Sunday, June 24, 2007


The move to Paris is in 1 1/2 months and there are a few things I need to help on.

1. Cell Phones- which do you recommend, approximately how much is it?
2. Gym- I hear Club Med is the way to go (aprrox. 1,000Euros per year). Any other recommendations? How different is the equipment?
3. There is an English library that I'll become a member to- do you know anything about it- is it worthwhile.
4. Should we bring our own measuring cups or is it best to jump right into metric (we are bringing an american cookbook)
5. Does it make more financial sense to buy clothes in the States and bring them to Paris?
6. English speaking doctors for myself and my wife- any recommendations?
7. How feasible is it to work under the table (teaching English or whatever) not that I would ever do that.

Could you email me at with any suggestions. Actually anyone can email me with suggestions about anything- I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.


Halley said...


1. DO NOT buy the mobicarte cell phone deal with Orange (France Telecom) if you are going to be here for any significant amount of time – it is a huge rip-off (like 60 centimes/minute) and you'll save a ton of money with a phone plan. I personally HATE France Telecom and I know a few people who have SFR plans and are really happy with them. It's good for families too, because you can designate 5 other SFR phones that you can always call unlimited amounts for free!

2. Gyms seem SO expensive here, I never joined one – but I'm a student on a student's budget so I stuck to running in the park. A good thing to take advantage of is that from September through June every Sunday various parks around the city have free exercise groups and classes. You can find info on the Mairie's website ( or just keep your eyes open for signs in various parks.

3. I don't know anything about the English library, but there are many places to find English books in the city too – the Pompidou Center (free!) library has books in English as well as French. There are also a number of American/British bookstores such as Bretano's, W.H. Smith, Shakespeare and Co, etc.

4. My measuring cups from here use regular cups, and my French liquid measuring cup has both metric and cup measurements, so I haven't had any trouble converting.

5. You'll probably save money bringing clothes with the exchange rate and expense of living in Paris, BUT it's very hard to avoid having to buy things as they come along – for example, when I realized that because I'd packed to leave in August, I brought no sweaters...I don't think expense is a huge factor here...just bring what you have and buy what you need. Plus, it's FUN to shop in Paris!

6. For doctors and other EXTREMELY useful info, you should consult the U.S. Embassy's Blue Book, found here: ( ) There are lists of English-speaking doctors, dentists and everything you could need.

7. How feasible? It is SUPER easy to work under the table and TONS of people do it. You can be an English tutor, nanny, even sometimes tend bar, etc. without declaring. Post ads on Craig's List Paris or at the American Church in Paris. You can find the church at 65 Quai D'Orsay in the 7th and no matter your faith, it's a really good resource, community, etc.

Hope this helps – GOOD LUCK!

Aralena said...

I feel pretty lame for not being able to answer most of your queries, but here are some thoughts:

1. Cell Phones- if you open a bank account and can furnish proof of a lease (or residency somewhere) you can subscribe to a normal service like SFR or Bouygues (both equally good providers, in my opinion). As Halley says, forgo the expensive go as you pay methods if you can.

2. Gym- I don't do gyms, they are expensive in Paris, and you walk everywhere, up and down stairs... but I know people who do Club Med and like it.

3. The American Library in Paris ( is on rue du Général-Camou, in the 7ème arrondissement, and a good resource for English print. As Halley mentions, you've also got Brentano's, Gallieni, WH Smith, Shakespeare and Co., as well as used English bookstores in the 6ème.

hope this helps!

ColourMeCrazy said...

Hello. I just came across your blog - not sure if I can be helpful but here are my 2 centimes worth ;-)

1. Mobile phone - well, when we were there, to start off with, we got rechargeable SFR photos (France Telecom), which are a rip-off as Halley mentioned. Calls are expensive and if you don't use up all your credit in a month (or recharge the phone), you lose the credit. Plans are much better.

2. We didn't join gyms. Just walked everywhere. There are lots of stairs in the Metro to keep you fit!

3. No idea about English libraries..sorry..I joined the local arrondisement library.

4. We work in metric in we didn't have problems there.

5. It's probably a whole lot cheaper to buy clothes in the US but Paris is a great great place to shop!! ;-)

6. Try looking in FUSAC - there might be some classifieds for English speaking doctors.

7. Hehe - I worked "on the table" ;-) so I'm not sure. But I had a couple of friends who gave English lessons by putting notices around local bakeries and other places like that.

Good luck and have a great time!