This post is entirely inspired by a lovely someone that I’ve met on Instagram. She’s a fellow anglophone in Paris . When we hanged out, we chat about this and hope it will be useful for others too. Here’s my bit of sharing – 5 practical ideas for newbies in Paris! *No prefecture stuff is included in this post, because trust me, not even a local French has any idea what’s going on.
1. Where to find affordable, high quality French language class?
Usually everyone’s first reaction is Alliance Française. They are one of the most expensive French classes that you can commit to. My solution? French government (CMA – Cours Municipaux d’Adultes) offers French classes at a fraction of the cost.
Price comparison? CMA cost around 260 EUR for 180 hours, while Allaince Française charges 222 EUR for 18 hours. This is NOT a typo, the difference in price is really that huge.
I have been enrolled at Alliance Française (had 5 teachers), Institut Français (had 3 teachers) and CMA (1 teacher). Frankly, the biggest difference is in class size. Based on my experience: Alliance Française had maximum 18 students, Institut Français had maximum 12 students and CMA has around 30. However, the courses are VERY similar, totally not worth the price difference. I maybe very lucky, the best teacher that I’ve experience so far is from CMA!
Please note that CMA’s French courses has 4 registration period each year. If you miss it, you won’t be able to enrol. Please visit their website to find out the date for the locations that you prefer: https://cma.paris.fr/
**CMA class is completely different from the OFII’s ACFI French class; not comparable in quality and the level of due care. At CMA, people enrolled at their own free will; whereas ACFI was a mandatory course for all non-EU immigrants that have no French certification (B1 or above).
2. University is affordable
When I did my master in Paris, I only went to school for 4 months. There is a compulsory 6 months paid internship for all master students! Okay, unless you go to a ridiculous expensive schools like HEC (very bad ROI by the way, you will earn more by using the money to pay for a deposit for a small flat in Paris for renting out), it is extremely likely that your internship will cover your school fees!!!
Check out your options. Paris has fantastic universities, some even have courses in 100% English (usually with charming French accent).
Whether it is for a side hustle or full on career move, it is a great way to try out job market in Paris! The labour law here is so crazy that most business are scared to hire people… however, if you offer yourself as a freelancer, it is a lot easier to get your foot in the door 😉 well, that or you need to meet the right people.
Many French have this status for the purpose of side hustle 😀
Be that artist that you’ve always wanted to be 😉 here in Paris
4. Pôle emploi
Usually for people that has lost / quit their jobs to claim benefits. As a new comer, you won’t be getting any cash benefit. BUT if you registered as a job seeker, you’ll be able to enjoy a lot of museums for free!!! Apparently the concept is that job seekers get stressed out, hence they need entertainment support. I love first world countries!
If you’re moving here from USA or UK, you’ll soon find that most brands are more expensive here than back home. However… French pharmacy brands are FANTASTIC! Now, there are a lot of pharmacy around town. Do NOT buy skincare from them. Only go to City Pharma! Why? There’s a HUGE price difference (e.g. for sunscreen, there’s a 30% – 50% price difference when compared with the regular pharmacies). O well, if you have the spare cash, it is really up to you 😛
**They do not sell online at all, be brave. It is worth braving the crowd 😉
How about you? Any tips for fellow Anglophones? Please share in the comments.