Some would say that I had been manifesting our move to Paris for years. I fell in love with the Eiffel Tower when I first saw it at 9 y ears old. I kept begging my husband to plan a trip to Paris so we could kiss all around the city . And I had numerous items of Parisian decor in our home.
We finally planned our trip to Paris to visit our own wedding photographer, and we had an amazing time. Her and her husband showed us all of the charming parts of Paris. A couple of weeks after returning home to the U.S., a comment was made in gest to her by my husband saying that we had thought of what it would be like to live in Paris many times since our trip. She immediately replied and said, “Do it!!” She was wanting to grow her business and was prepared to take on extra help. We thought about it for a few weeks, creating all kinds of pros and cons lists and how this crazy notion could actually become a reality.
Obviously , we said yes! However, our friend and her husband ended up having to return to the states for work, so she basically left us the business with a big bow not wanting to see it simply disappear after all she
had put into it.
Almost 5 years later, (where in the world does time go?!) we’re still here running L’amour de Paris.
Why is Paris so special to you?
Paris is special to me because it’s made me grow in ways I didn’t know I needed to grow. Living here is constantly forcing me out of my comfort zone time and time again.
Being able to make this kind of move and transition also made us feel like we could truly accomplish anything we put our minds to, so we tend to be more persistent when we hit the inevitable road blocks of life.
Tell us about 3 most exciting places to visit in Paris…
Our trip to Paris in 2015 to visit Stacy was actually our second trip to France, but the first time was a whirlwind European vacation — trying to see everything as though we’d never return. We honestly felt a little let down by Paris at the time, but it was because we painted a very different picture in our minds of how the trip would go. We love to eat, and by fault of our own, our schedule just wasn’t conducive to fitting in a Michelin restaurant while we were here because we didn’t plan in advance to have reservations etc.
During our time in France for that first trip abroad we visited Beaune, France in the Burgundy wine region. We stayed at an incredible Bed and Breakfast where we immediately fell in love with the hosts because they were so warm and welcoming. We didn’t speak any French at the time, and they didn’t speak any English, yet we still bonded. We call them our adopted French grandparents.
Fast forward to the second visit in France, and we decided we had to return to visit them again, and I can tell you this visit forever changed our lives. Do you ever keep going back somewhere for the people, and not necessarily the location? This time we knew a few more words in French, and we were all armed with Google Translate on our phones this time, so between that and playing charades we were able to communicate quite well. Well, they ended up inviting us into their home for lunch. It turned into a very traditional lunch — beautiful table cloth and silverware, multiple courses, and multiple bottles of wine shared amongst the four of us. The moments that occurred at that table were so perfect they felt like they were made for a movie! I had to pinch myself to believe this was my life I was living! Literally as we played La Vie en Rose on one of our phones, tears of joy filled my eyes.
We weren’t sure why that day was so incredible and amazing, but we knew that it felt life-changing and that it would lead us somewhere, someday, somehow. And again, we left there knowing that we had to see them again. Our lives had been enriched immensely from our brief time with them. So when the opportunity to move to Paris fell into our laps, we knew looking back that they had a played a role in us taking the leap of faith. And we have been back to see them… in fact, I think it’s time for another trip soon!
Your favourite Parisian Brands
Oh wow! That’s a tough one. With the move to France and smaller living space, we definitely live a more minimalist lifestyle, but as I mentioned before, we do share the love and respect of food that is prevalent in French culture. Some of our favorite delicacies are macarons from Laduree or eclairs from L’Eclair de Genie, hot chocolate from Angelina... We’ve also been fortunate enough to enjoy some very nice meals at some of the finest Michelin restaurants, with our meals at L’Arpege and Ledoyen ranking as some of our favorites ever.
Anything funny that happened to you in Paris…
The rules are ever-changing for what is permitted on the Champs de Mars for Fete Nationale. We always plan a pretty big spread, but we’re always nervous about wine bottles being confiscated, etc. (We have since learned it’s best to pour your wine into plastic because it is the glass they do not want inside the barriers.)
At the wider perimeter checkpoint a couple of years ago, my husband advised that myself and my friend take the big market cart through as we may have better luck with the guy checking. He’s running his metal detector wand along the bag and it’s beeping (unbeknownst to me at the time, my husband had put metal, spiral glass holders in the bag). Nervously hoping he wouldn’t insist on going through the entire bag, I tell him, “C’est juste fromage.” It’s just cheese! 🙂 As if the market cart that’s half my size is completely filled with cheese. We still laugh about that one to this day.
What do you like and don’t like about living in Paris?
Let’s see, I love not having a car. I enjoy the fact that there are many modes of transportation easily available. We’ve even recently begun using the trottinettes more. We also love the fresh markets and all the specialty stores.
I don’t like that I’m so far from my family, but video chat calls help immensely. We also could do without strike season, but acknowledge that many times it does serve a purpose and those striking generally get results.
What is on in Paris that is worth a visit?
We adore the area of Montmartre, but being from New Orleans, the small streets have a charm that reminds us of home. It’s also the artists area, so it always feels alive, and it’s always a great place to people watch. We also love the free rooftop views at Galeries Lafayette and picnics in any of the parks, but we especially love the Tuileries and Jardin du Luxembourg.
What would be your advice to anyone who wants to settle down in Paris?
Hmmm…if they aren’t French and they have to go through the visa process, I would tell them to be patient and prepare themselves mentally first that it will be challenging. There will be points that it feels impossible, but you simply have to regroup and find a solution. And sometimes that solution is convincing other people to help you. Even five years later we have to do this sometimes, but we’re more prepared for it now, and understand much better how to navigate through it all. The biggest thing though, if you really want it, don’t give up!
When my husband was doing some research for the Best Man’s toast at his best friend’s wedding, he came across a Napoleon quote that goes something like, “in victory or defeat, we drink champagne!” This has become our French motto! And trust me, there have been bottles popped for both occasions!
Thank you Chey Anne for sharing your Parisian Story with us!
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