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It’s Never Too Early to Start Planning Your Dream

Sunrise over Nice (photo by Patty Sadauskas,
Sunrise over Nice (photo by Patty Sadauskas,

Every now and then, someone interested in moving to France contacts us for information about our services, but says, “We’re in the beginning stages, so we’re not ready for a consultation with you just yet.”

I understand their reticence. It’s an idea that’s been circling in their minds for some time, and maybe they’ve been perusing the Internet looking for answers on their own. There’s a lot out there, and it’s free, so why not?

Lots of reasons. Free is good, as long as the answers you get are good ones and fit your particular situation. And, how will you know if the answers have real value? Who are the sources? What are their qualifications? What if you don’t even know the right questions to ask? Will you then be able to get the right answers? And what if there are creative solutions to a situation that requires going deeper? What if the key to making your dream come true is hidden in the strategy of the path to make that happen?

I am a firm believer in getting professional advice—the right kind. A good advisor can open up worlds of ideas to you that you may never have thought of before. Ask any professional and you’ll get that same answer, as professionals who are not fools fully realize their own value, as well as others’.

When I moved to France, I had 13 years of experience as owner of a marketing and advertising firm after having worked in the field with other companies for many years prior to that. I gave up my business in Los Angeles to spend one year in Paris, as was our dream. One year turned into two and two turned into three because leaving Paris was the last thing any of us wanted. But, we faced divorce after I had spent just about all my money living the good life in the City of Light and no real assets left to show for it.

Sure, I was scared. It was a very frightening time in my life when the future was a complete unknown. I had a minuscule savings, a very poor command of French, a daughter to support and no legal right to work in France. But, I was determined to survive in Paris on my own…and obviously, you see I did.

Adrian Leeds sitting in her Paris living room - Photo by Paul de Burger

There was no choice, but to find a way of working around, over, under and through the system in order to find a way to earn a living, secure an apartment and create a life on my own. It was the infancy of the Internet at the time and the answers weren’t there like they are now. One had to be clever, creative and most importantly…lucky.

I’ve always joked that I’d rather be lucky than smart, but with both, you can be more confident to win the game. One of my observations is that life is like a game of backgammon (do you play?)…the roll of the dice is your luck, but it’s how you play the pieces on the board that sets up your future lucky rolls!

Luxury backgammon game by Hector Saxe Paris France

(Backgammon game available here)

I was lucky to find work, devising a clever way around the requirements of a visitor visa, and lucky to find an apartment to rent from American owners who weren’t too demanding. For three years that was working very well indeed, all the while renewing my Carte de Séjour annually. Then one day, my landlord wanted to sell the apartment and I couldn’t bear to leave it, so I found a way to get financing to buy it. It wasn’t about being a smart investor—it was about keeping the same roof over our heads that we had come to love. I learned a lot from the process and met key people along the way…a reminder of those pieces on that backgammon board placed correctly to set up future lucky rolls of the dice.

Backgammon players, Egypt circa 2009

Backgammon players, Egypt circa 2009

A year later I lost the job. That was another very frightening period in my life, but it was way too late to turn back. Paris had been home for seven years and I had a mortgage to pay, not to mention a daughter to send to college. The luck landed again when I was recruited by International Living to open and run their Paris office. Their job is to help people discover new places, and then to help them take advantage of the opportunities they offer—opportunities to improve their quality of life…to lower their cost of living…to invest for a profitable return—before the rest of the world catches on.

What a perfect training ground to use all I had learned to help other people do what I had done…and a whole lot more. When I didn’t have the answers myself, I sought out the professionals. For three years, our office at International Living hosted conferences, wrote publications, set up a team of real estate professionals to help our readers purchase and rent properties and we provided them with access to all the services and resources they needed.

At the ten year mark of living in France, I finally had a Carte de Résident which allowed me to legally work in France. That’s when I opened my own company, the Adrian Leeds Group, both in the U.S. and in France. By then, I had learned how to use both sides to an advantage.

I’m telling you this because it’s the background story to why it’s so important to start the process very early on…to roll the dice and set up the pieces in a way that will elicit a lot more of those lucky rolls. It’s the strategy in how you place your pieces on the board that counts to ultimately winning the game, not the luck itself.

Adrian Leeds with Jordan Washington, during House Hunters International episode

Adrian with Jordan Washington, during House Hunters International episode

I became a strategist. It’s not what I thought was on the horizon having graduated FIT in fashion design, or anywhere near what I imagined for myself after producing TV commercials for retail clients in Knoxville, Tennessee…but, it turns out, that ultimately it was my calling to help other people outmaneuver the system in order to set up a winning board…for life.

Adrian Leeds Group consultations services, French Property the American way


Sure, we can find you a fabulous apartment or home in France to rent or purchase and we can provide the kind of insurance you need to not make mistakes in order to make the best investment you can make, but it starts with an initial consultation—a one-on-one with me that will set up your lucky rolls (or in a group Zoom consultation that we do from time to time). It’s never too early to start the dialogue.

A group Zoom consultation

A group Zoom consultation

Your questions can be anything related to:
• Obtaining the right to be in France
• Making the move
• Dealing with technology
• Finding employment
• Starting a business
• Setting up Your finances
• Finding temporary housing
• Finding property for rent or purchase
• Buying, selling, and owning property
• Renting your property for profit
• Getting a mortgage
• Getting health care and insurance
• Learning the language
• Educating the kids
• Bridging the cultural differences
• And a whole lot more.

Sorry, but it doesn’t come free. Professional advice costs something, but I’ve never had a single client complain it wasn’t worth the price. In fact…just the opposite…

Duly impressed! It was simply wonderful having someone with such acumen and insider knowledge on our side. And we weren’t the only the ones impressed; while they would never admit it, I think all parties involved were duly impressed with Adrian’s negotiating ability and knowledge of the tricks of the trade, including the owner.” NICOLE L.

Even if you’re just barely thinking of making the move to France, then it’s already time to strategize the plan. Click here to learn more.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds - Paris, FranceAdrian Leeds
Adrian Leeds Group®

Contact Adrian

Harriet Welty Rochefort on Zoom for the Adrian Leeds Group's Après-MidiP.S. We had over 100 people on Zoom yesterday with Harriet Welty Rochefort, discussing her newest book and first novel, Final Transgression, at our monthly gathering, Après-Midi! You can read the report and watch the entire video by clicking here.


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