Transcript for Episode 407: An Accidental Francophile Moves to Paris

Table of Contents for this Episode

Categories: Moving to France, Paris

Discussed in this Episode

  • Montluçon
  • Saint-Julien
  • Périgueux
  • Rodez
  • Aurillac
  • Le Puy-en-Velay
  • Anvers
  • Aligot
  • Truffade
  • La France Profonde
  • French people are generally hospitable and open
  • Mondassure Health Insurance
  • Paris Attitude
  • Google Voice
  • Ting
  • Bank account with N26
  • Le Crédit Lyonnais aka LCL
  • Interactive Brokers
  • Right now Americans cannot get French internet banks
  • Getting into the French healthcare system

[00:00:00] Intro

[00:00:00] Annie Sargent: This is Join Us in France episode 407, quatre cent sept.

[00:00:22] Annie Sargent: Bonjour, I’m Annie Sargent and Join Us in France is the podcast where we talk about France. Everyday life in France, great places to visit in France, French culture, history, gastronomy, and news related to travel to France.

[00:00:36] Today on the podcast

[00:00:36] Annie Sargent: Today, I bring you a conversation with the lovely Jennifer Gruenke about how she went from being an accidental francophile to moving to Paris. Lots of actionable tips about where to look for a place to rent in Paris, woes about opening a French bank account, how Americans can join the French healthcare system, how folks on a budget can move to Paris. Yes, it can be done, and lots and lots more gems of that sort.

[00:01:09] Podcast supporters

[00:01:09] Annie Sargent: This podcast is supported by donors and listeners who buy my tours and services, including my Itinerary Consult Service and my GPS Self-guided Tours of Paris on the VoiceMap app. And you can browse all of that at my boutique

[00:01:28] Join Us in France Newsletter

[00:01:28] Annie Sargent: And there is a newsletter to go along with this podcast and get this, I will email everyone next week, possibly twice in the same week, because I am almost ready to publish the bootcamp page. And I also have a page that I want to publish about “les ponts”. If you don’t know what that is, you better open the email.

[00:01:52] Annie Sargent: I finally have all the info I need for the bootcamp, so that page is going to go up very shortly. If you are new and you haven’t signed up for the newsletter, go to

[00:02:06] Annie Sargent: One of the best ways to make sure you’ll continue to get my emails is to reply to me. I usually ask a question in the course of the emails and if you reply, it lets the powers that be know that I’m not spamming you, you really want to hear from me. And speaking of spamming, I’ve noticed that a lot of people tried to join the newsletter and it didn’t work. So the request to join went in a pile called Unconfirmed Status.

[00:02:33] Annie Sargent: And I had been aware of that, but I hadn’t ever searched to see how many people were in there. Turns out there was like 1500 of them. I was like, whoa, I was shocked. I had to decide what do I do with these people? So I decided to add them manually and it’s possible that a lot of them won’t even remember why they had asked for this newsletter months ago, some of them over a year ago, and they might unsubscribe and that’s fine. I really don’t want to email people who don’t want to hear from me, but I needed to do something because there were so many people who were kind of in limbo.

[00:03:16] Accidental Francophile

[00:03:16] Annie Sargent: Bonjour Jennifer Gruenke and welcome to Join Us in France.

[00:03:21] Jennifer Gruenke: Bonjour Annie! It’s good to hear your voice.

[00:03:24] Annie Sargent: Lovely to talk to you. You have an interesting story that I really wanted to hear about. You are kind of an accidental francophile and you moved to Paris. I want to hear all about it.

[00:03:36] Jennifer Gruenke: Yes. It goes back to 2009. I was in my mid thirties and I was living in West Virginia, teaching at a small liberal arts college. And I had no idea of anything about France. I just, you know, whatever you hear in the news. And I was told about an opportunity through the local Rotary Club.

[00:04:03] Exchange Program and Trip

[00:04:03] Jennifer Gruenke: And The Rotary Club has this program called Group Study Exchange or GSE.

[00:04:10] Jennifer Gruenke: And it’s an exchange program between two rotary districts in two different countries. So there was a district in Central France that was exchanging with this district in West Virginia. I had to apply for this and go to an interview, but I don’t think I had a lot of competition because there aren’t many people in West Virginia who would qualify for this thing where it’s like, they want a young professional who can take off for a month and go off to France and sort of, you know, live with French people.

[00:04:45] So I was one of, I think, five people who went on this exchange trip.

[00:04:50] Learning French

[00:04:50] Jennifer Gruenke: I had never studied the French language but before I went on the trip I had a couple of months lead time. Back then it was even cassette tapes. I had a pack of cassette tapes where I was trying to learn really basic French from scratch.

[00:05:06] Jennifer Gruenke: I had studied Spanish in high school. So that helps a little bit just to have the general idea of, you know, conjugating a verb or whatever.

[00:05:14] Annie Sargent: That’s great. You didn’t do a French in Action, did you?

[00:05:16] No, I don’t think I had a very good accent.

[00:05:20] Annie Sargent: No, no, French in Action isthe thing that people used a lot in the nineties, I don’t know if it’s still in the two thousands. I don’t know if it was still used.

[00:05:29] Jennifer Gruenke: Yeah, I don’t remember which one it was called, it was pretty old, somebody’s old cassette tapes they gave to me. So probably something that was popular in the eighties or something, I don’t know.

[00:05:39] Annie Sargent: It works. You know, it’s not like the French language changes that quickly. There’s no way that you’re going to get fluent or even conversational by studying for two months listening to tapes. So I did the best I could.

[00:05:51] Annie Sargent: And by the way, this still holds true for people who do Duallingo and things like that. It helps, but it’s not, I don’t know, you can’t get even conversational with those things. You can kind of have some familiarity and that’s better than nothing, unless you take classes with a human, a French native who will teach you and converse with you and force you to speak French, it’s not going to make much difference.

[00:06:18] Jennifer Gruenke: Well, years later I did end up taking classes, which are much, much better than anything you’re going to get on an app or recording, but that’s kind of skipping forward in the story a little bit.

[00:06:27] Annie Sargent: Oh, sorry.

[00:06:27] Arrived in France with Stereotypical Ideas

[00:06:27] No, no, it’s fine. So I went to France with a lot of, I think, stereotypical ideas about France. That you think of France and you think of at least at the time, couture fashion and Michelin starred restaurants and things like that.

[00:06:45] The part of France I visited was pretty much the opposite of that stereotypical view of France. So here’s a list of all the places we visited on this tourMontluçon, Saint-Julien, Périgueux, Rodez, Aurillac, Le Puy-en-Velay, and Anvers

[00:07:07] Annie Sargent: Which are all lovely places by the way but not high fashion, not super trendy France.

[00:07:14] Jennifer Gruenke: Exactly, this was the Heartland of France. We decided that we had visited the West Virginia of France. So they had, I don’t know if they did that on purpose in exchange the West Virginia of the US for the West Virginia of France. But yeah, if you’re, you know, driving through the countryside and the flock of sheep wants to cross the road, you stop for the flock of sheep.

[00:07:37] Annie Sargent: Of course you do. Oh, that’s great, I love it. So, but that did not deter you from your interest in France.

[00:07:45] Montluçon

[00:07:45] Jennifer Gruenke: No, I think it really spurred it, because I really have no interest in high fashion or Michelin starred restaurants. And I found that going to all these different little places, they showed us something about their culture, their history that they were proud of. So we went up pita dome, which is kind of a volcanic mountain near Montluçon.

[00:08:06] Jennifer Gruenke: In Saint-Julien they gave us fois gras, which I don’t think I had ever had before. They also do a lot of leather working there. And it has to do with the history of the soil or the water or something like that. They had a glove factory, they were making leather gloves, very small factory. And you know, that’s fashion actually, because they sell those gloves for a very high price, because they’re all handmade and they’re beautiful, and they cost a fortune.

[00:08:37] Jennifer Gruenke: Yes. I actually have some still that have lasted all these years, that I purchased at the factory in the middle of very rural France.

[00:08:47] Aligot

[00:08:47] Jennifer Gruenke: Rodez gave us aligot, which is like a mixture of cheese and potatoes.

[00:08:51] Jennifer Gruenke: And Le Puy had a different mixture of cheese and potatoes called Truffade,

[00:08:56] Jennifer Gruenke: and they were a little competitive about their cheesy potatoes and whose were the best.

[00:09:01] Annie Sargent: Right. But we all know aligot wins.

[00:09:04] Jennifer Gruenke: I do love me some aligot. I tried to make it in the US and it was just not the same, because they don’t have the right kind of cheese. It melts so that you end up with sort of stringy mashed potatoes.

[00:09:17] Annie Sargent: Yeah, no, you have to just buy it, just buy it when you’re in France. That’s it.

[00:09:22] Anvers

[00:09:22] Jennifer Gruenke: Yes. I think you’re right. In Anvers we went to a cheese farm and so they have, the cows were grazed at a particular elevation and there’s a certain kind of plant there that they eat that affects the taste of the milk. And then they put the cheese wheels in this giant cave that’s, you know, carved out of the countryside and they have, they sort of rotate them, so the further back into the cave you go, the moldier the cheese gets, and that’s what makes it good.

[00:09:51] La France Profonde

[00:09:51] Annie Sargent: So you went to what we’d call La France Profonde, the Deep France, , which is not anything like the Deep State, it is like genuine France,really just like countryside France is what we mean when we say La France Profonde.

[00:10:07] Annie Sargent: And there’s plenty of that left in France, people don’t realize, but most of France is rural. We have lots and lots of tiny villages in France, and we don’t have a lot of space with nothing. We don’t have like massive, like, this is not Wyoming where you get the National Park and that’s most of the space of Wyoming.

[00:10:27] Annie Sargent: No, what we have is rural with villages every few kilometers. Yeah, if you look at Google Maps or Google Earth, you can sort of fly over a satellite image of France and it’s almost all farmland.

[00:10:42] Yep, exactly. And so still all of this did not deter you, still proceeded with your plan.

[00:10:48] People are Hospitable

[00:10:48] Jennifer Gruenke: Yes. I think the thing that really got my attention and made me think of possibly moving to France one day is that the people were extremely hospitable and open. Each location we went to, they would split up the members of this team and give each of us to a family in the Rotary Club.

[00:11:07] Jennifer Gruenke: And these were usually older people, because that I think is who mostly is in the club.

[00:11:15] Jennifer Gruenke: And of course, in rural France, you’re around older people, most of them are not going to speak English. There are a lot of people who speak English in Paris, especially if they’re younger. So they were very patient with us in terms of, you know, I’m trying to speak French with my very little French and they’re trying to speak English with their very little English.

[00:11:37] But they were just very kind to the group. I think in the US, you know, there’s a lot of rural areas, but they tend to have more of a feeling of being closed. I mean, I’ve moved around the US a lot and it’s very hard to break in to community. Everybody knows everybody.

[00:11:56] Annie Sargent: Yeah. But it can be that way as well in France. It’s just that, since you had this connection with the Rotary Club, that really helps introduce people.

[00:12:05] Jennifer Gruenke: Yeah, I think so. There even was one town that wasn’t like that, which was really interesting that out of all of these places, most of them felt very open, but one people were more standoffish, like I would expect in the US. So I think it varies by location. And I’m not saying that, you know, all places in the US are like that, or all places in France are like, you know what I experienced, but in the US, I think France has a reputation for, people think that the French are kind of snobbish and I did not find that to be the case at all, and exactly the opposite.

[00:12:39] Jennifer Gruenke: The people are very warm and helpful and they seem to be interested in enjoying life and enjoying the small things in life, I think is really important, that, you know, French people don’t on average have as much money as Americans do on average. But I think that they live better lives because they focus on enjoying what they do have.

[00:13:03] Joining Associations Helps

[00:13:03] Annie Sargent: Yeah, and that’s, you know, the thing that you bring up about having this in with the communities with the Rotary Club is really important. Now, anybody who’s thinking of moving to France, whether you have connections through the Rotary Club or some other association, it helps greatly. Like anybody who moves to France, I mean maybe if they’re going to Paris, directly to Paris, they can do it some other way, but in the rest of France, you really need to join associations for whatever it is that you’re interested in. Could be language, it could be theater, it could be photography, it could be soccer, it could be anything, but do join the local clubs that kind of have something in common with you, because that will give you a lot of, you know, you’ll meet a lot of people who will be interested in interacting with you, but if you met them on the street, it would be different.

[00:13:58] Annie Sargent: You know, they don’t know you from Adam, but if you meet them at the club, then that’s okay. You know, it’s a cultural difference, and France has a bazillion clubs. We don’t have a lot of church goers. So in America, maybe you do that by joining a church, but in France, it’s the clubs. It’s the associations.

[00:14:19] Jennifer Gruenke: Yeah. I have looked online for some associations and Patricia, that you introduced me to, has given me the names of some groups that I might be interested in for birding and hiking and that kind of thing. So I haven’t quite gotten there yet.

[00:14:33] Conversation Exchange

[00:14:33] Jennifer Gruenke: There also is a website called Conversation Exchange, that I have a plan to, you know, combine the goals of getting to know French people and learning the language, that it’s sort of a search engine that you can find people who want to learn the language that you speak, and then they speak the language that you want to speak.

[00:14:55] Jennifer Gruenke: And so, you know, you can do 30 minutes in French and 30 minutes in English and each of you can practice your language.

[00:15:03] Annie Sargent: But that’s given, that’s if you have enough to do a conversation over the phone. Cause I’m thinking of me trying to do that with Spanish. It would be a long 30 minutes, because I don’t know that much. I don’t know enough. You have to get to a point, and that’s where maybe the apps are helpful, if you get to the point where you can say a few things, you know, not great, but you’re not super comfortable, but you can say a few things, that sort of exchange with a native speaker would get you over that hump.

[00:15:31] Jennifer Gruenke: For me, the only thing that got me to being kind of intermediate was taking classes. I tried the apps, I tried the tapes, I tried, there was a computer program, and I forget what it’s called. So I tried lots of different things, but nothing is a substitute for actually having a teacher give you the information and then make you learn it so that you have to take a test. So I did that eventually, after I had gotten the idea that I want to move to France.

[00:16:02] How did the move happen?

[00:16:02] Annie Sargent: All right. Very interesting stuff. So now, how did the actual move happen? what happened there?

[00:16:08] Jennifer Gruenke: I ended up moving from West Virginia to Tennessee for a different teaching job, and I still was not crazy about teaching and I was getting burnt out on that. So I hatched the plan to move to France. And of course, in order to do that, I needed money.

[00:16:27] Annie Sargent: Yes.

[00:16:27] Making money from the housing market

[00:16:27] Jennifer Gruenke: So the biggest part of my plan was, you know over the next decade, making enough money that I could quit working and move to France. So, this was at the time when the housing market was collapsing. And so I basically bought a foreclosure every year, and then in the summer when I wasn’t teaching, I would fix it up and then rent them out.

[00:16:53] And so after I had four, I think, rental properties, that was enough income to live off of.

[00:17:01] Jennifer Gruenke: I then quit my job and I did one last renovation, I didn’t rent it, basically a flipping situation. One at a time sold those houses and that gave me enough money in the American stock market, basically to basically just retire until I’m old enough for social security, I’m 47 right now, I was 42 whenever I quit my job.

[00:17:28] Annie Sargent: Wow. That’s really interesting. So are you super handy? Like, can you do everything around the house, you know, like plumbing and electrical and all that?

[00:17:36] Jennifer Gruenke: Well, I can now.

[00:17:40] Annie Sargent: Okay.

[00:17:42] Jennifer Gruenke: Yeah, I kind of, I mean, my first house was really just, it needed to be painted and I put in a laminate floor. That was the level that I was doing. The last house, I completely redid all of the plumbing supply lines, I rewired the electrical, I hired out some things like the drywall, but that house was really just a complete wreck, and I completely refreshed it. So it’s the sort of thing where if you are motivated, you can learn.

[00:18:12] Annie Sargent: Yes, yes. But I think you haven’t tried to do that in France, so maybe you’d rather not go that route in France.

[00:18:20] Jennifer Gruenke: No. I mean, people really like to watch the progress of these houses. Because I would put pictures on Facebook and people love the before and after pictures, right? But it’s not really my passion, it’s not the thing I really wanted to do with my life. It was a means to an end, and the end was getting to France.

[00:18:38] Jennifer Gruenke: And so I’m here. And I’m done. Yes. I have achieved that goal.

[00:18:44] Annie Sargent: Yes. Yes. You’re not writing your book about renovating houses in France.

[00:18:47] Jennifer Gruenke: No, no.

[00:18:48] Annie Sargent: Okay. Interesting. Very cool. So, now you have the money and you have the desire. How did the rest go?

[00:18:56] Jennifer Gruenke: Yes.

[00:18:56] Applied for a visitor visa first

[00:18:56] So the rest is, I had to apply for a visitor’s visa. And you have to do that no more than three months before you leave. I was delayed in there by the pandemic. I think I would’ve been able to leave a little earlier if it hadn’t been for that. I think it was October, late October of 2021 that I flew to Atlanta.

[00:19:22] Jennifer Gruenke: There are just a handful of the places in the US, these VFS centers, where you can apply for a visa, and so you have to travel to them in person because they want to take your fingerprints. This is different from what Sarala, who was on the show a while back said, I think she didn’t have to go anywhere.

[00:19:44] She probably lived close enough. If you live in DC or Chicago or LA.

[00:19:50] Annie Sargent: I think she was in Chicago.

[00:19:51] Jennifer Gruenke: Then yeah, there’s one in Chicago, so she would’ve just gone to the one in Chicago. I lived in West Tennessee and the nearest one to me was Atlanta. And it was like probably a five hour drive. So I just flew, there was one of these tiny airlines that has commuter flights to the Atlanta airport.

[00:20:11] Jennifer Gruenke: So I flew within one day, so I didn’t have to stay at a hotel.

[00:20:15] The cost to get a visa

[00:20:15] Jennifer Gruenke: And I have a list of fees, I don’t know how interested people are in all of the details, but the total cost to get that visa was about a thousand dollars US.

[00:20:28] Annie Sargent: Okay.

[00:20:28] The biggest cost of that is I had to buy a year’s worth of private health insurance.

[00:20:35] There’s a company called Mondassure, M O N D A S S U R E, it’s a French company, and that cost me 468 Euros.

[00:20:46] Jennifer Gruenke: But of course, it’s going to be more expensive the older you are.

[00:20:49] Annie Sargent: Right. Yeah, obviously. Okay. So you got that done. You got your visa started. How quickly did you get the visa?

[00:20:57] Jennifer Gruenke: About 10 days.

[00:20:59] Annie Sargent: Wow. That is so fast.

[00:21:01] Jennifer Gruenke: Yeah. You have to pay for a FedEx pouch, like an overnight pouch, and the VFS center takes all your paperwork and gives it to the consulate. And then the consulate approves you or not. It’s in your passport. You have to hand over your passport at the VFS center when you apply.

[00:21:21] Jennifer Gruenke: And then the there’s a sticker that they put on a page in your passport. That’s your visa.

[00:21:27] Necessary income to live in France

[00:21:27] The main thing that they really wanted to look at whenever I was at the VFS center was proof of funds. So really, if you have enough money to live in France, that’s the main sticking point. A lot of people are very nervous about whether or not they’re going to be accepted, but a visitor’s visa is pretty easy to get if you can prove that you have enough money to support yourself.

[00:21:54] Annie Sargent: Right.

[00:21:55] Jennifer Gruenke: So I did a little bit of research on average disposable income in France, and in different locations in France, since this is something that people ask a lot on these Facebook discussion groups.

[00:22:09] Annie Sargent: Mm-hmm If you want to be average in Paris, you need a disposable income of about 2300 Euros per month as a single person or 4,600 Euros per month as a couple with no kids. If you’re in Puy de Dome, which is one of those places I visited that’s more rural, it’s 1600 euros per month for a single person and 3000 for a couple with no children. So they want to see that you have a year’s worth of that kind of money.

[00:22:40] In Paris, rent is the biggest expense

[00:22:40] Annie Sargent: Right. But, I mean, I can’t imagine living in Paris for that little money. So it can be done I suppose, but rental itself would be quite a bit, wouldn’t it?

[00:22:54] Jennifer Gruenke: Yeah, I mean, I can scroll down and give you the exact numbers, but I’m actually pretty close to these numbers. But you’re right, the cost of the rental is by far the biggest expense in Paris. And of course, you know, you can buy or rent a very expensive apartment or a cheaper one, I guess it’s all relative.

[00:23:12] Lodging

[00:23:12] Let’s see. So yeah, we can segue into lodging since that’s what I’ve got next.

[00:23:17] I did have to show proof whenever I went to sign up for the visa, I had to show proof that I had already rented a place. And I went through the company Paris Attitude.

[00:23:28] Annie Sargent: Okay.

[00:23:29] They have a website, you can look at different listings for apartments.

[00:23:34] I picked four that I liked and ranked them and sent them in to them. And they basically, the agency went to the owners and said, Will you accept this person? Normally, if you’re applying for a rental in Paris, you have to have a portfolio in French with French documentation. But because this company caters to expats, they will accept foreign proof of income.

[00:24:03] Annie Sargent: Okay. Wow. That’s big.

[00:24:05] Jennifer Gruenke: It is big. And so I sent them a copy of my previous year’s tax form.

[00:24:11] Annie Sargent: Okay. And that was good enough.

[00:24:13] Jennifer Gruenke: That was good enough to get this, I was doing a four month rental.

[00:24:17] Annie Sargent: Right.

[00:24:17] You need local pros to help with rentals

[00:24:17] Let me interrupt for just a second. I have a friend who is moving to France next month actually, because he’s doing a post doc and he’s moving to Toulouse. And I’ve known him since he was five. So, you know, I was friends with his parents. And he asked me for help and I was at a loss helping him because he doesn’t have any other documents that a French rental could take.

[00:24:45] Annie Sargent: And so in the end, he had to go through a pro who does this, who helps people secure rentals in France with American documentations. So I think this is, what you did was very realistic. You really need to have somebody help you out and convince the renters that your documentation is good enough.

[00:25:09] Annie Sargent: That’s really, really important.

[00:25:10] Jennifer Gruenke: And I mean, I’m assuming that the name Paris Attitude means that they’re just in Paris and surrounding areas. So this isn’t helpful for somebody who wants to move to someplace other than Paris.

[00:25:20] Annie Sargent: But every place in France has people like that, you know, you just need to find them.

[00:25:26] Jennifer Gruenke: And it is more expensive, but for somebody like me who doesn’t have traditional French guarantees, it really is the way to go.

[00:25:38] The first apartment

[00:25:38] Jennifer Gruenke: So I signed up for that four month rental through them, and that was just to get me here so I could, you know, look around and find some place that I wanted more permanently. And so that first apartment was very small. It was a studio.21 square meters, which is 226 square feet.

[00:25:58] Annie Sargent: Yeah, that’s very small.

[00:26:00] Jennifer Gruenke: It was very small. It was okay for just me, but I would not want to be in there permanently.

[00:26:04] Jennifer Gruenke: It was in the 15th and had a partial view of the Eiffel tower, which was a lot of fun.

[00:26:12] Annie Sargent: Yes. How much did you pay for that apartment, monthly?

[00:26:15] That one was 1100 euros per month, including the rent, the utilities, the insurance, and the agency fees.

[00:26:22] Annie Sargent: Okay.

[00:26:23] Jennifer Gruenke: Which is higher than a French person renting through a French agency would pay.

[00:26:29] Annie Sargent: Sure. Yeah. I hope so.

[00:26:31] For that size, yes.

[00:26:32] Jennifer Gruenke: I actually landed here, I started looking for something more permanent and sort of walking around, looking at different neighborhoods. I contacted some other agencies, but in the end I ended up going with the same agency to find a year’s lease like a renewable one year regular lease.

[00:26:51] Found a better studio apartment

[00:26:51] Jennifer Gruenke: So I moved into that apartment yesterday, in the snow, carrying my suitcases on the Metro, which was fun.

[00:27:00] Annie Sargent: Whew. Yeah. Yeah. That sounds difficult, but you managed, I suspect you don’t have a lot of stuff because…

[00:27:09] Jennifer Gruenke: Yes, it wasn’t too bad. So the new apartment is in the fifth.

[00:27:14] Annie Sargent: You’re moving up in the world.

[00:27:16] Jennifer Gruenke: Yeah, It’s near the Luxembourg Gardens. It definitely is a busier area. There’s more traffic, there’s more noise. But it’s not too bad. It’s not like it’s keeping me awake at night or anything, although I’ve only slept here once. It is bigger.

[00:27:31] Jennifer Gruenke: It’s not a lot bigger. The listing said it was 35 square meters, and now that I’m here looking around, it feels bigger than that.

[00:27:39] Annie Sargent: Hmm. Okay.

[00:27:40] It’s possible that it’s bigger and it was just mismeasured at some point, I don’t know. But it’s a one bedroom so I can put my mess in the bedroom and have the living room area with the kitchenette as a little more organized.

[00:27:55] Annie Sargent: Yeah. That’s nice. That’s cool.

[00:27:58] Jennifer Gruenke: Yeah. When I was in the studio, it just felt like everything was always a mess because everything was always in this one room. It’s the only room that I have.

[00:28:05] Annie Sargent: Right. Yeah.

[00:28:07] Even with just, you know, moving here with my stuff in my suitcases, had too much stuff for the studio.

[00:28:16] Yeah. A studio is very, very small. Whenever I flew here, this is going back a little bit, I used my airline points to buy a business class ticket. And the advantage of that is it gave me two 70 pound bags to check instead of one 50 pound bag.

[00:28:36] Jennifer Gruenke: So I was able to get more stuff here with that business class ticket.

[00:28:40] Annie Sargent: Right, but you really have to be good at living out of a suitcase. I mean, you know, even if it’s two bigger suitcases, it’s not a lot of stuff. It’s an art.

[00:28:51] Jennifer Gruenke: Yeah. I mean, I haven’t found that there’s a lot of stuff that I wish that I had brought, cause I can buy stuff here obviously. But for the most part, I think I did okay with my pairing down to two big suitcases.

[00:29:05] An small apartment in Paris can be as much as a house in the French countryside

[00:29:05] Annie Sargent: That’s great. Congratulations. That would be really hard for me. Like, oh, I don’t know how I could, man. I don’t think that would happen for me, but you know, it’s a different, I don’t want to live in Paris, I’d rather be in the countryside and have a, house with a little more room. My house probably doesn’t cost any more than your apartment.

[00:29:24] Jennifer Gruenke: Yes. I think that it’s, there’s a trade off there, and that’s a really good point that, you know, when you’re in Paris, there are obviously huge advantages to living in Paris, that there’s all of these fantastic museums and that I have easy access to transport to all over the place. But at the same time, you’re going to be living in a much smaller place.

[00:29:47] Jennifer Gruenke: And I guess the other major downside is you have to dodge the dog poops on the street.

[00:29:55] Annie Sargent: Well, you sometimes have to do that in the countryside as well.

[00:29:58] Jennifer Gruenke: I don’t remember that being a problem in Tennessee, but then again, I had to drive everywhere. So I guess I didn’t ever notice.

[00:30:06] Annie Sargent: Yeah, it’s different.

[00:30:07] Keeping a US phone number with Google Voice

[00:30:07] Annie Sargent: So let’s see. What do you have next? Ah, your phone number. How did you manage your, because when you have US accounts, you need a phone number for two factor authentication for just about anything, like your bank and everything else. So how did you manage that?

[00:30:26] I ported my US number to Google Voice. This is one of these things that everybody tells you to do. And some people will say it doesn’t work well for them, but for me it has worked perfectly. You have to do this from within the US before you leave. So you just go onto the Google website and say, I want to port my number to Google Voice.

[00:30:49] It costs $20, one time fee. And what that does is creates basically it’s VoIP, voiceover IP, I

[00:30:57] Jennifer Gruenke: think. So, it’s an app on your phone, Google voice, so as long as you have a separate source of connectivity, either wifi or a French phone number with data, anytime somebody calls or texts my old US number, it comes through on my phone in France.

[00:31:21] Annie Sargent: Which is what I did by the way, I called your US number through WhatsApp, and here we are, talking through your US number.

[00:31:29] Jennifer Gruenke: I’m sitting in my apartment in Paris.

[00:31:31] And it works also to get text messages, which is an important part because you need text messages or you can’t do two-factor authentication.

[00:31:40] Jennifer Gruenke: Yes. And it’s also really handy for people that I knew in the US, people to text me.

[00:31:45] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah. So we didn’t do this. When we moved to France, my husband got a Vonage account, years ago. Okay? We’re talking 17 years ago. And that worked for a long time, but then we couldn’t get text messages, so the last few years, I think he got a Ting account. We have a dedicated phone with Ting and use that and we only ever turn it on to when we know we’re going to get a two-factor authentication.

[00:32:16] Annie Sargent: We don’t use it for anything else because our French phones, we have an account with Free mobile, and I have the account that’s like $18 a month or something. I’m not roaming even when I’m in the US. And I call the US every day when I do itinerary planning with people, I call their phone, their home phone or their cell phone, and it doesn’t cost me a penny.

[00:32:39] It’s really wonderful. And even when I’m in the US I can call France. I’m not roaming anywhere, it’s a really cool plan that’s inexpensive. But it didn’t get me text messages from the US. So, we had to do this Ting thing. But yours is even more efficient because you had a one time fee of 20 bucks. Done.

[00:32:59] That’s amazing.

[00:33:00] Jennifer Gruenke: Yes. It probably didn’t exist 17 years ago, whenever you were trying to do it.

[00:33:04] Annie Sargent: No, it did not. No, this is a brand new thing. Oh. But, that’s really cool that you did that.

[00:33:11] Banking and getting a French bank account

[00:33:11] Annie Sargent: Other sticking point for most people is banking. We gotta go there too.

[00:33:16] Banking is something that all of the people on the internet tell you is a really difficult thing whenever you move to France. The problem is that there was a law passed by the US in 2010, that requires foreign banks to file paperwork on US citizens that have accounts with those foreign banks. And the foreign banks, understandably, did not like the idea of the US government telling them what to do.

[00:33:44] Jennifer Gruenke: And so they just dropped all their US clients. And so a lot of banks don’t want to work with Americans. There are some that do, but they also, I mean, it’s not easy to open a French bank account, even if you’re not a US citizen, they want lots of documentation. So I had a complicated plan for when I moved here.

[00:34:07] Opening account with N26

[00:34:07] Jennifer Gruenke: Some parts of it worked really well, some parts didn’t, but I have it all worked out at this point. So my plan was to open an account with N 26. That’s the capital letter N and the number 26. This is a German bank.

[00:34:22] Annie Sargent: Okay.

[00:34:23] Jennifer Gruenke: And it’s an online only bank. And you fill out the application online, I had a debit card in my mailbox within a week.

[00:34:35] Jennifer Gruenke: And that was very easy.

[00:34:37] So I can use that, I can load euros into that account and spend them at the grocery store or whatever. That’s not a French bank, and people tell me that it’s a good idea to have a French bank too, because whenever you get reimbursed for your healthcare, it’s supposed to go into a French bank, basically.

[00:34:59] Annie Sargent: Okay.

[00:34:59] LCL Bank

[00:34:59] Which I haven’t applied for the healthcare yet, but I’m going to very soon. So I ended up applying for a bank called LCL Le Crédit Lyonnais

[00:35:11] Annie Sargent: yeah.

[00:35:11] I applied for a lot of others before that one and they all turned me down. All of the online banks turned me down. And this LCL is not an online bank, it’s a regular bank that you see out there on the street. But I was able to fill out the application online and explained that I don’t speak great French.

[00:35:36] Jennifer Gruenke: And three weeks after I filled out this form, I got a phone call to my French number of somebody speaking English. And they said, you still want a bank account? If so, you can come to the branch and open an account.

[00:35:51] Annie Sargent: Okay.

[00:35:52] Jennifer Gruenke: So I ended up having to go to the branch five or six times to finally get this account open.

[00:35:57] Jennifer Gruenke: So it took time and it took a little bit of effort, but it was a branch that was like a five minute walk from my apartment. So it’s not too bad to keep going back, but it was a lot more hassle than the N 26 Online Bank. But, I’ve got it all set up now, I’ve got a debit card through LCL, so I’ve got my French bank.

[00:36:20] And if anybody asks, I can say that I’ve got it.

[00:36:23] Jennifer Gruenke: There was one lady on the discussion groups on Facebook who said that when she tried to renew her visa, they turned her down because she didn’t have a French bank for her visa renewal, which kind of, you know, strikes fear in the heart of expats, living in France.

[00:36:40] Brokerage

[00:36:40] The other recommendation I have is a brokerage called, Interactive Brokers. And the great thing about this company, and as far as I can tell, they’re the only company out there that does this, is they allow me to do an ACH transfer of my US dollars into the account and then do a SEPA, S E P A transfer out of Euros.

[00:37:07] Jennifer Gruenke: So I, within the brokerage, trade Forex and basically am able to exchange my Dollars for Euros and then transfer them out using this free transfer system.

[00:37:22] Annie Sargent: Okay.

[00:37:22] Jennifer Gruenke: I was able to do that whenever I first landed, so pretty quickly. Interactive Brokers wanted me to switch from an American account to a European account, which I did.

[00:37:34] Jennifer Gruenke: I now have a Irish accountwith Interactive Brokers and I have also transferred money from my Irish account into my French account without any problems. The great thing here is that this is the cheapest way to get my money from Dollars into Euros. The transfer of the Dollars in and the Euros out doesn’t cost anything.

[00:37:55] Annie Sargent: Okay.

[00:37:56] Jennifer Gruenke: And the currency exchange is a flat fee of $2 for any amount up to $200,000.

[00:38:04] Annie Sargent: Oh, wow.

[00:38:05] Jennifer Gruenke: So, you know, if you are exchanging $10,000 at a time, $2.

[00:38:12] Annie Sargent: Wow. That’s and I’ve heard, I mean, I don’t know. I’ve heard of the company Wise that used to be Wise Transfer and I don’t know if they do something similar, but it sounds like a lot of expats use that as well. So maybe that’s worth looking into as well.

[00:38:29] Jennifer Gruenke: Yeah, I looked at that. They’re the best if you only want to transfer a small amount of money, because they charge you based on a percentage. But if you want to transfer $10,000 into whatever that is in Euros, you’re going to be paying, you know, more than $2 in terms of currency exchange. So if you’re going to move here and be paying, you know, all your expenses, Interactive Brokers is definitely cheaper than Wise.

[00:38:57] Annie Sargent: Very good to know.

[00:38:59] Jennifer Gruenke: Yes. It’s a little more hassle, it’s something that you have to set up in advance because they are worried about money laundering. And so they don’t want you to transfer in Dollars and then immediately transfer out Euros.

[00:39:11] Jennifer Gruenke: So you kind of, they want you to let sit there for a month or two.

[00:39:14] Jennifer Gruenke: But I mean, while it’s sitting there, you can put it in whatever stocks or funds, you know, you can buy whatever funds you want. It’s a full brokerage. So that was part of my plan that worked really well. The part that worked less well was, I was trying to set up a French Internet bank and that did not work at all.

[00:39:36] Annie Sargent: But it worked out in the end. Did you try Crédit Agricole with all the banks that you tried?

[00:39:41] Jennifer Gruenke: I did not. I think other people have told me that that’s worked for them.

[00:39:46] Annie Sargent: Right. I’ve heard that it works for some people as well, but so it’s worth trying. I just wanted to know if they had rejected you or not. Okay.

[00:39:54] Jennifer Gruenke: They did not. I think I tried their internet bank and that rejected me. So you have to go to the full bank. Basically, if you’re an American, you’re not going to get a French internet bank at this time. It might change in the future, but right now.

[00:40:08] Right. Okay.

[00:40:09] Cost of healthcare

[00:40:09] Annie Sargent: So it looks like you had something about expenses besides housing and visa.

[00:40:14] The cost of healthcare in France

[00:40:14] Jennifer Gruenke: Yeah, I was going to talk a little bit about the cost of

[00:40:17] Marker

[00:40:17] Jennifer Gruenke: healthcare, because that’s something that people ask about a lot. So after you’ve been a resident of France for three months, you sign up for French healthcare. And this basically means that you get reimbursed for 70% of the cost of most medical procedures based on a predetermined schedule of prices.

[00:40:41] Annie Sargent: Mm-hmm

[00:40:42] Jennifer Gruenke: They have these two sectors, sector one and sector two. Sector one is a doctor that will charge you according to this predetermined schedule of prices. And sector two is, they can charge you more, and that extra is not reimbursed at 70%. You have to pay all of the extra. So the 70% reimbursement is only on 70% of the sector one fixed prices.

[00:41:11] So let me expound just a tiny bit on that.

[00:41:14] Annie Sargent: The difference is that there are some specialists who are in high demand. For example, eye specialists, some dental specialists, but it’s mostly the eye doctors, the eye surgeons and people like that. They always, I haven’t met one who didn’t go by the more expensive.

[00:41:35] Annie Sargent: So, but they tell you at the beginning, like when you make the appointment, very often, the secretary making the appointment will tell you, Doctor so and so charges X amount of money. And you know this, it’s not a big surprise. And the other types of doctors who do this are what I call The Gurus.

[00:41:51] If you want to go see a General Practitioner who’s a acupuncturist, somebody who does natural, blah, blah, blah medicine, they usually charge more. Because what they’re selling is guru services, they will tell you about holistic, blah, blah, blah.

[00:42:09] You’re paying for the different approach to medicine that is usually more expensive. But if you want to see a General Practitioner, it’s 25 bucks.

[00:42:19] Jennifer Gruenke: Yes. Which seems impossible for an American because we’re used to paying a lot more.

[00:42:25] Why French doctors are so cheap compared to American doctors

[00:42:25] Annie Sargent: Yeah, they don’t believe it. Americans are like, no, can’t be that. Surely. I’m like, no, no, really. You know, the doctors in France get paid 25 bucks and they usually talk to you for 15 minutes to 30 minutes and they are getting paid 25 bucks for that time. That’s it. Of course they don’t have huge medical bill, I mean medical school bills because medical school is free in France.

[00:42:50] Annie Sargent: They don’t have large insurance bills, they don’t have staff usually to pay, they don’t have to pay for people doing all these different insurance systems because we’re all pretty much in the same health insurance system. The system is much simpler in France, but it’s also much, much, much cheaper.

[00:43:08] What Americans pay to get into the French healthcare system

[00:43:08] Jennifer Gruenke: Yes it is, which is a good thing. And what that would cost somebody like me is six and a half percent of whatever capital gains profit I would have. Cause that’s what I’m living off of now, with a deduction of the first 20,000 Euros worth don’t count. So if your annual income is less than $20,000, you don’t pay anything.

[00:43:34] Annie Sargent: Oh, I see. Okay.

[00:43:36] Jennifer Gruenke: Above that, it’s six and a half percent.

[00:43:38] Jennifer Gruenke: Which seems like a pretty good deal.

[00:43:40] Annie Sargent: Yeah, because I mean, unless you need really specialized eye surgery or highly specialized surgery in whatever, you’re not going to need to go to the higher cost doctors for the most part. If you choose that, that’s different. But if you choose to go the cheapest route possible, it can be done, you know,

[00:44:01] Annie Sargent: unless you really need something very specialized.

[00:44:04] Is France an Expensive Place to Live?

[00:44:04] Annie Sargent: So have you found France to be an expensive place to live?

[00:44:07] Jennifer Gruenke: I’ve been surprised that it’s, other than the cost of housingfor Paris, groceries are cheaper than I thought they would be. And I go to Lidl, I don’t know how you say that in French, Lidl, it’s hard to say. And they have good produce that’s fresh and most of it’s from France, but it’s cheaper than what you would get at the corner grocery store.

[00:44:32] Jennifer Gruenke: But even the corner grocery store is not that expensive.

[00:44:35] Season fruit is not so good at Lidl

[00:44:35] Annie Sargent: Right, so you’ll see when it’sseason for the summer fruit, they don’t taste as good from Lidl. So if you want to buy nectarines, apricots, things like that, I’d stop buying them from Lidl because they’re not as good. But if you’re buying a cabbage or potatoes or onions, it’s the same.

[00:44:55] Annie Sargent: They’re exactly the same. You can’t really tell the difference in flavor, but you will pay a lot less at Lidl than you do in other stores, especially if you go to the open air markets, they tend to be the most expensive way to go, most places in France.

[00:45:10] Jennifer Gruenke: Which kind of surprised me, because you would think that that would be buying direct, but I guess it’s not.

[00:45:15] Annie Sargent: Well, it’s a different skill because the people who sell at the open air market, they have a niche, they know what they need to bring to the market, what sells and what doesn’t, and because they have a niche, they can expect more money. But there is one open air market in Toulouse that is famous for being the cheap one.

[00:45:34] Annie Sargent: So every city has its cheap one somewhere, but maybe it’s not convenient to go to it. You know, I never go to the cheap market in Toulouse because I would have to take the car and park and blah, blah, blah. By the time you do all that, it defeats the purpose. So if you happen to live there, when I lived in the city, my parents, we grew up next to that inexpensive market.

[00:45:54] Annie Sargent: And my mom went a lot in the morning, but it was easy, it was close.

[00:46:00] Annie Sargent: So it sounds like you have figured it out.

[00:46:02] What happens when the tourist visa expires?

[00:46:02] Annie Sargent: Now, the one thing that I wonder what’s going to happen is, what are you going to do when it’s time to renew? I mean, you can’t be on a tourist visa forever?

[00:46:11] Jennifer Gruenke: So I have a visa that allows me to renew it every year. So I’ll do that here from within Paris. After five years, I will be eligible for a 10 year visa and I will also be eligible for citizenship. Now, applying for citizenship takes at least a year and often more. So once you get to that five year point, people apply usually for both citizenship and the 10-year visa at the same time.

[00:46:41] Jennifer Gruenke: Which you can do. But I mean, I don’t know.

[00:46:44] Annie Sargent: But it’s still a 10 year tourist visa.

[00:46:47] No, that ten year visa would allow me to work if I wanted to.

[00:46:50] Annie Sargent: Oh, wow. Okay.

[00:46:51] Jennifer Gruenke: So after five years on a visitor’s visa, everybody, I mean, assuming that you get the ten year visa, it’s not absolutely guaranteed, but assuming that you get that visa, then you could work. So if there’s somebody out there who has enough money saved that they could live here for five years without working, you know, get their French skills up to snuff and then get a job, that would be a possibility.

[00:47:16] Annie Sargent: Wow. Okay. That’s if everything goes well along the way, which…

[00:47:21] It’s definitely not a guarantee.

[00:47:23] Annie Sargent: Yeah, it might. I mean, it could. It’s possible.

[00:47:25] Does she intend to stay for several years?

[00:47:25] Annie Sargent: Wow. What a story. And so are you at this point, I mean, you’ve only been in Paris for a few months, are you hoping to stick it out, to stay for several years?

[00:47:36] Jennifer Gruenke: I really like it. I mean, I had come here with a plan to stay for at least two years. Cause I think it takes that long to sort of get over the newness and to really start to get into the culture. But yeah, I like it as much or more as I have had imagined all those years planning to come. Paris does not disappoint. It’s just a magical city and I know it’s not for everybody and not everybody is a city person. But even though I’m not really a city person when I’m in the US, Paris is this place where you can walk down the street and see the flower markets displaying their flowers, and you can see the produce markets with their beautiful displays and you can stop at an ancient church and look at the stained glass windows and go to the market and buy a carrot, and it’s the best carrot I’ve ever eaten. And so, I’m still exploring and discovering and having a great time.

[00:48:37] Annie Sargent: That’s wonderful. Yeah. You know, Paris is, even for me who lives in rural France, well, not super rural, but you know, nothing like Paris, when I go, usually it’s like an assault on the senses, so much happens around that it would take me a year to see that much. The stuff you see in a day in Paris, it would take me a year to see that in my little corner of France, because it is just not so many people. Like, when you have so many people in a small space, a lot happens. It’s really interesting, you know, it keeps you really charged, I guess, is the word.

[00:49:15] Jennifer Gruenke: And that’s why I chose Paris over those more rural places that I visited at first. Whenever I came here as a tourist with some friends, I was not expecting to want to move to Paris, but I came here and thought, I will never get bored in this place.

[00:49:31] Oh, no. Yeah. You can’t get bored in Paris. You’d have to really try to get bored in Paris. Whereas the rest of the country, I mean, there’s other big cities in France, obviously, so any big city could fit the bill, but if you’re not in a city, it’s easy to just get into your routine and not get out very much, you know?

[00:49:53] Annie Sargent: Not unless you have things you want to do, you go to a club, you go to a this, you go to a that, practice, rehearsal, whatever. Then yes, you get out. But otherwise, it’s so easy when you’re in the rural parts of France to just live within your little world and not get much stimulation, which is not ideal for people who just move here, I think.

[00:50:16] It’s better if you have stimulation all the time, which Paris definitely is stimulation all the time.

[00:50:23] Jennifer Gruenke: Yeah.

[00:50:24] Annie Sargent: All right, Jennifer, we’ve been talking for a long time, is there anything you want to add to this or we pretty much cover it?

[00:50:31] Jennifer Gruenke: I think we covered everything I had. I have a list of links that I can forward to you to put on your webpage.

[00:50:38] Annie Sargent: That would be really helpful, yes. Because people, if they want details, will have what I call guest notes. Whatever the guest sends me to share, I will put on that page because people want the details. Some of them do anyway.

[00:50:54] Jennifer Gruenke: Yeah. The rules change all the time and they’ve changed, you know, in that 10 year period where I was sort of planning, I watched online as the rules were changing. So it’s good to keep up with all these links on your own, if you’re somebody out there who wants to move to France.

[00:51:11] Annie Sargent: Excellent. Well, thank you very much, Jennifer, and best wishes in your new apartment, I hope it’s comfortable, and as lovely as the other one, although with the 5th Arrondissement you can’t really go wrong, can you?

[00:51:23] Jennifer Gruenke: Yeah it’s great.

[00:51:26] Annie Sargent: Merci beaucoup.

[00:51:29] Thank you, patrons[00:51:29] Outro

[00:51:29] Annie Sargent: Again, I want to thank my patrons for supporting the show and giving back. Patrons get several exclusive rewards for doing so, and you can see them at P A T R E O N, join us no spaces, or dashes.

[00:51:54] Annie Sargent: Thank you all for supporting the show. Some of you have been doing it for a long time. You are amazing. And a shout out this week to a new patron, a single new patron, James Olson. Thank you so much James, for becoming a patron and making this podcast possible.

[00:52:12] Bootcamp and Patreon

[00:52:12] Annie Sargent: The bootcamp and the newsletter have taken up a lot of my time this week, but I hope to record a new video with Elyse and publish it to my patrons and hers, before you get this new episode.

[00:52:25] Elyse’s Patreon

[00:52:25] Annie Sargent: Elyse, how is your Patreon going?

[00:52:27] Annie Sargent: Oh, my Patreon is going very nicely. Thank you, Annie. I would like to give a shout out to three new people, and that is to Jerry, to Theresa and to Terry. It rhymes, but it wasn’t on purpose actually. Thank you very much for being new patrons of Elyse’s Corner. And just to let everybody else out here know that all of your patronage is very much appreciated and you can join me by going to the page on Join Us in France or by going directly to the site on Patreon.

[00:53:03] Annie Sargent: Right, and that’s Patreon.Com E L Y S A R T. And thank you very much.

[00:53:14] Annie Sargent: And thank you. all

[00:53:15] Preparing a trip to France?

[00:53:15] Annie Sargent: If you’re preparing a trip to France and listening to as many episodes as you can to get ready, keep listening, because that’s a great way to prepare your own trip to France, but you can also hire me to be our itinerary consultant. You purchase the service on And right now, I have one spot left in October. And after that all the new appointments will have to be in November.

[00:53:40] Annie Sargent: So it’s a very popular service. and here’s how it works. When I get notified of a new purchaser, I send an email with a form to fill out. That may take me a few hours because I like to sleep, and I’m the one doing it, it’s really me, it’s not some service or whatever. Then you fill out a document to tell me what you have in mind. We make a phone appointment and we chat for about an hour, and then I send you the document with the plan we discussed.

[00:54:10] It’s amazing how good it is for me to talk to listeners and help them craft a great trip to France. They always tell me how happy they are to be talking to me, but it really goes both ways. Without you listeners, the podcast is kaput. So it’s really, it’s really fun. And I always learn something like about what people really want, what are they looking for? That sort of thing. And so it’s really, really helpful.

[00:54:36] Self-guided tours

[00:54:36] Annie Sargent: And if you can’t talk to me because I’m all booked up, you can still take me in your pocket by getting my GPS Self-Guided Tours on the VoiceMap app. I’ve produced five tours and they are designed to show you around different iconic neighborhoods of Paris. VoiceMap technology makes it really easy to find your way around Paris, whether it’s your first time or your 10th.

[00:55:02] Annie Sargent: Take a look at these tours

[00:55:06] Travel News – Weekend du Patrimoine 2022

[00:55:06] Annie Sargent: This week in travel news, next weekend, we’ll have the Weekend du Patrimoine in Paris and everywhere else in France. I have to say that it’s complicated getting to the most popular sites in Paris, even on the Weekend du Patrimoine, because these sites are forcing people to reserve a free ticket online. Now it’s a free ticket, but you still have to have a ticket.

[00:55:29] And you never really know when the reservation system is going to open, and when it does, it’s usually sold out within minutes. This year I was keeping an eye on the visit of the Elysee Palace, and by the time I saw a link, it was all booked up.

[00:55:45] Annie Sargent: Now in the rest of France, La Province as we say, there are a lot of fantastic places to visit and they are not fully booked up two weeks before they’re open to the public. There are so many that I couldn’t possibly list them here, but suffice it to say that if you are in France next weekend, and you would like to participate in something, Google Weekend du Patrimoine and the name of your city or zip code. I bet you will find some really great stuff. And the local newspapers usually cover it as well.

[00:56:20] No cars allowed in Paris weekend

[00:56:20] Annie Sargent: The other thing that’s happening next weekend in Paris, is that on Sunday, the 18th of September cars will not be allowed in a huge area of Paris covering the first four arrondissements, so 1, 2, 3, 4 and the Champs-Élysées, which I think most of it is in the seventh or the eighth, I can’t remember. Or perhaps it’s at the boundary between the two. So taxis, buses and emergency vehicles will be allowed, but they’ll have to drive super slow, so it’ll be mostly bikes, scooters, roller blades, people on foot of course, this is going to be a great time to ride a bike in Paris without worrying too much about being hit.

[00:56:57] Annie Sargent: But remember, if you are a pedestrian, look both ways before stepping onto the curb, because those bikes can go fast and they will surprise you. The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo is doing everything that she can to get cars out of Paris. This has led to many of her constituents hating her with a passion, but I think all French cities should push private cars as far away from city centers as possible. It’ll take years, but I hope we get there.

[00:57:27] Jean-Luc Godard

[00:57:27] Annie Sargent: This week in French news, Jean-Luc Godard died this week. He made a lot of famous movies, including Breathless, which is A Bout de Souffle in French. I normally don’t talk about famous people passing away, but this passing coincided with a new development in French law having to do with death with dignity, as they call it in Oregon. In France, we’re really conservative and really slow when it comes to these things. People who are going through terrible suffering at the end of their life can be given, you know, big amounts of painkillers, sleep medications and things like that, but that’s about where it stops.

[00:58:04] Annie Sargent: And this week, Emmanuel Macron said he wanted to query the people of France, the medical professionals, the institutions that make decisions on ethics. So, there’s going to be a big kind of national consultation on this. No changes have been decided on yet, obviously, but they’re thinking about it. Jean-Luc Godard died with the help of doctors, but he had to do it in Switzerland, where this is allowed. In France, he wouldn’t have been able to do what he did, although he lived most of his life in Paris. This has obviously generated a lot of conversations, especially from people like me, who weren’t very much into his movies, I really don’t enjoy serious movies.

[00:58:44] Annie Sargent: I love serious books. I love literature. But movies, eh? No. So. I’m a bookworm all the way. What can I say?

[00:58:52] Annie Sargent: So adieu, Jean-Luc Godard and thank you for forcing us to think about Death with Dignity this week in France. It’s not a fun topic to think about, but we have to do it.

[00:59:04] Personal Update

[00:59:04] Annie Sargent: For my personal update this week, we had a bad hail storm last night, and my nice new car got a little bumpy all over, yeah. This is the second time we’ve had a bad hail storm in the 17 years we’ve lived here and both times I thought, I really need to get a carport and I’m really, again, going to need to get a carport. Of course, it’s going to be covered by insurance and they do a good job usually, straightening those little bumps from hail storms, but still, you know, yeah, it’s upsetting. My husband’s car got it worse though, so, way to go electric car, you have solid metal.

[00:59:41] Annie Sargent: I haven’t had any fun trips this week, which is sad, but I have a few lined up with Elyse and I am getting really excited about the bootcamp. We are going to have to cap the attendance to 40, I think.

[00:59:55] Annie Sargent: And that’s even more than Elyse wanted really to tell you the truth there, because it’s a big group for her to talk to and we’re going to do visits every day. But that means that. as soon as you get the email, opening the bootcamp page on, save your spot immediately, they’re going to go fast and I’m not going to be able to bump anybody up. That’s just how it’s going to work. First come, first serve.

[01:00:22] Something wonderful and unexpected

[01:00:22] Annie Sargent: Something really unexpected and wonderful happened this week. So I have the best listeners. This week, Brian Revel, who was on episode 402 of the podcast.

[01:00:33] Annie Sargent: He’s been a wonderful supporter and he’s been in touch with me a few times over the years. And when we recorded the episode he said something like, you should get the Legion of Honor. And I just laughed it off, I just said that’s ridiculous, you know, and I didn’t put it in the podcast because that’s like boast. And I knew it’s not going to happen, it’s not going to happen. Okay.

[01:00:52] Annie Sargent: But he wrote to the President anyway and he got a really nice response from someone called Brice Blondel who wrote on behalf of the President and said, it was a nice letter in French, you know, nice form letter in French. And he said that the President is delighted to hear that I’m doing this podcast to share my love of France with everybody. How about that? Thank you so much, Brian. It made my day and I will have that letter framed because I love it that much.

[01:01:19] Annie Sargent: And you know, the other thing I would really love, and I’m not saying that you need to do it Brian, but someone I hope will do it, I would love for the podcast to get its own Wikipedia page.

[01:01:30] Annie Sargent: I have no idea how to do that or if it’s ever going to happen, but I would really like that. I would like to find, Join Us in France in Wikipedia.

[01:01:38] Show notes

[01:01:38] Annie Sargent: Show notes and a full transcript for this episode are on the numeral. Next week on the podcast an episode about the mysterious standing stones of Brittany with Elyse. And all the places that you can go to see them, of course.

[01:02:01] Annie Sargent: Send questions and feedback to annie@JoinUsinFrance.Com. Thank you so much for listening and I hope you join me next time, so we can look around France together. Au revoir.

[01:02:14] Annie Sargent: The Join Us in France travel podcast is written, hosted, and produced by Annie Sargent and Copyright 2022 by Addicted to France. It is released under a Creative Commons, Attribution, Non-commercial, No derivatives license.

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Categories: Moving to France, Paris