Anyone who visits Paris agrees that part of its charm is its mysterious “je ne sais quoi”. No one can put their finger on why they love Paris, a combination of beautiful architecture, world-famous gastronomie and hundreds of years of history make it the most alluring city in the world. Paris is an effortless beauty, attracting admirers without the need to advertise itself. In 2017 alone Paris recorded 33.8 million visitors to the city centre and the Ile-de-France region, making Paris the most visited city in the world. But locals will tell you that Paris is so much more than its tourist hot spots; it’s an ever-changing, exciting place to live, with influences (and residents!) from all over the world and city officials want to convince those considering a post-Brexit move that Paris is every bit London’s match.
Since the 2016 leave vote, every city in Europe has been vying for London’s attention and many businesses have stressed that whether Brexit is “hard” or otherwise, that it is of utmost importance to maintain a European connection.
Led by President Emmanuel Macron, France is presenting itself and its beloved capital, as “open for business”. The former investment banker has come under heavy criticism in the British press who have called his dealings with the City of London “predatory” in the wake of the Brexit vote. The Elysee Palace maintains that the President seeks to inspire confidence amongst business leaders left out in the cold by Brexit. Paris and its economy is ready to take on the European-based business that London has seemingly turned its back on.
Whilst news in the UK is blighted by Brexit uncertainty there is cautious optimism here. There is opportunity for newcomers and further business opportunities for those already living and working here. Parisians are even embracing the English language, with demand for English teaching higher than ever. Business English lessons are now common place in offices across the city, and parents are realising the importance of multilingual education from early years onwards – even creches are now offering English lessons for “les toutes petites”. Paris hopes to not only become the new financial capital of a new-look European Union under its pro-EU President, but also it’s spiritual capital. All roads lead to Paris. In fact, so convincing is this project that Paris has far surpassed Frankfurt as the go-to European city. According to the UK’s Financial Times, HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, BlackRock and Citigroup are expected to confirm that they will be looking to either establish or solidify existing operations from the City of London to Paris. As a result, 3,500 finance jobs are to be created; excellent news for the French economy and another blow to pro-Brexit campaigners in the UK.
Newcomers to Paris should expect a different pace of life to that of the UK. The 24/7 culture and “live to work” mindset simply doesn’t exist here. Whilst the sky’s the limit for ambitious people, they will notice that their French colleagues enjoy a work/life balance that simply does not exist in the UK. It’s impossible to know whether the influx of Paris’s new super-motivated, highly-educated workforce will change French working culture (or whether it might change them!) In the meantime expats can (and should!) enjoy the French “joie de vivre” after all, there is nothing more charming than starting the day with “un café et un pain au chocolat”. In fact, and maybe I’m more than a little bit biased; there is nowhere more charming than Paris.
Written by Sian Rowan – Freelance Consultant Parental Choice, Paris