Earlier this month, I moved from our office in London to work at Johnson King’s French office in Paris. Having lived in France on two previous occasions – during my gap year and to study for my 3rd year at university – I knew more or less what I was in for with the move, and I was really excited about it!
People’s reactions to our decision to move were unanimously positive, but almost everyone we spoke to voiced their concern on one of three issues:
- The food – how good it is and how careful we were going to have to be to avoid constantly over-indulging in cheese and patisserie goods
- How expensive Paris is as a city
- TV – how on earth would I cope without my beloved Sky+ and my embarrassing addiction to cheesy US sitcoms
So I wanted to take this opportunity to alleviate people’s concerns on one of these issues. I wish it could be about the food – it’s truly incredible and I have to walk down the street staring straight ahead so that I’m not drawn in by the array of stunning French produce.
However, satisfying my thirst for American medical and legal dramas has not been a problem at all. Our apartment is fitted with a Freebox from Free, and this bit of kit has truly shown me how far ahead France is when it comes to IPTV. The Freebox offers us Wifi, cable TV (with recording capabilities), and free landline calls to over 100 countries. It also makes playing downloaded content over the TV easier than I’ve ever seen, all over the wireless network. I can sit on the sofa and control the TV from my iPad or laptop, transferring content wirelessly to the 250GB hard drive.
I realise that this might sound a lot like Apple TV, but given everything else that’s contained with the Freebox, it’s pretty incredible. Free has also recently jumped into the mobile space, offering tariffs that are so cheap that they’re forcing other operators to react and cut their prices i.e. iPhone 4S for 1 Euro, and then 17.99 Euro per month for unlimited calls, unlimited SMS and unlimited Wifi.
I admit that this is starting to sound like I’m trying to PR Free, but I’m truly impressed by this service, especially compared to the amount I was paying for my iPhone and Sky back in the UK. Free is forcing other companies to re-think their pricing models, and hopefully this is something that will have a ripple on effect to help cut costs for TV, mobile and internet use across Europe.
So, now that I’ve tackled one of the major concerns about my move to Paris, does anyone have any suggestions on how to avoid all the cheese?