Paris in the spring is beautiful. Paris in the fall is breathtaking. Paris in the winter is hauntingly glamorous. Paris in the summer is hell.
People are quick to tell you how amazing Paris is – but heed my warnings about the Parisian summer. Although Paris has many great things to offer in the summer – plages, tourist traps, swimming pools, art events, etc. – I am not here to talk about that, since plenty of other Parisian/expat blogs have done a fabulous job of it. Instead, here are some of the worst things about living in Paris in the summer.
- Air Conditioning is Rare – Air conditioning can only be found in Starbucks, movie theatres, and shopping centers. No apartments have it, most restaurants don’t, and even daycares go without AC. If you ask a Parisian why, they’ll say that it’s not worth it for the short amount of hot days, or that the windows in Paris don’t work well with AC units. If you ask me, I’d say nothing because I’m too busy drowning in my own sweat.
- Most Au Pairs are Gone – I was (and still am) the only au pair in my language class. Most au pairs don’t start work until September, so summer can be a hard time to make friends as an au pair.
- You Might Not Find Bread – One day I went outside with the sole purpose of buying bread, only to find that the bakery on the corner was closed – for a month! The other bakery was closed for the day, so I had to buy a strange generic baguette from the supermarket. This also happens with fruit stands, mini markets, restaurants, and even the corner Tabac.
- The Metro is Murder – Did I mention that most metro cars don’t have air conditioning? Only the very new metro cars have AC, and if you’re on a metro without, the only breeze you’ll get is through the tiny windows that are barely cracked open.
- 1 is a Lonely Number – Beyond all of this, the end of July and almost the entire month of August is when Paris becomes a ghost town. The old people you usually see walking their dogs are gone – no, not dead, just away in their country mansions to enjoy the breeze of whatever quaint town they’ve visited since birth.
- Less Events – This is only true for events that happen year round – including pretty much everything I want to attend. This can include theatre shows, cultural events, and even classes or workshops.
- Language Class is Lacking – Did I mention that many language schools don’t operate in the summer? I only had the choice of a few schools, and the one I ended up picking was obviously only open in the summer to make money, money, money.
To sum it up, Paris is generally hot, empty, and frustrating in the summer. If you want an outsider’s opinion, my friend Hannah visited and said she would never visit Paris in August again, mainly for the reasons above. Now this isn’t to say that I haven’t enjoyed my time in Paris – I love it here! I just wish to inform the public of the struggles involved with Parisian summers. I am counting the days until I can wear a scarf and cuddle a Frenchman next to a fireplace (I can dream, right?).
Moving abroad is a lot of work; well, it’s a lot of paperwork. I have spent the past month or so emailing and sending snail mail back and forth from the US to Paris, France. I’ve made copies of my passport, transcripts, diploma – France has really gotten to know me. I wrote an elementary level letter in French to tell the French government why I want to live in Paris – but I mean why would I not want to live and work in Paris??? I also sent baby booties to my soon to be au pair family for their soon to be bebe!
To keep you up to date; later this month I’ll be doing a day and a half trip to Atlanta to get my au pair visa, which is exciting and terrifying! I have to bring a bunch of paperwork and pictures of me and documents saying I’m American (although I would love to be Canadian), etc. I’m hoping I’ll have enough time to visit the aquarium again!
All of this “work” (really just emails and paperwork) has got me BEYOND excited for my Paris journey! In honor of this, I’ve teamed up with GPSmyCity to give 20 of you their Paris app for FREE (It’s normally $4.99!)! The app has self guided tours for you to explore Paris, with tourist-y tours along with tours that make you feel like a local! It also has a city map and list of attractions, along with other features. It is available for both iOS and Android, so no worries there! So if you’re interested in winning the GPSmyCity Paris app, all you need to do is comment below and tell something about Paris – what your favorite aspect of Paris is, or what you look forward to exploring in Paris, etc. That’s it!
I can’t wait to see all of your comments and use the app in Paris!
Although I am a bit scared for my move to France, I am also extremely excited. I want to make the most of my time abroad (which will be at least one year, but could be extended for who knows how long). So I’ve compiled a list of things (some a bit crazy) to do in Paris!
- Have someone mistake me as a Parisian and ask me for directions
- Sneak into the secret parts of the catacombs without dying
- Go to a wine bar and act snooty
- Somehow get into crazy exclusive parties/events/clubs
- Get mistaken for a celebrity
- Meet some famous people who I don’t know are famous but we become best friends
- Act in a French movie that gets crazy popular
- Find a cafe to write in that becomes “my cafe”
- Dream in French
- Adopt a cat and name him or her “Bisou”
- Throw a party
- Travel around Europe
- Fall in love – with Paris, a guy, baguettes, who knows?
- Make amazing friends from all over the world
- Teach my au pair child Taylor Swift songs
- Buy and wear a beret
- Become an actual celebrity in France for something weird, like my new cat Bisou can talk.
- Sit in a fancy hotel lobby and pretend to wait for someone.
- Have my family visit me
- Climb the first half of the Eiffel but also take the elevator to the top
- Convince my au pair family to name their next child “Talullah”
- Have a cheese picnic. Just cheese.
- Go viral for something France-related. Like me falling in the Seine on or something else normal.
- Become an actual Parisian
- Stay in Paris forever?
Do you have any other suggestions? Au revoir!