Parisian Living

Becoming Parisienne with Marissa Cox of Rue Rodier

by Rooksana Hossenally

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Eight years ago, Marissa Cox threw caution to the wind and left her native England behind to move to Paris for love. And while the relationship didn’t hold out, her passion for Paris did. Fast-forward almost a decade and she’s created a home for herself here, along with a spot on the Paris influencer circuit. A hard-working creative, Marissa Cox, aka “Rue Rodier” (for the name of her street when she lived in the 9th district of Paris), documents her latest fashion and design finds online, and builds on her pared-back aesthetic for her work with big brands. This month, she launches her Paris bible Practising Parisienne, packed with places to explore and tips for getting under the surface of a culture that, from the outside, can seem utterly impenetrable.

Left: a picture of the seine river in Paris at sunset, with people seen in the foreground sitting on the river bank. Right: a picture of a women sitting on a park bench at Palais Royal, drinking a takeaway coffee in a beige trench coat.
Top: Ruth Craddock 
Above: @ruerodier

Where are you from and what brought you to France? How long have you lived in France and where?

I grew up in Canterbury, South East England, and moved from London to Paris for a relationship. I’ve been here for eight-and-a-half years and have lived in the 9th, 10th, 3rd, 11th, and now the 18th arrondissements (districts) of Paris.

What has kept you in France all these years? Why didn’t you move back to the UK or go elsewhere?

It feels like home, and I’ve worked hard to be here. I didn’t speak the language and had little to no career plans, so I’ve learnt to speak the language and built my career, friendship groups, and network over the years.

Left: a picture of a woman drinking a glass of champagne at a white terrace table in paris, with a green garden in the background. Right: a picture of a paris apartment's window that's overlooking a neighbouring apartment building.
@ruerodier

What are some things you love about French and Parisian culture compared to the UK? Things you don’t love?

I love the more laidback lifestyle here. I love the café, food, and wine cultures; the aesthetics of the city, its history, and the fact that Parisians are very upfront and honest too. I also love that Paris is smaller than London—it often feels like a large village and is much easier to navigate in comparison. It’s also less hectic. I don’t love the admin, especially post-Brexit and during Covid—it’s not easy to live in Paris if you’re not French, but it’s worth the effort.

Can you tell us a little about the work you do? Would you describe yourself as an “influencer”?

I wouldn’t really describe myself as an influencer as I wear many hats. I’m a writer, blogger, content creator collaborating with various lifestyle brands—and now I’m also an author!

Left: a picture of a woman in a lavender field in Provence France, wearing a white dress and hat.  Right: a picture of a woman carrying a basket of fresh produce while walking up a cobblestone path.
@ruerodier

How did you come to have such a big online following? Any tips for our readers?

I was lucky in the early days when I arrived in Paris that I was a suggested user by Instagram, and I became part of the Instagram community back when they still organized meet-ups. But I also think I gained a following because people have such an appetite for all things Paris! Plus, hopefully they like my content and find it inspiring! Today it’s even harder to build a following, so it’s important to find your niche and passion and an aesthetic for your Instagram feed. Also, video is big these days as Instagram is prioritizing it in the algorithm. 

What is the inspiration behind your new Paris lifestyle handbook “Practicising Parisienne”? What is it about? Who should read it?

It’s a mix of my personal story – packing up my London life and moving to Paris for a relationship eight years ago, and lifestyle guide covering style and fashion, beauty, skincare, and body image, as well as interiors and home life, food and wine, and relationships, love, and dating. It includes everything I’ve learned since moving to the French capital and is packed full of tips and interviews with a few of my favorite Parisians. There’s also an address book at the end of each section. It’s meant to be aspirational and practical, and comes with beautiful illustrations. My book is for anyone who loves Paris or the Parisian way of life, plus anyone who would like to make some positive changes in their life, inspired by the world’s most beautiful city and most talked-about people.

Left: a picture of a pile of books and postcards on a marble table, with a glass of water and jug next to it. Right: a picture of a Paris balcony overlooking a neighbouring Paris apartment building.
@ruerodier

What are your go-to places for injecting a little of Paris into your daily life if living abroad?

Cafés, fresh food markets, exhibitions, and wine bars with friends.

There’s a section on dating in Paris in your book. What have you learned from locals you’ve met? What does it mean to date the “Parisian” way?

I’ve learned that Parisians aren’t big daters in the way that Americans or the English are and that they don’t have the same dating story or timeline. There is less emphasis on “dating” multiple people at the same time (one of the reasons they’re not big fans of online dating) and they prefer to meet a significant other by chance, whereas online dating can feel more like a transaction. They also prefer to see how things go without setting out with a particular objective, as I find so many Anglophones do which can lead to a lot of disappointments. They don’t like labelling things either.

To date the Parisian way is to not put pressure on the outcome, to go with the flow and meet someone to see if the “feeling” is present—meaning a connection or chemistry—before you think about taking things further. Love should be effortless. And they’re not afraid of love and romance; if the feeling is there, they’re more likely to fall in love faster. 

Left: a picture of Paris taken on a building rooftop, where several haussaman buildings can be seen and the eiffel tower in the foreground. Right: a picture of a book titled Practising Parisienne by Marissa Cox in London.
@ruerodier

If we had another strict lockdown in Paris, what three things could you not do without?

My boyfriend (we don’t live together yet), a good bottle of Chablis or Pouilly-Fumé, and entertainment (series, books, music for dancing).

What’s next for you?

I would love to continue writing; I do have a couple more book ideas up my sleeve. I’d also like to concentrate a lot more on interiors and design, perhaps offering consultations and a sourcing service, and I’d love to create products for the home.

“Practising Parisienne” is out now and you can buy it here.

LeftL a picture of a woman standing next to a rural cottage in a denim jacket and black shirt on a sunny day. Right: a picture of the banks of the seine in winter.
@ruerodier

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Written By

Rooksana Hossenally

Originally from London, Rooksana moved to Paris for what was supposed to be six months - it's now been 12 years. A freelance journalist, she's contributed to many publications from the New York Times, Forbes, and BBC Travel to Condé Nast Traveller and the Guardian. She's headed up several print and online travel and culture magazines, and has worked with brands from L'Oréal to Glamour Magazine optimizing their online platforms. When not working, Rooksana's scouring the city for new creative pockets, hole-in-the-wall Indian restaurants, and procrastinating about the book she's meant to be writing. View Rooksana Hossenally's Website

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