La Vie à Paris

In Paris, The Art of Travel Spring 2015, Tips by Rose Gilroy

Ever since my first visit to Paris when I was twelve-years-old, I’ve wanted to live here—in the Most Beautiful City in the World. Over the years my family and I visited Paris several times and I’ve always felt at home on Paris’ uniform streets, and loved wandering through the city’s extensive museums and vast parks. I know you can always find new food trends, follow the latest fashions, and spend endless hours people watching. I cannot think of a better NYU site at which to study abroad. However, no experience is ever perfect, so what follows is a list of NYUP facts to know and lessons from a non-Parisian living under the glow of the Eiffel Tower, or a few miles away.

NYU Paris Advice:

  1. If you can, find your own apartment. My roommate and I used Habitat New York, but there are other services as well. NYU also sets students up with apartments; however, they do not tell you where your apartment will be located, or who you’ll be living with until you arrive in Paris.I didn’t like the uncertainty of the process. I live in the 13th arrondissment on the border of the 5th, and it’s a fantastic area—right by Jardin des Plantes, multiple metro lines, and a 25-minute walk to the NYU building in the Latin Quartier.
  2. Take classes in French! You may not think you’re capable of taking courses in your second language, but trust me, you are. The NYUP professors know that French is not our first language so they’re used to being asked lots of questions and they always speak clearly. If you don’t take classes in French, I don’t see how your French will improve at all; it is much easier than you’d realize to live in Paris and never speak French if you don’t put in the effort. That being said, I’m taking 14 credits (4 classes) in French and I sometimes think it is a bit much. I do get frustrated at how much longer it takes me to write essays and do reading assignments, but my French has improved immensely. So take classes in French, but maybe take one in English, too!
  3. You should be prepared for the fact that NYU Paris is a HUGE culture shock after studying at NYU in New York. The program is SMALL. The entire program is in one , (with arguably the best views in Paris), and you won’t be able to walk down a hallway without seeing at least 5 people you know well, and you’ll probably recognize every single NYUP student by the end of the first month. While NYUP’s small size has taught me that I could never go to a small school, it has been fun to go to school in such a small community for a semester. I definitely feel like the small size has enabled me to meet a lot of people and make new friends more easily than at NYU in NYC. While I believe in going to each and every class anyway, just know that NYUP has a no-skip policy, meaning that students are expected to attend all their classes no matter what.

I LOVE lists, so here are a few to read if you’re going to live in Paris:

My Paris Top 5 Foodie Spots:

  1. Go to Chez Alain in the Marché des Enfants Rouge and get a cornet vegetarian sandwich, and Nutella Crepe. You will thank me!
  2. Check out L’As du Falafel in the Marais for the best falafel pita in the world. The hummus and the eggplant are unbelievably delicious, too. Don’t miss this Marais experience!
  3. Try EVERYTHING from Eric Keyser Bakery, but especially the pistachio financier. Divine!
  4. Eat an entire chocolate brioche from Aux Merveilleux de Fred (right around the corner from NYUP).
  5. Chèvre Chaud salads are delicious from absolutely every café, except for the overly touristy places. Try to avoid these.
  6. Café Charlot (across from Marché des Enfants Rouge) has fantastic chocolat chaud and it’s not nearly as expensive as the super famous Café Angelina.

Life in Paris:

  1. If you’re looking for a café with reliable wifi that reminds you of your favorite study spot in NYC, check out Strada—there are two locations, one in the Marais and one right by NYUP.
  2. Carrefour is a pretty good grocery store, but don’t bother with the tiny iterations of the chain because they don’t have much selection.
  3. Monoprix is the closest Paris comes to Target and they have most necessities.
  4. Sometimes you will want to scream you’ll be so exhausted by speaking/ listening to French all the time, but you will improve and it will be worth it. I listened to NPR podcasts on the way to school each morning to keep up on the news at home and for the comfort of consuming media in my own language.
  5. While I didn’t spend as much time there as I thought I would, the American Library in Paris is a great place to study and do research in English. Also, it’s practically next door to the Eiffel Tower!

Must see museums:

  1. The Impressionism collection at the Musée d’Orsay.
  2. Matisse’s murals at the Musée d’Art Moderne.
  3. Marmotton Monet is housed in an incredibly ornate Hôtel Paricular and is home to a surprisingly large collection of Monet’s oeuvre.

Places to Visit:

  1. Butte aux Caille—the cutest neighborhood in all of Paris. It is out of the way, but well worth the trip. Also, the street art is fantastic.
  2. Rue Cler is one of my favorite streets in Paris, and it’s a 10-minute walk from the Eiffel Tower. On Saturday morning the street is bustling and the cafés are particularly crowded. Go and feel like a Parisian.
  3. Walk along the Seine past Gare d’Austerlitz, away from the center of the city. On warm evenings the riverbanks are full of people on picnics and there are even bars and restaurants along the water. You’ll find yourself underneath the skyline of a far more modern Paris than you’re used to.
  4. Bercy—far from the center of Paris, but a cute neighborhood with a pedestrian street lined with fun cafés.
  5. The bars off of Rue Mouffetard near the Pantheon are a lot of fun and filled with students.
  6. Saint Germain de Près is a chic and rather expensive neighborhood near NYUP, and a lively area to walk around.

I could go on forever, but I’m sure you’ll make your own Parisian discoveries as well! Enjoy! Bon Voyage!

Image source

  • tips-photo: Rose Gilroy