Paris & me

I’ve lived in Paris for getting on four years now and having promised myself at least once a month since I moved here that I would start a blog, I thought now might be a good time to bite the bullet. I don’t like to rush things.

So here’s a very brief history of my time here. Like many before me, I first arrived as a student on Erasmus, on a six month work placement (stage). My goals were few and simple: speak some French, learn to like stinky cheese and red wine and kiss a Frenchman. I’m happy to say it was a great success. In any case it was very hard to leave at the end of the six months, so as soon as I’d finished my degree back in England, I hopped on the first eurostar back to my beloved Paris and I’ve been here ever since.

So far I’ve lived here, 

here (it’s important in your first solo studio in Paris to get one as high up as possible so that you can pretend you’re living the life of a Bohemian in a Paris garret, when really you’re just collapsing with exhaustion up 7 flights of stairs every day – NB: don’t forget anything when you leave in the morning!),

here,

                                                               and here,               

Since making the decision to move to Paris, I have developed an obsession with reading, watching and listening to anything about foreigners moving to Paris, life in Paris and all things Parisian in books, films and music. Here are a a few of my favourites:

Favourite film about Paris: 2 days in Paris – a perfect example of how wonderfully bewildering and incomprehensible Paris and its inhabitants can be to a foreigner.

Favourite books about Paris:

Almost French – Sarah Turnbull – her stories are relatable for any expat, especially for women (read the chapter on her experience of Parisian women) and you end up gleaning some good advice from her amusing anecdotes.

Fatima’s Good Fortune – J&G Dryansky
A tale of a Tunisian woman from Djerba who moves to Paris. Offers a different perspective on an expat experience in Paris. Really heart-warming stuff.

Favourite French song: Je ne veux pas travailler – Pink Martini  – understand this song and you’re on your way to understanding the Parisian way of life (in a good way, honest!)

 

 

So, this is my experience of Paris, the good, the bad and the je ne sais quoi. For me, Paris is beautiful, often infuriating, but always intriguing. And that’s why I’m proud to call it home.

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6 comments

  1. I can quite see why Reading will never match up to Paree. But Paree doesn’t match up to Londres, which is a great, extraordinary World City whereas Paree is just a French city striving to be a bit European.
    L

  2. I disagree. Paris doesn’t try to be anything except Paris. It is unique. But thanks for your comment, always interesting to see what non-expats think of Paris.

  3. London is a far cry from a “world city”. It is a sprawling monster with a dark underbelly, look at what hapenned just last summer – riots. It no longer has a soul.
    Paris however is buzzing with it’s own culture, it’s own quirkiness. Parisians and Paris itself is arrogantly aware of what a gem it is, it gloats and rightly so.

    1. Jen,
      Don’t know where you live but Parisians love rioting – its in their DNA since the Republic was formed. I think you should move out of the centre and go to the estates around the perifique – that is really the ghastly underbelly of Paris where the Paris underclass live or rather subsist. London is far more culturally exciting

  4. Well Paris had its own riots too, to be fair. I love Paris having lived there, but i will say they like to keep the poor out of the centre which has resulted in ghettoisation in the north east especially.

  5. Let’s see if Hollande will change things for the poor? I’m not holding my breath!

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