Guide of a Swiss Girl in Paris: The Move
Here we are: the moment I was actually moving to Paris, after almost a year of preparation. There are two things concerning the actual move that I was mostly concerned with: the transportation and what to take with me. So here is my experience and advice concerning these two points!
For the move, I preferred taking the train over the plane. From Lausanne, you can get direct trains to Paris and the journey is only about four hours. I got my ticket from SNCF Oui, the part of the French transportation company which takes care of international trips. If you get tickets ahead of time and choose to travel on a weekday, you can get a pretty good price for them! They also offer a luggage service, which consists of them coming to get your luggage at your place a couple days in advance and delivering it to your door after your move. I wasn't able to book that service unfortunately, because the dates didn't work out, but it's definitely good to know and I will probably be using it one day!
Once you are in Paris, the easiest means of transportation is the subway. A 1,90€ ticket will get you anywhere in the city (and can also be used in RERs and buses). If you use public transport on a regular basis, you might want to look into getting a Navigo pass. It costs about 75€/month, but keep in mind if you are working or doing a full-time internship, the company usually pays for half! It's a great deal because the subway network here is very expansive, it can get you to any part of the city in a reasonable amount of time. I have taken a few taxis and Ubers, but the prices definitely add up pretty fast, so it isn't really worth it.
However, public transportation definitely suffers from the occasional strike. It's a well-known stereotype that the French are always on strike, but if I learned one thing while I was here, it's that it's based on facts. If you are planning on traveling to France in the next few months, check this calendar before booking your trip - the SNCF company is planning to go on strike two days a week until the end of June!
What to take?
Concerning clothes, I definitely made the mistake of underestimating the cold. I thought, being used to Swiss winters, I would never be cold here - I was wrong. It's snowed a few times since I got here and the temperatures are pretty much the same as in Switzerland.
The complicated thing about packing was that I was taking exclusively winter clothes (knowing I would be going home in April and I'd be able to switch to spring/summer clothes then). This might seem silly and I hadn't even thought about it, but winter clothes take a lot of space. Between sweaters, jackets, scarves and boots, my suitcase got filled up very quickly. This means I wasn't able to take a very big amount with me. So if you are traveling like this, in the winter, with only one suitcase, make sure you anticipate and choose what you want to take with you. Try to come up with a mixture of warm, practical clothes and things you can wear if you need to be more dressed up! I actually went home for a few days, a month after moving, so I took that opportunity to bring the clothes I wasn't using back to Lausanne. I also grabbed a small suitcase from my house and took a few more sweaters and shoes back to Paris. I was glad I got to see what I wasn't using and what I was missing and to make changes according to it, but if you don't have the chance to do that, you should think about it ahead of time!
Apart from my clothes, I only took what was necessary: since I am studying here, that meant a lot of books, manuals, dictionaries, etc. I also took a few personal things to set up in my studio, such as pictures of my family and friends. I grabbed a few different bags, the cosmetics I couldn't find here or didn't want to buy again, and that was pretty much it. If you are on any kind of medication, you should also make sure that you can either find it wherever you are going, or that you take enough for your time there!
I just want to say a word about my arrival in Paris. When I got there, obviously the first thing I did was getting into a cab and heading to my new place. I had arranged to meet up with the owners of my studio there. They knew what time I was supposed to get in and they told me how to get there (code to the building, etc.). Once I got there, it was very important to do what they call état des lieux - looking around the apartment together and writing down any broken things, cracks or stains on the walls, the state of all the furniture and material provided, etc. Sometimes, agencies will give you an official paper to fill out, but in my case it didn't, so we wrote everything down ourselves and each signed it and kept a copy. This is very important in case anything happens. The landlord makes sure they get their apartment back the same way they left it, and the tenant is protected in case they are blamed for any damage they weren't responsible for.
That's all I have to say about the move, and a new post will follow soon about my experience living here so far! In the meantime, if you want to see more photos from my time here, you can check out my Instagram. If you want any other info or have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me through the contact page, and if you enjoyed this post, please click the little heart at the top of the article - you can also share it on Facebook, Tumblr or Pinterest from there!