Category Archives: Connecting with Others

Be in the Know

What’s the best way to stay up to speed on what’s going on in Paris? There’s no one answer but here are a few ideas that will put you on the road to being considered in the know.

Read the newspaper:   Obvious right? Or perhaps just hopelessly old-fashioned.  Even if your French skills are limited, scanning the paper, any paper, will do you good.   Le Parisien and France-Soir are easier to read than Libération and Le Monde.  Even better, pick up one of the free papers available at your neighborhood métro station.   I don’t know for sure but it seems like these papers (Métro, Direct Matin, and 20 Minutes) are written for about a 5th grade literacy level.   If nothing else, you should pick up Le Figaro on Wednesdays when it includes the entertainment insert, Figaroscope.  And if you can’t read a word of French, try the on-line English language entertainment guide, Paris Update.

Follow Paris blogs:  It doesn’t matter whether you just surf on over every now and then for a visit or subscribe to a feed.  Just make it a point to take of the advantage of their wisdom and knowledge of upcoming events.  Particularly good bets are Paris by Mouth, Secrets of Paris and Paris Weekends.

Pay attention to posters:  The city of Paris sponsors many festivals and it seems like every weekend, there’s some kind of  fete with themes as wide ranging as gardening, food and wine, music, art, cinema, sport, and, biodiversity.  In addition, there are frequent expositions at the large convention centers at Porte de Versailles and Porte de Champerret; these feature vendors, demonstrations, and all manner of activities on a single theme:  interior design, manga, independent vintners, automobiles, and yes, of course, chocolate.

Make friends:   Two heads are definitely better than one.  Tap into the expertise of colleagues, parents of your kids’ friends, fellow parishioners, and other members of expat organizations like the American Women’s Group, WICEthe American Chamber of CommerceParis Alumnae/i Network, and MESSAGE.   And take a look at Meetup Paris, an online forum that helps folks connect with others who have similar interest, whether that’s forming a playgroup for babies or playing rugby.

A Meeting Near You

Good news folks.  Don’t think that just because you have made the move to France that there isn’t a support system for you.  There are a number of 12 step programs with a presence in Paris; some even have English language options.  Here’s where to find a meeting near you:

English language meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous: Up to six meetings daily with the exception of August when the number of options thins.

Al Anon and Alateen:  Four meetings weekly in English.

Saturday, 5-6:30 pm
American Church
62, quai d’Orsay, 75007 Paris
Métro: Invalides or Alma-Marceau

Monday, 8-9:00 pm
Wednesday, 7-8:30 pm
Thursday,  12:15-1:45 pm
Scots Kirk
17bis, rue Bayard, 75008 Paris
Métro: Franklin D. Roosevelt

Gamblers Anonymous: One meeting weekly

Tuesday at 8:00 pm
Anteus Café
46 rue Galilée, 75016 Paris
(just ask at the counter, they will show you the meeting room)
Métro: Etoile or Kleber

English language meetings of Narcotics Anonymous:  One meeting weekly.

Monday at 8:00 pm
St. Georges Anglican Church
7, rue Auguste Vacquerie, 75016 Paris
Métro : Kleber or Etoile

Overeaters Anonymous:  At least one meeting daily.

Resources

Directory of  12 step groups in Paris (in French)

Making Personal Connections

by Lindsey Tramuta

From newly arrived Franco-Anglo couples, adventure-seeking Francophiles, work-related transplants or optimistic students searching for excitement and romance, the Parisian expat community is rapidly growing. For students it’s easy to meet locals and other expats through the university system and events organized by Erasmus which bring together young people from diverse backgrounds. For parents, it’s not very difficult to meet other child-bearing adults – with the Anglophone mothers organization, MESSAGE;  the American Women’s Group  (of which I am the youngest member, and is open to non-Anglophones):  the American Church  and the American Cathedral; and la crèche (day care); the whole  “how-do-I-make-friends-in-a-new-city” quandary becomes a great deal less complicated. But what about the rest of us? How do people who don’t fall into one of these categories meet people?

My situation is a bit complicated since I initially came to Paris as a student, then worked, then was a grad student, an intern, married a Frenchman, and now am working full time. For me, I’ve made friends along the way – either through school, internships or through my current job. But school friendships are tainted by the fact that most of the friendships I made would change once they left Paris. I knew I would be staying, but some of my friends were only set to stay a year or two. It’s a sad reality of being an expat. So instead of limiting myself to professional or academic contacts, I got onto twitter, which presented a whole new group of expats just waiting to reach out. Through social media, I’ve made a handful of new friends – some from England, some from the States – all of whom were more than willing to meet for a drink and take down the virtual barrier. It’s funny, you’d never meet a stranger off of Facebook but twitter is somehow acceptable.

As I said, I am also the youngest member of the American Women’s Group where the 20 and 30 something membership is building. The women are unbelievably gracious and enjoy meeting others of all ages. In combination with twitter, my friends from my master’s program, internships and from the organization, I have found a solid group that I feel close to.  I have constructed a life in Paris that is, I must say, is as gratifying if not more so than my life from the States.

I suggest that all expats join twitter and start reaching out to the many Francophile and expat tweeters who are open to new connections. It was the best time-suck I could’ve introduced into my life.

Lindsey Tramuta is the creator of Lost In Cheeseland.  She is a Paris transplant from Philadelphia, married to a Frenchman and on a permanent quest to understand the idiosyncrasies of the French. In real life, she is in charge of marketing & communications for an online multi-brand boutique.  Follow Lindsey on twitter.