Let me present you Lindsey, an expat in Lyon, who came to Lyon 8 years ago. She is an Amercian who currently works for Lyon Expat Services.
Q: Where do you come from? Where are you living now?
A: I’m from Portland, Oregon and now I live in Lyon.
Q: What made you move out and choose your new home in this country and city?
A: I came to Lyon in 2010 as part of a university exchange. I fell in love with the city (and also a
boy…), so I came back as soon as I finished my studies 15 months after leaving. I’ve stayed
here ever since!
Q: How long have you been living here?
A: 5 years consecutively, 6 years total
Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?
A: I live with my French partner, the same one I met in 2010.
Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?
A: I miss my family and friends A LOT. I have a big family with lots of nieces and nephews,
and I really miss watching them grow up. I also miss the amazing hiking and scenery that
Oregon has to offer. I cope with home sickness by keeping in touch with my family a lot. I text
my sisters and my best friend a few times a week, and make sure to call my parents at least
once a week.
Q: What do you think about the locals?
A: If I didn’t love them, I wouldn’t have stayed! That being said, most of my friends at least
understand English. For some reason, I find it easier to connect with people when speaking
English, even though my French is pretty good.
Q: How does the cost of living in France compared to your home?
A:. It’s hard for me to say since most of my adult life has been here. It’s pretty comparable.
Food is a little more expensive, but housing is a little less expensive.
Q: Do you have any tips for future expats when it comes to opening a bank account in France?
A: Bring someone who speaks French with you if you don’t speak any. Make sure you have all
the right documents. If you don’t have an address yet, see if your school can give you a paper
saying you’re « living » there (or maybe a friend)
Q: Would you say that healthcare France reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats?
A: Healthcare here is wonderful! I had to go to physical therapy for my ankle for 5 months and
I recovered quickly and almost for free!
Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?
A: Being far from family and friends. The second hardest thing is accepting that I will always
have an accent. Even if I speak French well, people will always be able to tell that I’m
Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in France?
A: I love the pace of life. It’s a little bit slower and personal life has more importance than in the
US. Vacations and Sundays are sacred! I also love the food culture, which we lack for the most
part in the US. It’s so great to spend an hour or longer over a good meal with interesting people.
I also love how convenient it is to get around, everything in the city is much closer together than
in Portland. In the states, you pretty much have to have a car, but in Lyon, it’s completely
feasible to live carless. We are also just an easy train or plane ride away from countless
beautiful places.The negatives… this isn’t French people’s fault, but sometimes I still have
doubts about the tiniest interactions. For example, someone’s word choice in a text message or
email can leave me wondering if they’re upset, just trying to be direct, or making a joke. Another
pet peeve is that everything is closed between Christmas and New Years. My birthday is Dec.
27th and all the good restaurants are always closed!
Q: What tips will you give to expats living in the country?
A: Take your time getting used to the new culture. Sign up for activities in order to meet other
people. Don’t give yourself rules about only befriending French people.
Q: How do you spend your time? Do you work and what do you do?
A: I just started a new job working at Expat Agency Lyon. I love it! I’ve always wanted to help
expats in any way I can, and I’ve done so as a hobby for the past five years. Otherwise, I love to read (pretty much anything and everything, but I especially love dystopias and post-apocalyptic
fiction). I also run, practice yoga and pilates, and sometimes rock climb (I severely
sprained my ankle bouldering in March and haven’t found the courage to go back yet).
Q: Was it difficult for you to find a job in France? Do you have any tips?
A: Not really… I’ve been very lucky. My first job aside from teaching was working at a call
center, and I got hired right after my temporary contract to stay on as permanent. I stopped
working there in April, spent the next few months traveling and being with my family, then
started seriously looking for a new job in September. Sophie Dord was hiring, and the rest is
Q: What are the biggest adjustments you had to make when settling into expat life here?
A: It’s hard for me to say since I ve been here for such a long time. At this point it just feels like
normal life, if that makes sense. I know I stand out sometimes, many of those times I wish I
could be more discrete, but Lyon is my home.
Q: What are the biggest safety issues facing expats living in France? Are there any areas
expats should avoid?
A: If you’re prudent, Lyon is pretty safe. At least in my experience.
Q: Any areas/suburbs you’d recommend for expats to live in?
A: I’ve lived in the 7th for 2 years and I LOVE IT. There are a ton of good little restaurants and
cafés that aren’t crowded since it’s not technically the center. I can bike anywhere I need to be
within 30 minutes. Plus it’s so quiet, so it’s easy to sleep at night.
Thank you, Lindsey, for your time and experience about Lyon and France you have shared with us!