-paying jobs, and several roommates, but a good place to stay and a decent landlord…eventually she worked up to a job paying about 40,000 pounds! Then she went to school to further her career. She refused money from our parents except on one minor occasion. I am still amazed by it!

      Sincerely,

      Jason 

      • Kathryn

        Where did your sister go to school?  I’m 21 years old and ALL I want to do is move to Paris, and I’ve always wanted to work in the film industry.  I’m graduating with my undergrad in Journalism next year, and I have NO idea what step to take next when I’m done (which is what brought me here.)  Your sister is living my dream! :) 

        • Jgosnell

          William and Mary in the USA…then, in London, but I cannot remember the name of the school.  She works in film curating presently. Her classes enabled her to go to Cannes, etc.

          Good luck!!

      • batfink2

        Thats completely different moving to any english speaking country
        especially US,UK,Australia and New Zealand, is like moving to a different state to live with your cousins with slight accents and a 5 second simple cultural adjustment thats all you need to do,in the case of UK and US virtually almost none if you are a native or have lived in any of these places and can speak english.

  • pixie

    correction, i meant 1080 euros a month! this does not include needing to buy furniture to set up your own place or first and last month’s rent or flight tickets or rental insurance or setting up your phone, this is just rent and food per month and basic transportation

    • Brian

      Typical American attitude—more concerened about the money and logistics of it all than living and doing something a little bit risky. 

  • Georgie

    Thank you for this article. I’ve been searching for suggestions on how to move to Paris or at least live there for 6 months or so. Your post is a great starting place and has great references for housing, visa info, etc. An educated reader would understand that it takes A LOT to relocate to another country and that your blog post is just a brief overview. I appreciate the tone in which it was written. It gives me hope that its possible. The specifics are left for me to figure out.

  • Karen

    I also agree that some careful thought and planning needs to be implemented. I just spent two months in Paris on an extended sojourn, renting a short-term apartment for myself. I simply love Paris and would love to move there for a few years at the least. However: 1) it is an expensive city to live and play in. 2) There is red tape to overcome if you want to live there for an extended period and 3) you will have to have basic knowledge of the french language to nagivate it. That doesn’t mean that it’s not worth it, or doable. For people who want to pick up and go with very limited funds and hoping for sheer luck, take a minute to investigate, do research, some pre-planning. Life should be an adventure, it’s just easier when you know what you’re heading into. Good luck and keep your dreams alive.

    • Gretchen

      I like Karen’s reply. I’d like to pick and move to France, too. Though, not necessarily Paris. I’ve done a lot of “picking up and moving” in the U.S. with scant funds. This is fun and do-able if you’re able to “hit the ground running” when you get to your new place. Things like finding temporary work and getting the utilities turned on was easy enought in my early twenties. Yet, I’d imagine that accomplishing these things while in another country might be a challenge at any age! Do your homework.

  • http://www.parisperfection.com Nick

    Hey guys.

    I liked the article. It was a fair intro on the basic considerations for getting started to in Paris.

    Two months ago I moved here for the second time. The first time was in 2005 when I worked as a tour guide and got paid under the table and made lots of tips. This is a job to look into for Americans that want to work for cash. Its a bit of a hustle, but a fun gig.

    Otherwise, as far as I know, one needs to find jobs like teaching, babysitting, or manual labor type of work. Of course this kind of work doesn’t exactly match up with the romantic notion of living in Paris that many people have when they visit on vacation, but I suppose that is the reality of living somewhere versus spending a few days there.

    Regarding expenses, here is my situation:

    1) Food: Cook a lot…I eat really well here for around 10E/day. Today I had an awesome entrecote steak with grilled veggies for lunch and then cooked up a French Bread pizza with saucisson and tomatoes. Spent 10E on everything.

    If you want to eat out you can do the fast food thing: great falafels for 4.50E (go to Maoz or to Rue des Rosiers for the best, IMO) or you can grab a baguette, some saucisson, and a few veggies and eat in the park for a couple of Euros. Its really not pricey and the food is superb everywhere here.

    Good restaurant meals can be found for 20E-30E for three courses. You just have to avoid Saint Germain and other touristy areas.

    2) Going out….Happy Hour is your friend. Rue Mouffetard always has pretty good prices, rarely more than 5E/pint of beer and a few places do 3E/beer. Do most of your damage before 9pm or 10pm then nurse your 6E beers or your 8E cocktails. Or when the weather is nice just hang with friends that like drinking wine in the park or by the river. Thats more enjoyable than the chic spots around town anyways.

    Also, give Pastis a try. Its a potent anise liquor from the South of France which you add water to. You can sip on one of those for a good 30 minutes and they cost between 3-5 Euros (5 Euros being the very high end).

    3) Rent…Like pixie said: First/Last months rent and sometimes deposit is required. Then you might have to furnish your flat. My whole move in fee to an unfurnished tiny studio in the 14th arr. was around $2500. And I got lucky. My rent is just $900/mo and I had no deposit to pay, plus internet and utilities are included. It sounds expensive, and it is…but thats Paris.

    Better might be to rent a room off of craigslist (be aware of scammers, anything that seems too good to be true really is). With a room maybe you can get something basic and furnished for $700/mo. For 350E/mo I can’t imagine where you could go that does not involve splitting a tiny studio with another person.

    4) Misc expenses…monthly metro pass, around 60E…phone bills (crazy expensive…for me its 50-70E/mo on pay as you go phone cards)…otherwise the prices for goods are about the same here as anywhere else in the Western World.

    Work Papers? Not gonna happen unless you are very highly skilled and French speaking. I think living paperless is just part of life for a young American in Paris. Its uncomfortable and a bit daunting, but its all part of the adventure. Roll with it. BTW, you probably won’t be checked anyway as the police assume you are a tourist. Just be aware when leaving the country (even in the EU) as the border guys might check your passport there. But you can be clever in getting around this if you really want to.

    My last bit of advice, is that if you REALLY want to come live in Paris then you should just buy a ticket, learn basic French (Pimsleur audio guides are a good way to start Pirate Bay ) and get your butt here. You can find a way to make it work. People have been doing that in Paris for over a thousand years and dozens do it every day (and a lot of them don’t have Native English, three month tourist visas, and a modern education to fall back on).

    I find that fortune favors the bold. When you come here and you connect with people who see that you are passionate about life in Paris, they try to help you. It makes them happy to see someone pursuing their dreams. Parisians are cool like that.

    Just prepare yourself that its not going to be easy. But this city truly is amazing. So the pain is worth it. Bon courage!

    • Deanshean

      Your response was very inspirational.  Thank you

    • jamal eddine idrissi

      hi nick  if you dont mind me asking im in paris now and im looking for a job. being a tour guid sounds good.  i would like to try it out , do you have any tips? how i would get started, and what do i need to work on ? let me know some details  if you can, it would be very helpfull.

    • Jonidrizin

      Hi Nick,
      Thanks so much for your genuine advice. I am also leaping into the unknown and moving to Paris in April. It will be an adventure, I’m sure. If you are still in Paris, please shoot me a note at jonidrizin@gmail.com

    • Patrickblessing1

      hi,
      i am now in paris and i am looking for some directive to get a job about a months 
      i am struggling can send me some note or idea on patrickblessing1@gmail.com

  • Steffonlong

    Just flippin’ do it . . if you’ve got a thousand, scary, practical reasons {and fears} for not doing it then you don’t deserve a shot at one of the most magnificant cities in the western world, so it is probably better that you stay at home . . . in your safe little home in front of your television eating mac&cheese t…….

  • Becca9329

    Wonderful, in-depth article, David! Thank you so much.

  • Mustazhar_habib

    i have no mony want to come in paris i have no mony and i am a student i need peace i hate my country people plz take me out this country my mail mustazhar_habib@hotmail.com

  • Bendthybow

    Do I have to be in Paris if I want to reach out to the French American Chamber of Commerce for assistance in searching for a job?

  • Maya

    I agree with Pixie I’m afraid. It’s hard and expensive, and you have to be determined to make the effort to make friends.  I do know though, that if you really want to give it a go, then you are best finding work as a nanny/housekeeper. That way, you can often get live-in accomodation. Try FUSAC magazine (google it, it’s online) for these types of positions. I tried it, and it didn’t work out – but if you’re young and like ironing/children, then it’s a good way to get started. There is also a big demand for English lessons, so if English is your thing, then you can always earn extra money.

    And the carrot salad and peanuts idea is excellent! I only wish I had discovered that meal earlier!

  • JM

    I have been an au pair in Paris for the past year. I work 15 hours per week in exchange for free lodging, food, phone. They pay me 400 euro per month on top of that. Check FUSAC.org for offers. It’s been a great experience and you can’t knock free lodging.

  • Yankee_Andrew

    I figured French and the Europeans are so tolerant that they would welcome everyone…. At least they always talk about their tolerance. So shouldn’t I just be able to show up and get myself a job???

    Based on my last experience there last year, they are in great need for elevator repairmen. My hotel elevator was out for six days, and I was on the top floor of the hotel.

    I will just show up and apply.

  • Marc-Tony

    This Internet Article really excited me.

    But it really true an American can extend their Visa by simply signing up for a simple part-time, cheap Language Class?  It does not have to be full-time ‘College’? I’ve been living in Germany for over a year with my Visa expiring soon. Here in Germany & Switzerland to obtain a Student Visa here we must enroll in an expensive Full-Time University, and not a part-time course at Inlingua, etc., or, we must find a full-time job in skilled areas where there’s a shortage of local EU labor -not usually easy unless your are pretty educated and preferably bi/tri-lingual.

    Can someone shed a little more light on this very subject?

    Also, how can you exit/re-enter Europe without penalties if your Schengen Visa expired? How much is the penalty usually, and does it ban you from Europe for any significant time period? I ask this because, even though I’m American, I don’t have any ‘home Country’ to return to, ever. I find it a broken, Criminal country (full of local township/city/county true Criminal ‘Leaders’ -and I fear the true Criminal Police their just as much as hardened street Criminals there). I would never raise children in America as well because any law-abiding citizen can at any time find their frightened children stolen by their local County gov’t (by child ‘protective’ services, etc.) when there was never any problem nor any crime. That would never happen in civilised Europe. People here already learned from Centuries of Witch Hunts, Monarchies, Over-Control/Oppression, etc.

  • Jhgosnell

    IF someone is a specialist…I am a psychotherapist here in the USA who works with special populations…I wonder if the employers are more likely to make efforts for a work VISA? I suspect so.

    Kind Regards,

    Jason Gosnell

  • http://www.guiriguidetoparis.com/ Jodie

    Moving to Paris isn’t always easy but I know so many people here that came through sheer determination: where there’s a will there’s a way.
    If you can sign up to a language school, or other course and get your visa, you may well be able to teach English to get by. I did when I started in Paris – tough coming for a well paid job in London but it allowed me to pay my way whilst I found my feet….and two steps later and well paid job that allows me to live comfortable in Paris.
    I know it’s tough and so some friends and I created a blog helping guide people through their move to Paris: http://www.guiriguidetoparis.com. Maybe that can help too?

  • http://www.parisnet.com/ Danielle

    This is a good  strategy for a short stay, but if you really want to move to Paris it’s best to try to come up with a plan B for what you’ll do at the end of 3 months. Up until 2008 the Schengen law was more flexible and you could just leave the EU for a few days and then come back, but since January 2008 you can only stay 180 days out of 360. Even then, if you do get a visa, as the article states, you have to go back to your country of residence to get a French visa. But note that country of residence is the country where you currently have a legal residence permit. So if you’re in Germany and have a valid VISA to live there, you can apply for a French visa at the French embassy in Germany. Note that your visa will probably need to be valid for at least 3 or 4 months, unless you are good at explaining why it was valid when you applied but not when  you come to pick up the visa. If you’re German visa is about to expire you can go in to renew it and when they tell you that you don’t meet the requirements you can say you will have them met in a month, then they will give you a 3 month extension…that should be long enough.

    The other thing you can do is if you go visit France for a 3 month language course and then don’t want to leave. You should take the train to Germany (Berlin is the cheapest … you can get a room for 300€/month in the center and overall expenses are about the same as Prague). Germany is I think the only Schengen country where Americans (and citizens of Japan, Israel and  14 other countries can apply for a visa on the spot without going home — one of those post WWII arrangements I guess). So you go in, say you will start a company and you will get a three month visa on the spot, that is valid while the evaluate your application. While you have that visa you can apply for your French visa from Germany. The only drawback with this system is that you need to have enough money to support yourself for one year based on their index of minimum necessary revenue. It comes out to something like 8000€. Plus you need health insurance.

    I know one guy who got a visa for Prague (Czech Republic) after his three month stay ran out, by claiming he lived in Germany and filing the residence form with the appropriate ministry in berlin (you don’t need a visa to do that) and then he went to Warsaw, Poland and applied for the Czech visa. This arrangement was set up by a visa consultant who knew all the loopholes.

  • Vicky

    Reading this I am feeling Hungry guys

    Can never really count the food I eat. Faith is Not Counting
    You just know it, when you need it, and you know it how long you can go without it

    Calculations kill, more then hunger or lack of money.

    But good info friend !

  • Pink Caroline

    The best way to find accomodation in suburbs of Paris.Try making student friends…
    If you are not having too stuff, it will be easy to get accomodation sharings for few days..
    However for permenant, rooms or appartments, consider 550 euro as stick minimum.
    If you have stuff to move to paris or france get it cheaply delivered by fretbay.com:
    https://fretbay.com/en/
    Make sure that in shifting dont make to mess…French are best at cribing specially when they hear foreign sounds ;-)

  • NotMyNameEither

    I’m French, I have moved out of France because of the life cost there. I _STRONGLY_ agree with pixie.

  • Peteyhook

    your link to fusac is fusac.com its fusac.fr ;) thanks anyways lovely article

  • guest

    Awesome article. I’m already beginning to save no money and make no plans; now all I need is a passport, a plane ticket, and some good running shoes! :) Merci!!

  • Paula Duvall

    Given the current political situation, in America, and the overall deterioration, of the nation, on many levels…I would dearly love to live, abroad! Would someone be kind and candid enough to tell me whether a very fit, and gregarious 68 year-old widow, should even consider utilizing these very exciting options? Thanks…

  • Justice Rose Arreguin

    I need help next year I realllyy want to move to paris, but I want to go to school there (art school), live there in a apartment (right next to the eiffel tower) and eventually work there to pay the rent. But I really have no idea how to apply for colleges over there, where to look to live there, ive tried some websites but none really help, if anyone has any helpfull tips I would really appreciate it. Thank you:) -Justice Arreguin.

    • Wendy Bryan

      just go and figure it out when you’re over there. you have 90 days on a tourist visa. there is such a thing as overplanning. you may not be able to afford living next to the Tour Eiffel, but you’ll figure out something. Good old ingenuity and problem-solving skills.

  • Wendy Bryan

    Could they make it more difficult? Getting a visa requires that you fly to your home city consulate – – seriously? Maybe they think they’ll scare people away; maybe it works.

    • Alecia Marie McClain

      That’s why lining it up before you go is definitely the way to go, unless you have plenty of money to fund another trip home once you get settled in. I am in the process right now, as I am trying to move in January, and it’s really not that bad! For a work visa, you do need to have work lined up before you go, which can prove to be difficult since you can’t rub elbows with the people you’re trying to get hired by. However, I heard it was looked down upon to try to get the visa once you are there? (not to mention expensive to return to the states)
      Bon chance to all! :)

  • Patrice Triebels

    Bonjour Justice Rose,
    I have recently made the move to Paris. If you are like me and want to have some sort of an idea so when you are here you can relax and take in all that Paris has to offer here are a few tips.
    1) Appartager.com is a great website for finding accommodation! Like any city it is expensive to live and I’m sorry to say but the closer you get to ‘la dame de fer’ (the iron lady) it will be more so. Every arrondissement in Paris has its own unique character so I am sure you will enjoy living even without the view! I am currently renting an apartment in the 19th arrondissement. It is really a lovely place to live as a student and artist.
    2) Organise your visas before you go. This can be a very long process and if you have it sorted before you go you will save having to do a lot of paperwork once here.
    3) Save it for Paris. The fashion, food, numerous galleries and museums!
    4) Make contacts at the school before you leave this way once you arrive you’ll have people there if you need help at adjusting.
    5) If you don’t speak french take some lessons before you go. You will pick it up quickly but its always a good idea to know the basics to get you by when you first arrive and the french really appreciate the effort.
    This was very informative. But really I hope it works out for you! Paris is such a beautiful city and if you have the opportunity to call it home for a while go for it.
    Bon chance!

    • Alecia Marie McClain

      Patrice, I am in the process of moving to Paris, myself! Thank you for the recommendations! They are very much appreciated! :)

    • Melissa Ratliff

      This was a helpful comment. I’m currently in Paris getting my TEFL certificate and looking for jobs. I’ll have to go back and get my VISA. Fun times.

    • Brandon Owens

      I want to move to Paris…

    • Patrice Triebels

      Learn from my experience. Before you come try to have your accommodation sorted. Don’t leave it to chance. When I first arrived I stayed in this gorgeous apartment in the 19th while the owner was on holiday. I found this place 2 days before I came! And consider myself pretty lucky because I have met a lot of people in the same position having no luck. My search still continues for after this place. Your best bet is appartager.com, colocation.com and also I have found airbnb.com great for more short term stays (airbnb is also good if you want to travel around Europe). Most of the places on these sites you will be sharing an apartment with a local and so will have a true experience of living in France. Bonne chance (but don’t depend on it)

    • Jennifer Vaughan

      Good for you Melissa…you’re VERY brave. I love Paris but the thought of moving there like you have is SO scary….

  • Courtney Anne

    PARIS! Cant wait going for a visit, thinking of moving there, great post!

  • Marina Maciel Dos Santos

    Seriously thinking about it….

    • Karen Beard

      You only live once!

  • Sarah EsEs

    Hi everybody,
    i saw that there are many people who would love to live a Parisian and french experience.
    Well Ireceive the collegians and normally I can receive up to 3 in my house from around the world.( from 16 to 18 years old)I’m a mom of a boy of 7 years old. Well the person have all confort of being at home and travelling at the same time. I receive from September to July.
    So if you are interested contact me on:
    ie-strat@live.fr or via facebook.
    thanks

    • Sarah EsEs

      You can also contact me if you re not collegian, ex: couple, family wz kids, retired people i’ll be happy to serve!! Can do a kind of couch surfing, but would love to live a real experience of sharing, meting people, cultural exchange etc.. Just wanted to say that i’m officially approved as a welcome family by specified organismes!!

    • Emma Ray Engel

      Hi Sarah, would you accept a Mom and her young son to stay with you, perhaps next year. My son will be 3 in May 2013 and I want desperately for him to learn fluent French. I studied for 3 years and hope to pick it up quickly as well. Looking to stay for 3-4 months. April-July, 2014. thank you.

  • Damu Meriyo

    Loving paris

  • Alyshiann Oneal

    Hello! I’ve recently turned forty. I am a single women with no children and I’ve come to realize this is a big world and I’ve of only experienced only parts of it. the thought of husband and children are coming to slow speed! The idea of living abroad gives me hope for adventure! So on this day of May 19th 2013 I am taking the first step to change my life! To all the brave people in the world whom have taken that leap of faith here I come ; ).

    • Angela Trombley

      And so? Where does today find you?

  • TAL

    I attended the American University of Paris for four years. Please remove them from your list of establishments with announcement boards. Those announcements are reserved for students and all university buildings, including the one on Colonel Combes (which is not the building that houses the announcements, anyway) have guards, and those who do not possess a student or alumni id card WILL be denied entry.

  • Talya Price

    I am planning on spending a year in Paris for inspiration for my screenplay and film. I think it is was one the best ideas I have had in a year. The Universe is telling me that I should go.

  • Marc Shelton

    I just found myself telling my daughter that I thought moving to France, not necessarily Paris, but France was a sound and intelligent consideration. Like most things in life, a blind and unprepared attempt would not be smart. It would take several years of preperation: learn the language, prepare financially, make connections, map direction, etc. But given the decline in America’s…..well…..everything…..I most certainly would encourage her to do it. Pound for pound…..dollar for dollar…..i don’t see much difference between France and the US other than Frances remarkable healthcare and educational system, attitude, culture, etc. To anyone considering the change…..wishing you success and good fortune.

    • Natasha Fuller

      I don’t think she needs years of preparation… I moved to Paris at 19 yrs old only knowing a little french and with a small bounty of savings. I signed up for free french lessons that the city hosts at the town hall (hotel de ville) and went from there. Long story short I met a wonderful American family, became an au pair and now live with them in NYC as their full time nanny. Your daughter should sort out savings, accommodation and possibly a phone (for emergencies) and she will be fine! It was the greatest year of my life and I am hoping to return very soon :)

      • Marc Shelton

        Thanks Natasha…..it’s encouraging to hear your story…..I appreciate you taking the time to drop a note…..very considerate. Best wishes for your future!!