Joann Pai (@sliceofpai)

From: Vancouver, Canada

Currently living in: Paris, France

Best for coffee: La Fontaine de Belleville

Best for a quick bite to eat: Miznon (get their cauliflower pita)

Best for wine: Frenchie’s Wine Bar

Best for a meal: Restaurant 52 and Clown Bar

Best for cocktails: Sherry Butt

Best for dessert: Pierre Herme (try the pastries or macarons)



When Joann first visited Europe in 2003, she’d never been to a place that was so rich with history. Compared to the United States or Canada, her former and current homes, Europe seemed ancient, teeming with history, stories, and beautiful possibilities.

She was drawn to the visuals — the idea — of Paris.

Its architecture. Its cafes and cobblestones. Its romantic settings. Its museums and marketplaces. Its passionate citizens.

But she pushed the idea away, finding excuses to stay in Vancouver until, one day, she left her government job to pursue a career in photography. If she was going to switch careers, she figured, she might as well pursue her dream of living abroad, too.

A quick Google search and some discussions with other expats told her everything she needed to know about getting a visa to live abroad for a year.

She put her belongings in a storage unit and rented out her apartment. When she left Vancouver, she only took one suitcase. She thought she’d only be in Paris for a year.

That was in 2015.