Expatriating to Paris conjures up images of Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Gertrude Stein, recently romanticized by Woody Allen in the film ‘Midnight in Paris’ and prior to that by a score of dreamy poets and novelists: a whimsical, magical place of wine, art, and love. Today, Paris is a much different place, but still manages to capture the imagination of many a US expat looking for a more imaginative existence to the one he might find in St. Louis or Santa Fe. The artistic hotspots are now well-maintained tourist sites, and the dollar which was so mighty post-WWI now struggles against a stronger Euro.
So what keeps Americans coming to the City of Light? Americans now tend more to blend with the current Parisian culture rather than to dominate it as it once did. For those looking to come, or those already there looking for a place of their own, here are a few pointers.
Have a Job Ready – This is not the same Paris where James Baldwin arrived, claiming “I did not come to Paris, I left New York.” The job market for the French population is scarce, let alone for expatriates. It is best to have a position waiting for you. Being down and out in Paris ain’t what it used to be.
Meet the Locals – It’s seen as a truism that French people are rude and hate Americans. This is pointedly not so. What most French people, especially Parisians, dislike are Americans who fail to act respectfully toward them, only speaking English, looking for special assistance, and generally acting boorish. The truth is that Paris, like any major city (thinking of you, New York!) has little time for tourists who don’t help themselves. Aside from that, most people are interested in other cultures, even American culture, and you can find many interesting people. Who knows? Maybe even friends.
Taxes – Doing your taxes as a US expat can be challenging, especially the first time. A lot of those working in Paris fear paying double, but there are many IRS rules which allow a US citizen a better deal.
Such a rule is Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. For other information about expat tax laws, consult one of the professionals at taxplannercpa.com. Tax Planner CPA specializes in filing taxes for US expats, and can be contacted at any time of the day by email. Quotes can also be requested here: