Ok, I hear ‘ya ! Paris Suburbs ? Not for me ! I ain’t going to Paris to live in the suburbs girl ! What’s in the suburbs anyway, right ?

Sure. Paris is a magnificent city, the city of light, blah blah blah…But the fact is that I’ve been trying to find reasons for families like yours to choose Paris over its suburbs and I’m kind of running out of arguments here…Don’t get me wrong. I’m not undermining the Paris quality of life but just widening your horizons for you to get real options. And, I AM talking about families, with kids going to school and not students or young executives.

OK so here we go…

Paris

Are you a city addict ? Do you need to live right next to your Paris work place or a particular Paris school for your kids ? Then go for it ! Absolutely.

Pros :

If you’re lucky enough to live in Paris, you’ll get to

  • stay in an Haussmann style apartment with « parquet, cheminée, moulures » (beautiful wooden floors and marble fireplaces, Ahh !)
  • enjoy your daily “café-crème” in your Bistrot down the street
  • make a last minute reservation at that trendy restaurant you heard about
  • catch that Louvre exhibition or Champs -Elysées theatre show on your way back from work
  • run down your St-Germain metro station, minutes away from home
  • spoil yourself in great boutiques for your shopping frenzies

In short, you’ll have a ball! So what’s wrong with this picture?

Cons:

Well for starters,

  • Your OMG rent : family homes in nice neighborhoods – and by that I mean safe, clean, practical for your everyday life- can be very costly. Check the latest housing market prices.
  • Few green areas : whether it’s for your daily jog or about your kids letting off some steam (as a mom, I know how important this is 🙂 ), parks are rare and living close to one will be included in your rental price
  • Rare parking spaces and elevators: older apartment residences don’t come with a parking space, leaving you either with frustrating moments around the block or extra parking charges. As for smaller older buildings, you might have to walk up to the 4th or 5th floor because there just wasn’t enough space to set up an elevator…
  • Limited registrations for leisure activities (“getting in” becomes a sports activity by itself ! )
  • The gusto of a capital city: the continuous flow of people, cars, buses leaving you wondering “where are they all going ?” …

So. Ready to go explore the “other side”?

Paris suburbs

First, don’t stress out ! It’s going to be OK. Where am I taking you ? In the chic western suburbs of Paris.

Pros:

  • Your sweeter rent : you can find great suburban apartments for decent prices and, wait for it…, even little town houses with gardens for the same price as Paris Haussmann style apartments
  • Parks all over : starting with the Bois de Boulogne, Parc de St Cloud just on Paris outskirts.
  • Schools galore : many schooling options for expats like the American school of Paris, the German school of Paris, British school of Paris…and not so far from Paris 16th international institutions.
  • Loads of leisure activities: outdoor activities (horseback riding, rowing, golf…) and exceptional facilities.
  • A large transportation network: it offers many options for commuting to Paris by metro, bus, tram, train and RER.
  • Quiet family neighborhoods with all you need on a daily basis (bakery, grocery shops, local boutiques in the town center and generally a mall or “centre commercial” not too far off)

Excellent right ? Well, to be completely honest…

Cons:

  • Occasional delays in transports: the Ile de France’s public transports offer great coverage of this area but strikes and technical problems do occur
  • Car expenses: living in this area implies having a car but a parking space comes generally with modern apartments and houses.

To “suburb” or not to “suburb” ! Well it’s up to you but at least you have the full picture now. And if you do choose Paris suburbs, it doesn’t mean you’ll never go to Paris again. On average, we’re talking about a 10 to 45 minutes car ride to Paris (which is around your average commuting time in Paris anyway).

Your turn !

Have you ever struggled with this Paris vs. suburbs dilemma ? Heck, even Parisians have and still do !

So, instead of taking an “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe” decision, organize a family intervention and set up your list of personal criteria and, tell me this …How did your final decision affect your daily lifestyle in Paris or in Paris suburbs ?

Let me know in the comments. Love to hear from you !