It’s always nice to meet young and adventerous Europeans, this time from France. This young couple from Paris area are recent transplants in Austin.
Who are you?
Bastien & Solène Le Guen-Lablans
We are 28 years old and have been married for almost 2 years and together for over 6 years.
We both were born and raised in the Parisian region, France. Our entire family is still living there.
We love travelling, getting to know different cultures and people, sharing good time with family and friends, good food, board games, movies, dancing and enjoying nature’s beauties.
How did you end up in Austin, TX of all places?
We moved to Austin in August 2017 directly from France because of a great opportunity Bastien obtained. Bastien is indeed a hairstylist at a luxury standard and an expert in chignon/updo. He has worked in the industry over than 12 years and mostly for DESSANGE, the iconic French brand. Bastien is currently working at DESSANGE PARIS AUSTIN in Davenport Village on the 360.
Bastien has a lot of experiences in fashion shows, photo shooting and most recently dance performance as he designed the hairstyle for the two French artists of Corps Multiple.
Solène used to work in the hotel industry for 7 years. Before leaving France, she was Event Manager for a large Hyatt hotel at Paris CDG airport. Passionate about travelling, she graduated with a Master’s degree in hospitality management after having worked 9 months in Vietnam.
The best and worst about Austin for you. What is a typical day and weekend??
We truly love this vibrant and human-sized city which offers a quick access to nature and has an array of good bars and restaurants. People here are very welcoming and nice. Even though people don’t know how to drive, they are courteous and polite.
Our way of life is kind of healthier as we work out at least twice a week, we have dinner and go to bed earlier than back in France. On Sundays, we like to either chill out at home during the few bad weather weeks or we like to hike and find a good spot to swim.
How do you find the Austin lifestyle compared to Paris ?
The weather is so lovely in Austin compared to Paris where rain is unpredictable. We love Fall season here in Austin. The cost of living is cheaper here but depending on which item. Gas of course is inexpensive and you can rent an affordable apartment for a large living space.
EuroCircle note: It rains about as much in Paris as in London – but Paris gets more sunlight!
As mentioned before, Americans in Austin are lovely, and we are far away from the Parisians’ bad mood. We barely feel overwhelmed and stressed out. We feel secure here.
Nonetheless, healthcare is the main drawback. We pray to avoid hospital and any doctor visits…
How do you make your living now – and how would you like to develop that career?
Right now Solène works to promote Bastien. Thus, we are focusing on building Bastien’s clientele. Besides she is volunteering for a French school in Austin – Education Française Austin.
Do you see the differences between nationalities easily – yours vs. Americans vs. other Europeans?
It is quite obvious to tell who is not American. We heard before moving in the USA that it wouldn’t be easy to befriend with Americans. Nevertheless, we were determined to be integrated and managed to build sincere friendship with some Americans.
Later on we met Europeans and felt easily quick connections.
What is the essence of Austin to you – that your friends should know.
We definitely want to make our friends feel the laid-back essence of the city! Fast-casual and barbecue restaurants embody this spirit. The beautiful landscapes of the Hill Country are a jewel to see.
What do you miss from your country/elsewhere heritage (food, culture, movies etc) …or elsewhere?
We miss bread and delicious cheap farm-made cheeses. Even though we can find more and more good products but they remain still expensive. Paris offers so much to do and see in term of history and culture, we really miss that here in Austin. However the nature gives us beautiful shows frequently.
We really miss Family & Friends !!!!!!!
When you think about what did you think about life in Texas before you moved there ?
When we first heard about Austin, TX, as French, we idiotically thought locals wore cowboy hats and boots and lived on their ranches with their horses.
Silly stereotypes, the same to think that all French are romantic, men wear beret etc.
Knowing more about life and having lived with your decisions for a while (like work) – would you still choose to be there and why? Why not..
We would like to live here few years for sure as we want to build a business and raise our future children here. However we would travel back to our country at least once a year as we are very attached to our family and friends.
What cafes or restaurants do you recommend to tourists to go to here and why? Or to do something else.
Experience a great Texan steakhouse at Steiner Ranch and enjoy a breathtaking view over the Lake Travis. The rooftop bar of Handle Bar on the 5th street is fun and gives you a nice insight of Austin Downtown. Should you prefer a muted place, have a well-done cocktail at the iconic Driskill hotel’s bar.
What would be your ideal life – with no monetary issues to make it happen!
Have a beautiful family perfectly bilingual, a house with a nice garden and pool, a very interesting work with a good balance with our private life and time to travel all over the world.
Would you move back to your country fulltime – yes or no (why and why not)?
Not yet! We have so much to do here and have invested a lot. We cannot simply leave everything behind us and restart from scratch in our own country.
What has been the most difficult issue/s to deal with here in Austin for you?
To understand the bank system and to still deal with healthcare system.
How to connect with you:
IN FRENCH – FRenchMorning.com