The Number One American Dream is…to Live in France
I might be living in France, but I’m still an American. It certainly doesn’t make me a traitor to have left my native country, nor does it mean I’m disinterested in what takes place there. In fact, in many ways, I find myself even more concerned than I ever was when I was living there and just accepting life for what it was without knowing anything different.
When you remove yourself from your own natural habitat and experience something very different, such as living in a foreign country as we “expatriates” have, you learn even more about yourself and your own country than the new one you’re experiencing. At least, this is what I have discovered. It has given me a chance to compare how life differs in these two places, or even compare them with other places in the world. It’s the reason that I very often write about those discoveries, as it fascinates me that we humans can be so different based on the infinite numbers of elements that influence our lives and our perceptions.
These thoughts have come to mind while I watch the impeachment trial of President Trump on CNN and France 24, in English. CNN offers an in-depth look from an American point of view, while France 24, the national news channel of France, offers a look at what’s taking place inside America, from France’s point of view. I watch them both and compare. France 24’s take on the ordeal is less biased and less emotional than CNN — which is currently involved in a lawsuit against Donald Trump for wrongfully revoking their chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta’s press credentials, in violation of the First Amendment right to freedom of the press and Fifth Amendment right to due process. That’s just one of the many contentions between the two parties and so, while CNN prides itself on being unbiased, others, such as Ad Fontes Media, believe “unbiased news doesn’t exist.”
Even I am a part of that bias. Clearly, I write based on my own findings and opinions and that’s one reason you read our “Nouvellettres®.” You want to either agree and find comfort in knowing someone else shares your thoughts, or you read to disagree and find fault. I know because you share those opinions with me and it’s clear when my words push your readers’ proverbial buttons. Watching the proceedings on both TV channels and pulling articles from the New York Times (another medium proud of its unbiased reporting), along with other media, such as “The Local,” France’s news in English online, is what has me pondering these questions.
According to The Local, in an article from November 2019 (updated from when it first appeared in 2016), Americans have been leaving the U.S. for France for many, many years. We were certainly not the first, nor will we be the last. According to the INSEE (Institut National de la Statistique et des Études Économiques), there are about 31,000 Americans permanently living in France. Everyone agrees, however, that there is more than three times that number because not every American is registered and not everyone lives here full time. For the number of those living in France full or part-time, my bet is there are 100 times those who dream of living in France but haven’t yet taken the plunge.
It’s not surprising to learn that the bulk of the American contingency in France is right here in Paris. I call it being “Paris-centric,” as about one-third of all Americans in France have settled themselves in the City of Light. There are lots of valid reasons for that explored by The Local’s article, all of which I am in agreement with. I was surprised to learn, however, that the second most populated area of France by Americans is the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes in central France, home to France’s second-largest city Lyon. (I never would have guessed!) The third most desirable area for Americans is the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, which I personally see growing by leaps and bounds. Our client base to assist Americans in moving to Nice and its environs has jumped considerably since I first started living part-time there in 2012. I’m not surprised, given its attributes, many of the same that Paris offers, but with better weather and a more relaxed lifestyle!
Americans living in France have their own bias. They are as like-minded as the media that sits left of center. Generally speaking, they are well-educated, well-traveled, risk-taking, who have bravely broadened their horizons, and as a result their viewpoints. They are living in a socialist democracy that illustrates how balancing socialism and capitalism can work, sometimes better, sometimes worse. Experiencing both worlds has made them open-minded and less conservative than their brethren who never left home. They watch the impeachment trial and proceedings as I do, with the same set of eyes as France 24.
From what I can see, since the Senate voted to deprive itself of witnesses and documents, then the entire Senate is guilty of Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Justice, not just Donald Trump. And I can tell you that it makes me very sad that American politics has reached such an all-time low, and very happy that I’m living the number one American dream…to live in France!
A la prochaine…
Adrian Leeds Group
(an American in France)
P.S. We’re looking for a loft or atelier style property in Paris in which to tape a House Hunters International episode — valued between 350,000€ and 400,000€. If you have such a property or know of one, please contact me. Merci!