Shannon Pratuch - living her best life, immersing in all that is beautiful in both Paris and France!
Guest: Shannon Pratuch
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Over ten years ago, a client flew Shannon Pratuch to Paris from the US for a project she was working on. Over the few days she was there she wandered throughout Paris, losing herself in the nooks and crannies of the city ultimately falling in love with Paris and then with all of France. Every time after that when she returned she stayed longer, eventually making the move to live there. Shannon says she finds it hard now to even consider leaving France. She could spend 20 life-times in Paris and France and it would still not be enough for her to experience all she wants to about her adopted country! Shannon now works and lives in France full-time, owning a house, a car, a business, two petite French bulldogs (Rose and Pearl) and has a multi-year residency card. Shannon believes that France is the most incredible country in the world! She is absolutely in love with this dream she’s living every day. I think I’d be in love with such a life too!
Shannon produces brilliant travel itineraries, a blog, a magazine “The Paris Quarterly” and so much Paris and French inspo to help the rest of us immerse ourselves in French culture. Shannon’s goal is to make Paris and France accessible to anyone who wants to know more. She explores French cuisine, decor, fashion, gardens, artisans and the stories that make up this extraordinary country.
My favourite part of France to stay in, is on the Ile Saint-Louis. Shannon lives nearby in the Marais and took me on a little journey through the two islands in the middle of Paris and shared the hidden gems she has discovered over the years. Importantly though, Shannon explained that Paris is a main destination, it has its own unique vibe, its own French accent and is an extraordinary place to explore. But whilst Paris is the capital of France, it does not represent all of France, There are some amazing regions she and I discussed: haut-Normandy, the farmer’s markets in the country villages across northern France, the architecture of Alsace, the wines of Burgundy, a special château to stay in at Cherbourg, the rustic romance of Bretagne… every corner of France that Shannon shares, she explores in a way to help us feel immersed. I adore the way Shannon strives to uncover the real France and doesn’t just stick to what I often refer to as “the châteaux, champagne and croissants” of France!
Shannon is now undertaking the third renovation project she has launched into in France. She is tearing off the side of a house to bring her beautiful historic farmhouse into the 21st century. Modernising property in France to give it a second lease on life is a wonderful legacy to leave for the future. Combining the old and the new, being able to view the past and the present whilst also designing for the future, is going to be very important in the decades to come. Driving around regional France there are many houses and buildings that won’t survive without some TLC. Projects such as Shannon’s are so important to preserve the past.
I have dreamed of a life such as Shannon’s. After talking to her, it now weirdly feels both further away and simultaneously more possible than ever! The amount that she knows, the work she has now found in France, that seems out of reach for most of us. But Shannon talks with such conviction about following that dream of a French life, I feel like if she can do it, maybe any of us can if we try hard enough. What I do know is that, for any of us who want to try to make a French life a reality, even on a short-term basis, having Shannon as a resource will be invaluable.
Something that Shannon shares with most Francophiles is the love of the history surrounding her in Paris and France, the romance of the villages, the stunning timeless nature of every corner of France. She manages to do it in a manner that feels fresh and without cliché. She says she loves being able to share France with people around the world and that definitely comes across. A couple of her top tips for those coming to France:
1. Engage in slow travel. Slow down and immerse in one place without just ticking everything on a list. Support local commerce, such as the actual farmers at the markets rather than the re-sellers. Do some research to find the local family-owned places rather than the conglomerates.
2. Make a travel intention to ensure you’re achieving what you really want from your trip.
3. Connect with the place you’re visiting on a deeper level by participating in local festivals.
My only tip for travelling in France is one shared by Shannon: take time to be a flaneur… engage in the art of strolling and taking in your surroundings.
Shannon’s other recommendations
Yellow Tucan – coffee & Paris café (4arr)
Mariage Frères – Paris tea rooms (3arr)
Ma Bourgogne – lunch restaurant in the Place des Vosges (4arr)
Auberge du Bonheur – restaurant in the Bois de Boulogne (16arr)
Musée Jacquemart-André – (8arr)
Musée Marmottan Monet – (16arr)
Fondation Louis Vuitton – (16arr)
Musée Rodin – (7arr)
Musée d’Orsay – (7arr)
Musée du Luxembourg – (6arr)
Jardin des Plantes – (5arr)
Clara Luciani – Amour toujours