Paris Local Expert

From a Stranger in Paris last night to a Local Expert today, I sure do get to take on many identities by living in the City of Light.

I realized something recently: in just a few months I’ll be reaching my five-year anniversary of the move to Paris. Half a decade! That will match – and then quickly surpass – the amount of time I lived in New York.

Wow. Paris becomes the place I’ve lived the longest since leaving my mama’s house at 18. Definitely nothing I ever planned. Isn’t life grand?

Actually not the view from *my* Paris home. Friend/Blogger Jennyphoria lives here!

The launch party was a success yesterday – the book sold out! After nearly unending rain and cold since I’ve returned (almost feels like November in July here), the sun came out and it was…(gasp!) summer again. (Gone back to gray clouds again now).

Anyway, the agreeable weather meant we could have our reading outside in front of Shakespeare & Co. So many people in attendance! I read with 8 other authors.

David, one of the book’s editors, expressed an interesting sentiment, part of which I can relate to. Someone asked him why he chose the title “Strangers in Paris” for the anthology. He talked about how he didn’t realize he was looking for a home until he came to Paris. He had always felt like an “outsider” where he’s from. In Paris, though, it’s ok because he is an outsider. So it’s totally normal to feel that way!

I wouldn’t say I came to Paris looking for a home. I was in love with New York (still am) and felt completely at home there. But I felt this inexorable draw to Paris. I wasn’t running away from New York; I was moving toward the (City of) Light.

The first couple of years in Paris I think I did feel very much like an outsider, but I wasn’t always at ease in the role.

Canal de L'Ourcq, close to my first home in the 19th

Recently I’ve grown into who I am here, and like David, sort of delight in the feeling of being an outsider who has created a home here. I express my gratitude for this. We’re not from here, but we’ve found community. We bring our own unique perspective to Paris and in turn let the city change us, too.

So when easyJet tapped me as a Paris Local Expert, I say, sure! Bring it on! I am an expert on Paris – my quirky take on Paris, that is – just as we’re all experts in our own experience. It was such fun to write their new Insider Tips feature and do some Q&A. (This is the type of work I love, by the way. Copywriting gods if you’re listening!)

I also feel honored that they named me to their list of Ultimate Paris Travel Bloggers (so many great blogs on the list! I keep good company).

If you want to see if you agree with my answers (when is the best time to visit Paris? is Paris safe?), head on over to their City Breaks page here. Hope you enjoy!

What would your perfect day in Paris look like? This was one of their questions; as I said in the piece, mine begins with a pain au chocolat!

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21 Responses to “Paris Local Expert”


  1. 1 Sarah - Dodeline Design July 26, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    I have always wanted to live in Paris. My fiance and I hope to build a life here in the States near family and friends and then retire to Paris in out 50’s. Sounds like a plan right? :-) I hope all of our hard work will pay off, but in the meantime I have to settle for trips and that’s okay with me for now. I love reading your blog and living vicariously through it! I’ll be in Paris in November and can’t wait – it’s my 2nd visit – any tips for me?

    • 2 paris (im)perfect July 26, 2011 at 10:09 pm

      Hi Sarah. Sure! Good plan. (Though you know what they say about plans… :) ) Glad you get to come visit to satisfy your Paris desires.

      Thanks so much for reading the blog! Hmm, Paris in November. Well, a second trip is great because hopefully that means you’ve already done all the main sites. So now that means you get to *really* do Paris – you know, hang out in cafes, sip hot chocolates, find someplace cozy to escape the cold and rain. My first visit to Paris was in November – and obviously I didn’t get enough!

  2. 5 jennyphoria July 26, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    Oh! I’m mentioned in a Paris (Im)perfect post! I think this means I’ve “made i”
    In all seriousness, I think that David sums up quite nicely why I moved and why I feel so much at home here. I have always felt like an outsider wherever I lived, but here it’s okay. It’s part of my identity and I embrace it. I’d never quite thought of it like that, but it certainly rings true.
    Still very sorry I missed your reading. Can’t wait for the next one!

  3. 7 cass July 27, 2011 at 2:13 am

    Great update! Lots of exciting things happening in your world! Very excited for you dear friend. Love from NYC.

  4. 9 Oneika the Traveller July 27, 2011 at 4:49 am

    Paris expert, eh?! You go girl!

  5. 11 Sweet Freak July 27, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    I wish I could have been at the reading, Sion – sounds like it was a perfect night in Paris!

  6. 13 Paris Karin (an alien parisienne) July 27, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    I loved your Local Expert take on Paris as a city! Those are great questions to think about for me, personally, too. I appreciated your answers a lot.

    Congrats again on the reading at Shakespeare and Company. I enjoyed being there and hearing from the contributors present (most of all, you)! I also really appreciated what David Barnes said about feeling like an outsider everywhere else, but how living in Paris, this is a completely normal state of existence. (You know, with a blog called “An Alien Parisienne,” I can kind of relate to this idea, lol.)

    I hope that readings of your work and articles with your views becomes a regular part of your life, and ours as readers. You have great things to share, and I am glad this is being recognized!

    Finally: almost five years. Wow. It kind of flies fast, no? But how wonderful to have found a home where you are finding your groove. May you have as many more years as you desire here in Paris, Sion. :)

    • 14 paris (im)perfect July 27, 2011 at 10:53 pm

      I appreciate your support so much, Karin. Thank you! I certainly hope more readings and articles become a regular part of my life – it’s what I’m shooting for! Definitely finding my groove more, though I certainly don’t take anything for granted. Especially not in a place where I am a stranger :) (Of course, in many ways I don’t feel as much like a stranger anymore. Because I know people like you and am creating a little community, I’m starting to feel like there just might be a place for me here, yet!)

  7. 15 lupinssupins July 28, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Chapeau on your Shakespeare & Co. reading and on a great piece on easyJet! Yes, un Plan de Paris is de rigueur– I completely wore out my copy of Les Rues de Paris during my M.A. year abroad. Which reminds me– Félicitations aussi on your MFA!
    Now I have a craving for un pain au chocolat-mmm. Luckily St. Louis Bread Co’s are pretty good… But good thing for my already decidedly un-girlish figure, they are not open all night;-}

  8. 17 lupinssupins July 28, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Mais, j’ai oublié ta question/”writing prompt”! I don’t know about the order of events, but I agree w/ you that a perfect day would include a pain-chocolat [but maybe for mon "quatre-heure," with breakfast being a croissant or even the less glam tartine (heaven on a REAL baguette, which my town does NOT have since Famous-Barr closed- would you believe, a dept. store w/ the best soupe à l'oignon on the left side of the Atlantic?Google "Famous Barr French onion soup-- it is, or was, really a thing of beauty), b/c I can't break fast on too much sugar.] Sorry for the mega-parenthetical! And a ditto d’acc on un pique-nique sur l’herbe aux Buttes de Chaumont.

    I was going to say my day would also include the Batobus [b/c who needs the awful food & high prices of the touristy Bateaux mouches & cie?], but on looking it up, was sad to see that it had been replaced by the Voguéo, only to discover that the Voguéo is also gone! So, I’d go w/ a museum pass [esp. if il faisait gris], and hit my favorite, the magnificient, yet doable Musée d’Orsay (& finally splurge on a meal or quatr’heure on their fabulous balcony restau, for the fab views of Montmartre!), the Rodin (whose spectacular sculpture garden would also give me some outdoor time on a museum-filled day) and the Marmottan. [The Louvre can't be conquered in a day, and is too exhausting for a "perfect day" jour de reve!]

    Somewhere in there [a jour de reve would also depend on a good pair of shoes and lungs & no RATP strikes & maybe one of those Jetson's jet packs;-] I would also want to take in at least the facade of Notre-Dame, and its 12th century Rose window. The evening’s entertainment would be a return to the Théatre de la Huchette to see the latest cast’s reprise of their perpetual run of the side-splitting La Cantatrice Chauve & La Lecon, by the genius Absurdist, Ionesco (he being the subject of my master’s thesis, mumblety-cough years ago.)

    Another mammoth tome, pleasantly planning an imaginary trip, to procrastinate on the nervous, should-be planning of a real cross-country trip to a family reunion in Idaho, the only other place that calls out to me as much as Paris, but for far different reasons of sentiment and scenery. Five of my mother’s 6 surviving sibs will be there, for the 90th birthday of their eldest. How to plan for the desert’s 100 degree days & 50 degree nights?

  9. 19 Amy Kortuem August 1, 2011 at 1:59 am

    Sion – congratulations on your reading and the popularity of the anthology! How exciting. I’m very happy for you as a sister writer, but know that I’m also just green with envy, stuck here, unpublished, in southern Minnesota!

    And also congrats on your new ventures in writing and your local expert status. I loved the post you wrote – it’s really perfect. I’ve been in Paris now in April-early May, mid-September and mid-October. I want to go back on my birthday – December 19th – and stay through Christmas. Probably no chance of that will that being the peak time for harp playing engagements, but a girl can dream (chocolat chaud and buche de noel for birthday dinner!!!)

    Best wishes on finding more writing work, and keep us posted when you do.

    • 20 paris (im)perfect August 2, 2011 at 12:50 pm

      Oh, sister writer, let’s not start trading envy. You have a thriving creative career in music and I….I have no career whatsoever…in anything!

      I think writing and publishing should almost be considered two different things – and I don’t think feeling like you have to do more will ever stop. I didn’t even feel comfortable calling myself a writer for the longest time (still have trouble sometimes!) Then I thought I’d feel better when I got a publication. Felt good, but maybe it was a fluke? Maybe if I get my MFA? Check, but still unsure. Once I finish my novel? I’m sure then I’ll just say, oh, but one doesn’t prove anything!

      Really, we do it because we’re driven to write. Whether the words end up published or not, we have to believe!

      Hey, that would be awesome if you could come to Paris for your birthday! Not sure what I’m doing for the holidays yet, but I might just be here.

      Good luck to you with everything!

      • 21 Amy Kortuem August 2, 2011 at 9:12 pm

        GREAT thoughts, Sion. We must create our art, if only for the sake of creating it. It must be done, expressed, created. And you’re really in an exciting place, where that career is budding, growing, forming.

        And so we create!

        If I happen to make it to Paris, I will definitely get in touch with you. How wonderful, to sit and discuss the craft in an inspiring place.


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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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