It was so hard to leave Paris and head back to San Francisco after my summer break this year.
My closest family and childhood friends live there, I miss the pace and walkability of Europe... and don't get me started on the baguette.
So why did I leave? And why do I stay?
Au revoir Paris!
I left Paris in 2016 to explore my American side after living for most of my life in Paris. At the time I was working in marketing for a Japanese skincare company and doing community theater on the side. As fun and comfortable as it was, I felt I was stagnating and craved a new adventure. I looked to California where I already had some family and fell in love with San Francisco's energy, It seemed like the perfect place for a new beginning. I quickly immersed myself into the history of the city through SF City Guides. I developed a new circle of friends and learned a new artform thanks to the Leela improv company which eventually led to my career shift into audiobooks.
Fun fact: this year, I got to record a story for Tantor Media about Eleanor Dumont aka "Madame Moustache", a French woman who moved to San Francisco during the Gold Rush to reinvent herself.
=> click here to hear an excerpt.
I left my heart in....
Paris will always be the city of my heart.,,, but I don't want to go back to living there full time. I actually love experiencing Paris as a tourist (check out my updated Paris restaurant list). I love going back to a whirlwind of joyful family and friends' reunions. And to be honest, I also love being French in San Francisco. I've always been in between two cultures and the more I start to meld into one of them the more I feel pulled in the opposite direction. Being different makes me happy and gives me room to grow. I am still in awe of San Francisco's nature and culture and I feel in a stronger position to advance my voice and audiobook career from the US. I do plan to spend more time in Paris in the coming years (if you have any tips on local recording studios, please let me know!) but I still have much to explore and learn from in San Francisco. In the meantime, I am fortunate to keep my connection to France alive through the magic of whatsapp and my audiobook projects.
Have you moved far away from your hometown? Do you think you will ever move back one day?
Where to go and (especially) what to eat when you're in the "Ville Lumiere" (city of lights :)
People always ask me this question when they're planning a trip to Paris, so I thought it was about time I compiled a master list for easy sharing! Let me know if you would like me to add other recommendations.
Note: I lived in the 5th arrondissement and worked in the 7th arrondissement for over 30 years so a lot of my addresses are concentrated in those areas.
Best drinks + people watching
Marais area (4th arrondissement)
Get your crêpe fix (7th and 14th arrondissement)
Sweets and chocolate
Restaurants and Take-out
Where to daydream
Theatre and Improv