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A Small Piece Of Paris Comes To New York City


August 26, 2002


I didn’t set out to raise a teenage daughter in Paris all by myself.
It just happened that way. When we (a family unit of three) moved to
Paris in 1994, our daughter was just-turned-nine-years-old and very
reluctant to start a new life in a strange place. We reassured her
with words like: "It’s not prison, you know…", "If you don’t like
it after 90 days we’ll leave…" and "You’ll thank us when you’re
older…" She didn’t buy any of it and it wasn’t until she turned 14
that she actually admitted to liking it here.

Like most U.S. expat parents, we worried about how our child would
acclimate to this new world, new language, new friends, new
rules…new everything. So, we enrolled her in a well-known bilingual
school where she met kids from around the world who were in the same
boat, learned French from the get-go and slowly discovered that doing
things differently wasn’t necessarily all that bad…or that great,

The transition from her Los Angeles liberal-thinking chartered public
school to a traditional French academic environment was even more a
shock for me than it was for her. Day one, we were given a lengthy
laundry list of specific school supplies to buy which cost about $200
at the local "papeterie." Week two, her English teacher told us about
their weekly "dictés," something I had never heard of, and, frankly,
couldn’t see the point of–how could taking dictation to be graded
for perfect spelling and punctuation possibly benefit my child, when
creativity was what I was seeking? And then at the end of the first
month, we heard about kids crying in class because the teacher of the
"adaptation" class regularly used humiliation and intimidation as a
way of "motivating" the kids.

The following year, we moved her to one of Paris’ few international
public schools where 25% of her classes were given in English. At the
end of her second year there, our family divided, and she and I moved
to another part of the city. She found herself, once again, in
another school, this time in an all French public school where she
was the only "double American" (both parents are American) among a
class of three hundred.

Then twelve-years-old, bilingual and acclimated fully to Parisian
life, she still hated living here and longed for sunny blue
Californian skies, soccer for girls, and afternoons at the beach. At
least once a week she’d blame me for bringing her here against her
will and every week I’d tell her that one of these days she’d thank
me for broadening her life experience and giving her the gift of a
second–and ultimately a third–language (starting with Junior High,
French kids study French, English and a third elected language).

The teenage years, being the toughest for most kids and parents, is
an even more frightening proposition as a single parent, especially
with very little financial security and no familial support. When it
came time to decide if we were going to stay in Paris or head back to
the States, where finding work would be easier and friends and family
were waiting in the wings, I chose to stay in Paris because, in many
ways, it is much more ideal for a single parent than living in the

First of all, public junior high schools in Los Angeles weren’t
ideal–40 kids to a class, no foreign language until high school,
metal detectors at the doors and of course, rampant with drugs. I had
also read that American kids have sex for the first time 18 months
earlier than their French counterparts; in Europe, France has 75%
less teenage pregnancies than Britain!

The only real solution in Los Angeles would have been to enroll her
in a private school and pay $10,000 a year or more for a quality
education; in France, she got that same quality education for

Secondly, until she could drive legally, I could envision 30% of my
time spent behind the wheel of a car, carpooling or "schlepping" her
from one activity to another. Then, the reality of a sixteen-year-old
behind the wheel of a car was terrifying. As a teenager in Paris, she
has had complete freedom thanks to the public transportation system
and that gives me freedom, too, especially knowing that Paris is a
very safe city, compared to most.

I am writing you from New York, where she is starting her new life at
the age of (not quite) seventeen at a U.S. university. Academically I
would guess she is about two years ahead of her U.S. counterparts.
With a baccalaureate degree and fluency in a foreign language, she
had a better chance of acceptance than most, too.

Her biggest concern now is how to keep up her level of French in this
all-English environment and if the course work will be challenging
enough. I’m certain that with all the international experience she’s
had in her young life, that she is way ahead of the game and I’m
jealous that I didn’t have the same jumpstart she’s had.

A la prochaine fois (back in the City of Light),


P.S. The Kaplan Center in Paris was instrumenta

l in helping my
daughter prepare for the (usually, but not always) required SAT exams
for U.S. college acceptance, especiall
y to improve her level of
English which was sadly lacking after so many years immersed in

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Parler Paris
Written and Edited by Adrian Leeds

Published by International Living
[email protected]

Issue Number 53, August 26, 2002

In this issue:

*** If You’re From One of These Thirteen States,
You Could Skip the Five-year Residency Rule
*** Everything You Need to Know to Make France Your Home
*** "You Will Never Find Such Extraordinary Values
Again in the South of France"
*** An Invitation From Paris’ Most Popular
French-English Conversation Group
*** One-on-one Consultation on Working and Living in France
*** French Officers Honor the United States and 9-11
*** Your Rights as an American Abroad

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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by Dale Novick

On April 30, 1803, one of the greatest real estate deals in history
took place. Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte decided to sell the Louisiana
Territories to the United States, following a series of complications
involving France, Great Britain and Spain. This was a great day for
Americans, and a great relief for Napoleon, who was recalling his
soldiers for impending war with the United Kingdom. Today,
repercussions from this 200-year-old real estate transaction can
benefit Francophiles born in the land mass known at the Louisiana

Lovers of France may be happy to learn about a little-known French
law that can speed the process of obtaining French citizenship. This
law applies to all people born in former French colonies or
territories the world over shortening the required time frame by five

Current French law states that all non-citizens have the right to
apply for French nationality once legal papers have been secured,
combined with a five-year residency in France. Legal papers include a
"visa de long séjour," or long stay visa, only obtainable from the
French consulate by applying in advance from their home country. This
allows the individual to begin the process to obtain a "carte de
séjour"(a residency permit valid for one year) within a week of their
arrival. There are several types of cartes de séjour, including
"visiteur," "étudiant," "scientifique"(researcher or university
lecturer) and "profession artistique et culturelle"(artists and
people in the arts).

For those readers actively pursuing living or working in France, this
information can be obtained from the "Insider Guide to Working and
Living in France: The Ins and Outs" by Rose Marie Burke, an
electronic guide published by International Living
( It
provides a wealth of information focusing on the problems facing
Americans to move to France, including more than 200 resourceful
Internet links.

For all people born in former French colonies, the five-year
residency provision is waived. In America, thirteen states or parts
of states have been carved out of the Louisiana Purchase Territory:
Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota,
Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Colorado and Montana.
This means that those born in parts of those states and others born
in Former French territories will be able to jumpstart the
bureaucratic process taking advantage of the waiver of the five-year
residency requirement. This law can be found in the Code Civil, La
Loi du Mars 1998–La Loi du 29 Décembre 1999, Article 21-19 (5).

According to Jean Taquet, a French jurist and associate member of the
Delaware Bar Association living in Paris, four major requirements,
among others, are necessary to start the citizenship process:

1) Arrive with legal papers: including a French visa, carte de
séjour, or carte de résident.

2) Live five years in France before applying for French citizenship
(this is the one the Louisiana Purchase exemption lets you skip)

3) One must prove co

mplete assimilation into a French community

4) "De bonnes vie et moeur
s"–One must be of good character (have no
criminal record)

The office of the Préfecture found in all French cities handles this
process. In proving assimilation into a French community, fluency in
French is desirable, and one is encouraged to read French newspaper
and magazines for the previous year. The authorities will be
assessing what types of local French community activities you are
involved in, and will expect you to talk about them. In France,
personal relationships are very important, cautions Taquet. The more
people one befriends, the easier the transition into a French

While the law states that native-born persons of the Louisiana
Purchase Territories are eligible to apply for citizenship
immediately after acquiring the right to reside in France, the
practicality of it is yet to be proved. We recommend securing the
assistance of legal counsel, such as Jean Taquet, and other
immigration attorneys.

Editor’s note: Dale Novick is a native of New Orleans who has a
passion for all things French. She teaches psychology at a college in
the New Orleans area when not writing about France, history or human
nature. She attended the Paris Writer’s Workshop in May, 2002. Dale
will talk more about the Louisiana Purchase residency exemption–and
the realities of obtaining such a citizenship–next week.

A regular contributor to Parler Paris, Jean Taquet is an expert on
French residency law and other related matters. He is the author of
the "Insider Guide to Practical Answers for Living in France,"
( and can be
reached by email at [email protected].

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If you’ve ever dreamed of having an apartment in the most beautiful
city in the world . . . or walking out your front door in the warm,
color-filled south of France where lavender flowers and grape vines
fill your front yard…then this is your opportunity to find out just
how accessible that life really is…

From October 18 to 21, 2002, the Paris Office of International Living
and Discovery Tours will host the first conference of its kind about
Working and Living in France.

During four power-packed days in Paris with over a dozen
professionals and experts you’ll learn about residency and employment
opportunities in the cultural heart of Europe. You’ll learn how you
can retire here, start your own business, work here or simply have a
second residence from which you can explore the rest of the European

It all begins in the City of Light…

For more information, click here:

* The conference includes dinner at CHEZ JENNY Friday, October 18th,
7:30 p.m. Open to Working and Living in France Conference
participants and their guests. Read more or sign up! at

Even if you’re not attending the Conference, you can still attend
these 3 special events:

OCTOBER 16th and 17th

Sunday, October 20th, 9 p.m.
To see the special menu and for more information, visit the site at:


For more information (if you’re in the U.S.) write to Barbara
Perriello at
mailto:[email protected]?subject=WorkLiveConf or call
toll-free at 1-800-926-6575.

If you’re in France, write to Schuyler Hoffman at
mailto:[email protected]?subject=WorkLiveConf or call
Paris at (0) 1 40 27 97 59.


Experience a peaceful, civilized way of life you may have thought no
longer existed…and discover the best property values in Europe when
you travel with IL Discovery Tours to
Languedoc-Roussillon, France, October 22-27, 2002.

Parts of the southern coast of France are well known throughout the
world. Mention the French Riviera, for instance, and casinos, yachts,
and the film festival at Cannes come to mind. Men

tion Provence, and
images of civilized country living are evoked. But on the same exact
coast, just to the west of Provence, is a region not o
ne in a
thousand travelers knows by name…

It has many of the same soul-restoring characteristics as
Provence–an unhurried pace, vineyards, ancient towns, and country
villas in the Mediterranean sun–but at a fraction of the price. This
fall, International Living will lead its first-ever tour of the
region, giving you the opportunity to get to know medieval French
towns and seaside villages far off the beaten track…and the last
great real estate values in the South of France.

The region I’m referring to is Languedoc-Roussillon. It runs along
the southern French coast from the foothills of the Pyrénées past the
peninsular village of Sète to the edge of Provence. It then stretches
northward, skirting the Rhône Valley to the east and terminates at
the mountainous rim of the Masif Central.

Within these borders are sunbaked golden plains…fields of almond
trees, sunflowers, olive groves and lavender…ports teeming with
North African trade…long stretches of unsullied beaches…and
vineyards that yield 40% of France’s wine production.

For more information–and photos of this largely-unknown region of
France–click here:


Paris’ most popular French-English conversation group invites you to
celebrate its new second location at Eurocentres for La Rentrée 2002
with LUNCH and a SAVINGS OF 10% on all memberships and renewals.

Come for conversation at 11 a.m. then stay for a light lunch. Make
new friends–get to know the members of Parler Parlor. Then sign up
or renew your old membership and save 10% that day.

It’s FREE AND OPEN TO EVERYONE! Saturday, September 21 at
EUROCENTRES: 13 passage Dauphine, 6TH (between rue Dauphine and rue

Reservations are REQUIRED. Call or email:
mailto:[email protected] or or


COPROM LANGUES, 14 rue La Fayette, 4th Floor, 9th arrondissement
Métro Chaussée d’Antin, Opéra, RER A Auber Tuesdays 6:30 to 8 p.m.,
Thursdays 6:30 to 8 p.m.

EUROCENTRES, 13 passage Dauphine, 6th arrondissement Métro Odéon,
Saint-Michel Wednesdays 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Saturdays 11 a.m. to
12:30 p.m.

* Both Coprom Langues and Eurocentres language schools offer courses
in French for those who need more structured instruction in basics
and grammar.

For more information, visit or email:
mailto:[email protected] or call: Elisabeth Crochard: tel. 01 44
19 76 61 or Adrian Leeds: tel. 01 40 27 97 59.


The International Living Paris Office offers consulting services to
assist you with every aspect of working and living, and renting or
buying an apartment in France.

* Working and Living in France Consultation

Let us help you get off on the right footing. We think creatively on
ways to maneuver through the system and make it work for you. We can
also refer you to other experts who can assist you further.

* Property Finding and Purchasing

We can help you find an apartment or home. We’ll introduce you to
real estate agents, lending institutions and banks, financial
advisors, notaires and attorneys, architects and contractors, and
apartment managers. We can even assist with setting up your utilities
(electric/gas, phone, cable, Internet).

To inquire about our services and fees, please contact Schuyler
Hoffman at
mailto:[email protected]?subject=Consutation



The next class to graduate as senior officers from the "Ecole
Supérieure" (school for senior reserved officers) in the French army
specialist reserve (ORSEM) will be "baptisée" "9-11." A statement
from the school made it public last Wednesday.

This choice, which has never be done before in the Army, is to
highlight three concerns: "the national cohesiveness is one of the
main answers to this type of war that attacks the country anytime and
anywhere"; "the necessity of a perfect match between the new Army
reserve and the latest radical changes in military strategy"; and
"the bonds of solidarity that exist between France, the National
Guard, and the American Army reserve who are working very hard to
fight terrorism."

The official christening of this class will occur Friday August 30,
2002 in the central square o

f the Military Academy in Paris, after
flowers are placed at the Arc de Triomphe. The school (ORSEM),
located inside this Military A
cademy, has been training reserved
officers for more than a century to enable them to serve in peace and
war time in France as well as abroad.


Meet new people who live in the Paris area when you attend the
A.A.R.O. (Association of Americans Residing Overseas) and Democrats
Abroad and Republicans Abroad. They are holding the first A,A.R.O.
Alliance Friday Soirée and all are welcome.

Meet members and leaders of the two political parties in Paris before
heading into the 2002 mid-term congressional elections.

Tom Rose, Doug Glucroft and Bob Pingeon will describe their
respective organizations. You can register to vote and hear about
your rights as Americans abroad, as well as listening to some savvy
opinions on the candidates and the races.

September 20th from 8 P.M. TO 11 P.M.
43 rue de Babylone, Paris 75007
5th floor, door code 9034.
Métro: Vaneau or St François Xavier
15 euro to eat, drink, and be merry
Please send your check to the A.A.R.O. OFFICE
34, Ave. de New York, Paris, 75116
A limited number of spaces will be available for 20 euro at the door
the night of the soiree.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Go to /parlerparis/

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


If you would like to have your message read by the subscribers of the
Parler Paris Nouvellettre®, please e-mail me at
mailto:[email protected]

If you have links about Paris or France and would like reciprocal
links, please e-mail me at mailto:[email protected]

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Know someone who would be interested in the opportunities in this
e-letter? Forward it to your friend, relative, or associate!

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If you’re not a regular reader of this e-letter, and would like to
be, simply enter your e-mail address here (it’s free):

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Go to:

Copyright 2002 Agora Ireland Publishing & Services Ltd.

TO: [email protected] OR GO TO OUR WEB INTERFACE


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