It took me nearly a year to get 'round to it - to the surprise of almost no one in my family.
I'm not sure if this will even be published elsewhere, but I spent too much time on it not to put it somewhere!
|Les Arches, prêt à notre boulangerie préférée|
|first day of school pout...|
|First day of maternelle|
|Tiny park to ourselves, Issy-les-Moulineaux|
- pick a neighborhood with more than one public transit option - keep in mind that the bus is often most stroller-friendly (trams are good too)
- if you are planning to walk around downtown Paris or visit a museum with babies or toddlers, put them in backpacks or strap them to your front - makes it much easier and more relaxing to navigate the city without dragging a stroller up and down stairs
- if you have small children with you, you can often go to the front of the queue at museums - this is especially advantageous if you are trying to save money by going on the first Sunday of every month, when museums are free (and thus very crowded)
- visit your mairie and get in queue for a créche (depending on age of kiddo)
- use your network to find a good pediatrician, get your carnet de santé and verify the vaccination schedule
- a purchase we are pleased with each week is a little multifunction laser printer (works as a photocopier) (a lot)
- become an obsessive filer - and carry more documents (and copies) than you think you’ll need to your meetings
- although complaining (marveling?) amongst yourselves about the French paperwork is an excellent way to blow off steam, try to avoid getting too confrontational with the staff of governmental organizations (OFII, the prefecture, l’Assurance Maladie, CAF, etc), since that attitude will rarely (if ever) get you anywhere here.
- remember that whatever language you begin using with new friends will probably persist - if you can begin with awkward French it will improve faster
- enjoy getting to know your local community - your gardien, boulanger(s), boucher, pharmacist, the vendors at the weekly marché, etc.
- and finally, try to have a sense of humor about all the logistical challenges of moving to France, and make a point of exploring the city whenever you can.