Skip to main content

Talent Stories Interview - Miguel & Melissa Fuentes

Talent Stories Interview - Miguel & Melissa Fuentes

We are thrilled to present a new Talent Story, showcasing the inspiring journey of the Fuentes family. Miguel and Melissa Fuentes, originally from Peru, relocated to Paris Region with their three children in January 2023. Having previously lived in Australia, Canada, Peru, and Chile, the Fuentes family now thoroughly enjoys their Parisian experience. Discover their story and how they successfully integrated into our beautiful Region.

Tell us about your arrival in Paris Region

It was late 2022 and we were living in South America with our three young daughters. Having moved several times for Miguel’s work, we were enjoying feeling “settled” somewhere for the foreseeable future. However, when Miguel got offered a job in Paris, we jumped at the chance – aside from it being an incredibly interesting job opportunity, living in Paris was something out of our wildest dreams. Croissants, baguettes, macarons, and the Eiffel Tower – we were sold! Paris Region is the stuff dreams are made of, and it hasn’t disappointed.

Where did you choose to live and why?

We chose to live in Louveciennes, a city located in the west of Paris, in the Yvelines. With three very active kids and a new puppy, we opted to live in a house rather than an apartment, so central Paris was not an option. We looked west because it is a region full of beautiful parklands, good shopping facilities, restaurants and activities, and a large expat community which meant good bilingual schooling.

Tell us about your current job & what you enjoy the most about working in Paris Region?

Miguel works for a French company. Aside from the Eiffel Tower view from the office (can’t complain!), he appreciates how the French are honest and vocal about their opinions, the pride they take in things well done, the importance placed on personal time and work-life balance, and the fact that they are overall very friendly and collaborative people.

Melissa isn’t officially working, as her priority was to get the family settled and work on her French. Since last September, she has volunteered to be a part of the Parent Committee at the kids’ school. She loves that this kind of opportunity exists, as a way of keeping busy and broadening your networks.

Which school have you chosen for your children, and how does it meet your expectations?

When moving here, our biggest goal as a family was to learn French. We felt that it would give us a greater sense of belonging, and we saw it as a doable challenge that would teach our kids important lessons in risk-taking, determination, resilience, and adaptability.
We finally chose the Section Internationale La Celle Saint-Cloud – Noisy-le-Roi, as it offered exactly what we were looking for; French immersion, top-quality English, and the possibility of coming in halfway through the school year. We have heard wonderful reviews of the program from many locals and expats, and it has exceeded our expectations by far!

The French schools were very welcoming, and the English program is exceptional – comprehensive, rigorous, and taught by some wonderful teachers. There is a great parent community and a very positive atmosphere for the kids. A year and a half later, the girls have made wonderful friends and are excelling in the full French program, as well as in their native-English classes. Best of both worlds!

What, according to you, are the perks of living in Paris Region?

One undeniable perk for us is the food! From boulangeries to fromageries to patisseries to restaurants, you will find amazing food and such fantastic produce everywhere you go. We are thoroughly enjoying it daily.

A second perk is all the fantastic places you can visit in the area. There is never a dull weekend or a lack of things to do! And the greater Paris Region is so well-connected by the public transportation and highway system, that you can easily delve into the many attractions of inner Paris or take a day trip to one of the many surrounding villes (cities).

Finally, the connectivity for travel in Europe. There are planes, trains, and roads to take you anywhere and everywhere.

Your favourite spot?

The Parc de Marly, which is very close to our house. It is huge and has so many different landscapes, from tree-lined lanes to immense green fields to the lake surrounded by cone-shaped trees. It makes for a great place to exercise, picnic, or just take a leisurely walk.

What advice you would give to a newcomer to make the most of Paris Region?

First, learn the language. Although we are all in different stages along the road to fluency (kids much further ahead!), learning French has definitely helped us feel more at home. It has also allowed us to broaden our circle of friends and participate in activities in fully French-speaking clubs, making the most of all the many sports opportunities available.

Second, make a list of the places you want to visit! As a tourist, you try to cram everything into a few short days, but when you move here you have the feeling that “you’ve got time”. But then you blink, a year has passed, and you haven’t done half the things you meant to do. Make a list and schedule it– there are SO many beautiful places to visit in and around Paris.

What was a “good surprise" when you got here?

For us, it has been the large amount of school vacations. Kids get two weeks off every 6-8 weeks of class, and we’ve been lucky to have the work flexibility to explore Paris Region and beyond during some of this time.

Now that you have been living in Paris Region, what stereotype do you believe to be wrong about the French?

Before arriving in France, we kept hearing that French people were rude and unfriendly. We were very pleasantly surprised to find that the French are actually kind, helpful, and overall lovely people! I think that a major factor in feeling this way is to make an effort to learn and speak in French – it doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect, it matters that you are trying!


Inspired by Miguel and Melissa’s story and eager to discover more treasures in Paris Region? Check out some ideas on our Visit Paris Region website. You'll also find additional tips and advice to help you prepare for your move here on our Living in Paris Region pages and our other "Talent Stories".