Living in Paris vs New York: Compared

Paris and New York are both the largest city in their respective countries. However, many Americans want to move to Paris because of the landmarks, cuisines, and pastries. Life in this city seems extravagant and fashionable, which is why many people aspire to relocate here. But, is it really a good decision? Here, we will share with you what life is like in Paris vs. New York. 

The Brookings Institute considers Paris to be the quintessential global city. Historically, it has been one of the most visited places in the world, and its economy thrives today. In fact, Paris is the world’s fourth-largest metropolis and has the fifth-highest GDP per capita out of the world’s 120 largest cities.

Living in Paris vs New York

If you plan to relocate to Paris from New York, you probably wonder which mega city is better. This section will discuss the significant differences between these two cities. 

Lifestyle

New York and Paris both offer excellent cultures. If you want to transfer from New York to Paris, there are lifestyle differences that you need to understand. 

First, when it comes to dressing up, there are notable contrasts between these two cities. Style is deeply rooted in French Culture. Parisiennes are effortlessly stylish regardless of age, economic status, or career. On the contrary, fashion is a business for Americans, not a way of life nor a part of their history. 

New York City is indeed the chicest city in the U.S., but even here, you will see a variety of personal styles, including women who have no interest in fashion.

 Those who do so tend to draw their inspiration mainly from American celebrities. Blogs and fashion magazines promote new trends and encourage American women to follow them.

Meanwhile, Parisian women have a style that they follow.  Since society doesn’t expect women to reinvent themselves every season, they can opt for more expensive pieces. They regard quality as more important than quantity.

French women purchase less but own more designer clothing than stylish New Yorkers. A deep respect for design goes back to the great French designers.

Style is essential for Parisian women, but they don’t want to look edgy and attention-getting because of an unusual style. Her look is likely equally attractive to men as it is to other women.

Work

Another striking lifestyle difference between New York and Paris is their work habits. The balance between work and life is commonly used in America but rarely achieved. France, however, has mastered the art of work-life balance.

The government regulates work hours and vacation. Moreover, Parisians highly value family time in the culture.

New Yorkers tend to work long hours. The minimum workweek here is at 40 hours. Aside from that, they also render more overtime. 

The French statutory working week is 35 hours, but that doesn’t mean they are lazy. Working overtime to meet a deadline happens, but productivity trumps face time in France. Working long hours doesn’t make you a harder worker. It just means you can’t complete your work as quickly as you should.

Also, in France, there is a five-week minimum paid vacation policy. Their culture respects time off more and dislikes talking about work outside the office. 

Food

Next, in terms of diet, New Yorkers eat a lot of fast food compared to Parisians. According to DoSomething, one in four Americans eat fast food at least once daily. On the other hand, French people prioritize home-cooked meals using local ingredients. 

In addition, food comas and buffets aren’t as common in Paris as in New York. Parisian meals consist of meat, vegetables, cheese, and bread, which are smaller but still filling.

Furthermore, Parisians don’t throw off fats and carbs. As a matter of fact, they love pastries like croissants and macarons. They just believe that they should take everything in moderation. 

Pace of life

As you might think, life in NYC is hustling and bustling. Although Paris is a large city, it will give you a breeze.

Paris is more centered around living and enjoying life. Just look at those two-hour lunch breaks, while New Yorkers might skip the lunch all in all.

People

“If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.” Perhaps you heard Frank Sinatra sing this line or heard it from somewhere else. Even if it’s fallacious, it is a New York truism.

This line means that people tend to believe that if you can make it in the Big Apple, you can make it anywhere else. While Paris breams with hardworking people, it lacks the industrious gravitas of New Yorkers.

Moreover, New York City is a melting pot. People from all over the world come here, bringing their languages and cultures. Meanwhile, when you are in Paris, you will feel that it is French. Immigrant communities dot the city, but it doesn’t feel like a melting pot. It feels purely French. 

People in France are different from those in the United States. People perceive them as having a more challenging time ‘coming out of their shells’ than the likes of Americans, who are often great at starting a conversation. However, once they do, they’re no different than anybody else.

People from other countries considered French arrogant for a long time, but this might not be the best translation.

The city’s residents are proud of their culture and open to people of different cultures and ethnicities. The city is a prominent dreamy place full of history and romance. 

On the other hand, like a toddler on a sugar rush, New York is constantly buzzing. The hype around New York is intense, and there is no way to avoid it. In New York, you seek after life, but in Paris, you live your life.

Language struggles

English is indeed the universal language. However, according to How Widely Spoken,  it has been estimated that roughly 39% of French citizens can speak English to some extent, just under two-fifths of the French population.

Therefore, few can speak fluently, and many will only be able to converse in basic English at best.

You can get through your day in Paris without speaking French. However, if you plan to stay here for a long time, it is more frustrating only to know half of what is going on than to learn a new language. How would you communicate with your workmates? How would you order your food?

The frustration that comes with learning a language will eventually pass when you can communicate effectively in that language. For the former, the disappointment remains a constant annoyance.

On the other hand, New York can be easy for foreigners as there is no expectation that they speak English. You will survive no matter what language you speak because the people here will help you figure out what you need. 

Things to do 

When it comes to things to do, there are many similarities between the two mega cities. For example, if you are looking for an Instagram-worthy place, both have their fair share of attractions.

While New York City has the Statue of Liberty and Metropolitan Museum of Art, Paris has the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum. 

In terms of shopping, both cities are tied too. In the yearly fashion weeks held, New York and Paris compete to win the highly prized title of Fashion Capital of the World. Most of the most popular fashion labels had their beginnings in a loft in Manhattan or on a Parisian side street.

Moreover, both areas have their legendary department stores, Macy’s and Gallerie Lafayette- two genuine contenders. Millions of visitors pass through their doors every year. 

Housing

Both cities have expensive housing, either for purchase or rental. However, housing seems to be more costly in New York. Here are the prices in more detail.

If you want to buy your own house, the average price per square meter is €11,068 in Paris and €13,382 in New York. The price in NYC is 17% higher than in Paris. 

Here is a table that shows how much different types of flats cost in the most expensive and cheapest districts in Paris and New York. 

Most Expensive DistrictParis 6thNew York Tribeca
Studio€744,375€762,625
1 Bedroom€1,005,000€1,181,113
3 Bedroom€2,418,333€3,113,167
Average Price€1,389,236€1,685,635
Cheapest DistrictParis 13thNew York Harlem
Studio€305,116 €381,055
1 Bedroom€424,150€459,528
3 Bedroom€950,700€1,005,550
Average Price€559,988€615,377
Sources: seloger.com and nycasas.com

The average price of a flat in New York is 13.25% higher than in Paris. In Paris, prices start at €300,000 for a studio, versus €380,000 in New York. At the same time, a 4-room apartment in Paris can reach €2,400,000 and €3,000,000 in New York.

On the other hand, if you plan to rent a house, here are the price differences in the most expensive and cheapest districts in Paris and New York. 

Most Expensive DistrictParis 6thNew York Tribeca
Studio€1,232/month€4,639/month
1 Bedroom€2,258/month€5,739/month
3 Bedroom€5,265/month€10,820/month
Average Price€2,918/month€7,066/month
Cheapest DistrictParis 13thNew York Harlem
Studio€950/month€1,302/month
1 Bedroom€1,472/month€1,773/month
3 Bedroom€2,555/month€2,638/month
Average Price€1,659/month€1,904/month
Source: blog-immobilier.eu

The average rent in New York is 35% higher than in Paris. Rent for a studio in Paris is around €950 per month, while in New York, it is around €1,300 per month. For a 3-room apartment in Paris, it is €5,265, and for a 10-room apartment in New York, it is €10,820.

Healthcare

Healthcare is still a problem in the United States, but New York has a relatively inclusive healthcare system. New York City is home to numerous hospitals – some better than others, but the sheer number ensures expats will easily find top-notch medical care in the cosmopolitan city.

Generally, New York City’s large teaching hospitals provide some of the best healthcare.

On the contrary, In Paris, mandatory social security contributions (sécurité sociale) partially fund the French healthcare system. These contributions are usually deducted from your wages, but your employer also has a share.

All legal residents have access to healthcare – even those who are unemployed. For expats, the French healthcare system becomes available after three months, or sometimes even sooner if they are working and paying social security.

Preventative care is provided to all in France, including free medical checkups every two years.

Cost of living 

According to LivingCost, the cost of living in New York City is 69% higher than that in Paris. However, according to the Numbeo, New York is only more expensive than the French capital by about 30% – 35% on average.

Consumer prices in Paris are 25.63% lower than in New York, NY (without rent)
Consumer prices including rent in Paris are 40.44% lower than in New York, NY
Rent prices in Paris are 56.92% lower than in New York, NY
Restaurant prices in Paris are 30.98% lower than in New York, NY
Groceries prices in Paris are 26.69% lower than in New York, NY
Local purchasing power in Paris is 29.06% lower than in New York, NY
Source: Numbeo.com

Here’s a list of some commodities and their price in each city. 

ParticularsCost in ParisCost in New York
One-person rent€1,173€2,155
Family rent€2,249€3,058
Food€484€656
Transportation€212€351
Utility (one person)€142€98
Utility (family)€216€153
Internet€28€56
Doctor’s Visit€27€154
Haircut€22€23
Clothing€89€55
Source: livingcost.org

Jobs

The table below shows the top 5 high-paying jobs in Paris

TitleSalary Range
Surgeons or Doctors€110,000 to €309,000
Judge€92,800 to €259,000
Lawyer€75,100 to €210,000
Bank Manager€70,700 to €198,000
Chief Executive Officer€66,300 to $185,000
Source: salaryexplorer.com

Meanwhile, you will find the top 5 best-paying jobs in New York City below. 

TitleAverage Salary
Consultant and Sales Representative€231,900
General Surgeon€211,700
Product Marketing Vice President€196,800
Head of Security€194,300
Executive Vice President of Sales€190,800
Source: zippia.com

Salary

If you would look at the tables provided above, the salaries in New York are higher than those in Paris. That is only fair, given that the cost of living in NYC is also more expensive.

According to Numbeo, the same standard of living you can have with €5,000 in Paris would require around €8,209 in New York, NY (assuming you rent in both cities).

Read an in-depth article about salaries in Paris.

Anna

Anna is an experienced expat and writer. She has been living abroad for over 6 years.

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