Being Seduced by France

It is true that much of my life in Paris looks like the pictures in this post. But behind the scenes there is a constant battle, where I regularly question myself in exactly why I fight so hard to stay. It only took me three months to get around to facing the reality and respond to Kasia Dietz‘s request for me to participate in her “Dream Life” series. There’s so much information on Paris out in the world, that I’ve always worked to keep my own voice – and keep it real (just check out my “Unglamorous Paris” column), and on top of it, I was in a state of limbo when she first asked. Although I could have written all about picnics and fresh pastries, I decided to respond with tales to the Préfecture (something that I often would like to erase from my memory).Last night I went to a great event at the American Library of Paris where author Elaine Sciolino presented her new book La Seduction: How The French Play the Game of Life. I loved the way that she talked about how France has the power to seduce in so many ways, and in a way that is not necessarily sexual, as the French have the ability to pursue pleasure in all aspects of life. Laughing all through the presentation, it was something that happened when I was getting my book signed that struck me most. The author asked me, so what are you doing in France? Are you here with your husband? It was just one further reminder of what I’ve been able to do in France – where I don’t always fit into their boxes – and how I’ve been able to stay here, on my own, breaking barriers and preconceptions along the way. I think Kasia did a wonderful job of setting the stage for my guest post with her introduction in the challenges we face living here. Yes, I live in France and I didn’t even marry a Frenchman…. Quite frankly, I think Paris has other means of seduction.


  • This and the guest post are wonderful. Like Kasia, I praise your ability to thrive in Paris, pursue your passions there, and navigate your way (successfully) through the sometimes nightmarish French bureaucracy. There’s no two ways about it. You rawk.

  • I read your post on Kasia’s blog, but I thought I’d respond here. I think you ARE living the dream life precisely because you’re doing it your own way. Yes, there are easier ways to live in Paris, but doesn’t it feel good to know that all your hard work and perseverance paid off? Now, the ultimate irony would be if you ended up marrying a Frenchman anyway, but you still have the bragging rights to say that you truly earned your visa. If I were you, those crazy months would make every little pleasure in Paris so much more magical.

  • Hi Anne! I’m so happy to have visited here today and to have read your post on Kasia’s site!!! I so admire your determination in living your dreams — la vie est belle! I have been considering the Global Communications program at AUP and, if it wouldn’t be to much of an imposition, I’d love to know more about your experience there.

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