Seven Things I’ve Learned Living with a Frenchman (Guest Post & Giveaway by author Samantha Vérant)

10 October 2014

First-time author Samantha Verant’s story has all the trappings of a fairytale; from the setbacks (in her case, the dreaded Ds: divorce and debt) to the uplifting life turnaround that emerged from reconnecting with a former flame (her own personal Prince Charming). The plucky 40 year old was desperate for change but struggled to visualize her next move. Happening upon seven old love letters from a Frenchman she met in university some twenty years prior put the wheels of change in motion. Several years later and now the wife of her romantic pen pal, Samantha has documented the story in her memoir ‘Seven Letters From Paris’, just released this week. Inspired by her story, I asked Samantha to share seven life lessons learned from pursuing this ‘second’, much happier, life with a Frenchman. Check them out below: 1// Make l’amour, not war. In the five years I’ve been living with my French husband, we’ve maybe had five arguments. And I honestly can’t remember what they were about. That old adage “never go to bed angry?” Yep, it’s true. Of course, aside from intimacy, communication is also the key to a happy relationship. From politics to religion, the French love to […]…

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Thanks for Four Years!

19 July 2013

Four years ago, “lost” and “anxious” were the watchwords that described my mental state. I was transitioning from grad student to twenty-something in need of career clarity, perpetually in an existential fit. What would my place in Paris be now that it was time to face the realities of adulthood? And more importantly, how would my mixed background be received by French employers? Some of the friendships I cultivated during my grad program were changing – the international cohort was enriching but the end of the program brought tearful goodbyes as classmates closed the chapter on their Paris experience to head home in search of work. I struggled to see how the next stage of my life in Paris would unfurl and for several months I was in a bit of a dark place. Then a few things happened. I started a blog that, while initially serving as a forum to vent some of my expat frustrations, took on a life of its own and evolved into the site it is today. Around the same time, I met the girl who would become my business partner in my cookie adventures, figured out the whole Twitter ‘thing’ (because in 2009, it […]…

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Franco File Friday: Marc Levy (novelist)

31 January 2013

After years of studying France’s literary top brass – Baudelaire, Hugo, and Flaubert among others – it was a much different kind of storyteller who officially ushered me into expat life in Paris. Marc Levy, the most widely read French author in the world, is known for his narratives of impassioned love, searing loss and buoyant hope. As I initially struggled to navigate as an adopted Parisian and embrace an all-French lifestyle, his words proved as educational as they were edifying. His work, forever connected to this formative time in my life, was also a launchpad for discussion with French people I encountered – even my sister-in-law had his entire collection. His novels are ubiquitous because they’re so eminently relatable. And when you need a novel to be a source of comfort, you turn to Marc. With thirteen #1 bestsellers in France, printed translations in 45 languages and several big-screen adaptations of his work (Just Like Heaven with Reese Witherspoon, for one) since he ventured into twelve years ago, Marc’s novels have only just become accessible to American readers. English translations are now available through Amazon and iTunes so you can dive right in from the beginning. And to help you get to […]…

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Franco File Friday: Marjorie Williams of Markets of Paris {+ Giveaway}

12 October 2012

I didn’t grow up shopping at farmer’s markets or trawling for treasures at nearby antique or flea markets but quickly discovered their virtues when I moved to Paris. Attractions in their own right, the city’s markets give visitors a firsthand look at daily French life and bring them closer to locals and artisans. Even better, they‘re everywhere, spanning across town and past city limits. I haven’t visited all of them yet – have to save something for when friends visit- but I know precisely where to turn when I want a comprehensive list and some historical context to go with it. Author Marjorie Williams is a wellspring of knowledge when it comes to the market presence in Paris, having co-authored the second edition of the recently-published Markets of Paris. The smartly designed pocket guide is thorough, complete with practical information (hours of operation, closest metro station, etc) and packed to the gills with fantastic photos to guide the reader. I can’t recommend this book enough to those traveling to Paris and particularly those with a profound appreciation for market culture. I’m honored to welcome Marjorie to this series! Describe what you love about France in three words. Markets, Markets, Markets Hard to choose […]…

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Three Years! {and a travel giveaway}

17 July 2012

Last month I celebrated six years in Paris. That feels both like an eternity and no time at all. Even more astounding than the fact that I truly became an adult in France is that, as of this month, I’ve had this site for half of that time. I started Lost in Cheeseland on a whim and in a bit of a snit. Two months prior, I had finished grad school and was trying to discern how I was going to create a meaningful life in Paris. Job prospects were slim and completely anxiety-inducing, and I struggled to reconcile my ‘transitional’ emotions. I quickly agreed to replace someone on maternity leave in a role that I knew wasn’t the right fit for me but would bide me time until I gained some professional clarity. I felt lost, unsure and increasingly despondent. Frustrated by my journey to work one morning, I decided to put my irritation into words (unbelievable how frivolous it seems in retrospect). I never expected the blog to be anything more than dilettantish dabbling but it evolved naturally and gradually, as did my passion for writing. I kept with it, listened to reader feedback and began to see the city […]…

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