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about

me parisFrance and I have been acquainted for years.   From the first time I came with my parents and sulked my way through Provence, The Cote d’Azur, Loire Valley and Paris to grand shopping tours in the 90s to today when I’m once again as broke as I was when my parents brought me for the first time (my French hasn’t improved since then, either).

As an experiement, I decided it was time to take a break from New York City and take a sabbatical in France.   See if I could survive in a place without a 7-11 and nail salon on every corner.    I also wanted to see France as only a French person can… well, a poor French person who doesn’t speak French.

What better way to get to know a country than to move in with it?

About me: I’m an advertising copywriter, fervent traveler and blogger for the Huffington Post.  Oh yeah, and I’m broke (please send money).

UPDATE

I’m now writing from Antibes in the South of France.

My website

Huffington Post bio and archives

25 Responses

  1. Hi Leslie,
    I am a friend of your parents and bought the celadon necklace you created at Judy’s jewelry party. I am a fanatic traveler myself and we are now in Maui at our place (we own 1/26 of a one bedroom condo on the ground floor at the Whaler) about which your dad sniffs, “Hawaii,Omaha with water.” He may have said Whichata but I don’t know how to spell it. I am so excited about your living outside Paris, yet in another world. Bruce, my techy husband, said your blog was lovely and he is tres picky. I will enjoy reading and I am so glad your mom passed it on. I don’t speak France, nor have I ever taken a French class, yet I did teach a culture/language French class to middle schoolers one year. So much for the Santa Rosa City Schools. We spent 2 weeks in Provence in June and stayed in only 2 places, Aix and Mausanne outside of St Remy where I bought the most amazing shoes. More France to come after a few other trips we have in the hopper. Bon chance to you Leslie and I know you will have a happy productive time living in that adorable village.
    Au Revoir,
    Louise Bowe

    rro

    • Hi Louise,
      I remember you (and the necklace) well. Thanks so much for the kind words. As you’ll see, my French ain’t so hot either.
      I LOVE Mausanne!
      Enjoy Omaha by the sea!
      A bientot.
      Lesley

  2. Hi Leslie – I come to Paris regularly on business. Can’t send $$$ but can buy you a cafe au lait. We can trade stories on what it’s like to live in France. Enjoyed the post on masculine and feminine nounds. They make me crazy too.

    Au revoir
    Catherine

    • Hi Catherine,
      Thanks for reading (and for the invite). Let me know when you’re in Paris. If I’m around (going to be in California for awhile), we can drink cafe au lait at a sidewalk cafe and destroy the French language. It’d be fun.

      • Hi Lesley,

        Sounds like a plan…I will be back in Paris in April. Will you still be there? If so, I’ll be sure and give you plenty of notice for my travel dates. April in Paris….is always nice.

        We could do the writer thing and have coffee at Les Deux Maggots or drinks at the Ritz 🙂

        Best,
        Catherine

  3. J’adore votre blog. Love the title (la/le tomate); it keeps that cute song in my head.
    I wonder, on what scale would you say the french – in general – get irritated when you mix-up le & la?
    By the way, I think “La deuxieme guerre de le monde” would be “du” monde. But of course, that’s another topic, another time, eh?
    Cheers!
    Sarah

    • Thanks, Sarah. I find for the most part, the French don’t get irritated when you slaughter their language as long as you’re trying. Of course, there will always be a cranky, pissy French person, but I find that true for every nationality.

  4. Hi Lesley! I just found your site after googling “Visiting Auvers” and after laughing a lot and really enjoying your blogs I thought i’d give this a shot: I’m planning 3 days in Paris at the beginning of April and am sort of freaking out about when to do what. I arrive by train around 11am on a Friday, and am doing a bike tour from 3-7pm that night in Paris. Then I get totally stuck. I have Sat and Sun to fit in: Auvers/van Gogh, D’Orsay, and Louvre. Before you tell me that’s absurd, maybe there’s SOME solution?? Ha 🙂 I lean towards a full Saturday at the Louvre, and then early a.m. on Sunday in Auvers followed by a half day at D’Orsay, but then again I have no clue. Is Sunday early morning (8-11) a good time to see Auvers? Sorry if I wasn’t supposed to post here! I couldn’t find a contact link…best to you!

    • Hi Lori,
      Thanks for reading my blog. This won’t be your first time in Paris will it?

      Auvers is great on Sunday mornings because the market is open. And the bakery, grocery store and boucherie are open until 1pm. The problem is, certain things (like atelier daubigny, which I recommend) don’t open until 10:30-ish. And the train schedule is slower on Sundays, so it’ll take longer to get there and back (I’m assuming you’re taking a train).

      Use the transillien link on my” life here” page under “getting around”. Check all the options on Saturday and sundays for getting from Paris to Auvers. It’ll help you figure out the best day and time to go as the transit times can vary depending on connections. And it depends on what you really want to see/do in Auvers. If you just want to see the grave, the church, auberge ravoux (opens at 10), I recommend Sunday morning. If you want to see some of the other stuff that opens later, you should probably come on Saturday and maybe do the musee D’Orsay first and do the Louvre on Sunday.
      Last year they had special trains that went straight from gare du nord to Auvers on weekends and holidays in the late spring and fall. I’m not sure if they start as early as April, but if they do, they’ll make your life much easier.
      I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  5. thanks for the tips! it definitely is my first time in paris. i think i could do sunday at auvers/d’orsay and fit daubigny’s house in – the d’orsay closes at 6, so as long as i make it back by 2 id still have 4 hours- if that is enough time for an artphile?? i may come to auvers saturday afternoon/evening like you suggested, tho. what is auvers like on a saturday night? lastly, should i buy my d’orsay tickets in advance? or maybe the day before once i arrive?
    thanks for posing as my travel agent!! :0

    • God…for your first time in Paris, I almost hate to see you spend the time on a train going to Auvers. Paris is so gorgeous. And perfect for strolling aimlessly. And there are nice smaller museums like the Rodin, Marmottan… On the other hand, I admire your fortitude. I would have been scared witless to take the train to Auvers my first time in Paris. Heck, I’m still scared. Just kidding (sort of). I love the train system. But if you’re in a hurry, it can be frustrating.
      I one of those people who goes through a museum pretty fast (except the Louvre because I get lost), so 4 hours seems like plenty of time to me.
      I can’t imagine that you’ll need to buy D’Orsay tickets in advance, but now I think you should because if something happens and you don’t get in I’ll feel guilty for the rest of my life.

  6. Hi Leslie, I am a friend of your parents and bought the celadon necklace you created at Judy’s jewelry party. I am a fanatic traveler myself and we are now in Maui at our place (we own 1/26 of a one bedroom condo on the ground floor at the Whaler) about which your dad sniffs, “Hawaii,Omaha with water.” He may have said Whichata but I don’t know how to spell it. I am so excited about your living outside Paris, yet in another world. Bruce, my techy husband, said your blog was lovely and he is tres picky. I will enjoy reading and I am so glad your mom passed it on. I don’t speak France, nor have I ever taken a French class, yet I did teach a culture/language French class to middle schoolers one year. So much for the Santa Rosa City Schools. We spent 2 weeks in Provence in June and stayed in only 2 places, Aix and Mausanne outside of St Remy where I bought the most amazing shoes. More France to come after a few other trips we have in the hopper. Bon chance to you Leslie and I know you will have a happy productive time living in that adorable village.Au Revoir,Louise Bowe
    +1

  7. Hi,
    My name is Brendan and I run a number of different travel websites including a site called Tourism Adventures. We run features on different travel destinations almost every single day. We would love if you would be able to guest post for us on our site!
    If you are interested, what we are looking for is simple, and quick. We would like a 200-300 word descriptive article about France.
    On the post we will give you full writing credit as well as links to your blog, or a website of your choosing, and a link to your one of social network pages such as twitter or facebook. Which should give your pages some exposure.

    Please let me know if you’re interested by emailing me back at info@tourismadventures.com

    Thanks so much,

    Brendan

  8. Great idea this. I am attempting something similar about Spain and I have spent a couple of years visiting the places that the tourists don’t normally go. Keep it up!

  9. Hi Leslie,

    I’d like to invite you to participate in my research: “What Do Bloggers Want to Preserve? Defining the ‘Essence’ of User-Generated Content for Preservation.” This study will gain an understanding of how bloggers value their blogs and what elements bloggers think are important for preservation.

    You are being asked to participate because your blog posts are tagged as being related to the theme of travel in one of the blog-hosting services and because your blog is not hosted by any commercial agency. Your participation is completely voluntary.

    The survey is NOW OPEN and will remain open until midnight (EDT) 20 April 2011. If you are interested and would like to part in take the survey, please visit this URL: http://bloggersurvey.web.unc.edu/

    Thank you in advance for considering participation in my study, and please
    feel free to pass along this survey to others who might be interested!
    Ayoung Yoon
    Doctoral Student
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    School of Information and Library Science

  10. HI Leslie,

    I just stumbled onto your blog and find it hilarious. I come from Verona, Italy but have been living in Singapore the past 5 yrs (http://diaryofanexpatinsingapore.blogspot.com), so much of what you write I can completely relate to!

    • Hi Jennifer,
      Thanks for the kind words on my blog. Glad you enjoy. I’ll have to check your blog…singapore sounds like a trip. You must miss Verona. One of my favorite places in Italy.

  11. I’ve seen one or two American blogs of people from US that goes to France and live there. I always wonder how you get by? How do you get money to travel around the whole France for months? Do you have all the money saved up from work in the US or do you work in France as you move from town to town?

    Anyway good blog but update it more often! 🙂

    • Hi Fredrik, Thanks for reading my blog. In answer to your questions, I can’t speak for all expats, but I saved my pennies (earned in US) to get here and tide me over for awhile. I’m also a writer, so I can do it from anywhere. Of course, the problem with being a writer, is sometimes maintaining the blog feels like work. And then there’s the fact that when you’re busy out there doing stuff, it doesn’t leave a ton of time to write about it. Which is why I tend to be more prolific during the rainy season.

  12. We, my husband and I, moved here to Antibes back in May this year and I love that I found your blog. I can relate to your language learning, teacher’s eye avoiding experience. I’m a 32 year-old in a class of Swiss and German 16-23 year-olds. Age plus my American accent pretty much guarantees my place at the bottom of the class. If you ever want to grab tea/coffee with a fellow American, let me know.

    • Hi Angela, Thanks for finding (and reading) my blog. Is your class near the movie theater? I can’t even imagine the horror of sitting in a room with 16-23 year old Swiss and Germans. You’re very brave. It’d be fun to get together for a coffee. Shoot me an email at swamp2@me.com.

  13. Hi Lesley,

    Hope you are well.

    I was wondering if you know someone who may require professional assistant on events management and lifestyle concierge services.

    Now, I am back in on the Cote d’Azur after managing a chalet in Megeve for the winter season.

    You can review my private portfolio on http://www.debonairgrey.com

    I personally have managed private intimate soirees for 10 guests to exclusive gala dinners for 600 guests at palaces and unique venues.

    Speak soon.

    Regards,

    Farouk

  14. Hi Lesley,

    first of all, congrats for your lovely blog!

    I am in the process of launcing a swimwear / lifestyle brand related to our common loved region called AZUR COAST (please visit our web site for more info http://www.azur-coast.com)

    If you wold like to blog on it or collaborate please let us know

    Best regards,
    Dario
    PS …like us on Fbook!

  15. Dear realfrance,

    My name is Joyce and I work for ExpatFinder.com.
    ExpatFinder.com is a free one stop website for people preparing to move or working and living overseas. We provide a myriad of services for expatriates and we have over 2,000 articles to help and support the people moving around the world and we are now creating an interview section to help the expats with real life experiences!
    We quite enjoy your blog about living in France, it is very interesting and informative. Would it be possible to interview you to further share some of your tips and feature some of your first hand experience as an Expat and your interview will be published on our Expat Interview section as a guide for our expat readers. The questions are mainly about the day to day lifestyle of an expat. If it would be possible, could you also send some photographs that we can use?
    Of course, if you accept, we can add a link to your blog or some of your website.
    The questions are enclosed, feel free to respond freely. You can return the doc with your answers if you accept this invitation.
    Thanks in advance and do let me know if you prefer other means to conduct this interview and we would be happy to accommodate your terms.

    Best regards,
    Joyce

  16. Dear realfrance,

    I contact you regarding my email below for an interview for ExpatFinder.com.
    I would like to know if you could complete the attached questionnaire. Like I told you previously, if you accept we can add a link to your blog or some of your website and this interview will be published on our Expat Interview section as a guide for our expat readers.

    Best regards,
    Joyce

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