Paris - All Blacks superstar Dan Carter admitted Wednesday that he had been worried about moving to Paris in the aftermath of the November terror attacks but had been overwhelmed by his welcome in the French capital.
World Player of the Year Carter joined Racing 92 on a lucrative three-year deal just after helping New Zealand successfully defend their World Cup title and has been widely praised for his efforts both on and off the pitch.
"Life is a lot easier after two difficult first weeks in a new country, with a new language and new culture. I have started to really make the most of the Parisian life," said the 33-year-old, who admitted to being a little "apprehensive" after the November 13 attacks.
Carter name-checked the fashionable districts of Saint-Germain des Pres where he adores "the restaurants and incredible boutiques".
Parisians, famous for their gruff nonchalance, are "more welcoming" than he thought they would be, he said.
"The people in the streets, my neighbours, are very friendly and welcoming towards me and my family, more than I thought they would be.
"For example, my neighbours in Meudon (in south-west Paris), where we live are inviting me around to their houses."
Despite his global superstar status, Carter said he was still stunned to be recognised on the streets of Paris.
"I was a little surprised to be recognised, but in other ways I am left in peace not like in New Zealand. It's refreshing," added Carter, who so far is not consumed by the doubts of playing in France which are being experienced by All Blacks teammate Ma'a Nonu at Toulon.
Carter, the world record international points scorer with 1,598, said there is plenty of room for improvement in his game.
"You can always be better, you can never be satisfied. This is what motivates me, this is why I play rugby. Nothing should ever be taken for granted," he added.
"I want to improve every day until I retire."
So far, Carter is confident he will not become unhappy in Paris, unlike Irish predecessor Jonathan Sexton who returned to Leinster after two disappointing seasons in the Top 14.
"He has sought one thing -- to blend into the squad, to be of service to the players and the club," said Racing's forwards coach Laurent Travers.
"When you are the best player in the world, it is not by chance. He sees things and analyses situations before everybody else."
Backrow forward Thibault Dubarry is also a fan of his new teammate.
"Like all New Zealanders, he is modest and hyper-respectful. You see it too with Chris (Masoe), Ross (Filipo) and 'Roks' (Joe Rokocoko). He is the type of guy who is very easy to integrate into the team."