welcome to france

Hi, my name is Julia Sitwell and I am an 18 year old Canadian girl who decided to forgo university for a year and move across the world.

I am currently living and working in a little city, called Velizy, right beside Versailles and very close to Paris.  I always assumed that right after graduation I would attend university only to graduate four years later and begin my career. Why would I assume that? Because this is what most people do, it’s normal, maybe a little boring, but for the most part it’s “safe”.  This was my plan until my mom suggested taking a different route and becoming an “au pair”. My mom contacted one of her old friends who then connected us with a family in France who was looking for an au pair. Thus began the adventure. Leading up to my arrival in Paris I had passport issues, the lengthy Visa application, getting my international drivers license, and baggage scares to name a few things. All is well now.

So what am I doing exactly? I am working as an au pair, or nanny, for the family that my mother’s friend connected us with. They have a 13 year old son and an 8 year old daughter. I am responsible for picking the children up after school, making dinner, taking them to their activities, and a couple of other tasks. When the children are at school I will be attending French classes at the University of Versailles. I am extremely excited for this because it is a great way to meet other au pairs and people who are in the same boat as me. The children both speak very little English but fortunately the parent’s English is excellent. I speak primarily French to the children with English phrases that I am teaching them such as, “see you later”and “pass the water please”. My goal is to have them teach me French while I help them learn English. I fully intend on returning to Canada in 10 months fluent, so I have a lot of work to do.

I have only been here for two days but, so far the family seems to be a perfect fit. I am living in the little girls room while we wait for the contractors to build be a small studio apartment for me in their garden.  The family has said several times that I am another daughter and they have been amazing at making me feel at home.Today the father purchased a small little white Fiat for me which is very exciting! (I have yet to name her but I am open for suggestions). I am a little bit nervous to drive because everything is very fast paced, there are crazy roundabouts everywhere, and I am almost certain that there are no rules regarding parking! You should see it, it’s insane.  The food here has been incredible thus far!! The cheese and bread are to die for. I have noticed that tomatoes are extremely popular here which I am all for.

Today I went to a French market and it was incredible. I absolutely love people watching, and trust me when I tell you that this is the best place to do it. Everyone always looks so put together and sophisticated. It made me even more excited to roam the streets of Paris and Versailles.

It’s currently 7:30 and we are about to begin “happy hour” and I am being summoned. This place is beautiful and I promise to keep you all updated.



7 thoughts on “welcome to france

  1. This is crazy! I’m also an au pair in Versailles [departing today] and I’ll be attending the same University! [Maybe we’ll be classmates, ha ha] Your family sounds amazing, I wish you the best of luck and I’m looking forward to reading more about your experiences! 🙂


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