La Nouvelle Fille à Paris

Coming to Paris to live and work like a true Parisian sounds like everyone’s dream right? Well it’s definitely been mine and fortunately Havas Lofts made that dream come true!

I arrived a week ago today — jet lagged but wide eyed and blown away to be in Paris all by myself. I lived here when I was younger for 2 years (age 13/14), and then my parents lived here again while I was in college so I was here quite often, but I knew that this was going to be much different.

When I got settled into my apartment, the first thing I thought was, this is so French. Parquet floors, no AC, washer/dryer combo (that’s right, all in one machine), separate room for just the toilet and a closet for a shower… It may sound like I’m complaining, but it feels like home in a strange way… I absolutely love it!

The first thing I did (after taking a nap…) was go to the grocery store. I think you can tell a lot about a culture from food… and everyone knows the French culture completely revolves around food — my kind of place!!! I was so tired, so I walked out with some pretty strange purchases: amazing butter from Breton, fresh “bio” (organic) eggs which when you crack them they have the most gorgeous bright orange color, good French mayonaise (made with Dijon mustard ☺), crème fraîche, bread from Polaîne bakery, and some Comte cheese. I sound so fat but I don’t even care… I love France because these are totally normal things to eat all the time. I think?

After a weekend of a lot of red wine, cheese and sleep, I made it into the office. I felt so Parisian hopping on the metro and heading off to work ☺

It was everything I thought it would be — it’s the global headquarters after all. On the right, the large building is the “Bolloré Tower” and on the left are all the Havas agency offices. There are so many different agencies here! Arnold, Bolloré, Havas Paris, Havas Media, Arena, Affiperf, Ecselis, Socialyze, and so many many more. Finally, where I work — the Havas Digital Factory. It’s really it’s own little entitity within the Havas Group which I find so cool and interesting. It’s a small office within the office of about 40 people — everyone is so welcoming and happy that I am here! My head is swimming with all the French they are speaking at 1,000,000 miles a minute. I once defined myself as “conversational” in French, but now I know that just means that I can read a menu, order in a restaurant, and find my way around doing everyday things in the city. French in an office where everyone speaks only French is much much different. A group of people in the office invited me to lunch in the cafeteria where they were said we had to take a short lunch of just an hour because they were so busy and were confused that I didn’t get dessert to end my meal.

The overall vibe I get from the agency is that everyone wants to work hard, but still enjoy their lives every step of the way. Coffee breaks at the office Nespresso machine (yessss my favorite!!) are common throughout the day, and meetings rarely begin until everyone has their own espresso to sip on during the always lengthy meetings.

I am already finding routines and customs that I want to take back to the Chicago office with me. As week 1 of Havas Lofts comes to a close, I am excited to see where the rest of this month is going to take me ☺

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