It is more common today than ever before for women to travel alone. Large travel organizations now offer trips designed for single women. While it’s true that many women would feel more protected under the umbrella of a tour company, what about the women who yearn for something more adventurous, who want to venture out on their own and perhaps spend more time in a foreign country than a short vacation?
Yes, women travel and live alone all the time in this country, where the language is familiar and logistics like the terms of a mortgage are understandable, but are there any women today who are buying real estate in a foreign country? Yes there are, and it’s not just the heroine in Under The Tuscan Sun.
For women who are looking for a real change of pace and a way to shake up the everyday humdrum, how about buying an apartment in Paris?
I know two women in particular who have bought an apartment in Paris and have not only enjoyed the financial appreciation, they have also added a dimension to their lives that never would have existed if they had not left their comfort zone. One bought the apartment with the strict intention of renting until she decides to either sell it or live in it. The other has owned it for over a dozen years and can’t imagine not having an apartment in Paris.
You’ll want to begin by hiring a good lawyer to field the obstacles that might arise, and it does help if you can speak the language somewhat. However, language should not be an impediment. With enough time spent in Paris you will generate vocabulary and before you know it, you’ll be thinking in French. If your language skills prove reluctant, take some courses at the Alliance Francaise. You will probably meet some very interesting people in your classes.
So you’re afraid of being alone in a foreign city? There are so many places to turn to where you can make new friends. For example, The American Club is an old club that exists to further the friendships of Americans and French. Americans are not the only ones who join this club.
There are numerous organizations that will welcome you. There are numerous churches and synagogues all over the city. Women of the American Church in Paris have been welcoming newcomers to make a successful transition to life in Paris for a very long time. The Sons of the American Revolution was created in 1926 to maintain Franco-American friendship. If you like to sing there is the Paris Choral Society. It is open to English-speaking singers from the greater Paris area.
Want to join an organization that supports your particular political party in the USA? You will find it here. If museums are your thing, you can become involved with the Musee d’Art Americain, which is the museum next door to the Monet museum in Giverny, a short ride from Paris. The Franco-American Institute (Insitut Franco-Americain) advises Americans on administrative procedures, education, real-estate purchases, cross cultural business transactions, travel, exchange programs, and the politico-economical climate in the region. The Inter-Allied club (Cercle de L’Union Interalliee) provides luncheon and indoor sports facilities and, as the name implies, includes members from various nations.
Need some counseling? There is an International Counseling Service that provides a service staffed by qualified, bilingual mental health professionals. There is also the American Women’s Group in Paris that offers social and cultural activities promoting Franco-American friendship. Their activities include luncheon meetings with prominent speakers, educational courses, guided tours and new-member coffee receptions.
These are but a handful of the many organizations that exist in Paris. It will probably be difficult to make a choice because so many are waiting for you.
The point is to shake up your life with a change that not only challenges your senses, but a change that offers you a pathway to a reason to get up everyday. There will be no same old, same old when you make a change as drastic as this. You will be amazed at how many friends and relatives are suddenly contacting you. Everyone wants to go to Paris, at least once in his or her life. You will be the expert on Paris!
Of course, you can always take another approach. You can rent an apartment and enjoy all the bounty that exists in this beautiful city. For more about our own adventure as an American couple buying an apartment in Paris, read our new book, Under Paris Rooftops.
Arleen and Norman Shabel