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‘Not just selfies by the Eiffel Tower’ – Inside the new Paris-based US reality TV show

Real Girlfriends in Paris is the latest American television series to take a look at life in France. The Local spoke with one of the stars of the reality TV show about what she hopes other Americans in France can get out of it.

'Not just selfies by the Eiffel Tower' - Inside the new Paris-based US reality TV show
Kacey Margo, one of the stars of Real Girlfriends in Paris, in front of the Louvre. (Photo Credit: Kacey Margo)

Referred to as a mélange between Sex and the City and Emily in Paris, the new series from US TV channel Bravo, Real Girlfriends in Paris, promises to tell the honest stories (with a healthy dose of drama) of six Americans trying to build their lives in the City of Light. 

The Local spoke with Kacey Margo, one of the six Girlfriends, about what to expect from the show and why other Americans living in Paris should tune in. 

Similar to many other Americans who made their way to France via study abroad or teaching English, Kacey Margo also studied French in high school and university. She first moved for a study abroad program and then came back to teach English, with the program TAPIF.

“I wanted to stay after I really started to fit in here. I felt at home here, and I felt that I had a skill (teaching English) that was sought after.” 

Kacey has been in France for over three years now, and more recently became famous on TikTok for portraying her life as an American in France, which ended up being a gateway onto Real Girlfriends in Paris. 

Part of the reason Margo wanted to go on the show was to show an authentic version of life in Paris.

“I wanted to prove to everyone that I am not just taking pictures in front of the Eiffel tower every day or just eating cheese. I’m working and giving back to the community by teaching English.

“Being an American living in Paris is super interesting because people always assume you’re a tourist. It’s like no, I live here, I speak French, I am a permanent fixture. I am here to make a living.” 

Kacey thinks other Americans in Paris will relate to that, especially after the Netflix show Emily in Paris – a series that led many frustrated Op-Eds and Twitter threads from French people who felt their culture had been mocked. 

“Emily in Paris is fake,” Kacey said, laughing. “I hate when people assume that we don’t speak any French or that we don’t know the city. We’ve all been here for a while.”

Another experience, though a not-so positive one, that the English-teacher turned reality TV star thinks other Americans in France will relate to is visa-related.

“I think that any American in Paris’ ‘status’ is a central part of their life here,” said Margo. According to the Bravo website, this will be a central dilemma for her, as she is “determined to stay” but “unfortunately, complications with her visa could get in the way.”

While she could not go into detail about what viewers can expect for her visa situation (you’ll have to watch the show), Kacey did have some advice for other Americans who have found themselves in less-than-ideal residency situations:

“It’s like voting in the US: stay in line. Go to the préfecture, show them that you care about staying, show them that you have all the paperwork, show them you have a skill that is applicable in France. Once you have your foot in the door, don’t give up.”

Kacey wants other Americans in Paris to tune in for the show “because they will be able to see themselves in one of the six of us. You’ll see all of the problems that expats go through.”

Adding that “it’s super easy to feel alone, whether that’s because you are dealing with visa issues, marriage issues, or work issues, or any other problems expats experience, it’s so nice to see someone else in the same boat as you.”

And for Americans looking to make the move to France, Margo had some words of wisdom too, speaking frankly, she said “it’s not for everyone. If you are not prepared to go outside and live every day in French then I would not recommend it. Take the time to become fluent and adjust.”

The show premieres on Monday, September 5th at 9:15pm EST on Bravo – on TV or online – in the United States, but will also be shown from September 6th on the European paid-for streaming service, Hayu.

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LIVING IN FRANCE

How and when to send Christmas presents from France

If you want to send Christmas presents to friends and family overseas you need to know the deadline dates and how to avoid being hit with extra charges - here's what you need to know.

How and when to send Christmas presents from France

Deadlines

First things first, you need to make sure your parcel arrives in time for Christmas, which means sending it before the deadline.

The French postal service La Poste has the following deadlines;

In Europe

If you’re sending a parcel within France, the deadline to have it delivered by Christmas is December 23rd. 

If you’re sending to the UK or Bulgaria, Cyprus, Spanish islands (eg Tenerife), Croatia, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Malta, Norway, Portuguese islands (eg Madeira) or Romania you have until December 16th.

If you’re sending to Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden or Switzerland you have until December 17th.

If you’re sending to Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands or Portugal you have until December 19th.

Outside Europe

If you’re sending to the USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand or Hong Kong you have until December 10th. Likewise if you’re sending to most French overseas territories, the deadline is December 10th.

For most other countries the deadline is December 3rd, but you can find the full list here

Private couriers like Fed-Ex and DPD have their own deadlines, although they are broadly in line with La Poste, and if you’re buying online each company has its own deadline on when it can guarantee a Christmas delivery.

Fees and customs declarations

If you’re sending parcels to another EU country then it’s pretty straightforward – just pay the delivery cost (you can check how much it will be to send via La Poste here) and make sure you send it before the deadline.

If, however, you are sending to a country outside the EU (which of course now includes the UK) then you will need to fill out a customs declaration form explaining what is in your parcel and whether it is a gift or not.

In addition to standard postal charges, you may also need to pay customs duties, depending on the value or your parcel and whether it is a gift or not. 

Find full details on customs duty rules HERE.

Banned items

And there are some items that are banned from the post – if you’re sending parcels to the US be aware that you cannot send alcohol through the mail as a private individual, so don’t try a ship some nice French wine or a bottle of your local liqueur. 

Most countries ban firearms and fireworks, not unreasonably, although be aware that this includes items like sparklers.

Sending food and plants is also often restricted with countries including Canada and Australia having strict rules and most other countries imposing restrictions on what you can send.

This also applies the other way and France bans any foodstuffs containing animal products (eg chocolate) sent from outside the EU. 

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