What is it about Paris that makes it the most visited city in the world? It might have something to do with the city’s unique ability to combine the beauty of both the ultra-modern and the classic.
Perhaps this quality of Paris is best seen in the Musée du Louvre. The most recognizable aspect of the architecture of the Louvre is the Pyramid made entirely of glass and metal. When the Pyramid was first built, there was much controversy about the modern architecture of the Pyramid itself taking away from the classical architecture of the rest of the museum. This duality of modern and classic architecture is one of the most amazing characteristics of Paris, with wonders from the modern Grande Arche de la Défense to the medieval styles of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris.
As Victor Hugo once said, “He who contemplates the depths of Paris is seized with vertigo. Nothing is more fantastic. Nothing is more tragic. Nothing is more sublime.”
Art, Museums, and Galleries: Wherever you go in Paris, art is to be appreciated. From big museums like the Louvre, Orsay, and Pompidou Center to hidden galleries such as La Maison Rouge and the Passage de Retz, and finally to art that’s free for all to see and admire - the street art of Paris. Whether you’re looking to experience classic paintings and statues, or interact with young and local artists, Paris has everything for the art intern.
Business: 22 out of the 35 French companies in Global Fortune 500 are located in Paris, and with good reason. If Paris were a country, it would be the world’s seventeenth largest economy - or about the same size as the Netherlands. Paris’s main business district is La Défense. La Défense lays claim to 1,500 businesses and 150,000 employees. With so many different companies, business interns in Paris have the opportunity to work with a variety of companies depending on their interests. Recently, business in Paris has been shifting towards financial and IT services, as well as high-tech manufacturing.
Fashion: What’s it like to work in one of the top fashion capitals of the world? Find out when you intern in Paris. Paris is home to some of the biggest names in fashion today including Chanel, Dior,Yves Saint Laurent, Chloé, Givenchy, Lanvin, Hermès, and Louis Vuitton. Fashion is a huge part of the culture of Paris, and when you intern here, you will be exposed to all the highlights of such a culture. Interns can expect to learn things they wouldn’t in a classroom setting - whether that be design-related like sewing and patterns or backstage as runway and photography help or even, assisting with marketing and public relations.
Journalism and Media: If you really want to learn about and immerse yourself in the culture of Paris, there’s only one way: understand its media. Media in Paris includes local newspapers like Le Figaro and Le Monde and local TV stations like IDF1. Because Paris is the capital of France and center of most activity, there is always something going on, making media a wonderful choice for an internship in Paris.
When and Where to Look for an Internship
Internships in Paris, France are available throughout the year. If you use a placement program, some are only available in the summer. Fashion interns may be interested in interning during the semi-annual Paris Fashion week, either in January/February or August/September.
Cost of Living in Paris
Depending on whether you want to live in the suburbs of Paris or downtown, your rent will differ. Rent for a one bedroom apartment in the suburbs can cost about 600 € to 800 €. A one-bedroom apartment in downtown Paris will cost you anywhere from 800 € to 1500 € depending on furnishing. More information can be found at Numbeo.com.
Work Culture in Paris
- Etiquette: In business, the French are quite formal and this should not be mistaken for rudeness. Often, business revolves around lunch, which is used for meetings between co-workers and possible business partners. Dinner is reserved for serious and respected clients. A handshake is a common gesture among co-workers, and greetings are usually bonjour and bonsoir. Monsieur and Madame are usually the most appropriate way to refer to anyone in a business setting; first-names are reserved for close friends. The formal vous should be used for most work-related situations.
- Language: French will almost always be used in the office, unless working with international clients. It is highly recommended that you have an advanced understanding of the language before you decide to intern in Paris. If you are using a placement program, most of these programs will either offer courses or require advanced French. If you also know other international languages or English, it might help you find an internship since many French employers appreciate this skill.
- Networking: Whether or not you speak English or French, there are opportunities to network in Paris for most interns. For English speakers, there is Paris Soirées and for French speakers there is Soirée Networking. Both hold events and meet-ups throughout the year for professionals in Paris.
Work and Labor Laws in Paris
An internship in Paris can range from 2 to 6 months. If your internship lasts longer than 2 months, then it must come with a minimum of 436.05 € per month. The legal working week in Paris is 35 hours with no more than 10 hours per day. More information on laws can be found at the French government’s official website for legislation - Légifrance.