Tag Archives: Paris

You’re Accepted … Now What?

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Congratulations! If you are reading this post it means that you were accepted to University in Paris!

If you are anything thing like me, then next thing that went through your mind when this happened was “Holy Craaaaapp

I am moving to PARIS!” Applying for a visa was the farthest thing from my mind on the day but it is a necessary evil. I know it seems like the french love putting us Americans through the ringer in terms of all of the hoops we have to jump through to actually get there, but the Visa process doesn’t have to be a nightmare.

 Step One: Make an appointment with the closest French Consulate. Mine was in Washington D.C. but be sure to check which location is closest to you, often times they are in different cities or even states. Chose a date that you will remember and also gives you an ample amount of time to collect every document you will need for the appointment. Another wise choice would be selecting a date that is at least 3 weeks before you leave for France. Trust me, when I arrived for my appointment they told two other people that they would have to cancel their trip in order to comply with Visa regulations.

 ***Notice that it is the consulate NOT the embassy. The consulate is, sometimes, a separate building in a separate location which can cause many problems when applying.

 Step Two: The Paperwork. It is the BIGGEST pain in the ass about the Visa process but no paperwork means no entry.  Here is a list of everything you will need to bring to your Visa appointment.

*** Passport, Driver’s License, Short Stay or Long Stay Schengen Visa Application, Financial Guarantee  for Student Visa (Notarized),  Financial Guarantee form (Notarized), Payment Authorization form, OF II form, 2 passport photos taken recently, Medical insurance valid for the Schengen territory, Proof of residence in France, Acceptance letter to your university, Flight Itinerary or Proof of Travel Date.

 I will further clarify the documents listed on my next post.

 Step Three: Going to your appointment at the Consulate. Be sure to arrive no more than 15 minutes early for your appointment since they won’t let you in sooner than that. The best piece of advice would be to be prepared. Have all of your paper ready for starters. Understand that the people behind the desk will be blunt, sometimes even downright mean, but keep your cool. It’s not going to help if you get emotional, it will if you listen to every instruction they give you.

 They will first call you up to explain why you want a visa. This first interaction will consist of a few questions, mainly, “Why do you need a Visa?”, “When are you leaving for france?”, etc. Then they will either hand you a number and you will have to wait to get called or send you straight over to the person handling student visas. The second part of your application interview will consist of handing over all of the necessary documents and answering more questions. After that you will either keep your number or receive one and wait to be called again.

 The next time you will be called up is for payment, this is the one that made me break down in tears. By accident some credit card information was missing and the elderly frenchman manning this post was extremely crass with me in an already stressful situation. Long-story short make sure the cardholder signs where it says signature of applicant on the payment authorization form. In the end the old man took pity on me and I moved on to the next step.

 *** DO NOT FORGET that you will not be refunded if your visa is denied.

 Now, the last step is pretty easy. They will go over your paperwork again, confirm the date you plan to leave for france and off you go.

 My appointment was on a Wednesday and the letter that said my Visa was ready to be picked up came that Saturday. I was super impressed with the time efficiency from the consulate – seriously there must be a shortage of Visa applicants in DC or the tears really struck a chord. I chose to go pick up my Visa at the consulate which took all of 15 minutes. If you do decide to pickup just bring in your Driver’s license and Passport to the consulate at your earliest convenience, no appointment necessary. You can also chose to leave your passport and when done they will mail it back to you.

 So that should be all you need to know about your Visa appointment. I wish you all luck with your applications, Bon chance!

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So You Want to Apply to University in Paris

 

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So, you decided to be brave, throw caution to the wind and study in Paris. Applying for a visa is a tough process, not for the faint of heart, and will be one of the most stressful experiences of  your life. Trust me, I picked up my visayesterday. But when you do get accepted, it will be so worth it.

 Now, be prepared for a few months of agony. I love the french but they are not the timeliest of people.

 Step One: KNOW that you want to study in France. The application process is difficult and time consuming, not-to-mention the fact that I received my acceptance letter from the Sorbonne in late May when I was told that it would be sent in early April. It was nerve-wrecking. Here is a tip – have a back-up school in mind so that you can send a deposit in just in case the process takes longer, like mine.

 Step Two: Choose a school, actually choose three. The campusfrance website requires that you choose three schools and programs that you want to complete. I chose Paris-Sorbonne IV, Diderot, Catholic University of Paris. Make sure you know what the program consists of and that you don’t mind enrolling in any of the three. If you do not get into your first-choice school the form is then sent to your second, then third.

 Step Three: Complete the Campus France Form. Ask your assigned Campusfrance adviser about the process, they will be much more helpful. When you turn in your form it will be sent to your first choice institution until they make a decision. Be prepared to wait more than a few weeks.

Bon chance, mes amis!

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Fashion Week Fanatic: Why sneaking into the show isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

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Sure, we have all heard those stories of the brave souls who succeeded in sneaking into fashion week in New York, Milan, or even Paris. But, is it really worth it?

Here are the reasons why, in my opinion, it isn’t.

#1.) The wait. The process to get into these venues is crazy unless your name is at the top of the guest list. Waiting for long periods of time, being checked and re-checked, and finding out if there is even room for you can all take so much of a toll that you might not even enjoy the show if you are lucky enough to get in.

#2.) You won’t see anything. Unless you have a press pass or a front row seat to one of the shows at Lincoln Center or Le Jardin de Tuileries you won’t be getting close to any of these garments. These shows are planned months in advance and every single seat is assigned. Not to mention that in order to even get into the venue ID’s, seating charts, and guest lists are checked again and again. Best case scenario – you are seated with the nobody’s and no one notices. Worst case (and most probable) scenario – you get the boot.

#3.) It’s all live streamed. As much as I would love to go to the Christian Dior or Louis Vuitton fashion show, I know that I will get an up close and personal look watching the live stream from home without the constant fear of being kicked out. You couldn’t get a better view unless you were Anna Wintour herself. Bonus – You get to wear your PJ’s.

It’s up to you to assess the risk when attempting to sneak your way into fashion week, good luck!

***Ever snuck into Fashion week and lived to tell the tale? Tell us about it!

xoxo Ashley

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Le Jardin du Luxembourg

Palais du LuxembourgIMG_0987IMG_0991 IMG_0994 IMG_0996 IMG_0997 IMG_0999 IMG_1099 IMG_1067IMG_1102 IMG_1090 IMG_1093IMG_1124The Luxembourg Gardens have been one of my favorite spots in Paris since my first visit a few years ago and yesterday I finally had a little time to go back and take a stroll. As you can imagine on a Saturday, it was packed, but every bit as relaxing and stunning as I remembered. The very look and feel of the Palais du Luxembourg and the gardens take you back to a different time where people didn’t need anything more than a good book to relax.

The park is apparently full of little surprises like the small Statue of Liberty and even a beekeeping school. While I did discover the younger, smaller sister of my own country’s Statue of Liberty, I have yet to uncover the beekeeping school. Needless to say, I will be going back to find it soon!

I returned back home from my journey in such a wonderful mood, I can’t think of a better way to spend a few hours getting lost in the garden.

 

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