We have all at some point, fallen a little bit in love with Paris. That fascinating foreignness of culture, language, and history, that still seems so familiar.
I remember that moment when I first visited Paris at 18 with my parents from Canada. I don’t know what I thought, but it certainly didn’t occur to me then that I would one day move to France and become a French citizen myself.
How I ended up in France
A few years after that initial trip to Paris, the love for travel continued. But my style of traveling was changing. I no longer wanted to hit every item on the Country Checklist. Instead, I wanted to stay longer in one place, not visiting another museum, but really absorbing the culture. The idea of “slow travel” was taking form.
And then I stumbled across that magical “open sesame”: the Working Holiday Visa in France. A year abroad with Paris as my base, to travel across Europe and the globe. Didn’t French people have this idea of Art de Vivre and slowing down, anyway?
I’m not sure where I got the courage from, but I quit my job, got the visa, and gave myself at least one summer in the City of Lights. One glorious summer in the sun, no expectations, and no crazy deadlines. If I got a job (it was a working holiday visa after all), “tant mieux” as we say in French. All the better!
As it happened, at the end of those 4 months, I had met my future husband, gotten a job in my field (I’m a CPA by training), and transformed into a “Parisienne“. Like a movie, except it didn’t really feel that way at the time. It just felt like I could have been anywhere, with the additional requirement of a mountain of paperwork.
Fast forward a few more years and a couple of kids later (more paperwork), and I suddenly realized that with a French husband and children, I was no longer the cool expat wandering the globe. I had become a local. And to my kids and everyone else around, I was now just boring ole’ “Maman“. Paris is still Paris, but those rose-colored glasses have turned much clearer.
How Snippets of Paris was born
I plunged into my artist’s shop Ainsi Hardi first, but I realized I couldn’t really explain some of my “inside jokes” in that format. I wanted to document some of the funny quirks and eccentricities that come with living in a foreign country, especially with my little Frenchies, and the only way to do that was in a blog.
No, I’m not going to spend my morning in a farmer’s market, sit at a terrasse drinking coffee all afternoon, and go home and cook a large French meal for 3 hours (there are shortcuts), all the while dressed in skinny jeans and a white shirt.
That romantic French ideal tends to take a sharp curveball when it meets real-life stuff like work, school, and kids. And no, there won’t be any breathless reviews of new bars and restaurant openings in Paris, simply because that isn’t my Paris, that is one for the magazines. (Also, let’s be honest, with my toddlers running around and the chaos that involves, by the time I get there, that new restaurant probably will no longer be “new”!)
So let’s get real. Let me take you to what is now my home, the French version.
Travel with me
Snippets of Paris aims to tell you what the locals tell their friends about, to go beyond the glittering lights of the Eiffel Tower. We’ll share with you fun anecdotes about what daily life in France is like, so that you too can imagine yourself living here. Does Paris continue to hold its charm, if you are living there, rather than visiting? Do you ever become fluent in French? And raising kids in France!? Ooh la la!
with love, Nassie xx
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Frequently asked Questions:
How did I arrive in France? What visa did I use?
I came on a working holiday visa, and then switched to Young Professional. It was a long and exhausting process (paperwork!) so I won’t bother to write about it, since the procedures change every 6 months, let alone 10 years.
Do I like living in France?
Yes, for the most part. It has become home now. And I don’t believe in having only 1 home, home is where the heart is, Canada is my home too.
I don’t know that I always love the Parisian area, sometimes we debate moving south, but for work reasons, we are here.
Will I ever move back to Canada?
Maybe one day, I never say never! As the Zen quote goes: “No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place”. (I like quotes, as you can tell!)
Wondering where to begin? Start here
Planning a trip to Paris?
For my recommendations on where to stay and what to do in Paris, please see my Paris Resources Guide. If you would like to explore Paris a bit more, allons-y!
- Where to stay in Paris: A guide to the Arrondissements
- Picking an Airbnb in Paris: The Checklist
- 40 Things to do on that Ultimate trip to Paris
- What NOT to do when visiting Paris
- What is Paris like in Winter? 16 Reasons to visit
- Paris at night: Ideas for a scintillating evening in Paris
Life in Paris?
- Living in Paris: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
- Fun facts about France
- The Guide to a typical French Dinner
- French Dining – The Cheatsheet of Do’s and Don’ts
- Decoding the 11 French Emergency phone numbers
Moving to Paris?
- Where to live with a family: Paris or the suburbs?
- The French Work Culture: Differences that will astonish
- Cost of Living in Franc
- 22 Things you should know before driving in France
- France’s famous Myth: the French 35 hour workweek