Habitation Tax Explained

Habitation Tax : If you’ve been living in an apartment in Paris this year, you might have received something called a tax habitation in the mail. What is it? And why dd you receive it? 

 

Habitation Tax

A tax d’habitation is a municipal tax issued by the government every year in November to be paid by January 1st to owners or tenants of property within their jurisdiction. Do not confuse this with a “taxe fonciere” which is a municipal tax to be paid by the owner of the building, not the tenant. You are liable to pay for the tax if you have been living in your current lodging since January 1st of that year. Even if you only stayed in your apartment for a couple of months, if you were in the apartment on the 1st you are required to pay.

The habitation tax is determined by the size of the apartment, the income of the owner, as well as a number of other tax factors. It can be anywhere from €90 to €3,000. When you sign the lease for your apartment (or for a student residence),  check to see if it is listed as a main residence or a second residence, as second residences have a much more expensive tax. Also, when you fill out your tax form, make sure to unclick the box that says you have a TV in the home if you do not have one, as this will also raise the price of the tax.

 Why should you pay ?

If you are still unsure whether you have to pay, the first thing you should do is review your lease agreement. Sometimes the habitation tax is included in the deposit fees for the apartment and therefore you have already paid for it. If your lease is unclear, contact your landlord and ask whether you have to pay it or not. Sometimes apartment owners in Paris do not register with the tax office that they are renting and therefore must pay the habitation tax themselves. However, this is unlikely.

If you are renting a room in an apartment or sub-renting an apartment (meaning you have a contract with the person renting the apartment not the owner) then you don’t have to pay the habitation tax.

If you are living in a public student residence, you do not have to pay this tax. However, if you are living in a private student residence, but moved in after January 1st and are living there for a short time period, you also do not have to pay the tax. If you are unsure, contact your administrative office.

Unfortunately, since you are an international student and are not a tax paying French citizen, you are not entitled to any tax reductions. Most likely, you will have to pay the tax and can do so a number of ways. You can simply take a check or mail one into your local tax office, indicating your address, identification and lease agreement. Or, you can pay online and create an account here and elect to pay the lump sum or in monthly installments. You will need your bank account details and your tax information found on the invoice you received in the mail in order to make this account.

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This is the page where you will create your account. As you can see, there are three required numbers all of which are found on your third tax d’habitation, so make sure you keep the original document. The first two numbers are found on the first page and third is found on the last page of the invoice. If you cannot find these numbers or you have lost your tax d’habitation, go to your local tax office.

The good news is that the government is planning on eradicating all of the habitation taxes by 2021. So if you are planning on living in Paris for a long time, you’re in luck!

Secret Spots in Paris: Visit the roads less travelled

So you’ve been in Paris for a while and you feel like you’ve seen all there is to see as far as major monuments. It’s time to explore the roads less traveled in Paris, find spots that you can call your own and assert yourself as a true Parisien. We don’t claim to know every spot in the city, but here’s a list of must-see places to get you started.

 

Amazing Architecture

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Richelieu Library

Built during the height of the Industrial Revolution, this beautiful library showcases a seamless blend of the newest technology of the time and classical architecture. The library can only be accessed by graduate art history students studying in Paris but a little sweet talking with the security guard will get you a peek.

 

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Petit Palais

An amazing art museum with an eclectic collection in its own right, the Petit Palais has one of the most beautiful interiors in Paris, in my opinion. A spectacular example of Rococo turned Romantic architecture, walking through the building feels like floating. Don’t miss the Roman-style courtyard complete with a small cafe, perfect for sunny days in Paris.

 

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Galerie Vivienne

One of the first indoor shopping malls in Paris, Galerie Vivienne is a great place to window shop or catch artisans in the middle of their craft. During Christmas, the Galerie is strung up with dazzling lights and wreaths, making it a happy surprise when one turns the corner into an unexpected winter wonderland.

 

Best Views in the City

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Galerie Lafayette

One may say the best place to see Paris is the Eiffel Tower, but then you can’t see the Eiffel Tower! The Galerie Lafayette is one of the highest points of the city and offers spectacular views of all your favorite monuments. During Christmas, the mall is decked out in twinkling lights and a huge, decorated Christmas tree. Don’t miss out!

Musée d’Orsay Balcony

On the fifth floor of the Musee d’Orsay lies a secret gem. The balcony off of the fifth-floor cafe offers stunning panoramic views of the city, stretching all the way to Montmartre. It’s a great way to end the day at the museum.

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Notre Dame Tower

Another great alternative for stunning Paris views is to climb the towers of Notre Dame. It is free for people under 26 to climb up the 422 steps for breathtaking views of Ile de Cite and the Seine.

Gardens

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Rodin Museum Gardens

The Rodin Museum is a great alternative to the crowded Musee D’Orsay and the Louvre. It has a stunning collection of Rodin’s works as well as other sculptors from the 19th century. Complete with an outdoor sculpture garden, the Rodin Museum is a perfect location for a sunny afternoon and some light reading.

Park at Pont Neuf

Fun Fact: Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge in Paris, despite its name meaning “New Bridge”. At the base of the bridge is a small park that looks out over the Seine. It’s a very popular spot for local young people to bring wine and snacks for a picnic, especially in the evenings.

Parc Bercy and Village 

If you are really looking for places off the beaten path, head to the 12th arrondissement and check out Parc Bercy. Built in the 90s to incorporate more green space into Paris, the eclectic park consists of three small gardens connected by footbridges. Next to the park is the Bercy Village, a cute shopping and dining area created out of old wine caverns.

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Place des Vosges

 A popular rest spot for local Parisiens, this park is a great place for a picnic and a nap on a sunny day. Place des Vosges is one of the only parks in Paris where people are allowed to go on the grass, so take advantage of it. Located in a former palace courtyard, the park offers views of stunning architecture and great people watching.

 

Check out this article for more secret spots in Paris. Happy exploring!

Need to escape Paris? Try these weekend excursions

You’re only a true Parisien when you desperately want to leave Paris for the weekend on excursions. Fortunately, France has innumerable cute, quaint towns to visit on the weekend for little to no cost. Seeing places outside Paris is a great way to experience different parts of French culture that are removed from the bustling urban life of Paris.

These locations are reachable by the RER via your Imagine R or Navigo Pass. Check out these excursions in Paris :

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Versailles

The automatic go-to excursion for any tourist visiting Paris is, of course, the magnificent palace and grounds of King Louis XVI. Easily reached by train, it’s only 45 minutes on the RER C to Gare de Versailles Château Rive Gauche from Saint-Michel. Both the palace and gardens are free every day for students except for the weekends when there are musical fountain shows in the gardens. Don’t be distracted by the palace and miss out on the other attractions in the gardens, such as Marie Antoinette’s private palace and the working farm complete with cows and chickens. It’s a great place to visit in nice weather: have a picnic by one of the many hidden fountains, rent a rowboat on the Grand Canal, or bike ride through the forests.

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Fontainebleau

Visit Fontainebleau to see where the Habsburg monarchy in France resided, including Napoleon and his family. This small town is located in Zone 5 of the metro system, only 45 minutes on the RER D from Gare de Lyon to Fontainbleau-Avon towards either Laroche-Migennes, Montargis, Montereau, or Sens. These trains are in the main hall with the other trains, called the Grandes Lignes, typically on platform J. Don’t go downstairs and take the regular RER D near the other RER lines. If you get turned around, ask for help from a station guide! The castle and gardens at Fontainebleau are a great alternative to the Versailles crowds and excessive grandeur. The castle takes about 2 hours to go through and is very beautiful and well restored. There are three gardens open to the public: The English Garden, The French Garden and the park, the original hunting grounds of Emperor Napoleon.

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Disneyland

A magical place always worth a visit if you’re willing to spend a couple extra bucks. The park is about 40 minutes on the RER A from Chatelet towards Gare de Marine La Vallee Chessy. There are two parks at Disneyland, Disney Studios and Parc Disneyland. Disney Studios is more movie-making focused, with a special Ratatouille attraction, while Parc Disneyland has all the traditional rides and characters you know and love. If you stretch yourself and arrive early, you can do both parks in one day; however, if you’re only planning to do one park, choose Parc Disneyland for the quintessential Disney experience.

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St. Denis

If you’re like me and love seeing old architecture, don’t miss out on St. Denis Cathedral, only 15 minutes on the RER D from Chatelet to Gare D’Orry la Ville Coye la Foret. The cathedral at St. Denis is the first example of Gothic architecture in Europe, built by Abbot Suger in the 12th century. It’s a perfect short trip for history buffs who have exhausted the historical sights in Paris.

 

The following locations are reachable by SNCF trains for very low costs if you book in advance.

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Giverny

The home and gardens of famous Impressionist painter Claude Monet are a must-see in the spring and summer months. The train to Vernon-Giverny is usually less than €10 if you book in advance and the joint ticket for the house, gardens and impressionist museum cost about €8 for students. My advice? Bring a book and some headphones and waste a sunny day under a weeping willow looking out over the water lilies. Then when you head back to Paris, visit Musee de L’Orangerie and complete your exploration of Claude Monet by seeing his water lily masterpieces.

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Rouen

If you like old architecture and history, Rouen is for you. The small town boasts the most elaborate and decorative cathedral I’ve ever seen and excellent examples of Tudor style houses. The town is also the sight of Joan of Arc’s burning and one of the oldest operating clocks in Europe. Don’t miss the art museum for a great collection of European and Impressionism art. On a weekend, especially during the holiday season, you might get lucky and be able to enjoy tasty local treats at the markets. 

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Reims

Though I would recommend a weekend trip for the land of Champagne, the ambitious traveler can squeeze it all into a day. This small town has one of the most charming city centers I’ve seen, a long strip of pedestrian space with cute cafes and shops. Again, for you art and history lovers out there, Reims is home to another old, grand cathedral, Notre Dame de Reims. But let’s not forget about the Champagne! Reims is home to a number of famous champagne houses, like G.H. Mumm and Pommery. Most houses are open to the public for tours and tastings, a must-do experience. 

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Strasbourg

If you need a break from total French immersion but don’t want to leave the country, Strasbourg is the place for you. Right on the border of Germany, Strasbourg is a mix of German and French culture in every way. Visit the Grand Île and Petite France to travel back in time amongst ancient timbered houses and winding streets. Don’t miss a trip to the top of the Strasbourg Cathedral’s North Tower, where you can see all the way to the Black Forest in Germany. The food and drink are incomparable, the perfect combination between German and French cuisine.

 

Have you visited somewhere amazing that’s not on this list? Let us know! We’d love to hear about your adventures in France.

Need furniture for your Paris flat?

Moving to a new apartment in a foreign country is hard enough without having to worry about furnishing it from scratch. Buying furniture can be expensive, but not if you know where to look. Read this article for our recommendations for affordable places to buy furniture in Paris.

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New Furniture

Tati

Tati is a great source for cheap household goods in Paris, with many locations across the country and in Paris. See a full list here. The store is a one-stop shop for everything you could need, from appliances to utensils, to even clothing.

 

Maisons du Monde

This store is a great option for the stylish decorator, known for its cute decor and modern furniture. They are frequently having sales so check them out for some bargains on quality furnishings. See all locations in Paris here.

 

Ikea

Everybody’s favorite build-it-yourself store, Ikea is always a good option for affordable goods. Unfortunately, there is no location in Paris but one is coming soon, hopefully by Summer of 2019. Otherwise make the trek to the branch outside the city, accessible by the bus stop at 77 Boulevard Saint-Jacques or by car. I do not recommend this if you do not have a car, as the bus can be unreliable and it can be difficult to transport all your furniture back by yourself. Ordering online is your safest bet. 

New location: 15 Boulevard de la Madeleine, 75001 Paris

 

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Used Furniture

Le Bon Coin

Le Bon Coin is a French online trading site for anything from used furniture to hand-me-down shoes. You can find some great deals here so don’t miss out. I would recommend being a good French speaker or at least having one nearby in order to successfully complete transactions. This site is also a good option for selling furniture when you leave Paris.

 

Emmaus

The equivalent of Goodwill for you Americans out there, Emmaus is a great option for second-hand items of all shapes and sizes. An NGO and donation-based, Emmaus will be your cheapest option for household items. It is also a great place to donate your furniture when you leave Paris. Check the website for all store locations in Paris. 

 

Happy bargain hunting!

Top Free Places in Paris

Free Activities in Paris? Is this for real? Follow the guide below! 😉

While Paris might be considered an expensive city to visit in terms of lodging and restaurants, there is actually a lot to do for those that want to save a couple bucks, especially students. Here are just a few of the top free attractions in Paris.

 

Landmarks

Paris is known for its iconic landmarks that boast beautiful architecture and extensive history. Thankfully, a lot of the city’s most famous monuments are free and open to the public. 

 

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Notre Dame

Paris’s iconic cathedral is free and open to the public 365 days a year. If you are under 26, you can access the Towers and the crypt for free. If you want to spend a few extra bucks, grab an audio guide and learn about the amazing history of the cathedral. Don’t miss this stunning landmark!

 

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Sacre Coeur and Montmartre

Go on a hike up to the highest natural point in the city and visit Sacre Coeur Cathedral for free and the famous neighborhood Montmartre. The cathedral, built in 1919, is influenced by Romano-Byzantine architecture and is home to amazing mosaics on the interior that are worth a visit.  Montmartre, on the other hand, was the home to famous writers and artists alike in the early 20th century. Icons like Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and Gertrude Stein all called Montmartre their home at one point or another.

 

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Catacombs

Looking for something off the beaten path and maybe just a little bit creepy? Descend into the labyrinth of tombs under the city and explore the final resting place of an estimated 6 million people, dating back to the 1700s. The one-hour traverse is free to the public and €6.00 for an audio guide. Prepare yourself because it gets cold down there, especially in the winter.

 

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Pere Lachaise

Continuing on the trend of the dead, become one of the millions of visitors that have flocked to one of the most famous cemeteries in the world. Located in the 6478th, this cemetery is open to the public and is home to famous people such as Eugene Delacroix, Edith Piaf, and Jim Morrison. The cemetery itself is an architectural marvel, as the inhabitants chose the design of their residences, thus creating a kaleidoscope of designs and styles.

 

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Shakespeare Book Company

One of the oldest bookstores in Paris, Shakespeare and Company is an established landmark on the Seine across from Notre Dame. The bookstore hosted many famous writers in their heyday, including Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Don’t miss the opportunity to hang out in the plushy chairs and read a rare book in a store that has seen so many of the greats.

 

 

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The Gardens of Paris

Paris may be a concrete jungle but it is still permeated by a beautiful park or garden here and there. Here’s a list of all the green spaces in Paris that I think are worth a visit.

  • Jardin des Tuileries
  • Jardin du Luxembourg
  • Parc des Buttes-Chaumont
  • Canal St. Martin
  • Parc Bercy and Bercy Village
  • Parc des Belleville
  • Parc Monceau

 

Museums

If you are a student under the age of 25-26 (depends on the museum) with a valid visa, you can access many museums for free. Here’s a list of our top recommendations.

 

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Louvre 

One of the most famous museums on the planet, the Louvre puts all other institutions to shame with its extensive collection ranging from 17th-century Flemish art to ancient Egyptian artifacts. And of course, you can’t miss the Mona Lisa. The best time to go to the Louvre is on Wednesday and Friday evenings when the museum is open until 9:45.

 

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Musee d’Orsay

This museum is your one-stop shop for your favorite Impressionists. From Monet to Van Gogh, D’Orsay has everyone. But don’t miss out on all the other amazing pieces in your rush to see the classics. The best time to go is when the museum is open late on Thursdays until 9:45.

 

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Musee Rodin

A small but worthwhile museum to visit that includes both indoor and garden exhibits. The collection includes other 19th century French sculptors in addition to Rodin. The sculpture garden is a great place to spend a sunny afternoon and has great views of Invalides, which is right next door.

 

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Museum of Modern Art

This museum has a great permanent collection that is open to the public and includes notable artists such as Picasso and Kandinsky. The Museum of Modern Art is an affiliate of the Palais de Tokyo but is a different building with a separate ticket. This museum is open late on Thursdays, until 10 pm.

Top Feel-Good Things to Bring to Paris

The hardest thing about packing up your belongings and moving away is choosing what to bring. You have limited room in your suitcases and can’t afford to bring everything with you. But it’s also so important to bring things that remind you of home when you go to a new, unknown place. Whether it be a photograph or a teddy bear, a familiar item will go a long way in making your temporary, foreign residence feel like home.

We asked some students about what things they brought with them to Paris. Below you’ll see a compiled list of all the must-need items you shouldn’t leave home without.

Favorite book 

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You can’t be a true Parisien without a go-to novel for those long commutes on the metro. Also perfect for relaxing in one of the many jardins on a sunny day! Cecily D. said she could not have lived without her favorite book, The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker. Check it out here!

Pictures of family and friends

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Homesickness can get the best of us sometimes so it’s always nice to have some familiar faces close by. Print out pictures at home to save some money and hang them up in Paris. Trust me it helps brighten up the room and bring a little bit of home to Paris.

A Sketchbook

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Channel your inner artist in the city of art and bring a sketchbook along to Paris for those “en plein air” painting and drawing opportunities. Sasha C. said one of her favorite things to do is go to the Louvre with her sketchbook and fill the pages with drawings.

Slippers

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France gets chilly in the winter and not all accommodations have central heating, so your favorite fuzzy slippers can help you through those long, cold months. Raul R. said he actually had his family mail him his slippers because he forgot them at home. Don’t make the same mistake!

A Journal

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Your time in Paris may not be permanent so it’s important to keep a record of your French adventures so you can look back at what will definitely be the best time of your life. If you forget to bring one, head to Gibert Jeune, a paper product store that can be found anywhere in Paris. 

Brands of medicine that you know and use

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The worst thing about being sick in a foreign place is not having your favorite, go-to medicine for an easy fix. Stock up and bring your favorite brands for any medical emergency, and save some euros in advance doing it. My personal favorite medicine is only available in certain stores back home, so I made sure I packed a ton because I always get sick in the winter.

Adapters

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Be sure to pack plenty of adapters when you come abroad, and not just European ones. Who knows where your travels might take you! A lot of adapters come in joint sets that include the UK, Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Camille O. said she borrowed her parents’ adapters for her year in Paris and is glad she did because most of her friends had to buy new ones and they can be very expensive.

Ladies, stock up on your favorite beauty products

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Not only will this save you money in the long run, bringing your favorite products from home will save you the hassle of having to find a foreign replacement when you inevitably run out of mascara. Unless you’re a Sephora customer, the likelihood of finding your favorite brands like Maybelline and Covergirl are slim. Maria L. said she had packed extra of her favorite brand of concealer on impulse and is glad she did because she hasn’t found it in Paris anywhere.

Your favorite snacks from home

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When the homesickness bug bites, sometimes the only cure are your favorite munchies. Bring some from home for emergency situations. Sarah T. said one of the things she misses most about home is the candy brands. When her friends came to visit on break, she had them bring her all her favorites! 

Favorite stuffed animal

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Just like the photographs and snacks, sometimes a friendly, cuddly face can cure the blues. Robert F. said he’ll never admit it but his stuffed shark that his girlfriend gave him has been comforting when he’s missed home the most.

Decorative art, posters, tapestries

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Just because your accommodations might be temporary doesn’t mean they don’t have to feel like a home. Bring your favorite home decor to add some color and pep to your apartment. If you’re still needing some decor inspiration for your room, check out Redbubble for some great products!

Happy packing and good luck with your move to France!

Thanksgiving in Paris

Thanks to the large number of American expats living in Paris, there are many options in the city for those that want to celebrate this US holiday. Whether you’re looking for something traditional or something a bit more French-inspired, you’ll find it in Paris. Read this article to get good tips, whether you want to cook a Thanksgiving feast yourself or go out.

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Finding Ingredients 

Butterball turkeys are definitely not something you can just go and pick up at your local Monoprix. In order to find the best ingredients and supplies for your Thanksgiving Feast, visit one of the vendors below.

Costco

3 ave de Bréhat, 91140 Villebon-sur-Yvette

Believe it or not, there is a Costco in France! It’s a bit of a trek outside the city but can be the one-stop shop for everything you need on the big day. Click here to see their Thanksgiving Day deals and learn how you can get your turkey in advance.

The Real McCoy

194 Rue de Grenelle

This small grocery store has all the American products you would ever need in life, and especially for Thanksgiving. Email them at us.food@wanadoo.fr or visit their Facebook page to directly chat with them about placing your order.

 

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Restaurant Recommendations 

Check out these restaurants where you can find a good, old American Thanksgiving feast or something with just a little French twist.

Ô Chateau,  68 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Reserve your spot at Ô Chateau now for a traditional three-course Thanksgiving meal with wine and dessert accompaniments. Dinner times are at 7 pm and 9 pm on Thursday.

Breakfast in America, 17 rue des Ecoles

For a more casual feast, head to this American diner offering three sittings on Thursday: 5 pm, 7 pm, and 9 pm. Reserve now by email at bia.thanksgiving@gmail.com.

À La Folie, 26 Avenue Corentin Carlou

Ever dreamed about a disco Thanksgiving? Dream no longer. Head to À La Folie for a modern take on Thanksgiving, complete with a live DJ and buffet-style meal. Reserve your spot here.

Le Coq Rico, 98 rue Lepic

Look no further for your French-inspired Thanksgiving. Offered both at lunchtime and dinnertime, experience a Thanksgiving meal based around the red turkey of Ardennes at Le Coq Rico. Reserve your spot here.

 

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Happy Thanksgiving and remember to wear stretchy pants!  

Learning French in France

It can be difficult to adjust to a new country when you don’t know the language. Fortunately, there are tons of programs in Paris that can facilitate learning French in low-cost environments. The following are just a few fun and creative options for learning French in the city.

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Franglish

Franglish is a program that fosters casual conversations between English speakers and Parisians in local hot spots. They organize speed-dating style events every week in local bars and restaurants where partners talk for 7 minutes in English and then 7 minutes in French. Prices can be as low as €8 for students, includes entrance and a drink. It’s a great way to learn French in a stress-free environment and meet new friends in the city! Click the link to check their calendar.

Lost in Frenchlation

Lost in Frenchlation is a service that provides French cinema with English subtitles for foreign students. The program runs out of Studio 28, Paris’ oldest cinema, Club de l’Étoile, and Luminor cinema. Drinks and mingling are offered before or after each film, providing an opportunity to meet other foreign students in the city. Lost in Frenchlation allows you to enjoy French cinema and learn the language in a creative way. Click the link to see their upcoming showings.

Polyglot Club

Polyglot Club is an organization that provides a multitude of programs for learning French and other languages. It also hosts a public forum where people can post about events in the city or offer language tutoring. The events posted can range anywhere from club parties to skiing excursions. Click the link for more details on upcoming events and to register.

Cité Universitaire – Language Rooms

Every week Cité Universitaire’s Library hosts public conversations in different languages for all students. You do not have to be a Cité Universitaire resident to participate. Simply visit the website for more details and contact the library to register for the next event.

 

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Another great way to learn French is through phone apps. You can practice your language skills easily with these apps, during your daily commute or right before you go to bed. Some apps will even keep you to a schedule and will remind you when it’s time to review again. See the list below for our recommendations.

tolktoo

tolktoo is a great French startup that helps international and native students from the same school to exchange cultures and practice languages together. On the tolktoo app, you enter the languages you speak, those you want to learn, and your interests (music, sport, career…) The app then matches you to other similar students and within a few minutes, you can start a conversation in French with a new French friend! Interested? Go tell your school about tolktoo! Contact: tolktoo@gmail.com Website : https://www.tolktoo-edu.com/

Duolingo

Duolingo is a great app that focuses on repetitive practice in different modes of learning. It mixes speaking, listening and translation exercises in short challenges that keep you on your toes and encourage you to pass the level. The app keeps track of your progress and will send you daily reminders to keep going. Go to the app store to download the app for free or click the link for more information.

Memrise

Memrise uses pop-culture and Internet trends to help you learn different languages. Its main focus is vocabulary and it helps you memorize terms by associating them with popular memes submitted by the community. It makes learning both accessible and fun! Go to the app store to download for free or click the link for more information.

Mindsnack

If you like games, this app is definitely for you. Similar to Duolingo, Mindsnack challenges the user in different mini-games that are focused on vocabulary, grammar, and listening. The user interface is quite charming and makes memorization fun! Click the link for more information or download the app for free in the app store.

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If you are serious about perfecting your French and wish to do so in a professional, academic environment, read this article for recommendations on different courses offered in Paris for the more serious student. Bon courage!

Your story N°1 “My First Days in Paris”

by MHS from Pakistan

My First Days in Paris

Ernest Hemingway said and I quote “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast”.

I applied to Paris School of Business got admission and got my visa after a long wait. The biggest dream of my life was about to come true. I was waiting at the airport lounge in my country for my flight looking at my ticket with curiosity and excitement. 12 hours later I was at Paris airport. The moment I stepped out of the airport I could feel the change in the air, it had a different aura. On the way to my apartment I kept on observing my surroundings the buildings the way they are constructed each of them has a story to tell. At last I reached my apartment thanks to feel Parisien everything was arranged before my arrival, they are very hard working and efficient.

I was very tired the first day so I kept my bags aside and slept. The next day when I woke up I was very excited because I was going to see the Eiffel Tower. Remember always to keep your passport and money safe while going to tourist places for the first time because these sites attracts a lot of pocket pickers. Well I changed my clothes bought a sandwich from the store near my residence and headed towards the RER train. The transportation system in paris is perfect but you need at least a week to understand it. I was lucky I had it all mapped out which RER to take when to get off and take a metro. I got off from the RER at Francois Mitterrand took the metro to Bercy and finally to Bir-Hakeim (tour de Eiffel).

The first sight of Eiffel tower was mesmerizing, I will remember it for the rest of my life. Standing near the Eiffel tower and watching it had a strange satisfaction it gives you happiness. Well I walked towards it crossed the entry doors and after that you have to stand in long ques to get the ticket to get on the tower. It was a long wait but worth every second of waiting, I got to the top of Eiffel tower it’s a long journey but it will be the most beautiful journey of your life. You can see almost all of Paris from the top and it is scenic. It is my sincere advice to all of the upcoming students to go to the top and enjoy the best view of Paris.

I have been telling you the Pros of Paris and my first day at Eiffel tower but there are cons too all of you should stay away from scams. There are a lot of people right there near Eiffel tower who are going to scam you and rob your money. There will be people asking you for donations for charity they will have a clipboard in their hands they will come to you write your name and talk to you kindly and then ask you for money. Second are the one with cup and ball game they are extremely clever. They will show you that the game is very easy and you can win and they will double your money but it is different. The man shuffling the cups is the head and he has 3-4 people of his own in the crowd. These are the people who keep on playing and winning giving you the impression that you can win too but you never will no one outside their gang will ever win. I was a prey to it too, I was standing there watching it when a woman held my arm and forced me to play when I refused she said “okay I will play first” she gave the man 100 euros he shuffled the cups and she chose the right cup and he gave her 200 euros as winning money. This is all fraud. I was motivated that I can win too, I knew which cup had the ball I saw it but when I chose the cup it was empty and I lost 100 euros. Even if you choose the right cup you will not win because they create a distraction somehow and change the cups because it is what they do scam people and they are perfect at it. Stay away from all these games and don’t lose your money.

There are many other things to do like the mix club it’s a great nightclub with free entry to international students each Thursday before midnight, it is packed with international students. Go to louvre or eat a sandwich by the seine. Have your evening strolls at Champs-Élysées. I have been in Paris for just a few days but I have discovered a lot, seen a lot because I chose to travel and go out. I had some setbacks like losing my money to the cup ball game scam but never let anything push you back. I have yet to discover and learn a lot, every morning brings a new tale and every night a new adventure to tell. Paris has a lot of secrets you need to uncover it’s a beautiful city with beautiful people. Be brave and the world is yours.

Muhammad Hannan Shahid

India in Paris

A lot of people from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh are interested by finding local stuff in Paris. Lucky you ! Paris is a cosmopolite city and in this article you will find the best place where to go to be immersed as in your country.

Passage Brady in the 10 th district : The little India

Indian cheap restaurant, spices & food shops, hairdressers & eyebrow epilation… very nice Indian people gathered in this passage under a skylight.

Color and smell like in Bombay !

Temple Ganesh in the 18 th district 

This temple where Indian cult is practiced is open everyday from 9.30 am to 8.30pm. There are 3 “poojas” per day : 10am, 12pm and 7pm.

Abhishekam : Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Everyday, tens of devoted people from India or France are going there to pray Ganesha and celebrate the Indian rituels.

You have to take off your shoes before entry and enjoy the perfume of the offering baskets filled with flowers petals, banana, jasmine…

After the ceremony, a meal of spiced rice is shared between the participant.

More details : www.templeganesh.fr