“Paris Past, Paris Present, Paris Future”
In just a few hours, we’ll be saying so-long to 2008 and hello to “janvier” 2009 — the new year beginning with the month named after the Roman god of gates and doors, Janus, whose double-faced head looked in the direction of both the past and future.
German/Canadian spiritual and motivational teacher and writer, Eckhart Tolle, teaches not being caught up in thoughts of past and future as a way of being aware of the present moment in his non-fiction bestseller, “The Power of Now.” If you haven’t read it, then by all means make it a New Year’s Resolution to learn that “the present moment is Life itself.”
And I wonder, was Janus able to live in the Now? If we take his pose to the past, we can see all the things we ‘wish we had done’ and when we turn our heads toward the future, do we see all the things we ‘wish we could do?’
This month I offered free consultations to any who wished to speak to me regarding anything related to France on their ‘wish we had done’ or ‘wish we could do’ list. In these tough economic times, I heard a lot of stories from people who lost a lot of what they had worked hard for and earned in the past, now turning their heads to a different and uncharted future. Some are forced into letting go completely of the past, divesting themselves of material possessions and wealth and reflecting on how their experience in the past can benefit them in the future.
For many, France is like the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’– the future that awaits them with just a short journey to arrive at a very different kind of ‘present.’ France offers that…a very different kind of present.
Consider the economic meltdown in the U.S. and compare it with France. While France is predicting a recession for the first time in 16 years with a sharp rise in unemployment, the Finance Minister is still predicting a modest economic growth. Thanks to their social security system and broad social programs, citizens take comfort in a ‘safety net’ that affords them universal health care, retirement, job security and education. As a rule, they aren’t ‘savers’ or investors in the stock market, as a result of their lack of need to create their own financial security. They don’t live on credit cards or high amounts of debt and the lending banks haven’t taken the same risks.
So, while we noticed the restaurants have a few open tables and more layoffs are expected in 2009, the stories of absolute loss haven’t yet surfaced.
For those with an entrepreneurial spirit, France can be an opportunity waiting to happen. The French are trying to create more of this spirit with rhetoric from their president, Nicolas Sarkozy, the son of a Hungarian immigrant, who has promoted the simple slogan “Work more to earn more.” He’s sanctified a new program/law called “Auto-Entrepreneur” beginning January 1st where anyone can open a new company easily and pay taxes only on profits, minimizing the risk to new start-ups.
But it will be a while before the French, on the whole will be as entrepreneurial as any North American. I have seen hundreds of Americans arrive here with virtually nothing and land ‘on their feet’…whether they’ve invested in an income-producing property or just provided a service that is needed.
When I look at my own past, it was exactly the same. I can look back at meager beginnings ‘swimming’ in a culture unlike our own, trying to recreate what I once had in the same way as before. And that didn’t work. It wasn’t until I learned how to live in the ‘present,’ in a new and different world, that the future became bright.
Make 2009 your brightest year ever, in spite of whatever pain you experienced in the past. This is your opportunity to bring France into your present with an eye on the future. I hope to bring you these opportunities, through the Parler Paris newsletter and all the things we do to teach you how.
Start with these:
Next week Paris’ future brings you the annual Winter Sales Event beginning January 7th at more than 2,000 retailers participating in the third annual “Soldes by Paris” — five shopping days devoted to tourists organized by the Office du Tourisme, the Congrès de Paris and the Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de Paris. For more information, visit parisinfo.com or shoppingbyparis.com
If you’re a member of Democrats Abroad France, then don’t waste a single moment to be invited to the Inaugural Celebration of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama, to be held at Hotel de Ville, Paris, on January 20, 2009 from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. Send in your mailing address by email to [email protected] no later than 6 p.m. January 3 in this format:
20, rue Inauguration
Space is limited and the offer will only be available to members of Democrats Abroad France.
Register now for the 23rd Living and Investing in France Real Estate Conference in New Orleans March 21-22, 2009, to make your dream to live and invest in France come true. Click here to learn more: frenchpropertyconference
A la prochaine…in 2009…
Editor, Parler Paris
P.S. We’ve helped myriads of people learn how to move to France and prosper. Knowing the ins and outs before you get here is key. Consultations can be done by phone, email or in person. Visit /parlerparis/ for more information.