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Another Expat in the City of Light: Finding ‘Home’ in Paris

Impressions from expat's early days in Paris.Letizia Bordoni/John Towner

Editor’s note: We love when writers share their personal experiences of making Paris their home on the blog. The expat experience is full of trials and errors, risks and rewards, and often the payoff is not at all what we expect. As expats, we take what we can get and accept beauty and life lessons whenever and wherever we find them. This post from Marisa Gupta combines the uniqueness of each of our experiences moving to a new place with some universals that come with the adventure that is living abroad.

Moving to Paris after many years as an expat in London, I expected my first few weeks in France to be smooth and uneventful. Paris, and its joie de vivre, had seduced me in ways London had not quite managed. It was nearby and somewhat of an old friend, as I had visited many times. With an elegant apartment lined up for my French partner and me, I was excited to embark upon my new life.

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The Expat Mom Experience: Reconsidering Paris

HiP Paris Blog explores being an expat mom in Paris.Lisa Czarina Michaud

I came to Paris with a three-month plan: go, see… and take it from there. Lacking any foundation like the security of a job, contacts, a suitable apartment or having much money, this plan had all the makings of a disaster. But I had to go. At twenty-eight years old I had yet to experience The Great Paris you read about in legacy literature and hear mused about in film dialogue. I wanted to experience the city as a local and showed up on Paris’s doorstep naïve and hopeful. The three-month trial swelled into several years where Paris built me up and broke me back down, enchanted and embarrassed me, and led to the quietude of marriage to the now constant movement of motherhood. Paris has given me nine lives. Having been a tourist, a wanderer, an outcast, a local, an expat wife, and now, an expat mom, these layered experiences ironed out the jagged edges of living abroad. Good thing, because if being an expat felt like the ultimate exploration into the unknown, the birth of our son Georges made me discover Paris once again, this time through the eyes of a mother.

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Ellsworth Restaurant and Wine Bar: Revisiting American Comfort Food in Paris

Ellsworth Restaurant and Wine Bar: Revisiting American comfort food in Paris

Emma Stencil

Paris doesn’t lack talented culinary couples. After waving bon voyage to Barcelona-bound Laura Vidal and Harry Cummins of Paris Pop-up, the City of Lights welcomes a new venture by the charming American duo Laura Adrian and Braden Perkins. More than three years after opening successful Verjus Restaurant and Verjus Wine Bar, the pair are introducing a sister restaurant that serves up wine bar favorites (including Verjus’ in-demand fried chicken) and other inventive variations on American comfort food.

Ellsworth Restaurant and Wine Bar: Revisiting American comfort food in Paris

Melissa Leroux

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Bob’s Bake Shop: A Slice of New York in Paris’ 18th Arrondissement

Bobs, Cherry Pie

When he opened his first spot, Bob’s Juice Bar, in 2006, Marc Grossman says he was driven by a simple desire to bring a little of New York to Paris. “It was something from back home, something I missed, health food, juice bars,” says Grossman. The born-and-bred New Yorker, who at one time worked on Wall Street, decided to move to Paris 15 years ago. He married a French girl and never left.

Bobs, Montage, Cherry Pie, Pecan Pie

Since opening his first café, he has almost single-handedly changed Parisian’s dining habits for the better, introducing them to things like green juice and rice bowls he calls “Veggie Stew.” However, he says his goal was never to push a health food agenda, but rather serve organic, wholesome, tasty food. “We’re not extreme,” says Grossman. “We have muffins, but we also have salads. We try to mix it up.”

Bobs, Breakfast

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