Americans living in France in 2012 can still be an isolating experience. Thank god for the internet which has bridged a huge gap of this phenomena. A large number of us older timers have experienced the meaning of total cultural isolation. Where a freshly mailed newspaper clippings from a local paper in the states would bring joy and tears to our eyes in melancholic souvenir, or the thrill of an occasional american or english film not dubbed of it's original language, was an evening of bliss guaranteed ! We've seen the information super highway roar through relentlessly innondating our thirsts, now social media, bringing us constant detailed remembrance of our youth and beyond a click away.

Paris remains the biggest attraction of all, for artists , for business, for a unique quality of life in one of the world's most beautiful cities. Paris aside, the numbers of Americans living in the rest of France, though numerous, is scattered. My personal experience having lived in Paris years ago, the isolation was compensated by the myriad of activities both social & cultural. The never ending flow of visits from family, friends, friends of family, family of friends twice removed, all coming to Paris for their very first time, and you, a "local", chosen by the destiny of your origins, as the appointed official making sure that their trip to the City of Lights remains unforgetable and memorable.

Rural France is another story. The geography of this country, once astutely described as a jewel, each region hiding it's own wealth of cultural and scenic treasures. But where are the Americans ? Our presence is nonetheless everywhere, though not quite the size of Texas, France remains huge ! We're everywhere, a majority of us in Paris for both business and personal reasons, but our presence is in cities, towns, villages in every region of France. We love it here for the "je ne sais pas quoi" factor. We're scattered everywhere, here because of work, we married him or married her, because the notion that a business idea would work better here, because the children's schooling, or our retirement dream had finally come true, WHATEVER the reason we're here , so.......... AMERICANS UNITE !!!!

Catharine and James, founders of SFN have kindly extended the availability of their chat forum for our own "on line " version of an American "Happy Hour" ( BYOB is advised) , where all or nothing can be discussed, where good and bad ideas can be exchanged, any fat can be chewed, brains can be stormed, jobs may be found or an eventual "who knows what until we try it " can be realized ! This, of course, does not exclude our other numerous anglo-saxon friends from joining in on the fun. The more, the merrier, come one, come all !!!

STARTING MONDAY the 16th OF JANUARY from 8PM to 11PM here on the SFN CHAT FORUM

French media has had a rattling awakening today as the Huffington Post's french operations begins this morning in France. Anne Sinclaire, adored former celebrity news anchor AND devoted wife of Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK), has been made editorial chief. As much as her return to interpret & influence political thought in France is welcome, is the departure from politics also hailed of her severely tarnished husband. DSK, months away from a probable shoe in as the next french president and the askewed future first lady has saved the honor of their family. There could not have been a finer ending to their story.

I'll be in the States for the next few weeks getting my country "fix," but I would love to join the chat after I get back. Are you going to do it every Monday?