Created in 1985 by two Parisians, Dominique and Françoise, Paris Insider's guide has been the first annual booklet specially made by the French for the international community of Paris.
The idea came out in 1984, when they regularly looked for new members for the free English-French conversation groups they organized in Neuilly. These ladies groups were very successful among the international families sent to Paris by embassies and companies for an average of 3 years. Every year people went away and new ones came.
So they regularly went to coffee mornings, to embassy and club receptions, to school and church events, to Christmas fairs...explaining that these free conversation meetings helped familiarizing with the French language, experiencing culture at first hand and making new friends. Every new member was very welcome.
In those days organisations helped foreign business people and families to settle but nothing was really done to help them meet the French and the French way of life. This very busy community had its own schools, churches, hospitals, clubs and organized lots of events for the expats. Only 10% spoke French and most families were so busy that they did not have the time to learn more that a few essential words of French. When you know that you are in the country for just a few years, and you are surrounded by English-speaking people, learning French is not always the priority.
So Dominique and Françoise had together the idea of making something which could be useful to these people who had to live in a foreign country without knowing the language. They wanted them to know a little more about the French way of life and wished also to answer the questions they had been asked in the conversation groups about cross cultural problems. So they could make the best of their stay in Paris.
They thought of something which could be distributed by the people they knew in embassies, international organizations, schools, churches...
Meetings with the Mairie de Paris about welcoming foreigners coming to work convinced them to put together the information.
Financial means to publish were to find. Why not offering ads to shops owners and organisations wishing to be better known in the international community?
The first Paris Insider's guide was published in 1985. 2000 copies were not enough.
The following year, 5000 booklets were printed.
Then over the years 10 000, 20 000, 30 000 copies, and a website in 2001.
Paris Insider's guide is now 34 years old and still published by French people for the international community.
The free distribution through embassies, companies, international organisations, law firms, etc... is permanently updated.