When I first moved to Paris in 2013, I didn’t know anyone. I was making a big leap to a new city and I didn’t really know the language. I was too nervous to even think about meeting people. It wasn’t really on the top of my list. I assumed I would be alone and I was completely okay with it.
My plane touched down on February 2, 2013. My check in time for my Airbnb wasn’t until later in the day and I was so early. I had no idea where I would go until the check in time so I stalled as much as I could at the airport. I logged onto Instagram and saw that Nichole Robertson of Obvious State had also just arrived in Paris. We weren’t technically “friends”, we were instagram friends and we were both Pottery Barn Artists. I sent her a message about meeting up while she was in town and she said. “yes!”
Nichole met me at a café in Montmartre. She lived in Paris before with her family, I listened and soaked up every bit of advice. Her husband stopped by at the end and they were off to meet friends for dinner. I was so happy I had the chance to meet Nichole at this time because it helped me ease into the transition to Paris. I went back to my apartment and took a few notes on what Nichole told me. One thing I remember she said was to, “teach people about Paris.” I kept my journal from that first year. It took me a while to figure out how I would teach people about Paris but years later, the blog turned into just that.
For the first two weeks in Paris, I walked the streets and got lost. I taste tested croissants and photographed the city. I learned the city by getting lost, which is the best way in my opinion. The only people I knew in Paris were a family that I used to nanny for back in Chicago. I would see them once a week for dinner in Paris but we really didn’t know each other that well in the beginning. This family has now become my “Paris Family.” They have been the sweetest and most supportive group of people outside of my own family and I am so happy that we both ended up in Paris at the same time.
On Valentine’s Day, I was grabbing a baguette at my local boulangerie on Rue des Abbesses and I ended up being an extra in a major network TV pilot. It was the most random thing that happened, but I ended up going way out of my comfort zone when I met up with the crew and directors later that evening. It is a long story which I will save for another time, but I got home after 2 am. I would say it broke the ice and just made me open to adventures in Paris.
I met some friends randomly. My friend Jane I met at her cooking school in the lobby. We were both from Chicago and we met up for a glass of wine one evening. She is still one of my closest friends. She has been a rock for me in so many parts of my life. I hit the friend jackpot with her. She also introduced me to some amazing people along the way that have become great friends too.
My friend Melissa was an introduction from a casual friend in Chicago. It took a while for us actually to connect in Paris but when we finally did we weren’t sure what took so long. We bonded over café crèmes and wine at Café de Flore and have continued to meet there whenever we are both in Paris. We have both grown so much in our jobs and personal lives since 2013. I am so proud of her! She is one of those friends where you can instantly connect and fall back into a groove after months or years like no time has passed.
In 2013, Instagram was more “community friendly” and I met a lot of friends through the app. It was easy to find people that were in your own city with common interests. Not everyone turned into an instant friend but it was easy to meet someone for coffee in Paris. The expat community is small and we all know each other in some way or another.
My friend Magali reached out through Instagram in 2016 for recommendations for places to explore in Chicago. I had just moved back to Chicago from Paris but I messaged her back with a list. When she came to Chicago, I ended up meeting her for coffee. Magali lives in Paris and I see her every time I am back. She is always telling me the newest spots in Paris to visit and she introduced me to my favorite Miznon on a visit last year. We have a lot of fun together and have laughed so hard we have cried many times. She speaks English which makes it a lot easier on me but one of these days I am going to practice my French with her and see how it goes.
Over the last year, I have met new friends through in person shows in Chicago. It has happened organically and it has been so nice to have the common interest of Paris. As someone who works from home, being able to meet new friends through the Every Day Parisian has been such a gift. It has been way too long since I have done a meetup in Chicago and I hope to do one again soon. I would love to know your feedback if you are interested.
For those of you who are looking to make Francophile friends in your own city or Paris. I created an Every Day Parisian Community Page on Facebook. Feel free to post a photo in the group and introduce yourself. You can ask questions about an upcoming trip to Paris or see if there are other readers in your city. Don’t be shy! I have met some really great friends through the blog and social media. Just FYI, the group is closed so I will have to accept you. I wanted to keep it private so I could see who was part of the group. Please don’t self promote projects/work in the group. It should just be for social connection!
If you prefer to use email, you can comment below with your city and email and connect that way.