“Paris is always a good idea”, said Audrey Hepburn in one of the films where she played the leading role of Sabrina. And there’s no doubt it actually is. But… is it THE BEST ONE when it comes to the leading role we are playing in our own lives?
The answer is: it depends.
Depending on the leading role you are playing in your life, your preferences, and your lifestyle; your experience in Paris will probably be completely different from what you’ve heard or read on social media. This adventure can vary a lot from one person to another, especially if you are traveling as a tourist, a student or an employee.
Paris can be a good idea, but what if a city like Bordeaux, Marseille, Lyon, Rennes, Lille or any other place in this country is a greater plan for you? After all, “there is more to France than just Paris” as I mentioned in my article 5 Things No One Told Me About Moving to France.
So if we are hesitating whether to go to Paris or elsewhere, we should consider the following questions
From my experience as a student living here, and a few times as a tourist, I can quickly spot 5 reasons why to go all the way to Paris.
-An international experience. In this city you will find people from all over the world. It’s more likely that you will be able to find people from your country here than in smaller cities. The beauty of it is that you will be able to exchange culture, traditions and other languages different from yours. It also applies to food and restaurants!
-Completely walkable. You can go anywhere in Paris by foot, and while doing so, you will find beautiful landscapes around every corner.
-Full of history. Here, you will find the most important monuments, parks and museums that tell the story of France. All the landmarks in one place!
-Lots of opportunities. In terms of studies, job offers or simply for networking, the city can offer you plenty of institutions and companies to fulfill your professional career.
-Interconnectedness. The city is very well connected not only to every city in France, but also with other countries in order for you to travel around.
It is not by any means that the City of Lights is one of the most named places to visit in the bucket lists. But it’s also important to point out that life can be a little bit too fast for those who are living their first international experience. Anyways, if you are the adventurous type, you like challenges and you are looking for a cross-cultural lifestyle, yes, Paris is a good idea for you!
From a past experience on a student exchange in Lille, France, I can easily share 5 good reasons why to choose any other city in France.
-Living the authenticity of a region. Each region has its own specialities. Like Aquitaine and their wines from Bordeaux, the region of Bretagne and their crepes, the Val de Loire and its castles. You can find a whole new world in each region!
-The calmness of a smaller city. Less noise, traffic, a population that enjoys every moment of life without any rush.
-Kindness all around. By being “the new person in town” you will find people happy to meet you. Some will even offer you some help. And maybe strangers will greet you on the streets.
-The discovery of other cultures and traditions. Different music than what you expected, accents more pronounced than in the city and the pride of belonging to their region.
-The offer of different activities. You may not have the typical commercial activities of the city, but you will find more outdoor activities like mountain climbing, surfing, hiking, paragliding, a bit of everything!
If you are a calm person who likes to know people and places from its roots, the family type; I advise you to go for an adventure in a city rich of character, culture and traditions. They will surely make you feel like home and it will be hard to let them go.
I remember asking for some advice before choosing the north of France for my exchange. Each one of my friends highly recommended me the city they had been to: Lyon, Dijon, Bordeaux, Angers, Rennes; and they could all assure me that if I went for their option I would never regret it. In my case, after a friend convinced me to go to Lille, all I can briefly say about my decision was that if I had to go back and choose again, I’d still go to Lille.
So if it was your turn… would you go to Paris, or somewhere else?
To Paris, or not to Paris. That’s the real dilemma.