28 February 2017

Paulie Cogordan - Expat in Paris, France

Paulie Cogordan - Expat in Paris, France

We’ve had the chance to talk to Paulie Cogordan, late 20s, a Mexican expat who has moved to France with her husband. Mrs. Cogordan who has been living there for more than a year, now works as an engineer in computer science. 

Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: I’m from Mexico City.


Q: What made you move out of Mexico?

A: I got married to a Franco-Mexican guy and we decided that we will look for better opportunities in France.


Q: Where are you living now? How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: I live in Paris, France. I fell in love with Paris a long time ago and after being married we decided that we had a lot of chances to work outside of Mexico and that’s how we decided to pack our things and just go! Just like that… crazy, isn’t it?


Q: How long have you been living in Paris, France?

A: More than 1 year.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: I am living with hubby. It was a big step, we got married on November 2015 and we arrived in Paris in January 2016… so, there were a lot of changes! Well, living together in another country with another culture and language can be really complicated! Adjusting ourselves as a couple and also as individuals turned out into funny stories and sometimes stupid fights.


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?

A: I miss my family and Mexican food haha. Well, I talked a lot with my family, Whatsapp/Skype/Facebook so we are never apart. I think we are more in touch that when I was living in the same house, funny… isn’t it? The truth is that distance means so little when someone means so much.

About the food, I arrived with a luggage full of Mexican food and even though it’s not the same, that makes me feel close to my birthplace.  


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A:  I think there is a big difference between “French” and “Parisians”.  First, I love Parisians but they can be very DIRECT. While Mexicans are very polite, therefore, French’s directness can be interpreted as rude. It has been a long journey with this! I think I need to understand that they are different and the truth is that after a while I actually like them haha

Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialise with other expats in Paris, France? How did you manage to find a social circle there? 

A: Well, sadly, it’s not easy. There are a lot of expats around, but if you want to make friends with French people, you’ll have to look a little harder. 

My recommendations:

  • Sign-up to Facebook groups that have the same interest than you. For example, English Speaking Mums in Paris if you have kids, you are a mom-to-be or you are planning to have a baby, Social Girls in Paris is a cool community with meet-up events and recommendations from Paris, Mexicanos en Paris helps you find Mexicans living in Paris with a lot of good advice. 
  • Learn French: People will appreciate the effort to learn and speak your language, even with grammatical mistakes. I like to learn online so I use Frantastique, with amazing French lessons that help you learn in a fun away! 
  • Language exchange: There are a lot of groups that promotes events between French and English/Spanish speaking people. This is a cool way to socialise and learn. Check out Franglish on Facebook. 
  • Help Serve the city Paris: the only English speaking organization in Paris that helps homeless, refugees, and less fortunate. Thinking about making some friends and have a better world, this is the option! 
  • Get into Femmepreneurs: This amazing group helps women entrepreneurs with workshops and networking events to help you with build your own business


Q: How does the cost of living in Paris, France compare to your home?


  • Q: How much is a cup of coffee?

A: Allongé (American Coffe) 2,50 Euro and Cappuccino 3,50Euro

  • Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: 13,50Euro p/p you can have a “formule” which has a starter, main dish and sometimes dessert.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

A: Around 130Euro p/p with Michelin Restaurants.

  • Q: How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?

A: The wine goes from 2Euro up to 15Euro in supermarkets,
Marlboro is around 7Euro at Tabac.


Q: Do you have any tips for future expats when it comes to opening a bank account in Paris, France?

A: As everything in France you need to have your complete “dossier” (collection of papers containing detailed information about a particular situation)

  • ID (Passport or carte de séjour)
  • Work contract CDI is almost mandatory
  • Proof of address (less than 3 months) 


Q: How will you describe your experience with government paperwork such as applications for Visa and work permits? Why is that so?

A: I have a long-stay visa marked as “carte de séjour” and well, government paperwork can be a nightmare sometimes. The French immigration and Integration Office (OFII) can make you wait until last minute to have a stamp in your passport. My advice, be patience and have all your documents in order.


Q: Would you say that healthcare in Paris, France is reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats?

A: I’ve had limited experience with the healthcare here in France. So far, it has been reliable. 


Q: Did you secure a health insurance in Mexico or Paris, France?  What should be the essentials in the coverage for expats, in your opinion?

A: I have an International Insurance with AXA. Insurance is necessary for many things in France and even though medical services are very efficient they can be quite pricey.


Q: What was the most memorable about the packing and moving process to Paris, France? Which was the mover you chose and how was your experience with them?

A: As I told you I packed few clothes and a lot of Mexican food (chiles, salsas, beans, candies). Everything to survive!


Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?

A: Language barrier.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Paris, France

A: Positive: A lot of green areas around. You can go running almost every park or forest. I love that!

Negative: Sometimes Paris can be really crowded with tourists.


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?

A: It depends on! It’s not the same being a local than a tourist. Check out my blog for the hidden gems of the city: www.paulielovesfood.com


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A:  I want to live la vie en rose forever!


Q: What tips will you give to expats living in the country?

A: Every country has their pros & cons. Moving to a new country isn’t exactly the same as moving down the street. This change requires prior planning and a lot of research. 

For me, the pros are travel opportunities, expansion of knowledge, personal growth, new relationships. But there are also the cons like culture shock, language barrier and a terrible homesick. 

But… STOP THINKING! It’s time to dive into new waters, explore new cultures, languages, lifestyle, don’t be afraid … JUST GO!


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about Paris, France?

A: www.paulielovesfood.com (haha my own blog)
www.inspirelle.com (I also contribute here)