Despite the unique allure of London’s cityscape, there is a charm about Paris that is undeniably enticing. Many Brits find themselves captivated by its timeless beauty, leading a cluster of them to start anew in the City of Lights.
Indeed, it’s estimated that around 20 ‘000 move to France each year, with many settling in the big, beautiful capital city. Be it the romance, the food, or the stunning architecture and history that often grace the covers of many travel brochures, Paris has something for everyone, particularly for UK expats.
The city is divided into twenty districts, known as arrondissements—each boasting its unique personality, attractions, and community vibe. But which arrondissements top the list for British expats to plant their roots? Here are a few of our favourite places in Paris to live…
Le Marais (3rd & 4th Arrondissement)
Le Marais is hard to beat when it comes to the seamless blend of both old and new Parisian charm. This arrondissement, considered by many to be Paris’s trendiest, is a vibrant mix of boutiques, art galleries, timeless architectural gems like Place Des Vosges, and an abundance of cafes and restaurants. A notable plus for Brits in Le Marais is the vibrant and welcoming expat community, making it easier to transition into life in your new abode.
The 7th Arrondissement
The 7th Arrondissement is the epitome of classic Parisian charm. It is home to the iconic Eiffel Tower, Musée D’orsay, and a plethora of other historic sites. Despite its heavy hitting landmarks, this district offers a quieter environment than some of its neighbours, with elegant apartment buildings, charming bakeries, and a host of quintessential French bistros that are sure to make you feel right at home.
Montmartre (18th Arrondissement)
If you’re an artist, a creative, or an avid admirer of the arts, then Montmartre, located in the 18th Arrondissement, is perfect. This charmingly bohemian hilltop neighbourhood, renowned as a haven for artists throughout history, offers stunning panoramic views of the city. With its picturesque, village-like streets, artistic vibe, and historic buildings like the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur, Montmartre is an enchanting place to live.
Saint-Germain-des-Prés (6th Arrondissement)
Saint-Germain-des-Prés, often considered the intellectual hub of Paris, is famous for its literary trails, bustling cafes, avant-garde galleries, and vibrant nightlife. It’s also home to the oldest church in Paris, the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. With its rich culture and elegant boulevards, it’s no wonder this neighbourhood is a favourite amongst British expats.
The Latin Quarter (5th Arrondissement)
The Latin Quarter, named for the historic use of Latin in higher education institutions found within its perimeters, is a bustling, dynamic area. The neighbourhood is home to the Sorbonne University, Pantheon, the charming Rue Mouffetard market street, along with a plethora of bookshops, eateries and vibrant nightlife options perfect for younger Brits or those young at heart.
The 1st Arrondissement
The 1st Arrondissement can be seen as the heart of Paris. It’s home to the Louvre Museum, Palais-Royal, and the iconic Rue Rivoli filled with luxury boutiques. This historic, central neighbourhood, with its sights and vibrant scenes, is an excellent choice for expats seeking to live in the core of Paris’s action and soak up its rich history and culture.
House prices, whether you’re intending to rent or buy, are at their highest they come here. You can deploy price-specific filtering options on online accommodation platforms to get some perspective.
The 16th Arrondissement
Considered to be one of Paris’s most upscale and safest neighbourhoods, the 16th Arrondissement offers a residential feel with its quiet, tree-lined streets and beautiful Haussmann-style buildings. Here, you’ll be close to green spaces like the Bois de Boulogne, the Roland Garros Stadium, and a wealth of museums. Its calm, family-friendly vibe makes it ideal for Brits looking for serenity amidst the bustling city.
The 11th Arrondissement
If you’re a foodie or a night owl, head to the 11th Arrondissement. Known for its lively bar scene and trendy eateries, this district has a young, dynamic energy often preferred by younger expats or those who love to mingle. The 11th Arrondissement is also home to the historic Place de la Bastille and the charismatic Oberkampf neighbourhood, providing a taste of edgy, contemporary Parisian life.
The Bottom Line
The decision to move abroad, particularly to a city as enchanting as Paris, is a thrilling adventure. When choosing a neighbourhood, it’s essential to consider your lifestyle, preferences, and what you want from your Parisian adventure. Whether you’re a lover of history, French food, art, or just the unique Parisian lifestyle, each arrondissement has something special to offer to every British expat.
Adjusting to life in Paris as a British expat may have its challenges, from linguistic barriers to cultural nuances. But remember, the beauty of being an expat lies in exploring and embracing these differences. A life in Paris offers a unique opportunity to live within a city that holds a timeless allure, one that has been an inspiration for countless artists, writers, and dreamers throughout history.