As with all GSGI links, we only add the ones we like, have used, or think could be useful. These recommended links for expats in France have been recommended by GSGI editors or readers.
In some cases, the links take you to a website for which we provided some of the content (so naturally we think it's excellent!).
The books and films have been recommended by our readers and editors. Unless mentioned, most are available at booksellers or on line. If you have a recommendation we should add to this list, we'd love to hear it (contact us).
AngloInfo:Paris - Really excellent resource for expats heading for -- or already living in -- Paris, with valuable no-frills listings of everything from dentists to plumbers, schools (basic info) to hair cuts, registering your car to tax problems as well as classifieds, discussions and details about what's on in your area. Useful directories, reliable information, intuitive site....goes exactly where it says it will, in exactly the country section where you'd expect to find it.
Emigrate2 – From visas to jobs, mortgages to taxes, banking to currency exchange: find helpful information about emigration generally on their main site, and France specifically on their Living in France page. Read the Education in France page and then the GSGI The French System: In All Its Gloire ... and consider yourself completely au fait with French education!
Message Paris - Far and away the best investment you can make -- annual membership costs 64 euros. Benefits include Message’s extremely useful (and periodically updated) guide, the ABCs of Parenting in Paris, concisely written and chock-a-block with insiders’ tips and practical information. Message’s 1,800 members, from all corners of the globe, regularly come online to seek or dispense help and advice on the members’ Forum. No other forum we have frequented is quite as well organised and extensive in what it covers: pregnancy and childbirth, baby and toddler rearing, family life, education, all matters medical, health and fitness, working in France, childcare and domestic help, hobbies and leisure, special events.
Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong: Why We Love France, But Not the French by Jean-Benoît Nadeau (Goodreads Author), Julie Barlow
The French smoke, drink and eat more fat than anyone in the world, yet live longer and have fewer heart problems than Americans. They work 35-hour weeks, and take seven weeks of paid holidays per year, but are still the world's fourth-biggest economic power. So what makes the French so different?
Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong is a journey into the French heart, mind and soul. Decrypting French ideas about land, privacy and language, Nadeau and Barlow weave together the threads of French society -- from centralization and the Napoleonic Code to elite education and even street protests -- giving us, for the first time, a complete picture of the French.
The Secret Life of France, published in paperback in July 2010, by Lucy Wadham
Anyone who is remotely curious about what makes the French tick will love this book. Lucy Wadham, now divorced from her French husband, but married, for better or worse, to his native land, peels off layer after layer of French convention, prejudice and sheer unimpeachable style to lay the nation‘s psyche bare.
The book examines the profound and varied differences between the Anglo Saxon and French world-views. Using her own experience, as a wife and mother, and later as an investigative journalist for the BBC, Ms Wadham explores French attitudes towards sex, marriage, adultery, money, work, happiness, war, and race and in so doing reveals much about our own priorities and the nature of our identity.
The Secret Life of France challenges our preconceptions about France and debunks many of the myths – both bleak and rosy – on which our view of France rests, and asks whether we might have something to learn from this most infuriating and contrary country.
Au Revoir to All That: Food, Wine, and the End of France by Michael Steinburger
France is in a rut, and so is French cuisine. For the first time in the annals of modern cooking, the most influential chefs and the most talked-about restaurants in the world are not French. Large segments of the wine industry are in crisis, cherished artisanal cheeses are threatened with extinction, and bistros and brasseries are disappearing at an alarming rate.
How did this happen? Author Michael Steinberger investigates in this sharp and funny book, following the trail into the kitchens and vineyards of France, with detours into French politics, economics, and culture. The result is a striking portrait of a cuisine and country in transition.
Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky- the author was there as Parisians were fleeing the city as the Nazis poured in behind them, and wrote a novel about the lives of the occupied French in one particular village, coexisting with the enemy in their homes and, sometimes, hearts.
Etre Avoir (film)- best in French with English subtitles. OK, not about Paris, but SO worth seeing; practically a propaganda film for French agriculture. Gorgeously filmed, delightful story following a year in a rural one room French school room; about its teacher, students and their families.
Les Intouchables (2012) Directors Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano
A box office hit, exposing the racial/social/cultural divides in Paris through the coming together of two people living at either extreme. A buddy movie in which a disabled, rich white employer learns to live again through his black employee's life-force... admittedly with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, it will show you, in a heartbeat, the wildly divergent realities of life in Paris today.