We are delighted to welcome Kim Defforge, author of expat blog twentyfourseveninfrance and published book ‘Sun, Sea & Savoir-Faire’. Kim is a lifelong Francophile and former French teacher, with a passion for all things French. Having moved from the U.S. to the French Riviera, she now enjoys writing about French culture, events, food & wine, and the simple beauty of a Mediterranean sunset – proving that dreams really can come true! We are very excited to learn more about Kim’s story and what advice she would give to prospective expats.
So you’re an expat lucky enough to live on the French Riviera. What made you make the big move?
As a single woman, I had planned on living in Montpellier near friends. My (now) husband’s family is in Cannes, so he wanted to return from the U.S. to the Côte d’Azur – a great choice and beautiful place to live. I wrote how this all came about in my memoir, “Solitary Desire.”
What inspired you to start a blog and share your story with readers?
I wrote “Solitary Desire – One Woman’s Journey to France,” with amusing candor, about my life journey and its twists and turns, as inspiration for readers to follow (and dare to live) their dream. My blog, “24/7 in France,” is a natural extension of that journey, in sharing news, tourist information, and stories about living on the French Riviera.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced as an Expat?
Dealing with the infamous French bureaucracy and the multitude of paperwork they require and complexity of the system.
Your book Sun, Sea & Savoir-Faire is an insightful and honest travel guide to the French Riviera. What inspired you to write a book?
My travel focus guide focuses on the heart of the French Riviera, as a way to share cultural tips, my personal recommendations, a recipe from my French family, and much more! I wanted to provide readers with what they need to know and the savoir-faire for how to navigate the area!
We love your section on Restaurants, Food & Drink. French food must have been quite daunting at first, how did you find it?
I like the idea of having a three-course meal for one price at restaurants and love French food, although I admit I am adverse to trying tripe, organ meats, and horse.
How is the cost of living in France?
It really depends on where you live: Paris is the most expensive city to live in, with the French Riviera second. There are many areas in France where you can get more bang for your buck – it’s a matter of personal preference and lifestyle choices.
We know how much you love the French Riviera, what is your next favourite travel destination?
For my personal picks, I absolutely love Paris & Versailles, followed by the Loire Valley.
Do you ever think of going back home? What do you miss most?
I believe I live where I was meant to be, but of course, I miss and visit my family in the U.S. I also miss eating at an authentic Mexican restaurant, such as “On The Border.”
If you could offer a prospective Expat one piece of advice, what would it be?
Do your homework to be more informed of what to expect, especially regarding differences in culture: use a few introductory words of French, before asking questions in English, to show respect and courtesy.
And lastly, when you travel abroad, where do you tend to buy your travel money?
Personally, I buy money through the bank’s ATM machines, but have also used a currency exchange company for direct wire transfers when necessary.
We would like to thank Kim for taking the time to share her expat story and expert advice with us and are sure our readers would love her blog as much as we do!
Written by Sofia Kluge on Google+