About Secrets of Paris

American-born travel journalist and guidebook author Heather Stimmler-Hall created the Secrets of Paris in 1999 to share the hidden side of the City of Light. Discover what you've been missing:

* Custom Travel Content 
* Free Paris Resource Guide
* Calendar of interesting Paris events
* Private Tours
* Monthly Secrets of Paris newsletter
* Secrets of Paris Videos

Read more about the Secrets of Paris here

Calendar of Paris Events

Book NOW for September 5-6
The American Church of Paris is hosting A Prarie Home Companion radion show with Garrison Keillor for two dates, September 5th at 8pm and September 6th at 4pm. Tickets are €31, book as soon as possible, space is limited.

Through August 24
The Paris Fun Fair (Fête Foraine) is open in the Tuileries (Louvre Gardens), daily 11am-11:45pm (until 12:45am on Friday and Saturday). Free entrance, but you’ll need to buy tickets for each ride on the usual carnival attractions, or have cash for cotton candy and the games where you can win prizes. The Ferris Wheel has excellent views over Paris! 

Through August 24
The annual Open-Air Cinema Festival takes place Wed-Sun nights at the Parc de la Villette's Triangle Prairie (M° Porte de Pantin), starting at sunset (around 10pm), free entry. This year's theme is Adolescence, including films such as Moonrise Kingdom, Scream 4, and American Graffiti.

Through August 31
Between the Lines and the Trenches, a very intimate collection of personal letters, notebooks and photos from the trenches, many never published before. At the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts (222 Boulevard Saint-Germain), through August 31st, entry €7.


Secrets of Paris gives 10% of all tour fees
to the French food bank, Les Restos du Coeur

« Vintage Fair! | Main | Dita Drives them Crazy »

Becoming French, Part 1: The Question of Dual Citizenship

I get emails every week from Americans asking the same question: how can I live in France? That’s a long answer, and it’s actually different for each person depending on a lot of factors including who you’re married to and how you can support yourself. My own path has been quite circuitous since 1995: a year as a student, a few months of illegal alien status when the visa ran out, then marriage to an European Union citizen which gave me my 10-year carte de séjour allowing me to live and work in France.

But after living in France for 13 years, starting my own company, and paying a LOT of taxes, I’ve decided that I want more. I want to be able to take the “EU Passports Only” line at the airport. I want to be able to vote in local and national elections. I want to avoid having to reapply for my “carte de séjour” ever again. I want to be able to live and work anywhere in Europe (not that I’m leaving France, but it’s nice to have the option).

So this year I went to the Préfecture de Police on the Ile de la Cité and picked up the paperwork for the Demande d’Acquisition de la Nationalité Française

As expected, this quest for French nationality brings up all sorts of new issues for an American like myself:

Can I keep my American nationality? Yes, thanks to AARO, AAWE and FAWCO, Americans can now have dual nationality (this wasn't always the case).

Does this mean I don’t have to pay American taxes? No, you always have to pay American taxes as long as you’re an American citizen, ether you have dual nationality or not (although some of us don’t make enough money to “qualify” for double taxation).

Where does my loyalty lie? Well, to me that’s like asking to choose which child or which parent you love more. I’ve lived in France my entire adult life and it feels like home to me. But at the same time I’m very American and I still vote, file taxes, and visit on a regular basis. As I have said before, I feel like an ambassador of goodwill between the two countries, which I’ve made a career of with my writing and tours.

In fact, considering how much I do to bring American visitors into France, you’d think they’d just send me an extra passport in thanks. Mais non, Madame. There is paperwork to be filled out. Beaucoup de paperwork.

Read Part 2: Naturalization Paperwork


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Reader Comments (34)

I am a dual national by marriage (US by birth, French by marriage). Funny thing about those French, they care more about to whom you are married, and that you SPEAK FLUENT FRENCH, as opposed to the Americans that require you to LIVE in the US. The process was relatively painless, however, despite the often scary French bureacracy. I did it while living in the US (still do) - certificate of citizenship signed by good ol' Jacques Chirac when he was still president. Good luck!
March 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEve
You still have to pay tax in America even though you don't reside there? Madness.
March 17, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermike
She said *file taxes* which doesn't necessarily mean pay them (though she may). If you live outside the US and make up to a certain sum, you do not normally have to pay taxes ....
March 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEve
Bravo, Heather! No more being a "law-breaker" for you. Bonne chance!
March 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPhil
You can exclude up to $82k (ish) of foreign income from US taxation, but it's somewhat weird if you earn more: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Taxpayers-abroad-can-limit-US-brn-14841351.html
July 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFreresTang
My great-grandfather moved to Puerto Rico from Corsica in or about 1898, as did many Corsicans. Does anyone know if this family connection would serve my applying for dual citizenship with France, since Corsica was then, as is today, a French territory.
February 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge
hello george. I really don't think you can obtain French citizenship because you have a great grandfather that was French. Sorry.
July 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermama
I'm assuming Canadians can get a dual citizenship as well right?
January 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnastasia
Anastasia: Each country has different laws regarding dual nationality. You'll have to check with Canada on that, I have no idea.
January 27, 2011 | Registered CommenterHeather Stimmler-Hall
I am one generation closer than George. My grandparents immigrated to San Francisco in the 1890s from Pau. Does that change the situation re obtaining dual citizenship?
October 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRG

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