vendredi 29 mars 2013

Spring is in the ...thoughts

We- the people living in France, the French and especially the Parisians are desperately awaiting spring.
In Paris a few weeks ago, I snapped a very 'smart' pic:

As you can see, there is a small star at the top of the line (I found that brilliant), like in those contracts with fine print meaning, in my interpretation, 'virtually'!
It is still very cold here. Spirits are nonetheless filling up with spring. Here is a pic from the back of our garden :)

And how pretty are these trees - below- in chocolate! 
Easter is this weekend and chocolate is out of control.  Literally. I don't know if coloring (real) eggs was ever a tradition here for Easter, but cholcolate has become an Easter synomim. 
If you want to see some really cool and really big - huge - chocolate eggs, visit the blog 
Eye Prefer Paris, they have hunted the major chocolate boutiques in Paris and ...well, there is some serious cholcolate there let me tell you.

And this pic just because I found it pretty is green; kind'a like the spring green, you know :)

 Happy Easter  :)

jeudi 28 mars 2013

Finding a Job in France

Today I want to share with you a well written post by  Chez Loulou 

My pic :)

A question that frequently pops up from fellow expats in France is related to working. More specifically, how to find a job and how to get hired.* And right now, with unemployment figures what they are, things are tougher than ever.

I've heard from many frustrated people who don't understand why they're not being asked to go for an interview after submitting their CV to a company or why they're not getting hired after having an interview.

Here's what I think.

Over the last several years I've been hired by a half a dozen French companies (two of those jobs I turned down) and from my experience, the one thing that I think gave me an advantage was my ability to speak both French and English. And when I say, "speak French," I don't mean simply knowing how to order a meal in a restaurant or ask where the toilets are located. I mean being able to converse in French, talk on the phone in French and do business in French. Now I'm sure it may be possible to get by speaking only minimal French in a big city like Paris, out here in the provinces, local language skills play a pretty important role in daily life. And in finding work.

So if you don't have a good level of conversational French, you're probably going to have a tough time competing in the job market.**
Luckily, there is hope!

First, get your language skills up to speed. You're going to need them to navigate the employment websites and to approach potential employers. Go take a French class, join a conversation group, whatever it takes. Second, put together a professional looking, concise CV and Lettre de Motivation and ask a native French speaker to look them over and suggest any changes or corrections that you should make.

Then, start searching!

These are some of the resources that I've used over the years and that have been recommended to me:
Pôle Emploi - the national French employment website
Emploi Annonces - job board
Les Jeudis - job board
Monster France - job board
Indeed France - job board
L'Hôtellerie-Restauration - for restaurants and hotels
Stratégies - for marketing, PR, communications
Craigslist - most offers are in Paris
FUSAC - most offers are in Paris
The American Library in Paris has a community message board at the library in Paris offering employment opportunities - no ads listed online French national and local newspapers.

Networking! Ask people you know and friends of friends.

Once you've landed an interview, don't panic like I did the first time I went for a job interview in French. I tried my best, but I stumbled over phrases and misunderstood questions. Yes, it was a great learning experience, but it was embarrassing and no, I didn't get the job. The second time I went for an interview I had a lot more confidence and I was offered the job.

You should arrive at least ten minutes early and bring some extra copies of both your CV and Lettre de Motivation. Even though they may already have a copy of each on the desk in front of them, they could ask to see another one. Dress conservatively and make sure your hair is well groomed. You will most likely be asked to describe both your best and worst qualities, so study your adjectives. Also, I think it's a good idea to research the company and have a question or two ready to pose about their business when they ask you if you have any questions. It shows that you have done your homework.
Finally, stay calm!

Job hunting is never easy, and doing it in a foreign language adds another dimension of difficulty. Try to remain positive and good luck!

As always, I enjoy and appreciate hearing from other expats who have experience job hunting and finding work in France.

More Helpful Links:
Finding a Job in Paris or the Ile-de-France Region (
Finding a Job in France (Americans in France)
{Un}Glamorous Paris: Working in France (Prêt à Voyager)
French Work Culture (Lost in Cheeseland)
Finding a Job in France (The Local)
A Checklist: Getting a Job in France (Expatica)

*Not to be confused with people who want to move to France to find work, which is an entirely different subject. Please check your local French Consulate's website for current information about obtaining a Work Visa. 

**Of course, having excellent French skills aren't the only thing you need to get hired!

Easter egg hunt at the chateau

Usually the Easter Sunday, this year a week in advance, the egg hunt is organized every year at the
Chateau de Gillevoisin. A beautiful castle in the countryside, one hour from Paris, where during the week there functions a school for teenagers and children with disabilities, a restaurant open for lunch and a farm.

Regardless of the weather the children always have a blast. There is restauration on premises, meaning some type of food - sandwiches, grilled sausages, crepes, popcorn and drinks; there are poney and donkey rides, minigolf and lots of games set up for the little ones. And of course, the egg hunt where you search for plastic eggs to fill a basket which you exchange, once full, for a bag of candy!
PS -We loved that one. The petite princesse won the bag and we, the terrible grownups ate almost all of it....

Here are some pics:

I LOVE sheep.

Donkey, enough said.
Some huge rabbits. There were also hamsters, cobais, parroquees and other birds, and turtles!

Happy Easter for those celebrating now. 
We are waiting for the Orthodox one in one month. We'll be going to RO for that one so I'll post on a slightly different tradition soon.

mardi 26 mars 2013

Winter resort in Swiss, Gstaad

So we've been skiing! How exciting does that sound, I skied for the third time in my life.
I never took classes, nor had a professional teach me. I did however have some great friends (mersi Bugarschi!) when I was a teenager and our first ski trip was at Straja (Romania), back when this was not a really touristically developeded resort - so fresh and wild and amazing. We fell, and got up, and got our heads kicked by the pulling wheel, and eventually got to ski through the small forest at the bottom of our cottage. Such amazing times....

Next was Colorado in th US and now Swiss - Egly, Wispile, Gstaad (skiing resorts).
We didn't stay in Gstaad, but at the wonderful challet of our relatives in a nearby resort.

Here we are in the streets of Gstaad, music everywhere, food and sun and ... an expensive resort, nice nonetheless.

 Music everywhere

 Cheese making, the famous Swiss cheese, not bad :)

 Bell making! Never saw this before, they are actually made out of dirt!

 Beautiful chalets, all wooden cottages, nicely decorated some with quotes, lines, some painted and ornated
And people watching....
 Dog watching...check the one in the bag
 Musical horns! these are actual instruments. They even played in the street, it was quite cool.
Think Swiss mountains, countryside and cattle...
 Of course, carriages,
 And rabbits why not,
 And the snow! All is beautiful when the sun is shining, and it was :)

 More rabbits there below
 A restaurant up on the mountain, we climbed with the cabin and had lunch, awesome setting:

 My view from the telecabin going up

 And we went on a carriage ride too! Beautiful mountain scenery, a pair of beautiful horses and beautiful people who made our trip such a delight :)

Winter is almost over here back in France. Still chilly, but the trees have started to bloom. 
We are waiting for the sun  :)