paris

Helpful French Phrases for Travelers

What many mistake for snootiness in Paris actually an ingrained social formality that, from an outsider’s perspective, can feel very old-fashioned. People still greet their neighbors cordially and hold doors for each other regardless of gender. If you want to make a good first impression and feel like a local tout de suite (immediately), commit these phrases to memory and employ them liberally.

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Life in Paris: Air and Water Quality

Parisians deal daily with high levels of air pollution thanks to a number of factors, a population favoring diesel cars included. In the spring of 2015, Paris briefly topped the world charts for air pollution, putting it above regular offenders such as Delhi and Peking. On the ground, a national pastime of cigarette smoking and lime buildup in water are two issues newcomers face.

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A Paris Expat Experience: Living in the 14th

If you’ve got questions about what life is like in a Paris neighborhood for an expat, the best source to go to are fellow expats with a few years of experience in their new country under their belt. Expert author Aurelia d’Andrea sat down for a chat with Dan Smith, age 62, about his life in the 14th arrondissement.

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Navigating Paris: Départements, Arrondissements, and More

Metropolitan France, or what the locals refer to as La Métropole, is carved into 22 culturally distinct regions, which are further divided into départements. In the manner of Russian dolls, each department contains arrondissements, cantons, and communes. For the day-to-day practical purposes of the expat, knowing your regions and departments is what matters most.

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Planning Your Fact-Finding Trip to Paris

It’s easy to fall in love with the surface image of France, but there’s only one way to find out whether the Parisian personality meshes with yours and whether there’s hope for a long-term relationship, and that’s to come visit and stay awhile. Find out what you need to know to prepare for your trip.

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Paris’s Rive Gauche Neighborhoods

Paris’s Left Bank, known as Rive Gauche, staked its claim in the hearts and minds of expats more than a century ago. If you’re thinking of moving to Paris and care less about cachet and hipster cred than you do about safety and ease of transport, the Left Bank offers the chance to discover the hidden attractions of Paris’s calm and cool south side and decide for yourself if this is a place to call home.

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Tips on Renting in Paris

Renting has its advantages over buying, the most obvious being a much lighter initial investment. Paris rental laws are particularly strict, and French bureaucracy doesn’t end at the front door of your new house or apartment, which can make finding a place to live a challenge, particularly if you are short on time or funds. Use these tips to ease the way.

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Customs and Etiquette in Paris

One of the first things you’ll notice about living in Paris is the formal politesse that pervades daily interactions. More important than mimicking the French version of Emily Post is to simply treat everyone you encounter with respect. Do as the locals do and be liberal with your pleases and thank-yous.

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What I Love About Living in Paris

Whether it’s mastering the myriad meanings of “oh là là” as you bask in the Parisian sunshine or enjoying classic French culinary delights, Aurelia d’Andrea shares her abiding love of living abroad in the City of Light.

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Gay and Lesbian Culture in Paris

Though the Assemblée Nationale didn’t vote to decriminalize homosexuality until 1982, the closet door has long swung wide open throughout Paris’s history—a tradition that is happily embraced today in legal rights, day-to-day life, and festivals.

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Featured Travel Guide

Moon Guides Author Spotlight

Elizabeth Linhart Veneman

Elizabeth Linhart Veneman has always viewed growing up in Northern California as both a blessing and curse. There is so much to see, do, and experience all within a short drive—from broad sequoias in the Sierras to ancient lava beds north of Mount Shasta, from creaky Gold Rush towns to the pampering Wine Country—that she began to wonder why anyone would ever leave.

Elizabeth was eventually lured out of the Golden State to Alaska’s far north, where she traveled the Inside Passage, baked bread under the midnight sun in Denali National Park, and chronicled the state’s burgeoning sustainable agriculture for Alaska Magazine. These adventures culminated in penning the travel guide InsightGuides: Alaska.

But Elizabeth knew her California roots were too deep to stay away for long. Raised in Carmel, where her great-great grandmother opened the first restaurant (a soup kitchen with dirt floors!) at the turn of the 20th century, she would always call California home. So she returned and devoted herself to writing about the state she loves most. Her work has included the travel guides SmartGuide: San Francisco and InsightGuides: San Francisco, as well as reporting on food and sustainable agriculture for local publications.

Elizabeth Linhart Veneman is the author of several Moon travel guides, including Moon California and Moon Napa & Sonoma.