So, this is NOT Paris

For simplicity sake, I’ve been saying telling everyone that I’m living in Paris. Perhaps I was starting to believe that myself too. But reality always managed to set in when I walk down the street and see 1 of the 2 restaurants in town, and café that also acts as the local bar in the evenings. Once again, I’m reminded that I’m in a small suburban community outside of the big city. So, this is not Paris.

This is Jouy-en-Josas.

This is Jouy with one supermarket, Simply. This is Jouy with a tourism office the size of a tollbooth. This is Jouy where everything closes on Sundays and Mondays. This is Jouy where I must take at least two trains, and spend 90 minutes, to go to Paris.

Welcome to Jouy.

Jouy may not have much, but what it does have is HEC Paris. At last, now you know how I found myself on the front steps of France. Having lived in Vancouver, Toronto, and Beijing, I’ve got “big city girl” engrained into my brain. It’s in the way I make friends, window-shop, and people watch. But surprisingly, I’m enjoying this small town living more than I thought I would. The people are generally warm and friendly, everything is within walking distance, and there is this silence in the mornings – a silence that was always consumed by traffic and the buzzing of the crowds in big cities.

Although it’s difficult to find things to do in town, (to my knowledge, there are no movie theatres or bowling alleys in Jouy), Jouy is only a 10 minute train ride away from Versailles and another 15 minutes from the nearby mall in the next town over. For now, I’m fairing fine in my tiny corner of France, but fingers crossed that I don’t jinx my run here. I still have 3 more months left in Jouy, only time will tell…

Now, how about you? Do you prefer small town living or do you have big city dreams?


5 responses to “So, this is NOT Paris

  1. I grew up in a big city, but I love the small towns! And wow…Jouy looks amazing! But I talked to some girls at school the other day, and they didn't speak of France so highly. They said that the classes were embarrassingly easy, the city shut down on weekends, and that it is very family-oriented so they had problems meeting natives of Paris. But they were actually in Paris, and so your experience will be different. I'm sure the small town folks are more welcoming, and it sounds like you're finding the beauty of the city. Enjoy France!!! Miss you.

  2. hello!This was a really superb blog!
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  3. I visited France when I was 17 on a 2 weeks school trip. We spent the first week in Rouen for a home stay and we had such a great time that I cried when we left (I even purposefully missed my bus to the train station so I could stay just a bit more!) and then we went on to Paris. Even though Paris was amazingly beautiful, it was just another city. Everybody wanted to go back to Rouen so badly. Small-mid size towns all the way!

  4. So, you are 90 minutes away from Paris. You could look at it from my perspective… you are 12 and a half hours (by plane) closer than I am. Enjoy your time there. I still think Toronto is cooler than Paris (as a Rochesterian).

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