Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Moved to Paris…
Parler Paris Previews…
Wednesday, March 1, 2006
If you’ve always dreamed of living in or owning property in Paris or France, the Living and Investing in France conference here in Paris this coming March 17 – 19 is a MUST!
Right now, when you register for this 3-day power-packed conference, instead of investing the usual conference price at $1.20 per Euro, you can invest in the conference price at $1.00 per Euro — a savings of more than 15%!
For more information or to register, contact Project Manager Schuyler Hoffman at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Parler Paris Reader,
There are so many things I wish I had known before moving to Paris.
This past weekend, even after eleven years, I found myself complaining to my French friends (who likely didn’t appreciate it, at all) about some of the same things that either haven’t changed, worsened or I simply can’t get used to. There is no doubt, that in many ways I have “crossed over” to see things from the French point of view, but the cultural differences can be so acute, and in so many situations, impossible to overcome.
On the train back to Paris from the Côte d’Azur Monday, I had time to reflect on these ideas and compiled a list of 17 things I wish I had known before I moved to Paris. The first one that came to mind was the first thing you traditionally think of doing when moving to another country — getting a visa. Being an American, where we follow the laws the way we are supposed to and telling a lie is worse than murder (thank you, George Washington), we applied for a “carte de séjour” knowing we would be staying more than 90 days, as the law says we should.
Oh, if I only knew then what I know now! I might not have been so quick to blindly follow the law. We half-heartedly joke at the French idea of truth: “There is the law. And there is the reality.” This is one cultural difference I’ve learned to cross, because if you don’t, and continue to blindly follow the law, you’ll forever fall into the deep French pits.
The most difficult cultural difference to overcome has been our idea of customer service where the “customer is king” to the French idea where the seller is “doing you a favor.” While it has changed drastically over the years as American-style retailing has infiltrated the French landscape (Starbucks, Gap, McDonalds, etc.), it can still be a challenge. I’ve learned never to expect to be able to return/refund any purchase without a major hassle, but I still fail to see the point of telling the customer, “No.” Just this past week, I actually had the owner of a small shop tell me that not only did she not know the price of the dinnerware she had on display, but that I must call her later that day to ask — she would not bother to call ME! I walked out thinking, “Yeah, right. Ha! You just lost that sale, babes.”
Perhaps the most fun cultural difference to cross is the use of flirtation to get what you want. American women (and I suppose, me, too), are taught that flirtation is a form of sexual harassment and therefore unacceptable behavior (even though it works). Here, it’s absolutely necessary and quite honestly, expected. Usually it’s me flirting with the waiter to get good service, but last night I had the opposite and quite pleasant situation. Upon entering the restaurant, the waiter made a point to compliment me on my very ordinary black beret (mostly worn by Americans and out-of-style French), to which I was surprised and amused. It started the whole evening off very right for both of us, and so the little game should.
And the hardest thing to give up? Those out-of-style bérets that give me away as an American.
A la prochaine…
P.S. While both my computer and my brain were plugged in and the TGV was slipping down the smooth tracks to Paris, I jotted down the 17 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Moved to Paris to the tune of 10 typed pages and turned it into a “report” that readers could learn from. You can have it, too — it’s FREE with a two-year subscription to French Pr
operty Insider all this month (a savings of 20%, too!).
P.P.S. Read Jean Taquet’s March 1st Q’s and A’s at /parlerparis/practicalanswers.html
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* PARLER PARLOR 8TH ANNIVERSARY BUFFET AND CREPES PARTY! Join us Saturday, March 11 at 11 a.m. Conversation will start at 11 a.m., then stay at 12:30 p.m. for lunch! Cold Buffet and Dessert Crêpes with Wine and Juice, only 10 Euros. Plus, a special anniversary offer — TAKE 10 EUROS OFF A 10-SESSION CARD AND 20 EUROS OFF A 20-SESSION CARD THAT DAY ONLY! Practice your French or English in a fun and friendly environment with interesting people from all over the world at Parler Parlor. Visit http://www.parlerparlor.com
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* Experience Food and Cooking the French Way! On Rue Tatin Cooking School is run by Susan Hermann Loomis, an internationally-recognized food expert and the author of six cookbooks. Class sizes are small, giving you plenty of hands-on learning, and the recipes are geared to daily home cooking. Choose from her week-long cooking courses, or special themed classes including:
* April 10 – 14, 2006, Susan in Paris at Patricia Wells’ Left Bank Cooking Studio
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Thank you, Adrian
Available in its entirety May 19 – 30, 2006
Located in a 17th century Le Marais Hotel Particulier, this 70 square meter two-bedroom apartment with lots of light is nicely furnished and is perfect for a single woman in the freshly renovated guest room when owner Adrian Leeds is in or for up to 4 people when she’s traveling.
Pictures and more details available here: Marais Guest Room or Entire Apartment
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Parler Paris Après Midi
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Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Moved to Paris…
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