After The Expat City Ranking 2021 placed Paris 51st out of 57 cities, we were hardly surprised.
While most of us working at the Local France live in the French capital and enjoy life here, Paris rarely does well in the global rankings of the best cities for foreign residents.
So we decided to ask for your views on life in the City of Light. Is it really as bad as the critics make out?
The answer, according to most of you, is no.
Over half of the scores of people who responded to our survey said that Paris is a good place to live.
This one proved divisive.
Lots of you wrote in to describe Parisians as “rude”, “xenophobic”, and “dirty”. Others even complained that the French don’t speak English. There’s a clue to what language they speak in their name.
“The way Parisians talk about foreigners and other minorities – it’s actually hideous sometimes,” wrote Juan David Romero.
Rameez Sayed said that Parisians are “unfriendly, rude and always have a resting bitchy face.”
“Paris residents exude unhappiness in their own lives and take it out on expatriates as a means to lift their own spirits and provide a target for their animosity,” said Pat Hallam.
“Dating here is brutal,” added Erin Gould. “It’s the least romantic city you can imagine.”
Admittedly, even French people from outside the capital believe in a negative stereotype of the snooty Parisian.
But a number of you said that a little bit of effort can go a long way.
READ MORE Who are really the rudest – the French, tourists or Parisians?
“As long as you make an effort in French, I’ve found Parisians quite lovely,” said Andy McGough.
“There is the rudeness factor but the good outweighs the bad,” added Corinne Lloyd.
Others described Parisians as more kinder than residents of other capital cities, even going as far to compliment their politeness.
“I appreciate the politeness and character of the locals,” said Virginia Choy. “Paris is gentler and less materialistic than London and Sydney.”
Like in every other city around the world, there are good and bad people. And even these labels are pretty subjective.
Nah, I think it is pretty subpar as an expat city in general. Just feels kind of backward/inward-looking compared to other major cities worldwide. Less parochial than smaller European capitals, but not really on a par with London/NYC
We chose Lyon over Paris simply because of size and being in a city with fewer tourists. But in our 8 years of living and traveling in France, we have found the French to be very nice and helpful on the whole. In a city like Paris (or New York), residents expect you to know how to conduct yourself – pace of walking, not stopping at the top of the Metro steps, how to order in a restaurant. Things are a bit more relaxed in Lyon – I tell friends that Lyon is to Paris what San Francisco is to New York; not a perfect comparison, but workable.
And we visit Paris whenever we have the chance.
Traveling to Paris multiple times we’ve been unable to find the stereotypical rude Parisian experience. We find the city and her people to be warm and generous. We had a meal and wine secretly bought for us after a 45 chat with our neighbor table – with limited French. We have made deep friendships (a thing not supposed to happen according to some) and are now considering Paris a place to live. In terms of cost, we’re from LA so much of Paris is to us a welcome relief in prices with incredible quality.
As a long-term ex-pat, two things stand out: 1.) Paris visitors do NOT respect French culture, Parisians, or Paris in general; 2.) For ex-pats (and visitors), Paris owes you NOTHING! It is entirely up to you to embrace your host city diplomatically or face the dire and mostly legitimate consequences.
Remember, there is a solution for stubborn, arrogant, and ethnocentric visitors to Paris: EuroDisney.
P.S. The dreaded, insidious, revolting, and ironic ‘Disneyfication’ of La Capitale must stop. It is responsible for many of these issues…