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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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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