Wednesday, November 16, 2011

We're Moving to Paris

Paris - Faubourg Saint Antoine
Rue de Fabourg Saint-Antoine, Paris
Photo by Phillipe Payart
Leïla and I both love Amsterdam and I have a great job, but for various reasons we've decided to move to Paris. The difficulty of Leïla finding good work here is a major contributing factor. She's lived and worked in Paris for years and was ready to return to France, so we think this is the right decision for us and our family. It will also be much easier raising our daughter in a school system where French or English is the first language.

I already have a fantastic job lined up and will be starting the first of December. We'll be staying in Amsterdam for two or three months before the actual move, but I'll be regularly travelling to Paris. I suspect a few readers of this blog might find Paris more compelling than Amsterdam.

Meaux, France
Photo by Daniel Marinaud
I've been warned repeatedly that Paris is more expensive than Amsterdam, but there's not a huge amount of difference. However, we're probably going to live outside of Paris and I'll commute. We're considering several options, one of which is Meaux. It's further away than we would like, but it's a lovely town and not very expensive. If you know the Paris area and can recommend anything (or have a cheap flat to rent), drop me a line!

It's going to be tough leaving Amsterdam. We've been making a lot of good friends here and have managed to avoid the isolation which so many expats experience. We were planning on staying here for quite some time and were looking forward to it. It's really one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, but my family has to come first.

What really amazes me is that this is going to be country number five for me! It's also going to be my first country (I'm too young to really remember Japan)  where English is not commonly spoken. English is actually the working language at my new job, but other than that, it's French all the way. I expect my French is going to improve rapidly.

And before you ask, we made this decision long before we learned of the proposed changes to the 30% ruling (the government is already backing down on some of that) and has a lot to do with recent trips to Paris and Brussels. Paris was for the job interview and Brussels was to start the paperwork for the marriage visa. Fortunately, I aced the French Culture part of the test and I'm waiting for the Alliance Française to schedule my French language test. I should be fine as it's a basic test, but who knows? If I don't pass it, I'll still get the marriage visa but will have mandatory (and free) French classes.

On a personal note: I knew when I was 13 years old that I wanted to move to France. It's hard to imagine that 30 years later, it's finally happening. This is possibly going to be the biggest adventure I've undertaken.