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Have you checked our previous article?
Now let's get straight to the point!
- The City
Paris is known as the City of Love and it's true. It is so charming... In summer it's even better (I will tell you why a bit later). It is a wonderful place, there is so much to see, the Eiffel Tower, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Montmartre, The Champs-Elysées or Opéra, so beautiful! I lived in Paris for a few years and I loved it. The Paris Opera Ballet is incredible, watching this prestigious company on stage is a real-life experience and you can also see some of the most distinguished dance companies in the world.
It's quite animated, many free museums, nice pubs, bars, restaurants and there are also great shops. You will love shopping in Paris, you can buy very nice clothes at an affordable price. Paris has 2 faces, when the party's over it is not over! There are amazing clubs in town! Night buses and the métro are running quite late and certain lines are even open 24/7. Paris is very popular. It is a vibrant and beautiful city...
The famous French food! French food is truly amazing and one of the best in the world. So delicious, healthy and creative. You will eat the best bread, cheese and dishes. The simplest yogurt in your supermarket is good! It is the truth! When I say healthy I'm talking about the quality of their food. Grocery shopping is not that expensive either, there is a shop for everyone, for any budget and even organic food is quite affordable. You'll find the best deals at the outdoor/producers market on a Saturday morning or even in your local shop.
Paris is also well known for its famous Michelin Star restaurants such as Le Meurice or La Tour d'Argent . You can also dine in more simple places and the food is so delicious and quite inexpensive: The 50 Best Cheap Eats in Paris. From breakfast to dinner, the list is so long, you definitely got a wide range of choices! Bon Appétit!
Dance is great in Paris, there are many dance schools where you can train on a weekly basis: Studio Harmonic, AID - Espace Lauriston, Centre de Danse Rick Odums, Centre de Danse du Marais or Lax Studio. There are great teachers even in open classes. Classes are available all day long at different times of the day and you can train as a professional or as a beginner anytime you want Monday to Sunday.
There are many dance shows and musicals, it is quite interesting and diverse. The good thing in Paris is that there are also many high-profile cabarets such as the famous Lido de Paris or the Moulin Rouge which can be quite exciting and unique for a dancer. Disneyland Paris offers also some great opportunities for a wide range of performers. There are many plays, many shows from small theatres to big stadiums!
- Dance Companies based in Paris and Ile-de-France (Paris Region)
Cie Corinne Lanselle and much more...
- Cost of living in Paris
As I said the food is not expensive however renting is. Finding a nice place to stay can be quite a struggle because the demand is so high. Unfortunately, you can't save on these costs and this is quite pricey. Living in the city center is not cheap but you can find nice alternatives nearby in the suburbs but you would live a bit further indeed. Paris is not that big though, you would be fine. Rent a room in Paris and its Region: from 400 to 981 euros per month.
You will need a travel card called Navigo, quite interesting and budget-friendly. Taxis in Paris are costly, it is not really convenient anyway, the city is always so busy, driving in Paris is a nightmare during the day, you will be better off on the Métro... However it's way better in the evening, taxis and ubers are operating all night long.
|Rent per month||900 (Studio)||2000 (2 bedroom flat)|
|Transport||from 1.90 (1 ticket/journey)||up to 75.20 (1 month)|
|Food for 1 person / month||from 150||to 400|
|Restaurant & Entertainment||12 / meal / person||162 / day / person|
Prices in Euro
YOU MUST SEE:
You will adore the Opéra Garnier, Le Marais, Châtelet-Les-Halles, The Louvre Museum and many great clubs like the famous VIP Room, Les Bains Douches or Le Jangal...
- The pros
As I said Paris is a beautiful and charming city, with so much to do and discover. It is not that big in comparison to New York and London, however, I lived in Paris for a few years and I know there are many things I haven't seen. The Eiffel Tower is definitely a must and many more gorgeous places such as the Sacré-Coeur or the Champs Elysées. Also, transport is really cheap in comparison to London for instance, you can use your travel card Navigo for a full month with unlimited travel and cherry on the cake: you can even be reimbursed by your employer, up to 50 %! That's amazing! The city center is truly beautiful, the architecture, the restaurants, and those places are just a dream!
Renting is not that expensive in comparison to London and New York City. Paris is just a train journey away from London, Brussels and Lyon (between 1h29 and 2hrs 37 mins only), it is a real bonus for your weekends. It's lovely in summer! The weather is very nice and there are some nice pools in town and also the famous Paris Plages, feel like you're at the beach right in the middle of the city center!
The Dance training is brilliant and the dance community is welcoming and quite open-minded, I felt really well in Paris. It is multicultural therefore you can discover many cultures and meet very interesting people. The Paris Opera ballet offers many shows during the year, it is a real privilege to live in such a city, just for that. The tickets are quite affordable and they also collaborate with many prestigious dance companies on a regular basis, therefore you can see so much more at The Opéra Garnier. I remember the first time I came to Paris, it was magical and I truly recommend it, at least once in your life!
- The cons
Paris is charming but a lot of Parisians aren't!... They are quite stressed and always rushing, even rude sometimes and not really helpful to be honest... Do you know what we are saying in France? "You will love Paris in summer because the Parisians have gone on holiday!" That says it all! So if you ever encounter one of them please remember that those Parisians are not the typical representation of French people. That being said, I met lots of lovely people in Paris!
Also if you decide to live in France, make sure you speak basic French as you will rarely be employed if you don't. However, in the dance community, it should not be mandatory. It's getting better today but French people usually speak only French and you might not meet that many people able to speak English nor any other languages...
It is also not very easy to find a job. There are few auditions (and shared by a small group of people) so it is not easy to know about it. It's great for dance teachers but there are not many opportunities for dancers to be honest. Many jobs are found through the network... So it might take time. There are nice musicals, sadly they rarely run for more than a year, it is very common to work in a musical just for a few months! It is not really their culture at the end, musicals are not really popular as it is in New York and London.
Also, the city is not very safe and it is important that you are aware of that, especially if you are a girl. Please make sure you are always hanging out with friends or get a taxi if you have to go home alone at night.
NEW YORK CITY
- The City
There is one word to describe this incredible town: WOW! I will never forget the very first day I arrived in the US. I was so lucky to pursue my professional Modern Dance training at the prestigious The Ailey School. I won a full scholarship from Fulbright. It covered all my expenses in NYC (airline tickets, visa application, rent, food, and tuition) I am so grateful for that... Fulbright operates in many countries around the world, if you are interested you can start applying now for the following academic year. Fingers crossed!
Back to New York. The first thing I noticed was the huge buildings, everything is big in Manhattan! The buildings, the streets, the cars, and even the food on your plate! It's not a joke! This city is incredible, there is so much to see! So many shops, bars, and restaurants! That surprised me a lot! You can eat everywhere in Manhattan! Anywhere you go you can eat, drink and keep going on with your shopping. It is quite clever actually, they know how to keep you in a shop... I also loved Halloween and Saint Patrick's day, unforgettable!
People are very friendly, always happy to help or to inform you, they are quite nice to tourists. The subway is open all night long which is quite advantageous.
You can imagine how delicious the food is in New York, badly delicious! You perfectly know it is bad for you as it is so high in sugar and added fat but it is so good! Back then I had a completely different diet (terrible diet to be honest) so I tried all that. The food is very cheap and so addictive, there are lots of different flavors, they really know how to sell their food... At every corner, there is something to grab or to drink. You will be quite surprised by the size of your plate, huge portions, always! It is quite standard there.
I remember this charming typical American restaurant where all the waiters are actually amazing singers and performers! It is just incredible, it is a fantastic place, you must eat at Ellen's Stardust Diner! Fine dining? Discover also the gorgeous Rainbow Room for a nice brunch on a sunny Sunday. Vegetarian? Usha Foods is an amazing Indian restaurant in Queens. I love Mexican food and Los Tacos No.1 in Chelsea Market is a must!
They got everything you want in NYC! This is the US, more and more, the better it is!
Dancers are GREAT in New York City, so talented! The level is extremely high. The way they teach dance or how they work with the dancers on a show, it's so inspiring and positive! I've learned a lot from them! There is no time to overthink or to moan because you are not good enough. NOPE. They will encourage you and push you more and more by showing you everything YOU CAN DO first. They know you came to learn and they will show you how to do it their way. Therefore in every studio, in vocational schools, or in open classes, dancers are so focused and dedicated! They're fighting to be on the front row, they are so hardworking and I loved that! There is this great energy in the air, it's contagious!
You can get some training in studios opened all year-long such as Broadway Dance Center, Steps or Peridance. For the Horton and Graham techniques lovers you must go to the famous Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance and Ailey Extension both studios offer open classes on a weekly basis!
Also every company or musical such as The Phantom of the Opera or Chicago (both magical!) holds open calls quite often, and with all the commercials and events happening you can audition nearly every day! Auditions are always packed, it's quite impressive... I auditioned for big companies with hundreds of dancers, so inspiring...
- Dance Companies based in New York City
Trisha Brown Dance Company and so much more...
- Cost of living in New York City
New York is more expensive than in Paris. Renting is quite costly. I was living in Brooklyn which was a bit cheaper than Manhattan and I was just 20 minutes away from The Ailey School. Flat-Share in NYC costs from 600 to 1500 dollars per month. The culture is quite different, Americans love eating outside, they don't really cook at home therefore you can eat in various places for a reasonable price. Vegetables and fruit are a bit more expensive. You can visit museums and do many other activities completely free. Studying dance in New York is not cheap though from 12.000 to 49.260$ an academic year. Clothes are not expensive, you can find a nice outfit at a very affordable price. There are so many taxis available, it's very popular but you don't really need it with the MetroCard, I don't remember using a cab once as the subway runs 24/7!
|Rent per month||1450 (Studio)||2499 (2 bedroom flat)|
|Transport||2.75 (1 ticket/journey)||127 (1 month)|
|Food for 1 person / month||from 324.20||to 471.34|
|Restaurant & Entertainment||16 / meal / person||144 / day / person|
Prices in Dollar
YOU MUST SEE:
The Statue of Liberty
Empire State Building
I also loved the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, China Town, Little Italy, Soho, and Harlem. You must get a drink at Paul's Cocktail Lounge and then party at 10ak!
- The pros
This city is incredible and it is like being in a film, just for this reason you must see NYC! I will never forget the first time I walked in Times Square... How small I felt, how impressed I was.
There are thousands of opportunities in Manhattan, so many shows, the entertainment industry is a big thing in the US and you can truly make it, success is right in front of you. Dance is Amazing, you will see some of the best shows in the US! The training is excellent, they give you so much more, you benefit a lot from it. It is so demanding and challenging, thus you are improving 3 times faster! There are some of the best dance schools and companies in the world. You must visit Manhattan. Especially if you love Horton and Graham. It's the place to be.
If you plan to study in New York City you could also enroll in a new school for 1 academic year and then do your OPT (Optional Practical Training) which is a great way to enhance your application for the Green Card (permanent resident card) if you wish. As I said earlier you can genuinely audition every single day if you want to! Endless opportunities! American life is great and you will definitely love it.
- The cons
American food is a big con to me as a professional dancer and this is why I wasn't really keen to live permanently in the US. I truly struggled when I arrived as they add everything they can to their food! Added vitamins, refined sugar, and added fat in scary quantities. More than 60 percent of the American diet consists of highly processed foods — foods that have been taken apart and put back together again with various combinations of sugar, salt, oil, and additives. Therefore to eat quality food as we have in Europe is quite expensive. You must buy organic ingredients only, I used to spend a fortune on groceries.
Although there are many opportunities it is not that easy to book a job. The competition is extremely high but it is not the real challenge. The Green Card is! The famous card that can change your life and make your American dream come true! I have auditioned many times, despite being successful I was thanked as soon as they knew I wasn't a Green Cardholder. Applying for the Magic Card is a long and uncertain procedure. Since September 2011 immigration law became quite rigid, allegedly it was a lot easier before the dramatic incident.
Also travelling to New York is quite long and uncomfortable, 8 hours journey from London. Back then I was travelling by night from Paris so it was even longer, not the best night to be honest but now Thankfully I have the perfect Bcozzy Travel Pillow! Take it everywhere I go for a good night's sleep!
And lastly, the weather! Summer is hot but extremely humid and insects are huge! Winter is coming and is pretty tough in NYC! Oh my!... The hardest winter of my life! I remember going to The Ailey School, the weather being so cold and windy, the city is like Frozen for weeks! So much snow, the school was even closed for a few days. So be prepared for that...
- The City
London is 15 times larger than Paris and surprisingly a bit bigger than New York City! I've been living in this city for many years and initially, the plan was to stay for 1 year! I wanted to learn about British culture and a year seemed enough to me and here I am 10 years later... I settled in London because I didn't expect this place to be so rich and alive. The economy is strong, in constant growth. It is a big city, with so many things to see and discover and even after 10 years I'm still amazed by the beauty and the charm of this amazing place. London is very popular as a tourist destination, people come from all over the world to discover London and its surprises. For me it's like "The New York City of Europe ", it truly is, it is different though but not as much as I thought.
Londoners love partying, they love life, they celebrate it every single day of the week and whatever their age or background! You'll be surprised to witness it, so many people in their 50's partying over the weekend, in clubs or in pubs, I love British people for that! People are happy and welcoming. It's also quite cosmopolitan, many cultures are represented.
People think that London is rainy but it is not as rainy as Paris and New York for instance, often cloudy but it doesn't rain as much as tourists think. It's just another legend as it can be very hot in summer. You would love it. However, the weather is quite unpredictable and this is the truth. You can also enjoy a fantastic day at the beach, the lovely town of Brighton is just 1 hour away. I put my T-Shirt on and I go to the beach quite early, when it's nice and quiet...The perfect spot for a good Dance HIIT workout!
I love British food, I love a nice English breakfast! I am a big Fan! Delicious!
You must go to one of the best seafood restaurants in town: Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill, trust me, you'll eat the best Fish and Chips in London or try their amazing Crispy Squid! Also as London is so multicultural you can discover so many flavors in one place and from all around the world, Chinese, Indian, Caribbean, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Colombian or French... I love Turtle Bay, Tandoor Chop House, and Sushi Samba, so chic! You can eat anything you want in London, all year long and at an affordable price.
This is the perfect balance between New York and Paris. You can find natural ingredients in the supermarket as you would in any European city or eat some delicious burgers or fried chicken if you like!
My biggest surprise in London was to discover how dynamic the entertainment industry is! There are so many opportunities, many musicals, and live shows. Important dance companies are based in London and from very different universes. This diversity is just amazing.
The cinema industry is also very active. The biggest companies in Hollywood shoot in London, therefore there are endless opportunities for actors and dancers.
You can audition daily for musicals or dance companies if you are a dancer, actor or singer you will always be busy in London!
You can also take dance classes all year long. There are many dance schools in London offering open classes from beginners to professionals, everybody can train at their own pace from Monday to Friday and until December 24! This is a big plus, it never ever stops! Pineapple, Danceworks, The Place, Studio 68, Base or Dance Attic Studios, and many more...
The city never sleeps consequently you can achieve so much more! London is also an international platform, you can literally work all around the world without moving, you can go to The Maldives in a day, shoot a commercial in Rio in 2 weeks and perform on a film in Germany. All in the same month!
- Dance Companies based in London:
Ballet Boyz and so much more...
- Cost of living in London
I'm not gonna lie, living in London is quite expensive. The rent and transport are both costly. Finding a flatshare is cheaper than NYC and it will cost you between 350 to 950 pounds per month. This is a very popular city, people love London, consequently, you must react very quickly if you find the perfect place. For your commute you can save money by using an Oyster Card or simply by using your debit card, both are quite helpful and you get the best deals.
Food cost is alright, quite reasonable, at least we have that! Minicabs are not expensive either, it is very common in London, like it is in New York, so you can travel by cab or uber for quite cheap.
London is an amazing city, however, many came and left completely broke! If you are interested in living in London you must be very proactive and create your own luck and opportunities on a daily basis. It is down to you. London has so much to offer and there is a cost.
|Rent per month||1200 (Studio)||2700 (2 bedroom flat)|
|Transport||4.90* (1 ticket/journey)||162.90 (1 month Zones 1-3)|
|Food for 1 person / month||from 235||to 420|
|Restaurant & Entertainment:||18 / meal / person||145 / day / person|
Prices in Pound
*2.40 with Oyster or Contactless Payment Card.
YOU MUST SEE:
You will love Camden Town, Soho, Wicked (One of the best musicals in town!), The Book Of Mormon or The Lion King. Visit Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, have a drink at Shoreditch, and eat at Shaka Zulu. You must party at Xoyo, Cargo, Floripa or at The Cafe De Paris between Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square.
- The pros
I decided to settle in London for a good reason. It's a great alternative between Paris and New York City in terms of lifestyle and culture. But most importantly this city is healthy economically and that was important to me. I met many like-minded people in the entertainment industry, so motivating! I came for my career and there is definitely a before and after London. London opened the world to me. Dance is great and the entertainment industry is strong and vibrant.
The City is beautiful, interesting and so dynamic! If you want a nice night out the best clubs and pubs are just close by. It is green and calm, sometimes I forget that I live in one of the biggest cities in the world!
People are so lovely and so polite, you will appreciate it. I always felt welcomed and from the very first day. Also, it is quite tolerant, you'll be judged for what you can bring to the table and not for your background, religion, or the color of your skin. They are not afraid to give you a chance to prove your value. This is the reason why so many managers are in their 20's for instance, and from different countries, it is not unusual at all as long as your English is good.
- The cons
The Cost of living in London is a big con. I'm used to it now so for me it's just the normality but from your point of view, it could be frustrating and discouraging if it's your first time. Living in London is expensive, this is the truth. Especially renting and transport, unfortunately, you can't avoid these costs... London is definitely more expensive than Paris and New York City. If you want to live in London you must be very proactive as this city could eat you alive! You and your savings! There is money, you can make a great living but you must work for it.
Work on your English, it's a great skill to have to progress faster in your career. Sadly some people are not very comprehensive and patient with foreigners who can't speak their language. They won't hide it from you! It is a con but also a great source of motivation!
As a professional Dancer, Singer or Actor, you might sometimes miss out on important opportunities if you don't have an agent. You will not even be aware of auditions if you are not part of "the group". Having an agent makes a big difference in London and it's not always right especially if you are new in town. Not everyone has an agent. That's what I loved in New York City, you could audition with or without an agent, even for very big shows. London can still improve on that.
What is the best city to live in?
I can't really answer that question. They all are amazing cities. Think about your well-being and your goals. If you have a few notions of French and want to learn a completely different culture perhaps Paris is the best option for you. If you are adventurous, have some savings, and are not afraid of challenges London is what you need. If you love the American culture, Modern Dance, New York is the one! To be honest, we can't really compare, these cities are all great and they can truly change your life.
At the end of the day it's all about mindset: If you believe in abundance* you will be a success wherever you live.
Thank you for reading, Please share with your friends and family!
*the situation in which there is more than enough of something.
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