In today’s success story, we explore the captivating journey of Thiago, the Brazilian expatriate who relocated to Paris Region for love and stayed for life.
Thiago’s story unfolds in the charming neighborhood of Batignolles, reflecting the allure of Paris Region’s quality of life. As the Marketing and Recruitment Manager of HEC Paris, he gets to experience the global environment while also enjoying the Region’s cultural diversity. Moreover, Thiago debunks stereotypes, celebrates simplicity in French cuisine, and shares invaluable advice for newcomers.
His journey truly embodies the harmonious blend of personal passion and the enchanting “Art de Vivre” that Paris Region offers.
Tell us about your arrival in Paris Region
It may sound cliché, but I usually say it was love. I'm Brazilian, originally from São Paulo, but for the last 7 years before coming to France, I was living in Rio de Janeiro. It was there that a mutual friend introduced me to my wife, who is French. After years together, and shortly after our first child's maternity leave and the end of her expatriation contract, the opportunity arose for us to move to Paris. I thought, why not? Normally, deciding to move to another country is never an easy decision, but the motivation to get to know France and all its culture, which has always fascinated me, made this process much smoother. It's an incredible country, and it's a privilege to live the French "Art de Vivre" as a resident of Paris Region.
Where did you choose to live and why?
Sometimes moving to France presents some challenges. Defining and finding a place to live is one of them. Paris Region has many incredible neighborhoods, but in my head, as someone who only knew Paris as a tourist, I was restricted to just a few more famous options. My advice is to open your mind, get to know all the arrondissements and neighborhoods well, especially those outside the traditional circuit. That's how, in my case, we ended up discovering the charming neighborhood of Batignolles in the 17th arrondissement of Paris. It offers excellent options for parks, restaurants, and activities, and still feels like a village within Paris, making it perfect for those with young children.
Tell us about your current job & what do you enjoy the most about working in Paris Region?
I believe that one of the final steps to fully integrate into the country is your professional life. When I moved, none of us anticipated we would face a pandemic. After that period and a temporary job, I returned to my area of expertise, which is marketing and business development in the education sector. Currently, I am the Marketing & Recruitment Manager for the top-ranked Executive MBA program at HEC Paris. The global and international environment, with a French touch, is incredible.
HEC Paris is currently the best business school in Europe, one of the Grandes Écoles in France. It's a very conducive environment for learning, developing leadership skills, innovation, and entrepreneurship with a social and environmental perspective.
What, according to you, are the perks of living in Paris Region?
There are many reasons, but one of the main ones is the quality of life. Certainly, there are challenges in France, but compared to Brazil, social inequality is much lower. There is indeed a more visible return on all the taxes we pay. From public education and a good work-life balance to healthcare services and social housing, not to mention the maintenance of green areas. Another point is culture. It's not just about museums, but also a strategic vision of identity construction with an annual calendar full of events ranging from music to gastronomy, history, and traditions. Speaking of gastronomy, I couldn't fail to mention all the dining options, brasseries, bistros, bouillons, patisseries, boulangeries, and options from around the world.
Your favourite spot?
The great thing about the Region is discovering new spots at every opportunity. As I write this article, it's still summer, and I have two children. Currently, with them, I would say that the perfect day in my neighborhood would involve having a good breakfast at Dose Cafe, enjoying the almost newly inaugurated Martin Luther King Park or Parc Monceau, having lunch at my favorite local bistro, Augustin, right in front of the Mairie du 17ème. In the afternoon, we'd stroll around Montmartre, and we'd finish the day with a pizza or pasta from Mamma Primi.
What advice you would give to a newcomer to make the most of Paris Region?
One thing is to know Paris as a tourist, another is to live here. To start your integration, I believe you need to learn the language. If you don't already speak it, consider taking a course. This will help you begin to build a network in France. Travel. Invest in wanting to get to know France, its history, culture, and, above all, all the elements that make up the French identity, which is certainly not limited to just Paris. This helps break stereotypes and prejudices. Immerse yourself in the French "savoir-faire" and talk to locals. Be open to changing some habits and learning a new culture, without constantly comparing it to your own.
What was a “good surprise" when you got here?
France and Paris Region are often associated with luxury. When it comes to the world of wine, the options that used to arrive in my home country were always industrialized and from large exporters. Something not meant for everyone. Understanding how wine is part of French culture and getting to know small wine producers made me break this stigma. The professional is actually a farmer, engaged in hard yet beautiful work. It's an art, manual labor, from the field, involving sensitivity in soil preparation, and monitoring weather conditions, to overseeing the entire production and aging process. I loved learning more about this universe of flavors, and stories, and realizing that it's not exclusive to a small portion of the population.
Now that you have been living in Paris Region, what stereotype do you believe to be wrong about the French?
The stereotype is that the French always eat gourmet meals. I've always heard about French haute cuisine, the elaborate dishes full of technique. Surely, this is part of the culture. But it's not part of everyday life; you can't dine in a Michelin-starred restaurant every day. I loved discovering the simplicity of typical dishes from different regions of France and the seasonality of food. There's nothing more elegant than simplicity. It's possible to learn and understand more about France's history through what they call "art de la table" (the art of the table).
Would you like to explore more about life in Paris Region? Make sure to take a look at our Settle In guide, designed for newcomers and future expatriates. There are many enriching experiences to be had in Paris Region, and this guide have some valuable tips to help you fully embrace them.
To delve into the Region's profound cultural and historical treasures, much like Thiago did, uncover a wealth of captivating ideas and experiences waiting for you at https://www.visitparisregion.com/en and embark on a journey to immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of this vibrant locale, where history and culture converge to create unforgettable memories.
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Olivier AllegretHead of Client Solutions