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In the nearly ten years I’ve been living in France, I’ve done all the things wrong.
✔️ I cried in every single office in the préfecture to get an appointment at the last minute before a trip to Algeria. (Now, I know that it wouldn’t have mattered if my appointment was after my visa expired, and no, they wouldn’t have made me go home.)
✔️ I got scammed into switching electricity providers.
✔️ I gave up fighting for my security deposit back because I wasn’t 100% sure the law was on my side, and didn’t want a drawn-out legal fight over €950.
✔️ I’ve seen friends get scammed by plumbers and electricians. I’ve seen them confused because their CAF has stopped, and they don’t know why. I’ve seen them get kicked off heath insurance they’re paying for with no warning, or lose out on needed unemployment benefits because they had to keep going back to Pôle Emploi with updated récipissés.
✔️ I’ve said embarrassing things to strangers in French because I didn’t know the right vocabulary.
After 6 years of writing and running Paris Unraveled, I know ALL THE THINGS about French bureaucracy, visas, administration - you name it. I’ve run the Americans in France Facebook group, and calculated that I’ve spent 25,000 minutes, or 17 days total answering questions - at 300 posts a month, a minute per comment, for 4 years. I’ve answered thousands of questions and explained things dozens of times in Pick My Brain sessions - and that was only helping one person, each time.
Pardon my French, but I’ve stepped in it enough times that I know my shit.
And I want to share that knowledge with you. And empower you. And as many people as possible. Because dealing with French bureaucracy isn’t just for people who can afford to outsource the crappy parts to someone else.
I want to teach you the secrets that unlock French bureaucracy for you and, as they say, caresser (les fonctionnaires) dans le sens du poil, (pet civil servants in the direction of their hair) so you, too, can feel confident when dealing with French administration.
I want to show you that it doesn’t have to be a battle. It’s the NOT KNOWING that makes it hard. Not understanding the timeline. Not knowing that the French don’t know how the administrations work either! that makes it hard. It doesn’t have to be hard. And I don’t want it to be hard for you.
I want to answer all of your questions about France. I want to reassure you when you don’t know what you have to do (or even if you don’t know you have to do something!).
I want to help you to learn what you don’t know you don’t know about living here.
And mostly, I want to be able to help ALL THE PEOPLE get their questions answered about France. Well, maybe not all, but as many as possible. And definitely not only the ones who can pay my hourly rate.
I want to support you in your dream of living in France.
So that’s why I’ve created the FrancoFiles. A new, supportive Paris Unraveled community for helping you to France better.
It’s a private forum where I will be sharing all of my knowledge about living in France, and answering your questions about living in France daily.
And it’s my way of sharing the knowledge I’ve accumulated in the way that’s the most beneficial.
Nothing is off-limits. Ask all of your questions about starting a business, changing your visa status, dealing with a problem with your landlord, paying taxes. Anything you can think of related to living in France, and I’ll get the answer for you, and research it if I don’t know off the top of my head.
Don’t join the FrancoFiles because you are seeking a magical tool to make your problems go away.
Join because you want a group of people who have been there, who are there with you right now, and who are on your side. Join because you want us to support you in taking the grr out of bureaucracy (it’s there - just silent in French!) so that we can help you do what TRULY matters to you: living your dream.
Because knowing the answers, or finding them out? THAT’S my superpower.
Here's what people are saying about
Allison and Paris Unraveled:
Here's what all members get upon registering:
✽ Access to all member forums, with hundreds of questions about living in France *already answered.*
Know that you're not alone, and that others are dealing with the exact same issues you are! And the bright side is? We're confident it will all work out for you, and Allison will help you get there. Plus, there are already over 600 questions and answers for you to peruse!
✽ Ask questions about your personal situation and get feedback from Allison in the forums daily.
Sometimes, it's hard to know if someone else's *similar situation* is just like the question you have right now, or if there's something you're missing. So understandably, you'll want to provide details on your own administrative saga and ensure the advice you're getting is personalized to fit YOUR NEEDS. Because between you and me, we know that too often, the answer in French bureaucracy-land is, "it depends," followed by the Gallic shrug.
✽ Watch instructional videos and tutorials walking you through French bureaucracy, step-by-step.
Learn the basics of navigating French bureaucracy and doing some of the most basic administrative procedures that affect everyone in France - from sending a registered letter, to figuring out whether you're eligible for assistance from CAF for housing or childcare. There will be two new tutorials added to the library each month.
Plus, Advanced and Premium members get these additional benefits:
✽ Download vocabulary sheets and templates for correspondence in French.
Get the basic vocabulary you'll need for different administrative procedures at your fingertips. And if you need to send a letter in French, you can download one of our templates, plug in your name, address, and details on the situation (that you get help with in the forums, of course!) to send.
✽ Attend virtual office hours (Advanced) or get private 15 minute appointments with Allison (Premium), for a personalized and prioritized experience.
Virtual office hours are twice monthly for video conference sessions (all Advanced & Premium members) and twice monthly for private, pre-scheduled 15-minute appointments.
Take a Tour of the FrancoFiles Community:
3 options for getting the support you need:
- Access to all Paris Unraveled membership forums, to post questions about living in or moving to France, and have Allison answer your questions.
- Create and join Paris Unraveled groups, to communicate with other students with similar interests and goals.
- Add friends and exchange messages with other Paris Unraveled members, and set up your own events for the group calendar.
- Access to all existing member tutorials, plus two different video how-tos and tutorials each month, exclusive to Paris Unraveled Members, on topics like CAF, employment, OFII, visas, and more.
- Everything from the "Basic" level, including access to all forums, groups, and tutorials, PLUS
- Attend virtual office hours via Zoom conference call live twice per month to ask questions in person.
- Downloadable French vocabulary sheets on various administration topics.
- Downloadable French correspondence you can edit and use in your everyday life.
- Everything from "Basic" and "Advanced" levels, including access to all forums, groups, and tutorials, PLUS
- Attend LIVE office hours twice per month by reserving 15-minute appointments to deal privately with your specific needs. (Skype or call in if you're not in Paris).
- Get your questions answered during business hours by private message with Allison via Slack.