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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all!<br><br>
I'm an American currently living in Cambridge, MA with my French hubby and our French-American daughter, age 2. We're working toward a move to Paris in the next few years....hope to have another bébé before then. DH has a job with an American company that is looking to open a small office in Europe and Paris seems likely. I work for a company with a Paris office and a transfer of my job may be possible as well.<br><br>
I'm excited and scared about the plan. I'm ready for a change of scene after 15 years living here and would like for DD to learn more French language and culture. DH is really eager to be closer to his friends and family after 10 years here.<br><br>
But... I don't speak much French and at my age the idea of being more dependent on my husband (even temporarily) for help with day-to-day issues is freaking me out. DH assures me that in one year there I'll be fluent but I'm more concerned about understanding cultural nuances.<br><br>
I'm also concerned about the strict French school system-sounds a bit brutal in some ways but perhaps I'm an overly sensitive wimpy American. I want DD to be challenged but some of DH's stories about his school years just make me want to cry!<br><br>
Also, childcare... For many reasons it would probably be wise for me to continue to work part time. We're fortunate here in that we've located a place that is very child-development oriented, warm, friendly, flexible toward our family's style of doing things. I feel that we have established a good partnership for caring for and nurturing DD. Is it possible to find something like this in Paris for our next babe?<br><br>
Anyone care to comment on their expat experiences with any of this??<br><br>
I realize that I may be more mainstream compared to many on these boards but I do lean toward the AP side of things I think... We're anti-CIO, I nursed DD for 19.5 months (pumping at work when we were apart) and we practice gentle discipline, some cosleeping, etc.
 

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Bonjour Noisette's maman,<br><br>
I'm an American with a French hubby currently living in Germany, but we spend a lot of time in the Paris area (in-laws live there and dh travels there a lot on business and I tag along so that dd can spend time with her grandparents).<br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">But... I don't speak much French and at my age the idea of being more dependent on my husband (even temporarily) for help with day-to-day issues is freaking me out.</td>
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Answer: There is a big Anglophone community and International community in Paris which could help. In terms of being dependant on dh for day to day issues, start learning French now. Even a couple of simple phrases can help you break the ice and show the French you are at least attempting to learn the language. I have found that in many places (except the prefecture and mairie) more and more people are willing and happy (yes, it's true) to speak English with foreigners.<br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I'm also concerned about the strict French school system-sounds a bit brutal in some ways but perhaps I'm an overly sensitive wimpy American. I want DD to be challenged but some of DH's stories about his school years just make me want to cry!</td>
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Answer: Dh had a great experience in his school years near Versailles. Try and read up as much as you can on the French school system. You could contact the French school in Cambridge and see if they would answer some of your questions about curriculum and other concerns. In general, French children are challenged much more than American children in primary school. There are positive and negative aspects of both systems. Find out as much as you can.<br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Also, childcare... For many reasons it would probably be wise for me to continue to work part time. We're fortunate here in that we've located a place that is very child-development oriented, warm, friendly, flexible toward our family's style of doing things. I feel that we have established a good partnership for caring for and nurturing DD. Is it possible to find something like this in Paris for our next babe?</td>
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Ah...this might be a bit more challenging, though not impossible. It all depends on the arrondissment you live in. In the 6eme the public crèches are very flexible towards parent's wishes...it's an exclusive area, and many parents have au-pairs or private live-in care for their yound children. I think the 16eme and 7eme arr. are the same. In the 20eme, there aren't enough places in daycare for all the children, so parents have to take what they can get.<br>
I was going to post and recommend an Anglophone Natural Parenting Association I discovered on this forum, but the thread was edited. See ewe + lamb's thread under 'France' a few threads back. I was able to make contact throgh that with a couple of AP moms in the area we are usually visiting (Versailles) and they are really great.<br>
Having said that, there are English speaking La Leche League groups in Paris who might also be able to help you find some good day care ideas, etc.<br>
Okay, I don't know if this post helped you at all. Good luck!
 

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I cannot help on day care questions since I am a SAHM. Once you speak French better, there is a group called "Les Enfants D'Abord" that is a great resource for home schoolers, if you want to homeschool. If you don't plan to homeschool, there are lots of private schooling options in the Paris area that are more gentle, such as Steiner. Perhaps you should look for a place by the location of schools you would consider. I would highly recommend the Anglopone Natural Parenting Association as a way to make English speaking friends, learn about schools, and to figure out in which arrondisement you want to settle. Search for it on yahooo groups and join it.<br><br>
And you will have to be dependent on your husband and your in-laws probably for quite a long time. If your husband doesn't know all of the letters to all of the forms, getting into the system will be a pain in the rear without help from someone, so think of it as both of you being dependent on someone else temporarily. It took me a while, but I actually can do all the paperwork on my own now. I actually know what they are talking about when I read ALF, AJE, and PAJE. My husband had never done paperwork when we left France for the states, so he was clueless when we got here. You can always PM me for my e-mail or phone number and I would love to help you as much as I can over the phone or by e-mail. But I'm in Brittany, so unless you want a holiday, I can only help you by distance. I helped out another anglophone here with paperwork and really felt good about it.
 

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Oh the grass is always greener!<br>
I'm originally from Boston and miss the place (although it's changed a lot in the last ten years). Now I'm about to move on from near Paris to the South of France and I'm wondering why we always move...<br>
I suggest you don't live in Paris, but in a place like Chatou, where there is a good market, a good swimming pool, and a steiner school (if that's what you want)....still very handy for getting into Paris on the RER, though. Pricey, but so is Cambridge.<br>
Your husband speaking french means you are more likely to speak well in a year, but I wouldn't bank on it...it's not an easy language! After 4 years, I am able to understand a lot and say things badly, but be understood in my general meaning...I really must learn more tenses besides present and past. I really wish I could express myself fully to the neighbour with the top balcony, whose cigarette butts have been landing on our terrace <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hopmad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hopping mad"><br>
As far as A/P, I am sort of that... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/slinggirl.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Slinggirl"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/familybed1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Familybed1"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/fly-by-nursing1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Fly By Nursing1"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/cd.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Cd">: <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/cat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="cat">: (threw the cat in cause we have 4...), and I know some people who use cloth and one person who breastfeeds still, beyond a year, but otherwise the french way is to get your child seperated as soon as possible. Had a bad experience today trying to get waxed, thinking someone was going to be with me, but they weren't and baby cried through the experience...I think she thought we were at the doctors.<br>
Okay, I'm rambling...my advice is to be careful about what you wish for...<br>
I just want to say also, most of my french neighbours have been great and I'll miss them when we move.<br><br>
Person who knows about paperwork (paje etc). I tried to get money from the caisse familiale(whatever it is),like child benefit, and they said my husband earns too much, but he doesn't earn that much at all so I am dubious, as in the UK everyone gets child benefit...are they kidding me?
 

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I can help you with paperwork. I'll pm you my e-mail and telephone number.
 

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Bougivalbaby,<br><br>
Where is Chatou? I can't find it on my map (but I haven't really looked too hard, I'll admit). Dh, dd and I will be moving out to the Paris area in early 2006 and are looking for a place to live.<br>
Dh is French and his parents live in Guyancourt (near Versailles), but dh will be working in St Ouen. So we'd have to look at NW suburbs. Pricey, I know. I lived in Neuilly sur Seine for a time (as a student) and love it there, but a 4 rm. apartment there is out of our price range.<br>
We're not thinking about homeschooling, but haven't ruled it out, either.<br>
I think dh wants to first try the French school system. I hope we'll be lucky and end up in an area with decent schools and neighbours!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks everyone for your replies! We're still working towards our move and your comments have been very helpful to me and to hubby. He's especially eager to move to France after our recent 1 week vacation...he think's it's SOOO uncivilized that we couldn't take more time off here!<br><br>
Looks like our plan to have another babe before the move is going to work out...just found out this week that we're expecting again!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/bouncy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="bouncy"> Keep your fingers crossed...<br><br>
- Sara
 

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Sara,<br><br>
Felicitations! I hope you'll be able to have a wonderful natural birth in the Paris area.
 

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Hi Hollycrand,<br>
Sorry I didn't respond sooner, but I haven't been to this forum in a while....Chatou is further to the west past nanterre/rueil.....follow the Seine west and it's before the second dip outside of Paris. I'll miss the area, because I'm moving south VERY soon...just waiting for the movers to give me a date!
 

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We live in central Paris right now (4eme/11eme) but are looking to move out to the suburbs before number one arrives at Christmas. We've heard good things about Chatou but I have to admit that after visiting for the day last Saturday we weren't impressed...we thought that moving out to the suburbs we'd find more greenery and bigger appartments with lower rent. In reality the most livable suburbs aren't any cheaper than central Paris, and you have to get pretty far from Paris to see decent forests. And everything looked so dead...maybe it was just August, but there were hardly any pedestrians, just cars everywhere...<br><br>
Anyhow maybe my impressions are wrong. I just hope we can find a nice little nest for DH, DD and I!
 
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