An Expat Life | Stefanie Talley
Stefanie is one of those people we love to follow and find out what the latest trends and activities are in the City! Originally from Oklahoma City and currently living in Paris, Stefanie has opened our eyes to the fun and inexpensive things to do in the city through her blog – Free in Paris. Thanks to a giveaway on her Free in Paris blog, we were able to meet the lovely lady herself and decided follow on with an expat series on the life of Stefanie Talley.
1) How long have you lived in Paris and what brought you here?
I first came to Paris in 2007 as a study abroad student. At the end of the program, I realized that I hadn’t fully taken advantage of the experience and that I’d spent most of my time with other American students. After graduating, I decided to move back to Paris in 2009 with the plan of staying a couple of years to improve my French and really immerse myself in French culture before going back home to the US for graduate school. At the end of the two years I realized that I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
2) What is a day in the life of Stefanie like?
These days when I’m not working, I make an effort to discover new things in the city. I try to check out at least one event or new location per week. I also get to meet a lot of interesting people to interview for my website. If it’s a Saturday, I’ll probably meet someone in a café. It’s really exciting to see all of the creative and unique projects people are working on.
3) What do you love most about living/working/studying abroad? What do you like the least?
I have a background in anthropology and I’m really fascinated by cultural differences. Living abroad has given me a chance not only to learn about other cultures, but also to better understand how my own cultural frame of reference shapes the way I see the world. It’s definitely made me rethink things I used to take for granted. I also love how easy it is to travel to different countries in Europe. With a 2-3 hour plane ride, you can find yourself in a completely different setting with a different language, architecture and history.
My least favorite thing is the administrative process I have to deal with as a non-European expat!
4) Tell me a little about your job, interests, and your neighborhood…
When I’m not working on Free in Paris, I coordinate the international department at an engineering school. I spend a lot of time interacting with students and creating pedagogical material.
I live in the 11th district of Paris and I really love my neighborhood. One of my favorite things to is to explore the city on foot. I’ll start with my neighborhood where I might come across a pop-up boutique or a free concert at place de la République. I always find something new, even in parts of the city that I know relatively well.
5) As a blogger on finding the cheaper things to do in Paris, how do you go about finding these gems?
Starting Free in Paris has made me a lot more observant. Now, I’ll actually stop to look at ads in metro stations for different events and services and when a friend or colleague mentions some new product or service they love, I’ll take a second to jot it down. I’ve also been able to learn about some great projects through social media. It’s allowed me to discover some really cool ideas that I never would have known about otherwise.
6) What inspired you to have your own blog?
One of the reasons I started Free in Paris was to get out of my everyday routine of “métro, boulot, dodo”. It’s a shame to live in a city like Paris and not take advantage of all it has to offer. I also love writing, so a website seemed like a good idea.
7) What is your favourite budget thing to do in Paris?
I really like activities and events that make some of the most luxurious Parisian experiences affordable for people on a budget. Each year, for example, gourmet restaurants throughout the city offer their menus at half price during a two week period. This is definitely one of my favorite events of the year and I really look forward to writing about it on my blog.
8) What does the future hold for you and your blog in Paris?
I would love for my blog to allow those with innovative projects in Paris to spread the word about what they’re doing. I’d also like to develop a one-stop resource for exploring Paris on a budget.
9) Describe the perfect day for you in Paris
While I write a lot about free and inexpensive activities on my site, I think my perfect Parisian day would involve a mix of free and budget activities with a few splurges. I’m thinking great food and shopping followed by a one of my favorite free activities like people watching on a café terrace or a picnic in the park.
September 3, 2018
June 26, 2018