You just moved to Paris and you don’t know a soul in your neighborhood. Then there are the kids, work, learning to speak French, and coping with the intricacies of French culture and bureaucracy. It’s baptism by fire.
We hear you! The first few months (or even longer) of living in a new country can be overwhelming. Luckily, women instinctively know how to reach out to support and encourage each other. Networking is one of our natural talents. That’s why Paris is always abuzz with women’s groups planning diverse activities—from mother’s support groups to female entrepreneur Meetups, from cultural clans to girls in tech and much more.
Friendship, networking, connecting to others who share your language, interests (and your gripes) – the benefits of joining a women’s group are endless. To make it easier to find the right one for you, INSPIRELLE’s giving you the scoop on some essential women’s associations and clubs which have helped generations of women make France feel more like home. So, what are you waiting for? Get connected!
Many women have formed lifelong friendships through AAWE. A group of American women living in France and married to Frenchmen (or other Europeans) founded the association in 1961. The first issue they tackled was obtaining and safeguarding their bi-cultural children’s U.S. citizenship. Today, the AAWE community continues to serve its members’ evolving needs, including important issues such as bilingualism, education, citizenship, voting and legal rights. Their comprehensive AAWE Guide to Education is an indispensable resource for well-researched information about bilingual education and the French primary and secondary education system. For parents of older kids, there’s Beyond the Bac: Higher Education in France and Beyond. But it’s not all serious! We hear that AAWE throws an awesome Halloween party, after-work cocktails, senior lunches, networking events and an annual Bazaar (coming up on November 21, 2015!) where you can find second-hand toys, books, clothes for the whole family and designer digs at bargain bin prices. And you don’t have to be American, or married to a French man, to join!
Founded in 1949, this group is the longest-standing organization for American women in France. Although its roots were formed in the expat American community of post-war Paris, today it warmly welcomes all English-speaking women from any country. AWG offers plenty of social and cultural activities: from guided museum tours to wine tastings, countryside hikes and weekend getaways. Or, why not get more involved and volunteer in one of AWG’s many philanthropic partnerships?
For those in search of support and advice to start a business in the Ile-de-France region, Anglopreneurs appeals to English-speaking entrepreneurs. This active group gives budding business people a chance to meet, chat, network, solve problems, create opportunities and lend each other support. Ask to join the Anglopreneurs Facebook Group for online networking and exchange. Their popular monthly morning and evening events encourage independent business owners — both women and men — to meet in person and listen to guest speakers who share their savoir-faire on creating and running a business in France.
Open to all women who are, or who are married to British or Commonwealth nationals, BCWA was founded in 1962 to create a community of like-minded women living in Paris. Membership gives access to a large English library, located at their clubroom in central Paris, and an extensive list of social and cultural activities organized each month in and around the city. For a taste of home with other English-speaking women, this could be the place for you!
Founded in 2013, this group of dynamic female entrepreneurs understand the power of meeting like-minded people. Created in Yvelines (West of Paris) to help female entrepreneurs gain access to new and valuable skills, they host workshops, networking events, and opportunities to showcase your products and services. If you’re already an entrepreneur or thinking of becoming your own boss, this group may provide the inspiration and connections you need!
Whether you are a new mother needing some breastfeeding support or you’re looking to start up a career again, Message has been a lifeline for many Anglophone moms and their families. Established in 1984 by six expatriate women living in Paris, the association has grown to over 2000 members. Their goal is to provide support and a network for English-speaking parents living in Paris. They have many subgroups including Working Moms and Message Entrepreneurs, and their members-only online discussion forums are very popular for sharing advice or selling second hand items. Also, their annual Bring-and-Buy sale is a huge hit for all the family. Volunteers organize over 100 activities across 18 areas in and around Paris each month, from play dates to cultural, social, and professional events. You’re sure to find inspiration and support amongst this group of expat moms.
With over 1,000 members in the Paris area, PWN is one of the 24 networks that make up this dynamic global federation. It provides a networking and leadership development platform for executive and professional women, with events in both French and English. Through this highly experienced all-volunteer group, programs include: mentoring, best practices sharing, and meeting events and opportunities. The association believes in helping women grow and advance in their careers by giving them “the tools, networks and skills they need to assume leadership roles”.
Do you love children’s books and writing or illustrating for children? Join SCBWI France, a professional association open to both published and unpublished writers and illustrators. SCBWI organizes a wide range of activities, including evenings with children’s book publishers, authors and illustrators, writers’ workshops, exhibitions of works by illustrators in the group and writing contests. The Paris regional group welcomes long-time members, aspiring writers and new friends at Show & Tell meet ups. These informal gatherings are a chance to talk about your goals, share your work, discuss the latest industry news or just listen. Dates and details are confirmed one month in advance on the Friends of SCBWI France Facebook page. Members get preferential rates for participating in all SCBWI events worldwide, which offer an invaluable network for improving your craft and sharing your work.
Their motto: lifelong learning, vie culturelle describes this association in a nutshell. WICE offers a diverse range of cultural, educational, and social activities for the international community in Paris. Courses they run range from French language lessons to Spanish conversation, to How to Write a Novel and fine art photography, as well as guided walks and visits of Paris’ hidden treasures. A great place to hone a new skill, practice an old one, or learn more about the wonderful City of Lights!