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Advice for France

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  • Advice for France

    Hey fellow T-I users!

    I have a quite unusual thing to ask: I'm about to finish all my uni degrees next year and my girl and I are planning to move to Marseille to carry on with our masters degrees. Our main goal would be Marseille, as both of us love the sunshine and we want a big city to live in. The other option would be (of course) Paris, but that's only plan B.
    I know she lived in Paris for a year (and she loved it), and I lived in London for a few years, which I hated for some reason (might have been the gloomy sky 0-24).
    So, my question is - posted mainly for French people, possibly with some insight to Marseille :
    Would it be a good idea to move there? We've been checking out Aix-Marseille Université, is it any good?
    We love culture, like concerts, art galleries, theater - is Marseille a good spot for those? (I know, probably no match for Paris but still).
    Any experiences, living costs/standards, crime, flats, food, any insights?

    Thank you very much, and have a nice day!

  • #2
    Hi Hung,
    I do not live in Marseille but i live in Montpellier. It's not far from Marseille and i have some friends there. So i go there from time to time.

    On the cultural part, Marseille has been designated European Culture Capital of 2013. There are a lot of events organized throughout the year. Apart from this specific event, Marseille is a very active city. The very high profile stuff tend to be organised in Paris but there is a lot of things in Marseille too. After all, it's the second biggest city in France. The scene tend to be more popular and less poshy than Paris. The state of mind of the people living in Marseille is also different. More multicultural, more open and welcoming. I've spend some time in Paris but even though it's an absolutely stunning city, the grey sky and the unhappy faces tend to give me the blues. Nothing like that in Marseille. It's very lively, sunny and a little bit chaotic too.

    The university of Aix-Marseille has a good reputation. Do you know the Shangaï ranking? It's an academic ranking of world universities. Aix-marseille is rank 4th of the french universities. Of course well behind the ivy league american universities but just after the three big Paris universities. So not bad at all!

    Here is the link:
    France Universities in Top 500 - 2011

    In terms of living standards, it's going to be lower than Paris or London. The most expensive thing is the rent (approx 14€ per m² but a lot of variation depending on the neighborhood). Finding a nice place to stay is a long and frustrating process. But i guess you girlfriend had this experience when she lived in Paris.

    Transport, train, food costs in the area are medium and quite low for a big city. Transport services are not that good though so beware when you are taking a flat not to be far from a line with a good frequency.

    Insecurity is higher in Marseille than in most of the other big cities. It's concentrated in some neighborhood though and all my friends that live there never had any problems. So don't take a flat anywhere.

    Like i said, Marseilles is more "popular" and less poshy than Paris. So don't expect some perfectly clean streets with renovated building everywhere. It tends to bother some people but i think they are way too demanding. It's fine by me.

    So Marseille is a little bit different than the big european capitals. A little bit chaotic, less organised, poorer, but very lively, always something going on, with a strong multi-cultural identity.

    Don't know what else to say. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me! French administration can be a pain in the a*** (and most of the time websites are not translated in english), so if you need help with that too, i'm willing to help!


    • #3
      Mehdi did a very good description. I would insist on the "less posh" and the crime part a little bit. The current situation is so bad with gangs fights that the mayor have had to ask the government to take mesures about it... They even mention at some point some military intervention in ghettos.

      Montpellier is a great and beautiful town imo. A better choice without any doubt for me.


      • #4
        Thank you very much guys, your answers are much appreciated! :) Hopefully soon we can catch up in person too :)


        • #5
          Why not ;-) ! bienvenue!