This post is part of a new series called “Coveted People,” which features conversations with awesome people following their passions in cities around the world!
Philly expat Lindsey Tramuta has called Paris home for over a decade now. Her appropriately titled blog, Lost In Cheeseland, tackles everything from life in France, to where to score the best coffee, to the newest hotspots opening up in the city – a must for Francophiles and locals alike! Lindsey takes a moment to chat about living in the French capital, her fave local spots, and her brand new book dedicated to the City of Light.
1. You moved from your hometown of Philadelphia to Paris 11 years ago. How did your career in France take off and how did Lost In Cheeseland come about in the midst of all that?
I would say that actually, my website pre-dated any sort of clear career path. I had just graduated from a Master’s program and was recruiting for my university temporarily while I figured out what I wanted to do. It was a tough transitional period because the job market was unstable and I didn’t yet have a ton of corporate experience to get a job that matched my level of education. Writing was a way to have control over some aspect of what I was doing, even if it initially wasn’t to earn money. It was simply a way for me to better connect with the city.
2. You recently published your book, The New Paris, which tackles the city’s evolution, from food to fashion. Can you talk a little bit more about it? What does the term “New Paris” mean to you?
The title is meant to be a little bit cheeky. Obviously, Paris has been progressive at many points in its history but what I’m suggesting here is that we’ve been shown the same images and told the same stories about Paris for so long that people don’t realize all that has actually changed in recent years. They don’t really see the way industries and entrepreneurship have developed and evolved, nor do they consider the neighborhoods where much of this change began. I wanted to capture the many people and places that have contributed to a dynamic and spirited city the likes of which many travelers and even some locals have not taken the time to see.
3. How have you seen Paris and its trendy neighbourhoods change over the years?
It has changed through its food and dining, what Parisians are looking for in a dining experience, the proliferation of quality cocktails and artisanal beer and even natural wine, but also through pastry, coffee, shopping and crafts, and urban development projects. And for the most part, the Right Bank has been a catalyst for a lot of innovative concepts.
4. What was the biggest change/culture shock you experienced when you moved from the US to France and what are the main differences between the two countries?
When I look back at my arrival 11 years ago, I realize the only thing I ever truly missed was convenience. In fact sometimes today I still miss the convenience of doing everyday things like banking or shopping – the hours are longer, for one. In general, getting stuff done is fairly painless. It’s that ease with which we can go about our daily lives that always surprises me when I go back to the US. In Paris, rarely do I go about making some sort of transaction without there being a challenge or an argument or some sort of interaction that complicates what should be something very straightforward and simple. However, I wouldn’t trade my lifestyle and the quality of life here for slightly more convenience.
5. What advice do you have for those looking to move to Paris?
I say this in almost every interview but I can’t stress its importance enough: speaking the language is critical. Though there are some long time ex-pats that get by only speaking English, they are very clearly (and usually admittedly) missing a whole piece of the parade and experience. Adaption comes with some level of mastery of the language. At the very least, a concerted effort should be made.
6. Finally, what are your top 5 “Coveted Places” in Paris?
My favorite places of the moment:
1. Café Méricourt
3. Kitchen Ter(re)
4. Sprezzatura (a boutique and cafe)
5. Bisou (cocktail bar)