Party Girls (from left to right) Marjorie Williams, Anne Woodyard, Robin Katsaros, Adrian Leeds and Karen Fawcett...celebrating the accomplishments of American women in Paris (Photo by Anne Woodyard's husband!)
By American Women, For Women...in Paris
Monday, February 10, 2014 • Paris, France
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Dear Parler Paris Reader,
It's pretty amazing to be an American woman in Paris...or maybe it's just amazing to be a woman just about anywhere...because no one seems to do more for the others of their own sex than American women.
This week I witnessed American women honoring women, American women educating women, American women supporting women.
Men don't seem to exhibit the same kind of 'camaraderie.' In fact, I'm not so sure even French women have the same sense of 'sisterhood.'
Kristin Espinasse with Robin KatsarosWICE sponsored "Money Matters for Women"
At almost all American-sponsored cultural events that take place in Paris, there will always be an overwhelming number of women compared to men. Is that because there are more American women in Paris than men or that women have more time to attend cultural events than men or that women care more about the cultural events than men? I don't have the answers -- these are mere observations and wonderments.
American Robin Katsaros and her husband, John, opened their home for a book signing to honor two women authors, Kristin Espinasse and Ann Mah, over champagne cocktails. The attendees were made up of guess what? Primarily women.
Robin made some opening remarks, then interviewed both Kristin and Ann who openly answered her questions about what it was like to be female authors. Both American women are well known for their talented writing shared in their blogs and their books.
Kristin Espinasse is the author of the popular blog, French Word-A-Day, that she began in 1999 "when a former desert rat from Phoenix decided to share a piece of Provence from her office in the various cafés along the French Riviera. While trying to buy time at a euro ten per coffee, the writer came up with a plan to distribute her 'café letters' from France. What began as an earnest attempt at freelance journalism, eventually worked itself into a more suitable self-made 'mêtier' as resident 'French Word Artisan.' The handwritten café letters became blog posts, and the blog posts became books." She's written three books: "Blossoming in Provence," "Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France" and her newest book, "First French Essais." (More information on Kristin's books is available on our Recommended Readings page)
Ann Mah is a food and travel writer and author of her new food memoir, "Mastering the Art of French Eating" and a novel, "Kitchen Chinese." "Her articles have appeared in the New York Times, Condé Nast Traveler, the International Herald Tribune, South China Morning Post, Fodor's guides, and other publications. Born in Orange County, California, Ann began her career in book publishing after graduating from UCLA. In 2005, she was awarded a James Beard Foundation culinary scholarship to study in Bologna, Italy. She currently divides her time between Paris -- where she has lived since 2008 -- and New York City." (More information on Ann's books is available on our Recommended Readings page)
We celebrated their success together, congratulating them, drinking a glass of champagne to their accomplishments, purchasing their books and being honored by their signed remarks on the first pages.
Saturday, WICE, which is an acronym for Women's Institut of Continuing Education, one of the oldest Anglophone organizations in Paris (more than 33 years), that was started by women for women (but which has expanded to include men), sponsored a conference titled "Money Matters for Women" -- the 4th event of its kind since it was first organized in 2005. In one of the large conference rooms at the American University of Paris, Monique Amaudry-Jordan, the program director, made the opening remarks. She said:
"Today more than ever, women — like men — face a myriad of financial issues: managing their day to day expenses, insuring and protecting what they have, establishing and maintaining sound credit, saving and investing for their own retirement, reducing taxes, planning for those they love at death and saving for a variety of life goals."
Both women and men spoke to the audience of about 35 women over the course of the afternoon, educating them on "Crafting a Financial Roadmap," "Finding Financial Challenges and Solutions for Expat Women," "Managing Finances in France," "Estate Planning," "Starting a Business in France" and I spoke on "Successful Investing in Property in France."
Al Herter, Private Investor, closed the session with his talk on "Smart Money Management for Personal Finance" and the final message to all the women:
"Yes, we can!"
Being an American woman in Paris is an enlightening experience, thanks to all the other American women who make it a place where yes, we can...be honored, educated and supported.
P.S. Come to Parler Paris Après-midi Tuesday, February 11 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. when our speaker is Meg Bortin, a Journalist, Author and Food Blogger who will be speaking on "Desperate to Be a Housewife and Other Adventures in the City of Light." We meet upstairs at La Pierre du Marais on the corner of rue des Archives and rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris, Métro Lines 9, 3 et 11, stations Temple, République or Arts et Métiers.
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