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A Year in Paris

Some of my friends make fun of me because it seems like every week I’m excited about something else. Last week I was really into San Francisco Real Estate {the thought of owning even a small part of these seven square miles gets me really excited.} This week I spoke with Rebecca who just got back from visiting a friend in Paris that is there teaching English for a year. Within 24 hours I made a spreadsheet for how we could make it work financially, I’ve done countless google searches on “English jobs in Paris,” and I ordered a French language course from my brother in law. I’ve been making plans like this since I can remember–not all of them work out but sometimes they do. Anyone have any good suggestions of how or where to work as a foreigner in Paris? It doesn’t have to pay a lot or be a really cool job.

{This photo is actually from Italy but it was so perfect that I’m putting it on my Paris post–via forty sixth and grace.}

  1. chelsea

    April 2, 2009

    I am actually doing the same thing right now! Moving to France was in my 6 month plan but then I decided to be more realistic and make it a 1-3 year plan. I really, really , really want to live there.

  2. erin

    April 2, 2009

    yes! go! i lived for a year in macon, france, teaching english to elementary school kids…check out this link……placements in paris are difficult, and often you are actually in the banlieue, not paris proper…but the government pays you monthly…not a lot, but enough…i was able to move in with a family where i didn’t pay room or board…you can definitely manage it financially…n’hesite pas!

  3. nicole hill gerulat

    April 2, 2009

    adam and i have thought about that too. 😉

    i photographed an american family who traded homes with a family in Mougins… i would look into that! it worked out really well for them.

    and i’m with you on the new projects… although for me… it’s always stuff i want to invest in

  4. Jane Flanagan

    April 2, 2009

    This is so exciting! I’m a big planner too. Sometimes I feel like it’s hapless daydreaming, but I’ve actually done some of the major things I daydreamed about… and when you do it’s a feeling like no other!

  5. Emily

    April 2, 2009

    The biggest hang up tends to be obtaining a visa, which are typically given to people with a special skill set since they don’t want to take jobs from their own.

    However, don’t let that discourage you! If there’s a will, there’s a way.

    I highly recommend living abroad if you get the chance – it’s not always simple, but it’s so rewarding. Every single day I feel like I’m truly living and learning.

    Have you thought about getting licensed in ESL (English as a Second Language)? There’s an international teaching fair at the University of Northern Iowa and schools around the world go there to hire teachers. The teachers with ESL certification are highly marketable and it’s a job that survives regardless of the economy.

    Also, you can look at the US consulate website in Paris for potential job openings.

    Other resources to check:

    Good Luck!

  6. Kaylen

    April 2, 2009

    One of my best friends is a first-year teacher in Paris for this school year. I’ll have to get some specifics out of her, for sure.

  7. Laura.

    April 2, 2009

    i want to go to paris!!! anywhere in france would be fine, really. and i plan like that, too. because you never know what doors will open until you start knocking (ew, totally cheese-ball analogy, but i have found it to be so true). it’s amazing how far you can get just by asking questions.
    eeeeee!!!!!!!!! i want to go!!

  8. bM

    April 2, 2009

    if i didn’t know better, i’d swear i wrote this very post. i always try and convince my husband that we could do it. in fact, i’m going to pass this along to him…

  9. Lindsey

    April 2, 2009

    One of my best friend did this (she wasn’t married, but then met a frenchman there, married him). If you’re serious about this, she can tell you all the great places to live/work, etc. She ended up temping after her courses for WHO in Geneva.

  10. Sarah

    April 2, 2009

    Do it! I just moved to Paris in January (but only for 5 months, so not long term).
    It’s true that getting a work visa is really difficult, because typically you either have to get a company to hire you FIRST (which most of them won’t do if you don’t already have a visa), and as a general rule everyone who applies for a job that is already an EU citizen takes priority over non-EU citizens.
    That’s how I understand it, anyway. But, there are probably companies who will make exceptions!
    As far as the English teaching assistantships, I know there is an age limit for participating, but I’m not sure what it is. 28, maybe??
    It’s definitely worth all of the (seemingly endless) groundwork and paperwork once you’re here, though!

  11. michelle

    April 2, 2009

    As much as I may tease you about your changing projects, your enthusiasm is one of my favorite things about you. Viva la Paris!

  12. .caroline armelle.

    April 2, 2009

    i say go for it!

    i think everyone should live in paris at one point in their lives and experience paris day to day.

    i did two study abroads in paris while at byu, and i spend many of my summers there growing up. [my dad is from france] it is so amazing to live your everyday life in such a city!

    oh p.s. i just posted some invitations i made for my little guys birthday party coming up. your recent balloon invites inspired me for part of the invitation. so, thank you very much!

    check it out here:

  13. liz

    April 2, 2009

    go for it!

    this site will motivate you further.

  14. Carlita

    April 2, 2009

    i think this is a great idea! my husband and i went to Ecuador (less expensive, but also less pretty) a year ago, stayed for a few months teaching english, then traveled and came home. we want to go to Spain next, but hear the Visa is hard to obtain. i have my TEFL certificate, which helped me land a job. but good luck! when there’s a will, there’s a way.

  15. Rebecca

    April 2, 2009

    Great idea; I hope it works out! 🙂

    I also get excited pretty easily. I like to think that just means I’m a positive person. Or something.

  16. liz stanley

    April 2, 2009

    jared being in france right now is TOTALLY making me jealous. i want to go sooo bad. let’s make it happen. we’ll split an apartment and travel around europe.

  17. Mary

    April 2, 2009

    I have always, always wanted to do this! Hopefully one day for both of us!

  18. Lytle

    April 2, 2009

    Ha – I do the exact same thing… check out this book from the library: Delaying the Real World by Colleen Kinder. It has suggestions that I could have never found online and some of which I never would have thought.

  19. Susan

    April 2, 2009

    While you’re waiting to make your plan happen – moveing to Paris – you can fuel your enthusiasm by reading My Life in France by Julia Child. It’s an amazing read by an amazing and energetic chef and you’ll really want to make your dream come true.

  20. Becki

    April 2, 2009

    What is your brother-in-law’s French course? My son is learning French, and I would love to learn with him.

  21. Hannah S

    April 2, 2009

    It can work for you! My husband and little 8 month old baby (at the time) and I lived there for a year. He taught English at a high school, and was hired through his school (BYU) somehow. The visa issue is tricky (and honestly, a lengthy process, and if you don’t speak French, difficult). I had to get one to stay as an extended visitor and it took the whole year to finally obtain it. We both had to fly to San Fran to get them too. BUT there are perks….you can qualify for assistance from the French gov’t to help pay for housing, I taught English and was paid “under the table” to a little girl once a week.
    The pay is great and you can still afford to live in a decent place in the middle of the city!
    Go for it!

  22. caroline duke

    April 2, 2009

    this is totally on my mind right now, too. i loved reading what everyone had to say about it. i’ll be checking back in.

  23. ashlynn

    April 2, 2009

    you are awesome

  24. Sara

    April 3, 2009

    the easiest way to get a visa (other than being married to someone from the EU) is to get a student visa. I have had friends over here who came on student visas for extended language classes. I think the student visa also allows you to work a bit (such as teaching English).

  25. Delphine R2M

    April 3, 2009

    As I am a French Parisian girl, I don’t know how to find a job when you’re a foreigner… BUT, I know an american magazine called Fursac, here in Paris, where there were lots of small ads and jobs advertisers when I was a student ( some years ago ;-);
    I think this magazine still exists, you should have a look on g**gle!


  26. Anonymous

    April 3, 2009

    I just came across your blog after seeing the lovely party you threw on your rooftop. It was featured on sfgirlbybay.

    I’m from Scotland and have lived in Paris for 2 years. I teach EFL and over the years have lived and worked in Germany, Japan, the US and the UK.

    I’d recommend getting a TEFL qualification – A CELTA (which usually takes 4 weeks) at the very least.

    Good luck!

  27. Nicole

    April 3, 2009

    As an American living in Paris, I can confirm that visa’a are hard to get although there certainly are lots of English teacher jobs available. But I would suggest that two people like you and your husband who already do freelance work would be best off just applying for a long-term tourism visa. I have friends who did this quite easily as he was a programmer who worked for an American firm and she was a writer. As long as you aren’t looking for work and can prove that you can support yourself on your foreign earnings (and therefore will not need to claim for assistance from the government) you can come and live. They have to pay into Social Security but then they have full access to the French health care system.
    As for housing, its so expensive and hard to find to be in Paris, that you might be best off trying to arrange a house swap, partidularly for university professors. Fusac is a really good place to start looking and also its worth it to put in an ad because EVERYONE in the expat community reads it. Craigslist is also gaining ground so try there. Plus, for the anglophones with kids, there is a great organization called Message ( which might be a good resource for finding housing or maybe even work.

  28. april~living the sweet life

    April 3, 2009

    It fun to see that you, Chelsea and Nicole all do this too. I always think of myself as someone who could have a nice little place in San Fransisco, New York and Paris with a small farm house in Vermont all to call home. My kids and I are learning French in hopes of this happening.

  29. eva

    April 3, 2009

    wonderful! you might be able to get citizenship from your parents or grandparents if they were born in the EU…some countried are easier than others though.

  30. heat

    April 3, 2009

    Move then blog. Paul can paint. Done and done.

    Once you are there it's easier to find work. Americans have good luck with American companies like Google & Proctor/Gamble.

  31. CraftyRachel

    April 4, 2009

    We just got back from living in Paris for 2 years. I second everything Emily and Nicole said. I was on fellowship, but my husband (being an IT guy) was able to find odd jobs and then land a “real” job – and English-speaking to boot.

    In my (and several American friends’) experience, if you want to work, even babysitting or waiting tables, it will have to be on the books. Getting a student visa is the easiest way to be able to work, since you may work part time with one. My friends in their mid-30s are doing this. It involves signing up for a certain number of French courses at the Sorbonne or a language school.

    If you want to teach English, you will need certification (you can even take the CELTA course in Paris).

    I say, get the long-stay tourist visa (if you can swing it financially) and see where life takes you. If you find the perfect job, you can always get the work visa later (if the employer is willing to go through the 3-month process).

  32. Beckstrom Bunch

    April 4, 2009

    Both my husband and I have lived in France and I have done and continue to do everything in my power to make him take a job over there. With our 3rd child on the way it’s becoming less likely but I refuse to give up. I’d say go for it while you only have one kiddo to take along!

  33. Signorina Svizzera

    April 5, 2009

    I am an American girl currently at university in Switzerland. We often get emails from our school of jobs all over europe. For Paris, most of our job offers come in from American University of Paris or Parsons Paris, where they need someone in Admissions, Registration,as an assistant to President, etc. Primarily you need to have basic computer knowledge, organization, fluent English speaker, and (often but not always) high level of French, or fluent in French. I would suggest looking at these two schools, and maybe look for American/International high schools in Paris. Lyons may also have an option such as this.
    Good Luck!
    p.s. Have you considered French-speaking Switzerland?! 🙂

  34. MJ

    April 6, 2009

    I’ve been living in Europe in various places for close to two years now. I currently live in the south, and I do freelance graphic design online.

    Does it necessarily need to be Paris? There are lots of beautiful places in France. My best advice is to research where you really want to live/experience French life. Go online to an expat community forum; you can usually find good job leads there. Oh, and finances–make sure you have enough money for 3-6 months of lean times, just to be sure. And the exchange rate can be killer–I check it almost daily before making transactions.

    Good luck!

  35. Amaya

    April 7, 2009

    Hi, I lived in Paris for most of last year, I did my freshman year of college there. The best thing for you to do is to try to contact American Schools in Paris that have openings for teachers assistants or need English Speaking office help, or any company that has representation in France, would want english speakers in their offices.

  36. Stephanie

    April 7, 2009

    Oh, wouldn’t that be wonderful? A whole year in Paris! I say: go for it.

  37. Chessa!

    April 8, 2009

    first of all, I have no idea why this is the first time I’m commenting here. I love it and I’ve been reading your blog for ages. 🙂 hi:)

    secondly, I love Paris so much and suffer from the same thing as you…in fact, my husband and I both do…every week we talk about how wonderful it would be to pick up and move somewhere. Usually it’s Paris or Buenos Aires. I love Paris so much – I fell in love with it after living there in college.

    You should read Little Brown Pen. Nichole is wonderful and she recently moved back to the US from Paris. She up and moved and lived there for three months with her husband and two boys. here’s the link:

  38. Lisa

    April 9, 2009

    So great to read all the posts!

    I’m a designer + moving to Paris in August. It’s dreamy + a little scary, but nothing a mouthful of french macaroons can’t fix! I’m going to try to put together a journal of my experience…give me a shout if you have any advice!

  39. Marie

    May 6, 2011

    I love seeing my city through your eyes and experience. Woudl you mind if I put a link to your lovely Blog on mine ?
    And if you want to have tea let me know

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