France
Resources
City Guides
JoinSign In

Expat France: An Interview with Terrance Gelenter

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Cigna International Health Insurance

Summary: An expat interview with "Paris Through Expatriate Eyes" founder Terrance Gelenter

Expats in Paris - Paris Through Expatriate Eyes' Terrance Gelenter

Moving to Paris is a dream romanticized by people all over the world and one regularly enshrined in books and films.

As with anything else, it's not as easy as portrayed in the media. Or is it?

If you ask Terrance Galenter, founder of Paris Through Expatriate Eyes (http://paris-expat.com), he's likely to say it depends on how open you are to seizing opportunity.

Faced with a life transition following the end of his marriage in the mid-90s, and with a little bit of encouragement from a close friend, Terrance Gelenter took the plunge and made the move to Paris.

And since his move, he has not only settled in, but also built a successful business that helps locate unique travel tours and other cultural experiences. Are you already familiar with Paris as a tourist or an expat? No problem. Gelenter envisions himself and his business as just the answer to such a problem.

He likes to call himself "your American friend in Paris," and he'll graciously welcome anyone to his Paris "office," the Cafe de Flore, each Sunday from 11:30am-1pm.

After learning about someone who has a story such as Terrance's, so many expats ask the question: "How did he do that?," which is predictably followed by, "And how can I do it, too?"

Getting to this point in his life - as is always the case - has been a journey.

According to Gelenter's autobiographical book "Paris Par Hasard: From Bagels to Brioches," he had been inspired to build a life Paris in 1973, when his grandparents told him it was "the most civilized place on Earth." Over the years Terrance spent a considerable amount of time in Paris.

By the time he was 17, Gelenter's family had been through two divorces, but he adds that through "every step of the way, somebody loved me." He had grandparents that were highly involved in his life, and they encouraged him to learn. After initially living in Pittsburgh as a boy, he ended up in New York City.

"Growing up in Brooklyn, I always had a job. That was the way it was with everyone. When things didn't go your way, there was no bitching and moaning. Get up off the canvas and keep fighting."

When Terrance moved to Paris following his divorce, he had been running Hispanic Marketing Solutions, a Latin media company that he launched in 1990. With ad sources drying up, he had the sense that his career in that industry was coming to a close. As with so many other times in his life, he adapted by taking advantage of opportunities as they presented themselves.

Thus, his business and its companion website, Paris Through Expatriate Eyes, was born. He helps with tours, finding accommodations, identifying the perfect culinary experiences and more. His weekly newsletter keeps people up-to-date on cultural events each weekend in Paris.

For the wannabe expats who are always asking EXACTLY how they can move their lives to Paris - or any other romanticized location throughout the world - Gelenter offers some great advice.

"There is no template to make it work in Paris. Entrepreneurs find a way to make it work for them. How serious are you? Everyone wants to live in Paris or Rome or whatever."

Before the decision to be an expat, "make sure you're going TO something rather than running AWAY from something. Something that is burning inside you. [Don't turn] away when you run into a problem." He adds that it shouldn't be a random choice from your bucket list.

Gelenter also cites the "serendipity of life" and the importance of recognizing "situations to grab." He's likely to cite a number of experiences - even marriage and fatherhood - that he never sought but ended up being positive forces in his life.

This is the frame of mind that Gelenter suggests expats need to embrace in order to make life abroad really work... especially if you are an entrepreneur. He'll describe how he was able to grow his business via relationships established every step along the way - even with someone he met on the Paris Metro.

He'll concede that practicalities have to be dealt with, but for Gelenter it's a fair price to pay. Despite the stereotypes of how the French are with foreigners, he believes that there is a "greater generosity of spirit in Paris," and adds that "human value is appreciated much more here in Paris."

"People should look at core values and what they want in their life. Do you want to stay at home and watch five knuckleheads on NFL Today or watch CSI Toledo? Come here as an adventure. You're not changing jobs. You're coming here to live a richer more nuanced life."

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000. Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Some of Joshua's more popular articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and 5 Best Places to Live in Spain. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Cigna Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in France from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

Join our France Expat Forum

Visit our France Forum and talk with other expats who can offer you insight and tips about living in , France.

More about France

5-Tips-for-Moving-to-Paris-

Paris Expat: 5 Tips for Moving to Paris

Moving to Paris? Josie Sampson offers tips for finding a job in Paris, obtaining a visa, searching for an apartment in Paris and more.

Moving to Paris? Josie Sampson offers tips for finding a job in Paris, obtaining a visa, searching for an apartment in Paris and more....

5-Affordable-Places-to-Retire-in-France

5 Affordable Places to Retire in France

The word affordable and France don't normally end up in the same sentence, but it's all relative and more affordable villages and cities do exist! They are often some of the most charming places to retire in France. Here are 5 affordable places to retire in France plus advice on how to find others.

The word affordable and France don't normally end up in the same sentence, but it's all relative and more affordable villages and cities do exist! They are often some of the most charming places to r...

Thanksgiving-in-Paris

Thanksgiving in Paris

If you're living in Paris and in search of a place to dine on Thanksgiving, we have several suggestions. If you're cooking Thanksgiving dinner, find out where you can order a turkey.

If you're living in Paris and in search of a place to dine on Thanksgiving, we have several suggestions. If you're cooking Thanksgiving dinner, find out where you can order a turkey....

5-Amazing-Places-to-Ski-in-France

5 Amazing Places to Ski in France

Skiing in the French Alps is breathtaking not only for the beautiful and varied terrain, but also the incredibly affordable cost when compared to ski resorts in the United States. Ski passes are available that grant access to multiple resorts that don't require any transportation from one to the next other than the two boards on your feet. Of course, if you want to splurge and spend more, luxury options abound!

Skiing in the French Alps is breathtaking not only for the beautiful and varied terrain, but also the incredibly affordable cost when compared to ski resorts in the United States. Ski passes are avai...

8-Free-Things-to-Do-in-Lyon,-France

8 Free Things to Do in Lyon, France

Aga Marchewka offers great advice on delving into the French culture in Lyon, France. Find out what you can do in the third biggest city in France... for free!

Aga Marchewka offers great advice on delving into the French culture in Lyon, France. Find out what you can do in the third biggest city in France... for free!...

Top-10-Parks-in-Lyon-France

Top 10 Parks in Lyon France

Expats in Lyon, France have a large number of parks to explore and enjoy. Aga Marchewka provides a concise list of the top 10 parks in Lyon and all that they have to offer.

Expats in Lyon, France have a large number of parks to explore and enjoy. Aga Marchewka provides a concise list of the top 10 parks in Lyon and all that they have to offer....

5-Tips-For-Living-in-Nice,-France

5 Tips For Living in Nice, France

Expats in Nice live in a part of country that attracts a lot of tourists. If you can manage the crowds and find some way to enjoy all of the culture Nice has to offer, it might be the perfect place for you.

Expats in Nice live in a part of country that attracts a lot of tourists. If you can manage the crowds and find some way to enjoy all of the culture Nice has to offer, it might be the perfect place f...

10-Tips-For-Living-in-Paris

10 Tips For Living in Paris

Expats in Paris live in the fabled City of Lights, but what do you need to know to actually get there and establish yourself? Here are a few basic steps to help get the ball rolling. Includes information about visas, health care, where to live and more!

Expats in Paris live in the fabled City of Lights, but what do you need to know to actually get there and establish yourself? Here are a few basic steps to help get the ball rolling. Includes inform...

Cigna International Health Insurance

Write a Comment about this Article

Sign In to post a comment.
addacomment

First Published: Jan 11, 2014

Cigna Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in France from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

Culture-Shock-in-EpinalAn Expat Talks about Culture Shock & Living in Epinal, France

An expat in Epinal, France gets candid about the culture shock she experience when moving to France. She advises newcomers to get out and meet people. She started an English-speaking group in her small town and met lots of locals that way.

An expat in Epinal, France gets candid about the culture shock she experience when moving to France. She advises newcomers to get out and meet people. She started an English-speaking group in her sma...

Living-in-EpinalAn Expat Discusses Living in Epinal, France

An expat shares what it's like to live in the small town of Epinal, France.

An expat shares what it's like to live in the small town of Epinal, France. ...

Finding-the-Right-International-School-in-FranceFinding the Right International School in France

Choosing an international school in France can be a difficult decision. This article provides an overview of some popular international schools in Paris and other areas of France.

Choosing an international school in France can be a difficult decision. This article provides an overview of some popular international schools in Paris and other areas of France....

10-Tips-for-Living-in-France10 Tips for Living in France

Expats offer tips on health insurance, renting in Paris, culture shock, meeting people and more.

Expats offer tips on health insurance, renting in Paris, culture shock, meeting people and more....

5-Great-Places-to-Retire-in-Western-Europe5 Great Places to Retire in Western Europe

We asked expats about great places to retire in Western Europe. While many Western European countries have prohibitively high living costs, there are a few areas that fit the retirement bill. These are some of the recommendations!

We asked expats about great places to retire in Western Europe. While many Western European countries have prohibitively high living costs, there are a few areas that fit the retirement bill. These ...

12-Expats-Talks-About-What-Its-Like-Moving-to-France12 Expats Talks About What It's Like Moving to France

Expats in France discuss the challenges and adventures of moving to France. From the high cost of living in France to what to bring when you move (and what to leave behind).
Expats in France discuss the challenges and adventures of moving to France. From the high cost of living in France to what to bring when you move (and what to leave behind). ...

France Guide
Other Links
Our Story Our Team Contact Us Submit an Article Advertising Travel Warnings

Copyright 1997-2020 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal