Welcome to the ‘MyFrenchLife™ Member Interview Series’ – interviews with savvy Francophiles from all around the world capturing their passion secrets and tips, all about their favourite places in France, from Paris to Provence.
As you read these interviews you’ll become immersed in the individual member’s ‘French Life’.
Learn why France is so special in their eyes & how they came to be so passionate about France.
Discover so much more about France in the process and also you’ll personally benefit from the tips & discoveries these savvy Francophile frequent travellers generously share.
Note: this interview was conducted prior to the 2020/21 COVID-19 Pandemic.
Introducing Jacqui, a resident of Paris
I have been in love with France in general and Paris in particular since I was about 7 years old.
I remember seeing a movie showing the Eiffel Tower and thinking it was magnificent. My mother spoke a wee bit of French which I picked up quickly, and she told me we had French ancestors a few generations back.
So I decided I was French.
My dream was to live in France, speak the language and marry a Frenchman, the naïve notion of a young girl.
As I grew up, all my interests intersected with French things.
- I excelled at French at school.
- My school trip to New Caledonia when I was a 15-year-old was a formative experience.
- I kept up my French after I’d left school.
- I planned to study and settle in France for my postgraduate work but I ended up marrying a local.
- When I had my first 2 children, I gave them French names, bringing them up bilingual and immersing them in the local French expat community.
- My first visit to Paris was when I was 31, it felt like I was finally HOME for the first time in my life.
- A few years later after my marriage ended, I took a job in Paris for 10months where I met my now-husband.
- We have two wee French girls and have settled permanently in Paris. I am so blessed…
- It took a while but I’m finally living that little girl’s dream.
My first trip to Paris
When I describe my love of Paris, people often say that
I must have been a Parisienne in a past life.
I firmly believe that because it seems the only way to explain these strong feelings.
The first time I came to Paris was in 2006 (31yo), then I visited 6 times before moving here permanently in 2017.
What I love about Paris
- I am a history buff, I love seeing/ being in places of historical significance, and Paris is full of these.
- I find the architecture in Paris intriguing and beautiful.
- Paris has a romance, real or imagined, that I like to watch and be immersed in.
- There is a style and sophistication to Parisians that I am drawn to.
Am I a different person in Paris?
I am always trying to be more Parisienne but I’m not very successful. Trying to exude that effortless sophistication is a full-time preoccupation and a work-in-progress. I love sitting back on the terrace of a café, coffee or glass of champagne in hand, watching the world go by.
My favourite arrondissement in Paris
- The 6ème – chic and bustling, lots of great cafés and shops for all budgets, central, historic and iconic.
- The 14ème – where I live, my home … lively but not crowded, family-friendly and safe, not touristy.
My favourite places to eat
16 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis,
Au Pied de Cochon
– STUNNING decor, service AMAZING, the menu will have you going back to try all the other options… incredible dining experience BONUS: open 24
Au Pied du Cochon
6, rue Coquillière
– No frills dining despite the gorgeous decor, very good value for money
7 rue du Faubourg Montmartre
My favourite places to walk
I am a walker! Anywhere different is an adventure. If you have plenty of time, just go walking in Paris and get lost… you will surely stumble upon the most amazing hidden gems that you would never imagine otherwise.
My best purchase ever!
Wedding band shopping: we searched in all the big jewellers, at bridal expos and more but finally found the perfect rings at tiny little stores in the 10ème and 17ème… the moral of the story, Paris is full of treasures, some big and sparkly and some are tiny and well-hidden… often finding what you are looking for is simply down to chance.
My most wonderful memorable experience
I will remember my first time in Paris for as long as I live… the first time seeing the Eiffel Tower with my own eyes, the first time standing in front of it, the first time I stood in the middle of the Champs Élysées in front of the Arc de Triomphe… all MAGICAL. And each time I see them, even now, I get the same feeling over and over again.
My recommended experiences
- In Paris? At least once, go to Moulin Rouge or Lido, just so you can say that you’ve been.
- On 21st June La Fete de la Musique, Paris becomes one giant busker’s paradise, music is EVERYWHERE!
- If you like chocolate, Salon du Chocolat, the first week of November each year… YUM!
- …and other than Paris? Versailles, Mont St Michel, Loire Valley, Le Quesnoy and the Somme, Normandy… why?? THE HISTORY! Stunningly beautiful, grandiose and alive!
A few tips to share
- Always always make an effort to speak French.
- The Métro is usually the most efficient way to get around Paris, but I recommend taking a bus: as it helps your sense of direction, an excellent way to sightsee while making your way around the city and if you do happen to see something interesting (there are hidden treasures everywhere ) you just get off at the next stop.
- Beware: dog poo, pickpockets, scam artists, bikes/motorbikes on the footpaths, and be careful walking across the roads, even if you have the right-of-way.
Jacqui, thank you so much for sharing your life so far and love of Paris with us. Your recommendations will certainly be useful for our readers planning a trip to the French capital.
EDITORS NOTE: Jacqui is one of our very generous members at MyFrenchLIfe.org. She is generously leading our ‘Weekday Wandering in Paris’ team. Here in our BINGE on PARIS you too can enjoy full immersion in Paris 20 minutes at a time. Find out more about how to receive your invitation for free LIVE events in Paris.
Merci mille fois Jacqueline.
To read other MyFrenchLife member interviews of inspiring Francophiles:
1. Keith Van Sickle
2. Ray Johnstone
3. Henrie Richer
4. Janet Hulstrand
5. Virginia Jones
6. Gina Hunt
7. Jane S. Gabin
8. Elizabeth Sauvage-Callaghan
9. Harriett Welty-Rochefort
10. Grahame Elliott
11. Susan Kiernan-Lewis
12. David Collins
13. Jacqueline – Parisienne – this one
1. © Jacqueline
2. Parisian Architecture via Pca-Stream.com
3. 6th arrondissement cafe Procope by Jean-Marie Hullot via travel.syngiv.com
4. 14th arrondissement map via google.com
5. Bouillon Julien
6. Au Pied du Cochon
7. Bouillon Chartier