Grenoble-based Géraldine Lepère presents Comme une Française, a step-by-step online help service for women expats in France.
Grenoble Life: Hi Géraldine, a few words about you, before we start.
Géraldine: Bonjour Grenoble Life readers, Bonjour James. My name is Géraldine Lepère, I’m 26 and I live in Grenoble.
I moved to Grenoble in 2005 where I studied engineering. After graduation, in 2008, I left everything behind and moved to England to work (a long-time dream). After two amazing years, I came back to Grenoble and started Comme une Française.
And here I am now, talking to you.
GL: Yes, you came to me a few days ago with Comme une Française “sous le bras”. What’s in it for Grenoble Life readers?
Géraldine: Comme une Française is an online help service for expat women in France. And as Grenoble Life readers are constantly looking for tips about how to integrate into French society, they will find even more on Comme une Française.
My goal is to guide Grenoble Life readers through French language by giving them tools that you can immediately use to live la vie en rose.
I’ll give the pros and cons, the dos and don’ts and the whys and hows of life in France.
Every topic can be covered, any question answered. From “how do I get an appointment at the doctor’s?” and “the list of 11 questions you must stop asking,” to “how to buy tampons in France.”
I offer ready-to-use phrases, honest advice and other very French tips.
GL: What inspired you to do this?
Géraldine: As I told you, I used to live in England. I stayed in Leeds (Yorkshire rocks!) for two years. I had an average level of English. And even with this, I found out that speaking a language was one thing but mastering the cultural codes was another! I remember being mute in front of the banker. Feeling stupid in a shop not able to explain that I wanted yeast: “I want this white powder that makes cakes grow up”. And more seriously: being frightened to death at the thought of being sick! Where will I go, how will I describe my pain, will I have to pay a lot?
When I moved back, I decided to offer expat women here what I needed. To welcome them to MY country, France.
As for the petite histoire, it struck me in the middle of the street, like lightning. The idea, the name, the tone. Everything.
GL: When you say you give tips, how do you present them to your readers?
Géraldine: On Comme une Française, you’ll find three articles a week covering all kinds of imaginable situations.
All articles are in English. And each article contains a podcast where you can listen to the French phrases. All these podcasts are of course available on ITunes as well.
In addition to a blog, Comme une Française also offers two free training programmes.
There are three video lessons (20 minutes each) covering “How to present yourself in French”, “How to open a bank account in France” and “How to pay in France”. Perfect for the Grenoble Life readers who have just moved.
56 days of French culture. One email a day about French culture. Each week: a singer, a dish, a book, an expression, a movie, a brand and a quote. For eight weeks. Awesome for Grenoble Life readers looking for knowledge about popular culture.
For those who will soon arrive (welcome girls!), Comme une Française offers THE perfect preparation. Moving to France is 100% designed to make you fully ready for France. Moving to France is a six-week video programme covering: the basics of language, your future flat, all the necessary subscriptions, mastering public transport, shopping and talking to French people. All the programmes and the video presentation of the course are available on this page.
GL: What kind of feedback have you had from expat women about Comme une Française?
Géraldine: I have had such a great feedback from members of the expat family! It warms my little heart. I didn’t expect as much enthusiasm as this! I’ve received messages like “your programme [Moving to France] is fantastic, just what I need,” “It’s great you give all this info that is not in the usual french courses”, “Your site is HI-LARIOUS as well as super helpful …”
As you see, the readers seem happy. :)
GL: You told me you had a request to make to Grenoble Life readers.
Géraldine: Yes. Please, Grenoble Life readers, if you love Comme une Française, tell three friends about it. Forward the link, send a pigeon, stick a post-it on the fridge … Don’t keep it for yourself, spread the word!
GL: How can we get in touch with you?
Géraldine: Feel free to drop a line in the contact page. If you are more of a social media animal (I am…), Comme une Française is on Facebook and Twitter as well, of course. You will find all the new articles fresh from the oven.
GL: Thanks for this interview for Grenoble Life, Géraldine.
Géraldine: Thank you, James. It was great talking to you! See you on Comme une Française!