Living, Working, Teaching in France: Best Resources for Meeting the French and Learning about France and Paris,
The Best Online Resources to Introduce You to Life in France
The Paris Blog
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The Paris Blog is one of the best!!! Day by day, happening by happening posts (in English) by women and men about their lives in and around Paris (and sometimes Venice, et cetera). I can't recommend this blog enough. You get a very real feel for the city. Look at it if you're thinking of going to Paris or if you just want to live vicariously as if you were in the middle of all the noise and joy of that humming city.
If you like independent films, you'll enjoy the independent reviews of them that you'll find from time to time in The Paris Blog. There are fashion tips appropriate for Paris as well as comments on art, celebrities and food. The posts are by many different people with different interests, skills and experiences (something like hubpages.com).
Working Women in Paris
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This is a long, frank article (from the parisfranceguide.com site) by an American women who is working is Paris. It is blunt, frank, and complete. If you are a woman contemplating working in Paris, it could answer many of your questions about work, values, gender relationships.
For example, the author quotes her own and others observations that French society is much more dedicated to what we in the U.S. call family values. For example, the usual maternity leave in America is about six weeks. In France it is sixteen weeks of paid leave and after the third child it goes up to twenty-six weeks.
On the downside, there are fewer women in France at the top rungs of politics and corporations. In part, this is because of choices of long time-outs for family on the part of French women.
Within the work situation, life can be quite difficult for foreign women since diplomas from certain French schools have the highest regard for advancement. (I have a feeling that's true in the U.S. and is not terribly unreasonable since the people who hire know much more about their native schools than they do about those abroad.)
It might take a little time for an American (or other non-Mediterranean) woman to get an intuitive understanding of the by-play between sexes in France. There is much more simple flirtation, flattery and non-purposeful seduction (not meant to get someone actually in bed) in France than there is in Anglo-Saxon countries (which, for the French include the U.S.). I read someplace that compared to other countries such as the U.S., the French are much less promiscuous. It might take some doing, especially in a foreign language, to understand the intentions and limitations of flirting in France. But I would advise that it is very necessary to do so because of the huge difference in gender relations compared to the U.S.
Anyway, read this fascinating article.
Recommendations for African-Americans Going to France
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This is a very large site suggesting books, films, etc., covering race relations, French colonial history, French popular culture and the history of African-American expatriats in Paris, past and present.
This site is divided among the categories of historical books, such as those dealing with the jazz age in Paris; books dealing with the political and social history and present condition of France; learning the French language; and social and cultural understanding and misunderstandings. I would stay away from the dated and biased book, Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong (I may be biased, I read it on the recommendation of an old girl friend and dropped both her and the book.) I'd replace it with a more recent (2005) and much better book called Surprised by France:What to expect when yoiu least expect it! Which is full of real surprises. See it in my Amazon list in this hub.
My Walk to Work in Paris
My Walk to Work in Paris
List of Expatriate Clubs and Associations for Americans in Paris
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For world travelers, this is a great site to bookmark since it links you to English-speaking organizations all over the world ready to welcome you and ease your introduction and stay in a foreign country. I have linked to the France pages (to search in other nations just go to the home page of the site) and there are many resources cited. The interests served are marvelously varied, from the American Chamber of Commerce to the MeetinParis "laid-back", "non-pickup" event club, from the International Women's Club of Paris to the WICE volunteer language and cultural courses and events association. I especially recommend WICE as a good base start, especially for women (the acronym originally stood for Women's Institute for Continuing Education-a much narrower idea than what the group now stands for). WICE is for men and women and hosts a large number of activities from bilingual conversation to book groups and nature walks-all without cost, though there are some workshops and courses which require a payment. There are art exhibits and current events forums at WICE. It's a great place to meet people (over 30 different nationalities are represented in the membership). You needn't be alone and at loose ends in Paris.
Comment on parisfranceguide.com
This guide is just what it says it is, an amazingly complete guide for English-speakers who live or are thinking of living in Paris. It leaves you no excuse to be bewildered by the city. It includes such fascinating information as "Getting divorced in France," "Fashions in France," "Buying a second hand car" (this can be extremely useful informations),"Buying property," and "Curing homesickness in France."
A Thin But Useful List of Sites for English-Speakers in Many European Countries
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Book recommendations for preparing to live in Paris
The French Have Long Vacations but Make Up for That By Working Productively
The chart below provides a comparison of hours worked per year. France, which has a rate of productivity sometimes higher than the United States has a policy of allow its workers to take five or more weeks a year as paid vacation. Despite this, I have to say, the French consume more anti-depressants per person than any other country. Maybe that's because there are a lot of psychotherapists available and treatment is part of national health insurance as is the prescribed medication. Psychotherapy, in my observation, is just a more prevalent and acceptable practice in France than perhaps it is in the United States or in Germany. A negative effect of the long vacations is that they are mostly taken at the same time: Paris is pretty empty in August, for example. When school vacations begin in the summer, it sometimes appears as if French living in the north are all trying to drive on the same overburdened autoroutes to get to the south, like a horde of hedonistic lemmings. They are trying to get to the French or Spanish Mediterranean beaches. In any case, the long weeks of vacation are part of the French life style and in return the people work extremely hard knowing that it is their efforts which are needed to keep their relative small country a top player in Europe and the world.