Why I’m Tired of Living in Paris

I’ll Probably Delete This Later

Capture d’écran 2019-03-07 à 13.46.51

Its 3am and I just had to come on here and write this. Honestly I don’t know where to begin. Things have been hard lately.

I feel like everybody knows me as the walking cliché foreign girl in Paris who comes to the city after uprooting her whole life abroad to fall in love with cheese and baguettes and everything else associated with the most grotesque french stereotypes you can imagine. On instagram and often over here on our blog I’m posting constantly about how much I love Paris and on a very superficial level, my love for the city is real. I love the city as a city. No matter where you go here you’re always surrounded by beautiful things, chic restaurants, boutiques and cafés and every street is brimming with so much history that it would be impossible to know every single detail about it. But the truth about Paris is that trying to make it here as a foreigner is often misery.

Now I don’t want anybody to think that I’m ungrateful for having the opportunity to live here because that’s not what I’m trying to say in this post at all. What I want to talk about here is how Paris is not a kind city to people who don’t come from France and sometimes it can really bring you down.

Sometimes it feels like everyday in Paris is a battle where I have to defend myself. If people here listen to my accent then they are inclined to speak to me in english right away, completely overlooking the fact that I can and am here to talk to them in their language. Learning french is extremely difficult in Paris for this reason alone. I always feel like I have to defend my right to speak french either because I’ll get talked down to in english by somebody sneering at my accent or because I won’t be taken seriously because people immediately hear that I’m foreign and assume that I’m a tourist even though I’ve been living here for two years.

This entire question of having a foreign accent is actually really having a big impact on my life. Any time I’ve applied for a job or an internship in something that I’m qualified to do I get rejected because the companies want native french speakers only …so in other words they don’t want to hire any foreigners. I’ve been looking for jobs through french all summer and the response is always the same. Native french only. It makes me wonder why I ever even bothered learning the language to begin with.

In life we’re all a victim of where we come from. This is something I wish more people would realise. It’s easy to make assumptions about people based on the way they talk or how they look but there are some things that we just can’t help. Having an accent is one of them. No matter how hard I try I’ll never speak english like somebody from the UK or the United States and I’ll especially never speak french like somebody who was born and raised here their entire life.

I’ll always talk like Amanda from Ireland and that’s ok. I just wish people in France would realise this because I could never imagine us as english speakers discriminating against people who came from countries like France, Spain, Italy, etc because of the way they talk. These expectations are ridiculous and we should just accept people for who they are and where they come from. I have so many experiences of anti-foreigner bias and I’m white af so I can’t even imagine what it must be like for anybody who is judged unfairly for their racial differences. If these things happen to me then there must be an even bigger problem for foreigners in Paris and it’s far from ok.

There are so many things about Paris that make it an uphill battle. Anyone who has ever had to deal with french administration will know what I’m talking about but that aside, sometimes parisians are just plain mean. These are the experiences I’ve had lately:

1.) Being denied a position at a beauty company because the employer saw on my CV that I was Irish. (He didn’t even call me or hear my voice. He just basically said “pas d’accent anglais” without even talking to me.)

2.) Answering the phone to my brother in a café and an old lady yelling at me in french for talking on the terrace. I ignore her and continue talking and she yells even louder so I just leave.

3.) Being called a basic tourist by a group of girls who thought I couldn’t understand them when I was taking a picture at the train station.

I really want to stress that not everybody is like this and most of my closest friends in the world are parisian but after a while all of the negative encounters start to become exhausting. Even though they sound silly and I know I should just brush it off I can’t help but feel that Paris is bringing me down. The people aren’t always nice if you’re foreign and often it can feel like the whole city is mocking you.

This is why I don’t think my future is going to be in France.

And aside from the inferiority complex I have for being foreign there’s also this absence of identity that really brings me down and makes me feel like I’m such a nobody in France. No one acknowledges my identity as Irish. Here it seems as if Ireland, the USA and the countries of the UK are mashed all together into the word “anglais” and it really feels so empty to be stripped of my cultural identity and to be labeled as “une anglaise”. My upbringing in Ireland was all about céilís, GAA and speaking as Gaeilge and I know we often laugh in Ireland about that kind of stuff but it is who we are and what makes us unique as a people. Given our history too, our whole culture revolves around NOT being english and being independent from the UK.

Since living in France I don’t have that anymore and it often makes me sad that nobody understands who I really am because they have no idea about where I really come from. I’m not going to lie when I say that it does make me feel really lost.

Aside from the cultural problems I have in Paris, a massive problem is also the men. There are so many sleazy guys around and being harassed on the streets and called after like a dog is unfortunately fairly normal here. I never had this problem when I was still living in Dublin but here it’s not surprising if there’s a weird old man following you in the metro, if the waiter at the café you pass on your way to work everyday wolf-whistles at you as he smokes his cigarette by the terrace, if random guys shout something degrading at you in the streets it’s normal and being followed into the bathroom by strange men in bars is not an unfamiliar occurence. There have been times in Paris where I’ve actually feared for my life because of how persistant the men have been and what’s worse is that the police don’t seem to care when these things are reported so they keep getting away with it.

I love Paris for what it is on the surface but beyond that I actually have so many problems with it and there are days where I just don’t feel like going on anymore. My blog and youtube help to distract me from it all because at least then I can focus on the positives about the city but I can’t deny that the negatives do really get to me.

That said though I do have amazing friends here that I love a lot and who have helped me since the beginning. The problem I have is that in Dublin there’s not a whole lot left for me at all. I feel like since I left everybody moved on in life and I don’t have many friends anymore. All of my friends are here with me in Paris and moving away would mean starting out fresh again.

It’s sometimes tough being an expat because a certain point your home stops feeling like home to you and you’ll always be an outsider in your new country. This is something I haven’t yet been able to come to terms with and I don’t know if I will ever be able to fully accept it.

Anyway if you made it this far in the post I should thank you for reading. I’m sorry it wasn’t the regular fun thing about fashion and beauty in Paris but I just wanted to share where I am in my thoughts right now. I’ll probably delete this post at some point because I know it feels quite negative.

I’m sorry there’s so many typos in this post. I wrote it late at night and when I needed something to calm me in my moment of distress. The next post will be a lot more eloquent and positive, I promise.

~Amanda xx

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9 thoughts on “Why I’m Tired of Living in Paris

  1. Cordelia.

    WOW, this was honestly so interesting and eye-opening to read. I don’t think you should delete it because its honest and real! I hate that the stereotype about France is actually true. The people can be so rotten and snobbish. I hate that you don’t get to embrace who you are, even though you should be celebrated for your uniqueness! The sleazy guys are honestly so terrifying. ): I can’t even imagine how alienating it feels to be an expat there.

    I hope you’ll figure out a way to live happier. I thought Amsterdam & Brighton had such lovely and beautiful vibes as well, especially Amsterdam. Stay strong Amanda, it must be tough but from what I’ve been reading, you’re a brave person who isn’t afraid of a setback in life. Good luck, my dear! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. La Dame Who Fell To Earth

      Im glad that it was interesting to you and that you could gain an insight into Paris thanks to my post!

      I mean not everybody in France is going to be like that. So many people here are french and they are my close friends and amazing people but I do have to say I’ve experienced snobbery and xenophobia more here than I ever have in any other country and it’s especially problematic within the older generations and their treatment towards me.
      And you’re so right. We should embrace everybody for their origins and welcome that instead of having this backward gate keeping mentality. It’s really sickening that so many people are like that.

      Thank you for the recommendation! Amsterdam is lovely and I do wish to someday visit Brighton. That said though I’ve built my life in Paris and probably won’t be leaving any time soon. This is just a problem that’s been coming in waves for the past two years and I had to write about it on my blog. Paris is beautiful but it’s far from beautiful.

      Thank you a milllion times for your kind words. You are so encouraging! I’m wishing you all the same!
      Good luck to you too love ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cordelia.

        Mmm, exactly. You mentioned that you don’t want to go back to Dublin and I wonder why? It is incredible that you have built yourself a life and Paris and you live alone right? Is there any chance you will be doing a ‘week in my life’ type of post because I really admire your bravery to built a place for yourself in a foreign country!
        You’re welcome and I can’t wait for you to do better! 🤗

        Liked by 1 person

      2. La Dame Who Fell To Earth

        Dublin is nice as a city but there’s a housing crisis at the moment meaning that the average rent price is around 2000€ and finding a house or apartment is just unaffordable. I left because things in Ireland were getting crazy expensive and it didnt seem realistic to live there anymore.
        And yeah I’ve made it alone in Paris up until now xD I’d love to make that kind of post! I’ll get to work on it on monday and it’ll be up the following week!
        Thank you so much for your lovely comment! xx

        Like

  2. crystalsandcurls

    dear god, i can relate to this on a spiritual level… my step grandad and a few of my friends back home in london are french and they all say the same thing: they bloody hate paris. I’ve been to visit and agree, on an aesthetic level its gorgeous…to live, i think it would be unbearable.

    not on the exact same level or specificity, but I find myself having the same thoughts about australia. while not so much the accent, but because of visa conditions it’s pretty impossible to find a job outside a slim few roles (fundraising mainly…eugh). I find outside of the big cities people can be REALLY rude to foreigners and the entire culture is really subtly racist (the way they treat the refugees and black people here is horrible)… but all my friends are here. you’re totally right – you start to feel disconnected from home and moving back feels like starting again.

    Honestly, I hope you don’t delete this post – it’s the way a lot of expats end up feeling sometimes, so it’s lovely to read something so real and relatable xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. La Dame Who Fell To Earth

      Yesss it’s crazy because once I leave Paris I really feel like the world is a kind place again xD People here can be quite standoffish and for me especially because I come from a country town in Ireland where everyone is quite friendly, the fact that it’s such a cold place can really be very mentally draining.

      I’ve heard the same thing about Australia haha my brother lived there and it does have this reputation. It’s such a shame that they only give crappy jobs to foreigners and that the Visa process is such a long and stupidly complicated one. I’m sorry that people there are rude to foreigners too and it’s crazy to me how they treat refugees and black people so horribly because nobody deserves to be treated that way because of their skin colour. Sometimes people forget that their ancestors were once immigrants too and they forget their humanity.

      I think the best thing is always to count on the friends you’ve made in your new country to help you out or get your mind off things because I know for me personally when I start to think of home I lose my mind from feeling like I shouldn’t have moved, like I’m missing out on life back in Ireland and then I start to create scenarios that could have been my life if I had stayed. But it’s unhealthy to live in a past life and I know I have to make the most of Paris even if it’s hard sometimes. I think it’s important to try and see the positives of your new home no matter what.

      I’m glad you can relate to it, honestly I felt so alone when I wrote this but you’ve really helped me because I know it’s not only me who goes through this experience.
      Thank you so much my dear for your lovely comment xxx

      Like

  3. Pingback: Update: Smiling in Paris Again – La Dame Who Fell To Earth

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