Christine, an Exploress living in Paris, shares her life through beautiful photography and words on her blog, 8 Rue Caffarelli. She often shares her experiences of life in grad school while submerging in a culture filled with beauty, exquisite taste, and new opportunities.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I’m a lover of little surprises, breakfast with the windows open, sunset bike rides, and Sunday mornings. Lately I’ve been lucky enough to have my heart torn between two incredible cities, Paris and New York. On my travel photography blog, 8 rue Caffarelli, I share the simple pleasures in life in Paris and New York, with my adventures along the way.
How long have you lived in Paris?
I’ve moved back and forth between New York and Paris for the past few years, but in total I’ve been here for two years. I still feel new to this city!
We know you are from New York originally, why did you decide to settle in Paris? (Excellent choice by the way!)
I actually grew up in Texas and moved to New York when I was 18, but this crazy city quickly became my home sweet home. Funnily enough, I was never interested in Paris before, but my university had an exchange program here, so when I wanted to study abroad it seemed like the most feasible option. Happily, we got along pretty well, this city and I.
How would you describe Paris?
Endlessly charming, complicated, magical, frustrating, and surprising… all at the same time!
What would you say is the hardest thing to overcome or get used to when moving to this city, aside from the language barrier?
The differences between the French and American mentality continue to surprise me every day. For example, Americans are open to talking to anyone with a pulse... in the street, at the grocery store, waiting in line, etc. I love it. But in France, that’s just not done, so I miss these little moments. The French can also be extremely blunt and sometimes it can be shocking, yet hilarious.
What is your all-time favorite local restaurant? Why?
Ooh impossible to pick just one! Chez Omar holds a special place in my heart because I had my first meal in Paris there. It’s so welcoming and cozy on a cold winter’s night. Les P’tites Indécises is another favorite for a laid back, intimate dinner for two. For the best salted butter caramel crêpe of your life, head straight to Breizh Cafe!
Are there any shops you frequent..? Any particular reason why you like these shops so much?
It’s not a shop, but I love browsing the Vanves flea market (Marché aux Puces de Vanves). You can easily spend an entire day there, rummaging through piles of trinkets, hundred-year-old books, and other whimsical knick-knacks. Filled head-to-toe with the most delectable treats of France, A l’Etoile d’Or is the whimsical candy shop of your dreams. You’re guaranteed to leave with a smile on your face.
Congratulations and kudos to you for going to school for your masters! How is that working out for you? How is school different in France compared to The States?
Thanks so much! I’m still getting used to the teaching style here, but luckily the classes are interesting so I’m enjoying it. From my experience, classes are more “traditional” and formal. Since they’re taught lecture style there’s less discussion and interaction. The big advantage is that education is much more affordable and accessible here. Public universities cost around 200 euros, a year!
We often like to get lost when we visit Paris, which is our way of discovering the most beautiful neighborhoods! Is there any one particular neighborhood you love?
The Marais, Montmartre, and Ile-St-Louis are perfect for those leisurely afternoon strolls. Sometimes it’s even better to leave the camera at home so you can simply breathe in the charm of these neighborhoods. While exploring, don’t forget to take a break and pop in to any bakery for a sweet pick-me-up.
What advice would you share with other Exploresses who may want to make the move abroad, and specifically to Paris?
Prepare yourself for grumpy people, the never-ending “non”, and “that’s not possible”! There will be days where you want to beam yourself back home, but each day you discover new things about this foreign country, and it keeps life interesting and exciting.
Images from 8 Rue Caffarelli