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Talent Stories Interview - Tanya Markoff

Talent Stories Interview - Tanya Markoff - Photo Credit: Sebastian Bicard Photography

In the heart of Paris Region, we discover the story of Tanya Markoff, an American who has made the Region her home, and the place resonates deepest with her soul. This interview highlights Tanya's journey, which began with a lifelong passion for the French language, culture, and the incomparable charm of Paris, before she left the sunny shores of San Diego to settle in Paris Region.

This story of talent is a testament to the power of dreams and the allure of this Region. From an early infatuation with the city's architecture, history, and culture to a significant career move into the competitive field of commercial real estate, this account is rich with tips on navigating the professional landscape, embracing the Parisian lifestyle, and discovering the joys in one of the world's most beloved cities.

Tell us about your arrival in Paris Region

I’ve been in love with the French language, France, and more particularly Paris from a very young age. I adore the architecture, history, culture, and culinary scene. I somehow feel more at home here than in San Diego, where I grew up, and made it a life goal to move here one day. Aside from my affection for Paris, on a professional level, the city is a major international player, offering a depth of employment opportunities that’s hard to come by elsewhere.

Where did you choose to live and why?

When I first arrived in Paris in 2019, after being temporarily taken in by some friends living in Ville d’Avray, I found a beautiful furnished apartment in the 17th near Ternes. Working in commercial real estate, the location was central to a large majority of potential employers, had stunning Haussmannian architecture, and was well connected to metro lines 2 and 3. I later discovered the incredible rue Poncelet, filled with top-quality, artisanal bakers, butchers, fish mongers, cheese mongers, wine shops, etc. within steps of my apartment. In 2022 I purchased an apartment in the 8th between Villiers and Saint Augustin. We love the extremely central location while remaining a real “neighborhood” with few tourists and rue de Levis just a few minutes away. Our street is very calm, yet walkable to everything!

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

I work in Tenant Representation for the Canadian-based commercial real estate firm Colliers. In a nutshell, I help international companies develop and execute their real estate strategies in France, from finding new office space, restructuring leases (expansion, contraction, renewal), subleasing, lease assignments, etc.
I particularly enjoy helping foreigners understand and navigate the French commercial real estate market, with all its cultural and market practice differences along the way, as well as working with a wide range of colleagues, integrating workplace consultants, architects, engineers, and construction managers into my clients’ overall real estate projects. On a practical level, I also love my quick 17-minute commute to my office in Levallois-Perret on the metro, or when weather permits, a brisk 30-minute walk.

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

Paris Region is truly at the center of it all. I love to travel and can’t think of another place that’s so well connected, by train, plane, or even car for road trips. I can be in virtually any European country in 2 – 3 hours via a direct flight, or numerous cities in France via the TGV high-speed train. Aside from traveling, the number of concerts, expos, theatres, ballets, museums, parks, castles, and other historic monuments is just incredible. There’s always something new to do, see, or experience.

Your favorite spot?

What a hard question! The Jardin des Tuileries early in the morning before the tourists arrive is magical, as are the Seine riverbanks for a run or a picnic on a summer evening. The Parc Monceau has to be one of the most beautiful spots, as is the Jardin du Luxembourg on a much larger scale. For city strolling, I love Montmartre or the 7th around Saint-Germain and Odéon.
Outside of Paris, there's Versailles! Between the palace, with its history, sublime architecture, and shows, and the park, for a picnic or "musical fountains" in the summer... it's a real delight and quite refreshing, just 40 minutes away by RER - regional express network - from my place.

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

Quality over quantity – being central and taking advantage of everything the city has to offer, to me, is more important than having lots of space.
Take the time to discover the different arrondissements. Going from one to another is like traveling without leaving the city!

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

How affordable cheese is! Also, how much I enjoy the seasons. Coming from southern California, it’s definitely a lot colder in the winter, but it’s still very reasonable compared to most places in the world, and the colors of the leaves in the fall, and the almost neon green of the leaves and abundance of flowers everywhere in the spring is a delight! How we eat here is also much more seasonal, particularly if you shop at local produce stands. When I first started coming to France, I remember being in awe at how much more flavor the fruits and vegetables had, as well as the poultry! France turned me into a true foodie!

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

The concept that the French are rude. While I came across some rotten apples, that is the case everywhere, and I’m happy to report that the vast majority of people are friendly and helpful.


This interview has left us with a vivid portrait of how it is to live in Paris Region, painted by the experiences and insights of Tanya who truly embraced life in the Region.

For those inspired by this story, curious to explore other areas of Paris Region, or perhaps even considering making their own move, we invite you to download our Settle In guide.

American expats are warmly welcomed in the Region, where they'll discover a vibrant community of fellow Americans and a broader circle of English-speaking friends. For additional insights and resources, visit our American Community page, and our Talent Story section for more inspirational testaments like this one.

Discover more on the hidden gems in Paris Region by navigating our Visit Paris Region page.