About me

February 13th, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

Michael_Barrett
If you’re an expat, American or not, curious about living in France or looking for helpful advice, you’ve come to the right place. I hope to serve as a one-stop site for great expat links, news and original articles.

A bit about me: I’m an advertising and communications professional who moved to Chicago to work at Leo Burnett in October 2012, after spending 5 years in France (2007-2012) between teaching English in Lyon, doing graduate school in “”Communication d’Entreprise et Management à l’International” (International Corporate Communications and Management) at the University of Grenoble and working for 2 years at the ad agency New BBDO Paris. I previously studied abroad in Angers, France in 2004-2005 and interned at Sciences Po Paris in 2006, and lived in Paris as a toddler when my family was there from 1985-1987.

I’ve written for several online publications, done significant translation work and learned to love and appreciate France, French and the French people during my time there. I also developed strong relations not only with French friends but also with the expat community in France, working at the American Chamber of Commerce in Lyon and helping lead the University of Notre Dame Alumni Club of France.

I know about intercultural interactions and the effects they can have on a person or a company.

In Chicago I’m already networking within the French expat community here and will continue to update my blog with an expat perspective giving you news, tips and helpful links. My goal is to provide expats and potential expats with insight gained while living for several years in France as a student, intern, teacher and professional, as well as after forging strong bonds with the French.

If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, leave a comment below.

Note: none of the above listed organizations or companies endorse my blog or opinions. It was for informational purpose only that I mentioned them.

  1. November 16th, 2009 at 16:31 | #1

    Hi. I just saw your post to the French Connections group on Linked In and decided to check out your site. I had the pleasure of visiting France (Charente-Maritime – La Rochelle, Saintes, Pons, and up to Poitiers) for the first time earlier this year and have really fallen in love with the country and it’s people. I can’t wait to get back…and stay as long as I can. So, thanks for all of the great informational links!

  2. December 17th, 2009 at 23:10 | #2

    What a great website and resource. Not just for expats but for anyone (even the French) interested in better understanding the hexagon.

  3. December 30th, 2009 at 20:12 | #3

    Hello. I recognize the beautiful mountains behind you. Love to ski down that way. I lived in France from 62-66 (USAF), then from 78-86 as a civilian. Married twice, both wives are French. Vive la France.

    • December 31st, 2009 at 07:51 | #4

      Bonjour Robert,

      Thank you for connecting and commenting. If you look at my post here , you’ll see that the official figure for Americans in France is 101,750, but I’d bet that excludes students here on exchange and others on short-term contracts…not sure the criteria they use to measure, but it gives you an idea at least. If you have any suggestions for my blog, let me know. Best to you for a happy 2010!

  4. June 12th, 2010 at 15:41 | #5

    Hi. I just saw your post to the French Connections group on Linked In and decided to check out your site. I had the pleasure of visiting France (Charente-Maritime – La Rochelle, Saintes, Pons, and up to Poitiers) for the first time earlier this year and have really fallen in love with the country and it’s people. I can’t wait to get back…and stay as long as I can. So, thanks for all of the great informational links!
    +1

  5. September 23rd, 2010 at 16:06 | #6

    Hi, nice to meet you !

  6. October 15th, 2010 at 13:55 | #8

    Your blog is helpful and interesting! Reading about you made me smile because of the many things we share in common regarding studying, interests, et cetera. I’m an American living in Marseille with my French boyfriend. I recently began a blog documenting life in the South / Côte d’Azur. Have you taken the Parisian accent? 🙂

    • October 15th, 2010 at 14:01 | #9

      Merci for your comment, appreciate the fellow American expat shout-out. Bah oui, I’m acquiring that Parisian accent 😉 best, Michael

  7. October 22nd, 2010 at 15:57 | #10

    Hi Michael,

    Great blog! Quick info on something for you if you’re interested. A friend and myself are throwing a satellite party for the Rally to Restore Sanity (The Daily Show thing in Wash DC) in Paris at The Thistle on October 30th. We’ll be there from 6-9pm and also televising the rally on the big screen. You can find more information at my site http://www.posse.fm where we have the links for the Facebook event page and the Meetup event page. You can RSVP but The Thistle holds 70 people so I suggest you get there early. We’re working on having a mini-rally sign-making table and giving away prizes for best rally sign.

    How was your summer? Did you do much traveling?

    Cheers!

    Dan

    • October 22nd, 2010 at 16:39 | #11

      Thanks for your compliments and invitation to what sounds like a fantastic event, Dan. Great idea! Unfortunately I’ll be unable to make it, as I’ll be in Lyon visiting my girlfriend. But I wish you a successful Rally to Restore Sanity!

      cheers,
      Michael

  8. November 8th, 2010 at 02:50 | #12

    Awesome! I have actually been thinking about being an Am. expat for such a long time!

  9. miss. cary
    November 14th, 2010 at 21:19 | #13

    Hi Michael,
    I’m a fomer English Langauge Assistant (2006) but now work near D.C. with a Translation Agency as Lead Project Manager. The company performs translations for International Organizations and I’ve really been interested in the idea of furthering my experience towards International Communications and Business, or with I.O.’s. I’ve been looking into Masters Degrees in International Communcation and/or Global Communication but your degree sounds very interesting. Could you point me in the direction of more information about the program (University of Grenoble website is bleak) or any other programs you may know of that I can look into with this emphasis? I’ve narrowed down the options state-side, but AUP is only $10,000 more, so I’m open to earning a degree in France. Thank you thank you! (I’ll probably be back with more questions, your site is fanastic).
    Sarah

    • November 15th, 2010 at 00:27 | #14

      Hi Sarah, thanks for reading and posting. You definitely have an interesting profile, and I’ve emailed you. Definitely keep in touch!

  10. December 2nd, 2010 at 05:53 | #15

    Stumbled across your blog. Wondered it you might be free for a party in Paris on 18 May 2070??

    http://thefrenchway.wordpress.com/2010/12/02/global-warming-france/

    Actually I’ve got lots of takers already!! Bit of a laugh!!

    I’ve saved your blog! Cheers John

  11. December 15th, 2010 at 17:07 | #17

    Nice website. I’ll add you to my favorite links. I live in Annecy. Don’t be a stranger.

  12. December 20th, 2010 at 15:15 | #19

    Hi Michael, I checked out your website via Linked In group. It’s very informative.
    I am “An American In Brittany” and actually opened a chambres d’hotes in 2009 in Brittany. Please think about visiting Brittany if you haven’t already. I have a French boyfriend so I know how you feel about that being a huge part of keeping you in France…actually wouldn’t think of living anywhere else at this time…loving France!

    • December 20th, 2010 at 15:18 | #20

      Thanks for reading, Cheryl, great to hear from you in Brittany! I have been there before several times (Rennes, Laval, Vannes, Golfe de Morbihan, Carnac, St. Malo, Mt. St Michel…) and love it. This was during my study abroad here in Angers in 2004-05. But there is a lot more to discover. cheers and happy holidays!

  13. Robin Pereda
    February 2nd, 2011 at 12:27 | #21

    Found your blog through My American Market. Glad to have your links and information handy. We live in the Auvergne region and sometimes feel very disconnected to other Americans living in France. Keep up the great work!

    • February 2nd, 2011 at 12:30 | #22

      Hi Robin, thanks for reading! Appreciate your support and glad I can provide some helpful information. I’m in the process of revamping my site, so if there is anything you would like to suggest or so, please let me know. Cheers! Michael

  14. Alison Leonard
    February 2nd, 2011 at 16:28 | #23

    Does anyone have any info on scholarships [to US colleges] for bi-national (French/American) kids?
    My daughter’s in 1ère and her dream is to go to college in the US but the prices just seem prohibitive.
    (I’m a teacher here in Vannes, France and have lived in the country for 23 years, 4 of them in Montpellier.)
    Thanks,
    Alison Leonard

  15. Rotem
    February 22nd, 2011 at 17:05 | #24

    Ahlan Bika Ya Michael-
    Naiman jazilan-
    Ana ismi Rotem washuft inte ijnabi kaman hun- bilbaris.
    Fi hadhel ayam ana sharkt fi mashru’ shabaki (internet) hasisan llExpats ladhiny yaishun bilfaransa. Hadha website huwa lilwahad sha’n.
    Ahab dardasha maak binnisbati ilhadhi mashru’.
    ***
    Hi Michael-
    Very nice to e-meet you.
    My name is Rotem and as I am involved these days with creating a website dedicated to expats living in France (for a VERY specific need) I would love to chat with you about it. (I translated this to english as I am not sure my Arabic was clear enough…)

    So far, I haven’t seen any reference in your website to this need, but I might missed it.

    looking to your reply email.
    All the best wa salam aleykum ya sahbi-
    – Rotem COHEN

  16. bayla biskin
    March 18th, 2011 at 21:57 | #25

    Please give me information about the tram schedule in Lyon to the St. exupery airport. Our plane leaves at 7:30 . Is there a connection we could make. The date is tues, June 14,2012. THANKS, BAYLA BISKIN

    • March 18th, 2011 at 23:55 | #26

      Hi,

      Thank you for your message, I did not see it until now.

      If you look on this site: http://www.rhonexpress.fr/presentation/?rub_code=79

      You’ll see that the first tram departs Part Dieu (behind the station near the parking lot) at 5am, getting to the airport at 5:30am. The next one leaves at 5:30am, arriving at 6am. Then 6am, 6:15, 6:30, 6:45…

      I hope this helps. Bon voyage!

      Michael

  17. Sepideh
    April 9th, 2011 at 02:06 | #27

    Hi Michael,

    I really like your website. I wished it was around when I was living in France in 2004-2007. I’m a school psychologist living in California right now. I was wondering if you had any information or knew any Americans who work as school psychologists in international schools in France? I’m trying to contact schools but I’m not getting too many responses. Thanks for any information.

    Regards,
    Sepideh

  18. David
    May 8th, 2011 at 20:19 | #28

    I am 50 and near retirement in Portland, Oregon. The U.S. has really gone so far to the political right, that I can longer fathom living here after I retire. I have been in France for three weeks and just now retuned to the U.S.–I am absolutely crazy about it. I will have a good pension and ample savings and am learning french. Yet I am not sure whether I will suceed so I will read your blog and dream.

    Thanks

    • May 9th, 2011 at 08:19 | #29

      Thanks for reading, David. I understand the attraction of France. If you would like me to cover certain issues, let me know. Best of luck!

  19. May 9th, 2011 at 15:52 | #30

    Hi Michael, I’ve been getting your RSS feeds for a while now and thought it was about time to let you know how much I appreciate your blog and point of view. I’m also a contributor to Bonjour Paris. If you are planning to attend either of the upcoming meet ups, perhaps we’ll meet there. Meantime, I’ve included your URL on my website. Feel free to come by for a visit. All the best, Sarah

    • May 13th, 2011 at 07:21 | #31

      Thanks Sarah, I appreciate your support and yes it would be nice to meet up at an event. Unfortunately I can’t make it to the BP events (I’m at work until 7:30 usually). But another time? cheers

  20. May 11th, 2011 at 14:43 | #32

    Hi Michael,
    After beeing an expat myself for 8 years ( Chile then South Africa), I’m back in France and have launched my own company named Coco Paradis: this is French culinary coach at your home. I come to people’s place and teach them how to cook french traditional dishes, the easy and fun way! It can be individual or small groups.
    The idea is to combine my cooking passion and knowledge and keep working in a very international environment with expats. I coach in English and in Spanish.
    So obviously I’m looking to get as many international contacts as posible and I thought that you’re purpose and mine could combine quite well! Please have a look at my website and let me know if you’d be interested to learn more about my services and how we could benefit from each other! Thanks for your feedback, regards, Julie

  21. July 27th, 2011 at 12:25 | #33

    Hello! Just found this blog 🙂 I’m a new American Expat in Paris (just moved over in May) and wanted to get in touch! Your blog is great and very helpful (will be following it shortly after I hit “Post Comment” on this reply. I will soak up your posts like a sponge because this is just what I was looking for! My French is extremely basic at this point, so all of your tips and links are really valuable. Maybe we’ll meet face à face one day 🙂 Ciao!

  22. September 1st, 2011 at 13:02 | #35

    Hi Michael,

    Came across your blog from the american clubs website, and was wondering if you could help with a question –

    I am wondering if you know any Americans/non-Europeans who have gone through the immigration process recently in France, or can speak to your own experience? I am looking for some advice on trying to obtain a visitor visa for my husband on our own vs. paying for a lawyer’s services. My employer is paying for my work permit and visa, but not his. We looked into adding him onto my application, but the legal service my company uses was too expensive. I am most concerned about not having the right documentation and getting denied when we apply vs. worry about going through the process in general. It honestly doesn’t seem that hard as long as you have all the right papers and are patient – I don’t feel like the legal team handling my visa are adding much value…
     
    Any connections/advice you have would be appreciated! Or are there any organizations/groups we could contact that offer advice/assistance to foreigners living here? Is it worth contacting the American embassy at all? 

    Thanks!
    Adrienne

  23. Morgan Darr
    September 12th, 2011 at 04:47 | #36

    Hi Michael, I stumbled upon your blog and I must say, great job! A little about me- I’m American and lived in France this past year doing a Master 2 in International Security, Defense, and Economic Intelligence, and I also did a grad cert in International Law. I’m going to be assistant teaching English in Saint Malo this coming year, and I’ve been with my French boyfriend for quite a while now. After I finish teaching, I’d like to try to find a job here. My question is- how have you managed to network as effectively as you have? Also, did you teach English through the assistantship program or through a school that provided you with a CDS? The process of applying to jobs as a foreigner is looking incredibly daunting, do you have any general advice?

    Thanks so much in advance,

    Morgan

  24. Selma
    November 16th, 2011 at 03:05 | #37

    Bonsoir Michael,

    Cela fait plaisr de voir un être si ouvert d’esprit!
    It’s really a pleasure to see that!

  25. Selma
    November 16th, 2011 at 03:07 | #39

    ..Oh! J’avais oublié de dire! I saw your post on Bilingual Professionals (French and English) on Linkedin…

  26. Rebekah Le Gall
    January 10th, 2012 at 16:34 | #40

    Hello and Bonjour Michael! I am an American living in Brittany with my husband who is French. He works in the French Navy stationed in Lorient. I was also an English language assistant during the 2009-2010 school year. I am trying to look for a job and am having a very hard time b/c of the area we live in. It seems like there is absolutely nothing here but a few cafés. Plus the Bretons are kind of a tough crowd. I do speak French and have a BA. If you have any advice I would greatly appreciate it! Thank you also for the time you put into your blog!

    Rebekah

  27. May 11th, 2012 at 18:49 | #42

    Hello Micheal. I am a British ex pat living and working in Charente Maritime. I just came across your blog and stopped to say hello. A lot of interesting information here. I had a look for you on LinkedIn but couldn’t find new.
    Nice to meet you and I look forward to reading more from this blog.

    • May 14th, 2012 at 09:56 | #43

      Hi Kerry,

      Thanks for reading and posting! Great to hear from you and that my site is helpful; I’m in the process of revamping it and would be happy to hear suggestions from you for improving content.

      cheers,
      Michael

      • May 14th, 2012 at 11:19 | #44

        In general I think It is very good, easy to find things but a little dry. I think it would be more interesting to have some of the information on the website rather than long lists of links. You could give basic details and then a ‘for more information…’ A little about the links that you have listed. Some of them are self evident whereas others need some explanation.

  28. June 8th, 2012 at 16:28 | #45

    Hi Michael. Came across your blog after reading about it in an article in Notre Dame Magazine. I am looking to move to France to teach English and hopefully transfer into a university job (I used to teach college here in the States). However, my husband is a little apprehensive about a move abroad. He is a Domer (’01 & ’02MSA) and I was wondering if there is a ND network he can connect with to help with the idea? He wants the international experience, but is concerned about his career and finding a job in France. He’s currently a financial analyst working as a consultant for GE. Is there a way to transition that into a job in France? Since we have two small children, I can appreciate that he is concerned about supporting us so I want to make sure he is as comfortable as possible with the transition. Any tips? Thanks!

  29. Eric
    June 14th, 2012 at 10:53 | #46

    Hello Michael,

    Here are the questions I have concering French “Assurance-vie” and American expats:

    If I am an American expat currently residing in France, am I able to obtain a French “Assurance – Vie” policy ?
    – To clarify, what I mean by Assurance – Vie is not ” Assurance décès ” but rather “life insurance for inheritance planning, a savings method to provide for your loved one(s) on your death”  

    -If the answer is no, what are the restrictions as Americans that don’t permit us to obtain this type of of policy?

    – If the the answer is yes, what are the conditions and requirements for Americans to obtain an “Assurance – Vie policy”?

    – Lasly, is it possible for French expats in the United States to obtain an Assurance-Vie policy ?

    Any information on this matter or that partially answer these questions would be of help.

    Thank you so much for your time.

  1. July 13th, 2010 at 10:37 | #1

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