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Living, Loving, Learning: An American Photographer on Starting a New Life in Paris

HiP Paris blog. Living, Learning, Loving. A bride viewed from the top of a Parisian spiral staircase. Photo by Marjorie Preval.

I don’t come from a family of explorers, travelers, or adventurers. My wanderlust has definitely been a learned trait, something that I’ve discovered after spending countless hours Google searching destinations I wished to visit. Needless to say, my parents were a bit shocked when I told them that I had bought tickets for my daughter Kailin and me to move to Paris the winter of 2011. My mother’s concern was that I “didn’t know a soul in all of France,” my dad’s was that I wouldn’t survive without knowing the language.

Armed with their endless words of advice and a handful of helpful phrases, such as “s’il vous plait, aidez-moi trouver les toilettes”(thanks dad !), my then four year-old and I boarded our very first trans-Atlantic flight to the City of Light. I wasn’t prepared for the anxiety attack I would have midway through our redeye, or how much I would fall head over heels once I’d arrived. In a penthouse apartment situated right across from Sacré-Cœur, how could I not fall in love with all that Paris had to offer me?

HiP Paris blog. Living, loving, learning in Paris. One of Paris' most distinctive features: its rooftops. Photo by Marjorie Preval.

HiP Paris blog. Living, loving, learning in Paris. Take a seat and have a moment with Lady Eiffel. Photos by Marjorie Preval.

I cannot pinpoint the exact moment where all was lost for me and Paris, but maybe it was when an elderly man chased Kailin and me down Place Saint-Pierre, initially to my inherent alarm, only to tell me that all of the carousels in Paris were free during the Christmas season and that I should take Kailin to the one at the bottom of Sacré-Cœur post-haste. No one did that in New York and the experience in Paris sealed my fate.

HiP Paris blog. Living, loving, learning in Paris. Over rivers and rooftops. Photo by Marjorie Preval.

Whenever people ask me why I decided to move to Paris, I tell them that I needed to experience something different and to feel something new, but the truth is, I felt an evident pull of my heart. Something drew me to Paris and I did not stand a chance against it. But with any huge move one makes, the amount of planning and research that went into it seemed dauntingly endless. The decision didn’t come entirely easy for me; it was the doubt and heavy anxiety that made things difficult. That and being scammed out of an apartment and losing over 800 euros, but that’s another story. The choice to move here was one of the greatest choices I’ve made so far, and my daughter and I love discovering all this city has to show us.

HiP Paris blog. Living, loving, learning in Paris. Dreamy greenery. Photo by Marjorie Preval.

HiP Paris blog. Living, loving, learning in Paris. The Eiffel Tower peeking over the hedges. Photo by Marjorie Preval.

I love our daily trips to our local boulangerie, where the ladies try to cram sweets into Kailin’s hand before I have to push her out of the shop. I love that we can spend endless hours walking, only to discover new favorite locations. But what I love most of all is how much Paris feels like home to us now. Of course there are days that make me question why I’m doing it, but usually those are short-lived. Wherever we travel to now, we always look forward to returning to our new home base.

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HiP Paris blog. Living, loving, learning in Paris. Mystical light over the Grand Roue and the Eiffel Tower as seen from the Tuileries. Photo by Marjorie Preval.

Written by Marjorie Preval for the HiP Paris Blog. All photos by Marjorie Preval. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.

 

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Written by Marjorie Preval

Marjorie PrevalMarjorie Preval is an international fine art wedding and fashion photographer, originally from Queens, New York. She followed her heart and relocated to Paris with her nine year-old daughter nearly two years ago.

Website: Marjorie Preval

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Posted in Parisian Living | 8 Comments »

8 Responses to “Living, Loving, Learning: An American Photographer on Starting a New Life in Paris”

  • Aviva says:

    Good for you! I see that you arrived in winter. We’re contemplating something similar with our four-year old. Were you able to enroll your daughter in maternelle mid-year? If so, how did that go? Apologies if the answer is in another post I haven’t read yet.
    Thanks!

  • Ashley says:

    Good for you! I moved to Provence, France 2 years ago and i don’t regret it but i wish i had moved to a city first. I feel like it eiuld be easier to integrate and practice French rather than being in the countryside.

  • WendyRG says:

    I have done fairly long trips to Europe over the years and this past May, my husband and I rented an apartment in Paris for the entire month. A big part of me regrets not having moved to Paris in my twenties. I’m sure I would be there still, had I done it. Good for you, following your wonderful dream. Paris is truly the most wonderful place in the world!

  • Yanique says:

    Marjorie this resonates so much with me and so many women. Even after living here for 9 years with a child life simply keeps getting sweeter with all the trials too.

    You’re such a beautiful fearless soul.

    Thank you for sharing and showing that we can step out on faith away from fear. `per usual your photos are so dreamy and makes me love Paris more and more though your eyes.

    Thank you! 🙂 <3

  • Kate says:

    Bonjour! Your story is an inspiration. 🙂 Two years ago, I quit my job and went to live in Paris for 3 months. It was the best thing I’ve ever done. Exhilarating, scary, fulfilled my soul. I wished I could have made it longer than three months, but just so happy I seized the opportunity. Reading your story compels me to do it again, except forever. ?

  • Marjorie says:

    Hello Candice,

    Thanks so much for the kind words! I’m sure you know, making such a big move is very difficult but it was all worth it!

  • Shaleen says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. I visited Europe for the first time this summer and loved London and Caen the most. It’s been a dream of mine to live in Europe and your story is most encouraging.

  • My husband and I visited Buenos Aires Argentina on a holiday. When we came home he asked me if I would like to live there … we moved to live in Argentina, a few months later. We lived there for 7 years.
    I am back in the US and miss Buenos Aires every day.
    So I kind of know how you feel , felt 🙂
    I am so happy for you and your daughter . Not so many people are so brave and strong .. wishing you happiness always.
    C

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