I work in Paris, France with plenty of free time to explore this amazing city with my kids, because of my career. As a copywriter, I work about five hours a day, three or four days per week, and I can think of no better place to live.
“Hey look Mama! It’s the Eiffel Tower!”
I smile whenever I hear this. My children sound just like the millions of tourists in Paris when they first see this famous landmark. But my boys aren’t excited because they’re finally laying eyes on the most iconic landmarks in the world.
No, they’re excited because there’s a very cool playground at the Champs de Mars, the long grassy field on which the Eiffel Tower sits. And there’s a great tree for climbing. A good friend right around the corner. Go-karts. And delicious Nutella-filled crêpes, which we can’t seem to resist whenever we’re in the area.
As they stare at me hopefully (can we go, Mama?), I can’t help but feel awed by their privilege. Millions of people would love to see the world-famous sites my kids see in Paris regularly—Sacre Coeur, Jardin de Luxembourg, the Musée d’Orsay—but for them, for now, these renowned sites are only special because of their proximity to some pretty awesome playgrounds, carousels or friends’ apartments. The fabulous City of Light is nothing more than home.
Me, I can’t view Paris quite as casually. Even though I’ve been living here for 15 years, sometimes I still see myself as a permanent tourist. Do I take the city for granted sometimes? Sure. There are days when I race through the famous 19th-century covered passages, too intent on picking up my kids from school to feel a pang of appreciation for their unique beauty and age.
But often, when I’m passing through the flagstone courtyard of the Louvre to take my boys to yet another playground, or strolling through the Jardin de Tuilieries, the brainchild of Marie Antoinette, I can’t help but grin and think: “Wow…I live in Paris.”
As a copywriter, I earn more than enough to keep my kids stuffed with Nutella crêpes and spinning on carousel rides every day of the year (wouldn’t they love that!).
The thing I like most about living in Paris is the wide world-view I’m able to give my kids. Even though they’re only 6 and 8, they already speak fluent English, French and German, and can say hello, thank you, and please in about three or four more. They’ve visited no less than eight countries, and as part of the international expat community here, they have friends from places as far-flung as Singapore, South Africa, Russia, Italy, Spain and Denmark.
Even better, they already comprehend that there is no single way of living; that people speak, eat and behave differently in different places. It is my greatest hope that when they grow up, they’ll be able to move easily between cultures with little of the troublesome “us” and “them” mentality that afflicts so much of the world.
If it’s your dream to live in Paris, but you’re concerned about how you’d support yourself overseas, consider copywriting. Because of this flexible and well-paying career, you can spend your mornings working on a laptop in a café, and pass your afternoons enjoying the City of Light like a local.