Just an American woman in Paris on the vacay of a lifetime, re-evaluating her life and looking for new experiences.

12 thoughts on “About”

  1. Bonjour – I know about you from TA, where I’m known as “pattyinparis”. Just wanted to say that I think your experience should be required reading for those who want to “live like a local” – especially single women planning to stay for a month or longer, and most especially in the Summer.

    Many people think this is a grand idea – especially with young kids – but most are ready to jump on the next plane back home after about a week of unfamiliar food, hauling groceries, endless stairways, and lack of other creature comforts. It’s not what it’s cracked up to be, and I will be glad when this apartment mania finally comes to an end. Some people, like you, have the right idea – but the others should stay home in the Barca-lounger!

    It seemed that you came to Paris prepared to “just tough it out”, and hit a few rough spots – but I was impressed with how well you managed to figure things out and do what you came here to do, which was see and make art.
    So, “felicitations”!

    And just so you know, for your next visit, those “cabbage roses” are peonies – “pivoines” en francais.
    au revoir,

    • Why, thank you, Patty, so much. Some of it was difficult, but I feel good that I still managed to navigate. Really, any experience like that, you do have to just resolve to “tough it out,” which was a little scary because I did not know a soul in Paris. Even if there were an emergency with the apartment, it generally took 3-4 days to get a hold of the landlords.

      Many things about Paris are amazing, but some things are not. I tried to be as honest and as helpful as I could, and I was definitely going for the “required reading” angle. Toughest thing was my limited grasp of French, despite three months of Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone prior to leaving. It’s a whole different game when you’re actually speaking with real French people.

      Overall, I had an amazing time, but future visits to Paris will be in May, June or September. I’ll be avoiding the steamy months and also the many business closures in August. I have about 20 more entries to write, but unfortunately upon my return I caught a bad cold on the plane and then my favorite aunt died. I plan to get back on it soon. Palais Tokyo absolutely must be reviewed, ha!, including my collapse into giggles at the octopus exhibit.

      I wondered if those flowers were peonies, but it seemed too late in the year for them and they had no fragrance. Here in Detroit, peonies bloom in mid May and always smell divine. Thanks for the tip!

      All the best to you! Do you live in Paris permanently?

  2. I moved here in 2008 – now they will have to take me out of here in a box! I do go back to the US, usually for a short trip once a year, but suffer from acute “decent bread deprivation”, so can’t wait to get back here.
    The peonies in the summer come from far away – I’m thinking South Africa? – which might explain the lack of scent. Normally, they will perfume a whole room.
    I usually only leave Paris for the Christmas/New Year’s holidays, when I go to London (where things are much more cheerful), or in April, when I head briefly for New Orleans (If you think Paris was hot…).

    Anyway, if you feel like it, send me a message the next time you’re in Paris, and we can try to find a decent cup of coffee.
    a la prochaine,

    • Patty,

      🙂 The bread in Paris is divine, truly. I rarely eat it at home, but in Paris, I did indulge in it a lot. Especially the pain au chocolat.

      Jealous that you live there permanently. I would love to move to Paris, but it seems like it would be difficult to find a job until my French improves. And then there are all those other issues, like what happens to future finances and retirement plans, etc., if you pick up and move to another country. Plus … I’d miss my family and friends.

      Yes, I’ve been to New Orleans, but in April, for the Jazzfest. I’d say the weather was comparable to Paris in July. 90-95 degrees F, 100% humidity.

      I’m hoping to get back to Paris next spring; if so, I’d love to meet for coffee. I did find a great cup of coffee in the 9th at the bistro Odette and Aimée, on Rue Maubeuge, 🙂

  3. Yep, you definitely do not want to try to work here – unless you manage to get sent here by a US company (including having your housing arranged, etc), it is impossible to find anything legal that pays a living wage. Wait until you retire, sell everything you own, and when you are ready to leave everything and everyone you love…then, you might think about moving here! That’s what I did, but I do not recommend it to everyone – as you found out, even a couple of months of living here is difficult. It really doesn’t get easier until you’ve toughed it out for 5 years, or so. But in my case, Katrina was a huge mitigating factor, so – voila!

    Thanks for the coffee tips in the 9th – I’m always on the lookout for something decent in that part of town. I was in the restaurant business most of my life, so am pretty hard to please, on that score. There’s a whole lot of really bad food in Paris, especially these days. It’s funny that people rent apartments with the notion that they will actually be able to cook like Julia – and save money. I think most of them end up eating pizza and pastries, instead of trying to decipher labels and appliances, as you managed to do.

    Enough rambling – do keep me in mind for your next visit. Hope winter in Detroit is not too terrible – I have a friend who lives there, and she and her husband always manage to come to Paris, where it’s warmer…
    a la prochaine

  4. Kathi Brotemarkle said:

    Hi Seriously Paris! Just found your blog on Trip Advisor and am enjoying reading about my favorite city. My husband and I will be making our 3rd trip this September for 2 weeks. Hopefully next time it will be for a month…or two! We are getting started with Home Exchange and have arranged exchanges in Mexico and Hawaii. Nobody in Paris was interested in traveling in Sept, the only time it would work for us this year. We have had many requests for trading in August though so it looks like we would have no trouble trading homes with Parisians for the months of July and August as we have a lovely home in the Napa Valley one our north of San Francisco. My question for you…what is it like being in Paris in August? I have been told to avoid that month as many businesses and restaurants are closed since many Parisians leave for the month. I have only been there in May and October so I am not sure what July and August would be like. Would love to hear your thoughts on Paris in August. Thanks! Kathi

    • Kathi, sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner. Been pretty busy. I’ve written a few posts about Paris in August; I’d suggest you use the search function and read them. I’d say half the town is closed. If you’re only going for a week and just want to hit the tourist attractions, you’ll mostly be fine. The public museums are all open. There are also plenty of restaurants open (though about half are closed). But … the Opera is closed, Maxim’s is closed, I believe Folies Bergere and Moulin Rouge don’t perform, the art schools are closed, etc. 95% of the bakeries are closed! On the up side, the museums are a lot less crowded and the weather, at least last summer, was great. July was hot and the tourist crush was a zoo. Also, there’s basically no air conditioning in Paris, so there’s no escape. My apartment was on the 6th floor, and I was melting! Personally, I would LOVE to go to Paris in May, June or September. Those will be my preferred months for a return. Please let me know if I can answer anything else.

      • Glad to help. Forgot to mention that most of the small retail stores are closed in August, too. When you return from Paris, drop me a note and tell me how it went. I wish I could go back this year, but I don’t think the budget will allow. I’m wondering if I should look into those exchanges myself, though I doubt that they’ll be lining up to come to lovely Detroit, ha. I do live in a beautiful suburb, but … nonetheless, we’re not really a tourist destination. Summers here are lovely, though. Can you recommend an exchange service? I have a friend in San Diego who might be interested.

  5. Kathi Brotemarkle said:

    Thank you for taking the time to reply. Everything you have said confirms what I have always heard. We will be in Sept. for 2 weeks this September and I am really looking forward to ti. The first time, many years ago, was in May, also lovely. Many home exchangers in Paris (and Europe in general) want to trade for my Napa Valley home in July and/or August. I really do not want to travel to Europe those months, unless it is to Norway or Denmark, and we also love to be home those months since it is so beautiful here. I will keep looking fro exchangers who have more flexibility with their vacation dates so we can avoid August. Thank you! Kathi

  6. Kathi Brotemarkle said:

    We are using Home Exchange .com There are many others. Someone recommended Intervac for European exchanges.

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