French Friday – A Passion for Paris with Anne Ditmeyer

A-Passion-for-ParisI discovered Anne Ditmeyer, an American designer / editor and blogger behind Prêt à Voyager (translation: ready to travel) via Lindsey of Lost in Cheeseland when Lindsey was featured on Anne’s series Boarding Pass.  It is a series about other travelers and you know how fond I am of finding new people in the blogosphere.  I enjoy her blog immensely including her series French Lessons as well as her never-ending battles with French bureaucracy and the design aesthetic on her blog is simply gorgeous.  What’s not to love?!

As a freelancer she can work from anywhere, but chooses – for now, at least – to call Paris home. These days she’s most excited about her latest endeavor, Studio/Practice, a giant curated resource of the best tips and tools for freelancers, a collaboration across an ocean with Lauren O’Neill.

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Nothing makes me madder than when people tell me I live a charmed life because I live in Paris. From the outside it may look like that at times, but inside it’s a giant, dysfunctional mess of bureaucracy and things that in general don’t make sense. There are a few ways to handle it – get mad and flustered, or have a sense of humor and write stories about it. So I started my {Un}glamorous Paris series. It became a way of sharing the realities of life in Paris with readers near and far, and my own self-therapy.

The waiting room at the Prefecture is a lot more fun when you start noticing the red and purple “chairs” look more like giant pills that would be impossible to swallow (very appropriate for what awaits you in the other room). I’m even guilty of choking on water while swimming while greatly entertaining myself when making the connection between the “fast lane” at the pool as a symbolic the speed of that French bureaucracy actually moves at (re: comme un escargot!). Clearly I get a sick pleasure out of my life here, and humor and sharing stories with friends to see whose story trumps whose as most unbelievably dysfunctional, yet always 100% true.

France is one of those places where you often say, “You just can’t make this stuff up.” I think my friend Jenni put it best the other day when she said, “Anne, it’s like you really like France, but that’s not what keeps you here. You live for the challenge.” I had to laugh, and perhaps she is right. Maybe Paris would be too boring for me if I didn’t have the daily “surprises” awaiting me around each corner. One thing is for sure, life in Paris is never dull.

At least for all the moments of agony and pain, there are many more moments were I stop, smile, look at the world around me and say to myself, “I live here.” It feels good, it feels right, and no one handed it to me – I’ve earned my keep, every minute of it.

An agonizing few months of trying to find an apartment… or walking by Louvre at night.

French Friday – A Passion for Paris with Anne Ditmeyer - Louvre

Spending 50 Euros to have my birth certificate certified translated into French (that anyone in French 101 could do)… or happening upon temporary Museum of Everything.

French Friday – A Passion for Paris with Anne Ditmeyer - Museum of Everything

Running around in circles all the time to accomplish anything… but small details that make you stop and smile.

French Friday – A Passion for Paris with Anne Ditmeyer - Cafe

Getting a black eye in a 25m2 swim lane with a dozen (bad) swimmers… or being thankful I’ve only gotten one black eye out of a hundred swims + having an awesome story to laugh about.

French Friday – A Passion for Paris with Anne Ditmeyer - pool

Knowing plane tickets home to see my family are expensive… but there are tastes of home (Sugar Daze!) in Paris, along with wonderful friends.

French Friday – A Passion for Paris with Anne Ditmeyer - SugarDaze

Living in tiny shoebox apartments… but knowing that Paris is always a place friends will visit, and how easy it is to visit friends who live on this side of the pond.

French Friday – A Passion for Paris with Anne Ditmeyer - CDG

Waiting three weeks to get internet set up … or eating pastries in the Tuilleries during Fashion Week while watching The Sartorialist and Garance Doré at work.

French Friday – A Passion for Paris with Anne Ditmeyer - Sartorialist Garance Dore

Trying to figure out opening hours and holiday schedules… but also discovering new things like secret, working mini elevators while giving a Vayable tour.

French Friday – A Passion for Paris with Anne Ditmeyer - Minielevator

Anne Ditmeyer by Caitlin EarleyMerci Anne!  Here are a few spots you can find Anne:

Her amazing blog: Prêt à Voyager
Her Portfolio and her new projectOn Twitter on Facebook and Instagram or this unique spot called Everplaces

Also, I mentioned some of her series in my intro, but here is a more exhaustive list: Boarding Pass; French LessonsParis Travel Tips; Visit Paris; Life in Paris; Blogger’s Guide to Paris; and a great video with David Lebovitz (jealous!).

All photos by Anne Ditmeyer, except the photo of Anne which is credited to Caitlin Earley.

 

Comments

  1. Thanks so much for inviting me to participate, Andi! Discussing my life in Paris is always like a welcome dose of therapy ;)
    Anne

  2. @Anne, the pleasure was ALL mine!

  3. What a great little blurb! Anne, you’re right when you say life in Paris is never dull! Your swimming adventures are hilarious.
    Great series, Andi!

  4. I have to tell you: Between you and Lindsey, it’s really hard not to want to pack my bags and move to Paris!

  5. Thanks, Meg! You’ll have to join me on swimming adventures at some point ;)
    Camels & Chocolate, 3 months is the secret – all the perks, none of the bureaucracy!!!

  6. carol roberts says:

    that looks so good wow paris looks nice

  7. I WOULD LOVE TO VISIT PARIS SOMEDAY

  8. I was also required to have a French translation of my birth certificate for something or other while I was living in France…I cheated and did it myself!

  9. Paris looks awesome!! I would love to go there!

  10. amanda roach says:

    the buildings are beautiful.love the mini elavater.

  11. That cupcake looks yummy! What brand and name is your nail polish? That’s a really pretty gold!

  12. Rosa Espinal says:

    I have to say that at my age,I have kinda given up on dreaming of visiting Paris,but through this post,I wish I were there.Beautiful buildings,delicious food and excellently prepared to boot.I always wanted to visit for the fashion,food and delicious cheese.Hmmm,I think you can tell,I LOVE food.lol

  13. april yedinak says:

    This was so interesting. I admit that I often think of people living in Paris as being luckier that those of us that live in say, Kentucky. I am charmed by the photo of the tiny elevator.

  14. Huguette E. says:

    Great post. Loved Paris and so want to go again!

  15. @Carol, thanks! It’s ‘pas mal’ as the French would say.
    @Denise, just do it!!!
    @Corinna, when I lived her before I did the translation, but they seem to have gotten pickier, and the official stamp is crucial (it has to be a CERTIFIED translator too, not just any translator).
    @Gina, it’s worth it :)
    @Amanda, the mini elevator was such a happy discovery. Don’t think I would have noticed it had a kid not been looking at it.
    @Tricia, I’m not even a cupcake nut, but Cat makes the best cupcakes! Definitely check out Sugar Daze in the 9th. … The nailpolish was a gift from a friend. It’s like gold glitter. If I recall the brand is FACE or something like that.
    @Rosa, it’s never too late!! At least watch some French movies to travel vicariously.
    @April, just what I wanted to hear! I definitely don’t live a charmed life just because I live in Paris!
    Thanks everyone for your kind words!!!!
    Anne

  16. Rebecca Sinclair says:

    Oh my that mini elevator is awesome! I loved the little glimpse into your Parisian life. I’ve learned that life can be a struggle anywhere, no matter how romantic the place sounds in a book or a movie. :)

  17. Wonderful article! I deeply enjoyed reading about the ‘other’ side of Paris, and I love Anne’s choice to look at the bright side. I would love to visit Paris someday.

  18. Great feature on Ann! Once she becomes my neighbor in a week, I’ll have to get her to take me swimming!

  19. So glad you enjoyed it @Debbie!
    And @Lindsey, we’re so going swimming!!!

  20. What a fabulous post – so much fun to read too :) Thank you… (BTW- I only visited Paris once, but had a blast)

  21. A fabulous post and it says it all!!! This is why people go to live in Paris .. I have never met Sugar Daze, but I know that last year or maybe the year before she came over to LOndon and did Cupcake Charity to raise money with someone (it was for a hospital).

  22. Beautiful pictures.

  23. I appreciate Anne so much. I first discovered her block back in late 2009 via Lindsey & her blog, too, and the thing I enjoy about her posts is how informative they are. Also, Anne has a killer sense of design, and I really like her design sensibilities! She is also funny — I finally got to meet her in person this past winter and she’s hilarious! I really like her sense of humor. As for this post, I think that she pointed out very well some of the day-to-day challenges of a place like Paris, but all the while holding on to the joys. She nailed quite a few of those, and I really appreciate what she had to say here.

    Thank you, Andi, for yet another great profile!

    (And I vote that you ask my fellow Denverite homie up there, Meg, to do a profile sometime soon! I never got a chance to meet her in Paris, but happened on her blog De quelle planete es tu? some months ago and really enjoy checking in with her there. I found her on Yelp before I left Paris! Small world. :) )

  24. P.S. Anne! If you see this, those gray mary janes in the pic up there… source? Gosh those are cute!!

  25. I think its great that you can turn things around and make them funny, personally I just scream and yell in my head and get so frustrated, but this does no good. I think I will try and work on seeing the positive side of things instead of the frustratingly negative.

  26. Well written French Friday!
    I look forward to my first trip to Europe and France will be my first stop.
    What an exciting, interesting adventure to be able to share!
    Thanks! ^_^

  27. Michelle.A. says:

    Oh wow. I just love your pictures. I also had fun reading all about your adventures.

  28. Liza Glick says:

    Dying to go to France now!

  29. Awww Paris on my to visit list before I die! Beautiful!
    tammykd at live dot com

  30. Wow, what an eventful life. Maybe someday I’ll get one of my own. Until then a girl can dream. I do however, love seeing the world from the comfort of my own home. Paris, see you later.

  31. What lovely images! The Louvre at night is a sight I’ll always remember from my own Paris travels a few years ago. There’s something magical about a new land – even what we know from home seems magical.

  32. Oh my goodness – the swimming just KILLS me! You can be dawdling behind someone for half a lap (and they know it), but when they touch the wall, they turn around and kick off again.
    I wish I could taste Cat’s cupcakes but I’m gluten intolerant.

  33. What a great list – although details may differ, I think I anyone who has lived in Paris for longer than a few months would totally agree. Life has its ups and downs no matter where you are . And, no matter how hard (or frustrating the day is, it never hurts to turn the corner and see a sparkling Eiffel Tower off in the distance!). Thanks for making me laugh and be happy for virtual commiseration!

  34. Colleen Boudreau says:

    I would love to go to Paris, it looks so beautiful!

  35. Sounds cool! My husband speaks a bit of French so someday it would be fun to visit Paris. :)

  36. This is a beautiful post. It makes me smile. But I think to truly understand it. I’d just have to live in Paris for a while.

    Ps. I love those tables and chairs. Perfect for a late summer’s day coffee.

  37. michelle riebeek says:

    Wow, I really enjoyed reading about the challenges/adventures of living in paris! Love everything about Andi’s blog!

  38. One of the great things about reading good blogs is that they put you in touch with other good blogs. Prêt à Voyager looks like another winner — especially as I hope one day to live in Paris. As the beard gets grayer, that dream recedes, but what else are dreams for? Thanks Andi — and (in anticipation) thanks Anne.

  39. My husband went on a business trip to Paris this past summer. And no, I didn’t get to go. He had a great time siteseeing. We had been stationed in Europe and visited France years back,back before kids

  40. I’ve never been to Paris but your picture makes me want to go. Those tables and chairs are so pretty with all the colors on them!

  41. Ah Paris….she kicks us in the teeth and we still come back for more.

  42. Natalie Ginnow says:

    Bonjour! I too have a spot in my heart for Paris. It was a very special trip for me. I would love to go again. I remember that glass pyramid. I’ve forgotten the name. I especially enjoyed Versailles, and G.H Mumm Champagne tour and tasting.

  43. As a soon to be first time expat (moving to South Korea in a few months) I really appreciate this balanced and positive view of life in Paris. I will try to apply your sense of humor if/when I suffer from culture shock. Thanks Anne! Thanks Andi!

  44. Cathi Bert-Roussel says:

    What a fun post to read! I have always dreamed of living in Paris. My french husband, who has been an ex-pat for 25 years, tells me that Parisian life is a pain. My in-laws always tell me how easy we have it here in America and with the Socialists back in power, it is the end of France. But I can’t help but wonder…… maybe when I retire.

  45. I was in Paris for only a few days & it is one of the most beautiful places I have been. You are right about the small details.

  46. I think I would like to experience “the Museum of Everything” …sounds very interesting!

  47. @Karin, thanks for the nice note! Ironically I think living in Paris has made me funnier, as one has to have a good sense of humor to survive! The shoes? They’re 4 year old $22 shoes from Target. I have them in yellow too and both have been re-soled on multiple occasion making them cost way more than what initially paid for, but great shoe so worth it!

    @Liz, Europe is wonderful! Can’t wait for you to experience it.

    @Lady Jenni, the pool is ridiculous. Once I get settled into my new place I’m looking into clubs… I think Cat of Sugar Daze can do gluten free if you request. Otherwise, check out my friend Jenni’s pastries at NoGlu, a gluten free resto in Passage Panoramas.

    @Colleen, in the meantime rent Amelie or some other French movies!

    @Stacie, the cafes here are wonderful. Meant for sitting and chatting for hours. Heat lamps in winter too!

    @Anne, SO true!

    Anne

  48. Thank you for such a great post. It was so funny and I always love the anti-grass is always greener versions!

  49. Paris…what a wonderful city it is! The mini elevators though?!?! That blows my mind….

  50. @ Anne — You are so welcome. :)

    “The shoes? They’re 4 year old $22 shoes from Target. “ ROCK ON.

    You know, now that you mention where they are from and the time frame, I *remember* seeing those at Target, and I remember the yellow ones, too! Really cute, and I love that they are Chez Target. ;-)

    And yes, I think it is true that overseas living absolutely develops a sense of humor. :D

    xx
    Karin

  51. Lovely post, I like the appreciation for all the good things after dealing with the not so good things! How cool is the Museum of Everything? Would love to visit there one day but maybe not live there, lol

  52. What an enjoyable post to read. I believe Paris will always have that romantic and exciting allure to those of us who have never visited, especially those who rearely travel. Like so many others I’d love to visit someday, but as far as living there-it sounds like it can be quite exhausting (mentally). Anyplace new is great at 1st, then you realize it has it’s faults and downfalls. The bit of Anne’s writing was something I could have kept on redaing for hours, and the photos were great. Thank you for sharing that.

  53. I had no idea the apartments were sooo tiny. I’d really have to edit my stuff if I lived there.

  54. I have always wanted to go to Paris I so wish I could travel it looks like such fun

  55. I would love to visit paris! that cupcake looks yummy :)

  56. Elizabeth Owens says:

    I want those chairs! So cute

  57. First of all, thanks for the introduction to this blog, which I have bookmarked for later reading! I laughed at the “Giant, dysfunctional mess of bureaucracy and things that in general don’t make sense”! I have traveled to France twice and spent a few days in Paris. I love it and have many funny stories of my own and I was only there briefly.
    It really is true that you can’t make this stuff up!

  58. I really enjoyed htis post. Although it’s my dream to live there, I can not imagine what it’s like to live there. Thanks for sharing your story with all of us.

  59. Although, I am in love with Paris – thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  60. Wow what an awesome adventure! Wish one day I can go there. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  61. Those photos are amazing. You are so lucky to have had the opportunity to be in Paris!

  62. Oh I am soooo jealous! I would just love to go to Paris! I want to eat bread everyday!

  63. ah, but the challenge is so amazing! Sometimes I think just movign to a foreign country is a challenge in itself, thanks for the great insights!

  64. Anthony Hope says:

    J’adore Paris! I’m so envious of you – I have always wanted to go and visit Paris. AND you met Anne Ditmeyer! Looks beautiful from your pictures!

  65. I was lucky enough to visit paris for a week, and I took in all the major sights. But to actually live there and experience paris every day would be truly divine.

  66. aww, the Louvre! so pretty :) I would love to go there one day.

  67. Thomas Murphy says:

    I have never been to France but hope to go soon!

  68. @Meg, I am glad you enjoy it, would love a contribution from you too! Your blog is so aesthetically beautiful!

  69. @Kristin, I know we would have fun…even if it was for a week…the three of us would do Paris right!

  70. @Denise, I hope you get too!

  71. @Rosa, never give up on your dreams of Paris…

  72. @April, you make your own luck – every spot, including Kentucky has its own character! Kentucky has beautiful horses, bourbon and I just read a NY Times article on the donuts there – wowza!

  73. @Huguette, I hope you get to!

  74. @Rebecca, so true. Every place is one part special one part pain in the ass!

  75. @Debbi, Anne is so amazing and I hope you get to Paris!

  76. @Lindsey, so cool! You can show her the ropes of your ‘hood!

  77. @Shauna, what was your favorite part?

  78. @Anne, Paris is amazing and special. I have yet to get to try cupcakes from Sugar Daze but I am dying to do so!

  79. @Karin, I think Anne’s blog design is awesome and I want Meg to guest post as well!

  80. @Janell, it is actually harder to be positive, but it is SO worth it!

  81. @Liz, I hope you get there..and please report back!

  82. @Liza, hope you get there someday!

  83. @Tammy, hope you get there, it is definitely worth a visit!

  84. @Cathi, Paris changes so frequently that our husband might need an update :-) It’s true about the end of France with the Socialists in power…but you don’t go for the politics, you go for everything else – you must go there! My French hubby curses it to…but only after 3 or 4 days, until then he loves it…and he always yearns to go back every year!

  85. @Gina, I hope you get to go back some time and see a few more.

  86. @Kalia, I’m with you, I haven’t been yet and I am now curious to go!

  87. @Laura, that darn grass….every places has it quirks, part of the character!

  88. @Rebby, it really is wonderful!

  89. @Karin, could not agree more! Ex-pats are just cooler people in general ;-)

  90. @Mandara, it is definitely a wonderful place to visit.

  91. @Raine, every place has its quirks, some places in the world are definitely easier to move to than others, but the reward is sweet when the challenge is great!

  92. @Julie, oh big time – they are super tiny, like New York!

  93. @Lori, I hope you get there one day!

  94. @Nickie, from what I hear they are super yummy!

  95. @Elizabeth, aren’t they?!

  96. @Beeb, so happy you found me!

  97. @Jamie, you don’t have to imagine, you can just read Anne’s blog, she’ll tell you all about it! I hope you get there one day!

  98. @Josie, the brad is defintely a perk!

  99. @Nicole, there are challenges every where, but some places just have a few more ;-)

  100. @Anthony, I hope you get there one day!

  101. @JulieH, what did you like best? What would you want to do next time?

  102. @Kiana, if you ever do, you must try out one of the THATLou events: http://thatlou.com/

  103. @Thomas, hope you get there too!

  104. Paris definitely on my list, but I will only be taking the husband :)

  105. @Keri, well that isn’t a bad thing!

  106. Thank you so much for sharing this. That was beautifully written and the pictures are perfect. I especially love the mini working elevator picture, although the empty cafe chairs and tables is eye catching. I am a huge fan of Paris and hope to one day travel there and see it for myself. So I will be excited to dive in and read more of this blog. Thanks a ton!

  107. I love the romance that Paris exudes. I did not get to spend nearly enough time there but loved every second! I was only there for en extended weekend on my way to Africa. I can’t wait to get back! I love reading this blog!

  108. Samantha Meyer says:

    Seems like such a beautiful place. Thank you for sharing all of this. I can relate to the shoebox apartment!

  109. @Melissa, well put and so true! That lady steals lots of hearts with her flirty lights!

  110. @Laura, I hope you get there some day!

  111. @Andi I’d love to! Just let me know how to get the ball rolling :)
    Thanks, @Karin!

  112. @Meg, oh how wonderful! I’ll send you an email!

  113. I have visited France twice now and loved it both times. I am sure living there is just like living elsewhere with all the crap we have to put up with. I love all the little things the blogger found…love it!

  114. I have been to Paris only once in my life… I loved the happy coincidence-type places that my friends and I happened upon while we were there. I love the pastries there, and the bread, and the museums!!! The museums are actually my favorite, I think. I loved visiting Monet’s waterlilies as well as the beautiful art in the Louvre. We went to the Louvre at night as well (that’s when we got our student discount to enter for free!), and it is so beautiful!

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