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Living, Working, Teaching in France: Best Resources for Meeting the French and Learning about France and Paris,

Updated on January 22, 2011

The Best Online Resources to Introduce You to Life in France

Links to the best online resources for planning to live, work, teach in Paris and elsewhere in France. How to meet people, make connections, learn the French language, culture and history. Find information about Paris, France and other parts of Europe. Be an informed expat when you get there.

Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe

Comments on The Paris Blog

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

Comment on Working Women in Paris

This is a long, frank article (from the 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.

Comment on Recommendations for African-Americans Going to France

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

This person must work on the Ile de la Cité, which, with the law courts, Ste Chapelle Church, Notre Dame and the huge Hotel Dieu (Mansion of God) hospital is very much "ground zero" of Paris. Also, if anyone reading this is a fan of George Simenon's Inspector Maigret novels, movies and tv series, this is the location of the Prefecture of Police. Obviously, it's one of the safest places in Paris-if the police and law courts don't protect you at least you have a great hospital and renown churches at your elbow. I envy anyone working on this island in the center of Paris. It's touristy, but not obnoxiously so, and the traffic is kept to a minimum. By the way, this island was the beginning of Paris, being inhabited by the Parisi tribe that started the place. I once stayed in a great apartment next to the Place Dauphin (it's been a park for a thousand years, literally) and the logistics were great, handy to every part of Paris. The only drawback was the noise of the tour boats going by on the river-I was waiting for them to call out my name as a noted inhabitant, but they never did. Also, living in the center of Paris there is an amazing, constant hum, like the background radiation of the universe. And, finally, it strikes you, this hum is the sum of all the noise frequencies in all of Paris within ear range. Spooky.

Comments on the List of Expatriat Clubs and Associations for Americans in Paris

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

"The official site for English speakers in France"

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."

Comments on the European Space Agency List of Useful Sites for English Speakers

In Paris, in all France and in other countries such as Germany or Italy, this list provides some basic places to connect for housing, tax info, education, travel routes, etc. Contains information other sites may not. If you plan to travel around Europe and perhaps to stay a while, this site will give you some connections and ideas that may be unique.

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.

France: Not a Bad Place To Work

Comparisons of hours worked per year. Despite a rate of economic productivity sometimes higher than in the U.S., France has a policy to offer workers more time with their families and for vacation.
Comparisons of hours worked per year. Despite a rate of economic productivity sometimes higher than in the U.S., France has a policy to offer workers more time with their families and for vacation.

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