The Parisian Dream: Realistic?

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Where does your mind wander off to when you hear the words ‘Paris’ or ‘France’? Does it conjure up images of endless pavements filled with sprawling terraces, the melodic chitchat of French and romantic fumes of cigarette smoke on a lazy summer’s day? Does your mind drift off into the streets of Montmartre while Edith Piaf’s ‘La Vie en Rose’ plays in the background? Or do you smell freshly baked baguettes instead?

If so, you’re not too far off but you’re not seeing the full picture either. More often than not, tourists and first-timers are shown the shiny side of town. Eiffel Tower, Galeries Lafayettes, Arc de Triomphe, Le Louvre, La Seine, Champs Elysées et tous les incontournables! And do you know what? That’s okay because it is part of what makes up the true essence of Paris.

What’s not okay is thinking that that’s all there is to this city. What about Chinatown aka the 13th arrondissement? The slums around Paris? The colourful graffiti and the kebab restaurants that can be spotted here and there but especially around Gare du Nord? All the places that tour groups avoid because they’re not always pretty?

Perhaps it’s just where I used to live, but people often seem to have a rather distorted image of what a Parisian lifestyle truly entails. You have French bureaucracy (which is your worst nightmare and that’s putting it lightly), you have some interesting people to put up with, not speaking French will render even the simplest tasks impossible or highly complicated and the transportation is a mess.


You have delicious bread. A friend of mine once said, “If it’s not made in France, it’s not a baguette.” I thought it was just arrogance….until now, and while I’m on the topic of food, what about the countless gastronomic restaurants that make this city a chef’s dream? The museums and exhibitions are top notch and there is ALWAYS one happening somewhere. Summertime is when you sit along the Seine and share a bottle of crisp rosé with friends, laughing about life. The architecture is gorgeous, for the most part, and the shopping is great!

I guess what I’m trying to say, and this goes for everything in life, is that one should always try to be as realistic as possible. This way, fewer people would be susceptible to the “Paris Syndrome” (It’s a real thing!). Falling in love with anything or anyone requires you to accept the flaws just as much as you accepted the beautiful and the positive!

Chateau de Chantilly


If I had to sum up Chateau de Chantilly, I’d say it is a modest version of Versailles. The chateau, just 45 minutes away from Gare du Nord station in Paris, is a beauty surrounded by a moat with acres of gorgeous greenery and an enormous stable house (Les Grandes Ecuries or The Great Stables) just behind.


Walking from Chantilly train station, however, you’d most likely reach the stables first. These impressive stables could house up to 240 horses and 500 hounds back in the day and is considered a masterpiece of 18th century architecture. Today, this impressive space has been turned into a horse museum (Musée Vivante de Cheval/Living Museum of the Horse) and filled with a variety of equestrian equipment that look very much like torture devices. Truth be told, the horse museum was not exactly my favourite part of the visit but the sheer size and grandiosity of the building is indeed breathtaking. The first part of the visit stops at a little cafe serving sandwiches, refreshments and crepes so that you’re ready for the next part of the trip which involves crossing the road over to the gardens and the chateau itself.

The gardens itself are so large that you’d need more than the little afternoon I had given myself to escape the hectic ambiance of central Paris. Still, I managed to poke my nose into L’île d’amour. How magical would it be in summer ? The November fog gives the place an almost eery feel, very reminiscent of a 19th century vampire movie.


Inside, the Chateau is set up very similarly to Versailles. You’ll walk through rooms and rooms lavishly decorated with fancy armchairs, ornated tables and grand chandeliers that sparkle and glisten even hundreds of years later. What sets it apart completely, however, is the Musée Condé that houses the second largest collection of art after the Louvre. In here, you will find gorgeous pieces such as The Three Graces by Raphael and other works of art by famous artists such as Nicolas Poussin as well as my personal favourite: Portrait of Simonetta Vespucci by Piero di Cosimo. Also, can we just take a minute to talk about the library?! #Goals.


All in all, a calm and tranquil afternoon away from the hustle and bustle of Paris. Just don’t wear white trainers, haha!

Before I sign off, here is some practical information. The chateau, the stables and the gardens make up the Domaine de Chantilly. To visit the entirety of this domain, take an entire day off and bring 17 euros unless you are handicapped, a student, between 3-17 or unemployed, in which case you pay only 10 euros. If you only want to visit the gardens, it is 5 euros during low season instead of the usual 8 euros but I am definitely going back next Summer to finish my tour of the gardens! See you then!

For more information about tickets and opening times:


Moving To France: A Quick Glance

Seeing as I’m rather inspired today, I decided to put pen to paper. Ever since I got my first full-time job, I’ve found it difficult to find the time (nor the money!). It’s starting to make sense now, all those comments that my friends made but that I couldn’t relate to at the time.

“Everyday, I finish work at 8pm, go to the gym and am back at 10pm but I still haven’t had dinner.”

“I literally have zero left in my bank account after paying the bills.”

“I miss my student life! You’re so lucky!”

Well, not anymore! This girl is working a 39 hour week and as a sales associate, you are constantly on your feet dealing with the whims and emotions of female customers who often have an unwilling, uncooperative husband or boyfriend in tow but that’s a story for another time.

Moving to France has been an eye-opening experience in so many ways that words cannot describe. One of them, I’ve mentioned above. I’ve always appreciated the significance of money and I paid my way through university, like so many others. Luckily, my graduation came with a diploma sans debt so I’ve been very blessed in that respect. However, I had never had to fully support myself financially as in I had never paid a day’s rent in my life nor had I ever had to work a full-time job. That’s all changed now!


For a girl who’s just moved to Paris less than three months, I would say I’m faring quite well in this bustling city of cigarette smoke, coffee and croissants. My pay allows me to live comfortably enough and to even save some each month. Unfortunately, I have no holidays as I’m working in retail so one day off on the 25th for Christmas, another day off on the 1st for New Year’s and it’s back to the daily grind.

Otherwise, Paris is just breathtaking and it breaks my heart to hear some of my French friends ask me, “Why would you come back?” Little background story: I did my exchange three years ago in Lille, a student town on the northern border of France. Clearly, they’ve become used to the beauty of this historical city and taking things for granted is a straight path to sadness as happiness is the ability to appreciate the little things in life, is it not? Of course, there are things about France, about Paris, the culture and the mentality that irk me but such is life. Downsides are there in every nook and cranny. I have never seen a city without problems, a relationship without issues or a job that couldn’t be better. What changes everything is perspective and how we react to situations.


All in all, despite my deeply frustrating struggles in the beginning (also a story for another time), my efforts have paid off and I am finally enjoying my Parisian life, starting with a couple awesome bars, restaurants and exhibitions! I cannot wait to discover the rest of the city and have even been able to do so by taking up a modelling job for a Taiwanese online clothing company. We shoot in beautiful locations that are more often than not, deserted on quiet Sunday afternoons. My days are filled with the babble of French and each day, I discover a fun, new word or phrase! I’ve even started tackling a 459 page novel in the language…though that might take a year!

What really takes my breath away, though, is seeing the Eiffel Tower coming out of metro Concorde every morning on my way to work. In my own little way, I’ve made it and it only gets better!



法國打工度假之困難:找工作 Part I

剛抵達法國的親朋好友,請別太興奮因為接下來的幾個禮拜會很困難。其實在巴黎找工作會比在巴黎租房子還要來的簡單! 很詭異吧? 但下次分享文章再來解釋為何如此。

本人先分享自己找工作的經驗,順便抱怨一下因為過去這幾個禮拜實在有夠頭昏腦脹的。由於本身之前在法國珠寶品牌實習、未來也想念奢侈品管理(International Luxury Management)所以決定還是留在這行,對以後申請碩士也較有益。最容易的方式就是找精品銷售員之類的工作。於是在我度假最後一個禮拜的其中一天,我拿了一疊法文履歷去老佛爺發了一整個下午。

辦完簽證回巴黎之後再聯絡了幾家去老佛爺發履歷當天認識的公司、透過面試之後,在抵達法國的第四天就找到了工作! 看到這應該會覺得怎麼有那麼好的事情? 上帝也是這樣認為,於是在收到通知整整一個禮拜之後才發現原來我品牌雇用的外聘公司(Modelor)不願意雇用我。

他們的原因? 因為我沒有carte vitale (健保卡)

但我在此非常明確的說明一次: 持有打工度假的朋友不...carte vitale


由於持有打工度假的人通常從沒在法國工作過所以不可能有sécurité sociale的號碼。這是公司必須為員工向政府報公(DPAE – déclaration préalable de l’embauche),進行immatriculation之後才會有屬於自己的一組sécurité sociale號碼。不然第二個方式就是公司報工完畢,給你一份工作約(contrat de travail), 你拿著這份工作約去申請carte vitale

另外,報公是每個公司必須為員工進行的程序。這家外聘公司不知道從哪編出一些歪理說因為他不是我的直接雇主所以無法幫我報公? 明明其他家外聘公司都跟我確認再確認是可行的?

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結論: 簡單來說,就是modelor不願意花那個時間來準備這些麻煩的文件。害原本很開心、已經在找公寓的我要重新再找一份工作因為無倫如何講、如何解釋,他們就是裝傻、態度又差! 或許他們完全不了解打工度假簽證但也不願意查資料、了解狀況。當人家是過來玩的,也不知道其實我們是費了許多心思也做了非常多的準備!

法國打工度假簽證 French Working Holiday Visa

France currently has working holiday agreements with the following countries:

Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia (4 months) and Taiwan

If your country has been listed above and you are:

  • Between the age of 18-30
  • Are motivated by the opportunity to travel and discover France while possibly taking up paid employment
  • Have never participated in this programme previously

Then congratulations! You could qualify for the French working holiday visa. However, this particular post will be dedicated to my fellow Taiwanese countrymen/women so I shall proceed in Mandarin.

寫這篇文章的主要動機為協助想赴法打工度假的朋友們。由於本人簽證已審核通過,我認為自己應該是有資格給各位一些tips and tricks並且分享自己的經驗! 這樣或許可以讓大家放心也可以讓整個程序輕鬆點。


上個月去法國度假五個禮拜時,開始很認真地思考未來方向。我未來想要的生活品質是什麼? 如何達到? 14歲來台學中文,原本只待一年結果待了將近十年。大學畢業後決定要出去看看。原本考慮過香港、倫敦或者回南非但是19歲去法國交換之後,這國家給我留下了好印象而且法文也學了一半。最後下定決心一定要把這語言學好,我的目標是法文要跟中文一樣好。


在法國度假的第三個禮拜有朋友跟我說, “你可以試試看申請打工度假簽證來法國。

我抬起頭看了他。我應該是一副很困惑的樣子因為他又說, “我朋友就是申請這個,他現在在巴黎工作。


visa docs (2)

法國在臺協會的網站寫得一清二楚還附上了所需文件表格所以我在這裡只會針對一些較麻煩的幾個文件做說明因為其他文件像是長期簽證申請表或動機和計畫書都蠻容易理解的。但是要請大家好好地把在台協會所提供的資料看兩遍! 因為去繳件當天,我因為忘了帶護照影本就被櫃台小姐叮嚀。

  1. 財力證明: 帳號需要有至少2100歐元。這個可以去郵局申請但是要記得他只能幫你印出前天的餘額所以若是有需要移動大筆資金至少要等一兩天後再去申請。每份20元,第二份起每增加一份就是10元。
  2. 健康檢查證明: 原本我是去臺北市立聯合醫院仁愛院區但服務人員態度滿差。說要做健檢請醫生開證明,他硬是要我做非常徹底又完整的檢查 (包含抽血等等) 才會有醫生願意幫我開證明。如果真的要這樣也沒關係但又要等一個禮拜於是我決定換到國泰醫院。國泰醫院服務態度不但親切,當天就拿到健康證明。醫生很樂意的使用了我找到的版本幫我寫了一份,在這裡給大家當參考!medical certificate.png
  3. 無犯罪紀錄證明: 又稱良民證,每份100元。記得要帶身分證及護照正本去申請。若是住台北的大概只有這裡可以申請良民證: 台北市政府警察局外事科 台北市中正區延平南路96 (02)23817494 但是暑假人特別多!
  4. 保險證明: 我覺得讓大駕非常混淆的關鍵字就是在台協會網站上生育這兩個字。其實大部分台灣保險公司都不會特別包含生育這部分,大概只有在台協會所提供的保險公司名單上的那幾家才會有但是都比較貴。最後我還是先申請了富邦銀行的十全大補 計畫A (2,360台幣) 在加 海外防護加值 (1,074台幣) 而我的簽證一樣通過了所以建議大家可以不要太過於擔心生育是否有包含在內。insurance (2)insurance1 (2)
  5. 來回交通票: 這個可以去旅行社請他們幫你印行程表就好也不用付任何的錢。我的去程是已經先訂好了並且繳了費用再去旅行社請他們印回程行程表給我。

以上就是比較麻煩的幾個文件的說明! 希望有協助到各位! 若是有任何的疑問可以傳訊息給我或者留言! 祝大家申請簽證順利


For more information, watch my YOUTUBE video!


Sicily: Day 2 Taormina

DAY 2 – Taormina


Taormina has got to be my favourite city out of all the ones we visited, and trust me, we visited quite a few during our short-lived nine day trip. Why Taormina then? This city definitely has a few more tourists than the rest but is also one of the livelier ones with bars and clubs every few metres. Every corner you turn is a feast for the eyes, architecturally speaking. The girls here can be seen donning stylish jumpsuits and wedge heels.

The day before, we had bumped into two holidaymakers as we were hauling our luggage into our cosy room in Villa Magara. The two energetic ladies were about to finish their trip and had enigmatically told us about how Taormina was rather posh, which really wasn’t their thing, but do try a granita* at Bam Bar.

Hallelujah! Thank God we bumped into them because as instructed, we found the charming, little, family-owned establishment right on the corner of a street. Our travel guide had listed this particular spot as well so it was a must-see and honestly, this place deserves a special mention because I had THE BEST granita of my life here. The granita tasted like real fruit and the flavours all blended perfectly. The rich chocolate granita was topped off with a flower of fresh cream so of course, this isn’t a low-in-calory moment but it was one I’d never forget! One thing you must remember is that Bam Bar is PACKED. We waited half an hour for a table!

*Granita: a course textured ice confection typically made from fruit – Merriam-Webster Dictionary

bam bar

The Garden of Villa Comunale is where we saw our first wedding; we saw two in total. The nervous bride, apparently from the UK, walked down the stairs with her father as the wedding guests and the visitors of the public gardens stood by and gawked at the procession. It was a perfect location for a wedding and the weather was gorgeous! How romantic to be wed one summer’s day on the island of Sicily…



Not To Be Missed:

(I won’t be listing churches or cathedrals as each city has hundreds! You can’t miss them!)



  • Bam Bar – Full description above
  • Timoleone CaféA jewel in the heart of Taormina. The place is cosy, quiet and more or less “hidden” which makes for a lovely escape from the constant site seeing and visiting. The staff spoke amazing english and was very professional!



  • La Finestra sul Mare – A bed and breakfast owned by Giovanni which we found on Airbnb. The room was large with a bathroom and a completely furnished kitchen on the way in. You have a terrace facing the ocean which looks splendid at sun set in all its pink and orange magnificence. Breakfast is provided for approximately 7-8 euros and you get dinner cooked by Giovanni and his wife for an extra 20-25 euros.

Sicily: Day 1 Cefalu


Nine days of non-stop travelling around the island, a different city each night and several foodie discoveries! Below is a recount and a few tips on how we managed.

What you absolutely must not forget to pack:

  1. COMFY SHOES! A pair of trainers is a must, flip-flops for the beach and some casual summer shoes should suffice! Wedges are alright if you absolutely must but you definitely won’t be needing your heels, girls!
  2. Sunscreen – You will need a lot of it especially when exposed to the Sicilian sun.
  3. A hat – Most useful for preventing a heat stroke
  4. A guide – because even if you do buy 3G/Internet, chances are, you won’t be getting a strong signal all the time. For the francophones out there, we found Le Routard to be most useful!



  1. Go right before or after peak season. Two return tickets with Easyjet for two adults were only 200 euros before peak season (we went around late June, early July) whereas a friend had paid 600 euros because his flights were during peak season.
  2. Book a car for your trip if you want to see several spots around the island autonomously which is how we did all the cities and spots below in nine days. We booked with Europcar who are more or less reliable but their Sicilian branch aren’t the best at answering their phones!
  3. Book accommodation via (this website worked the best for us) and always go for the bed and breakfasts! They tend to be cheaper, especially before peak season where a night will cost you only 35-60 euros for two.


What To Remember:

  1. Sometimes there is a “coperto” or in other words, a cover charge for restaurants. It can be anywhere from 1-3 euros per person.
  2. Sicilian restaurants are incredibly generous in terms of portion. Usually, a meal at an Italian restaurant consists of:
    • antipasti (starter) – fresh salads, platters etc.
    • primo piatto (first dish) – usually risotto or pasta
    • secondo piatto (second dish) – meat or fish
    • contorni (side dish)
    • dolce (dessert)

Italians will typically have all of the above for a special meal but if you’re dining with one other person, most Italians will share a starter and order one primo piatto each. In my case, we often shared the full menu since we wanted to try as many different dishes as we could. Most of our meals came up to 30 euros on average.

  1. Parking can be expensive, ranging from 7-10 euros for a few hours…However, most of our bed and breakfast hosts provided free parking! The cheapest parking was at the Riserva naturale dello Zingaro where we paid only 3 euros for the whole day.


DAY 1 – Cefalu
We landed in Palermo early and picked up our
rental car (an adorable mini Fiat) at the airport. Most of the morning was spent driving to Cefalu which was a one hour and a half drive from Palermo airport. We arrived at midday where we lunched by the beach and ordered way too much food as it was our first day and we were completely unaware of the copious Sicilian portion sizes.

All in all, Cefalu is a lovely, little seaside town with charming beaches dotted around its harbour. Though it didn’t make my favourites list, it was a lovely welcome to the beautiful island of Sicily.


Not To Be Missed



Popular with tourists as their outdoor dining area sits directly in front of the ocean. Perfect spot for watching the sun set over dinner but rather expensive coperto if memory serves me well…



Daniella was a gracious host! She spoke English and the check-in time was relatively flexible! The location is excellent and provides an amazing view of the city. The pool was a huge plus and the breakfast was laden with sweet and savoury pastries and breads for only 4 euros per person! The one and only downside was perhaps the mosquitoes but you will be given two repellents: one for inside the room and the other to be placed outside the apartment.