Anne Ditmeyer is someone I have been wanting to introduce you to for a while now, so I'm pleased as punch to be bringing back LouLou meets with such a bang. I'm in awe of Anne's design skills and her ability to maintain such a busy schedule whilst doing the big stuff, such as becoming a French citizen! I also find it adorable that she is currently living in Montmartre, which has strong links to one of her favourite French films. Get to know Anne a little more below, Lou xx
Hi Anne, how did you end up in Paris?
I’ve had an on and off love affair with Paris since 1998 after my first trip with my family. We stayed with long time family friends, so I think that unique insight into a different culture really stuck with me. I returned later to study abroad and found a unique program (which unfortunately no longer exists) where classes took place in my professors' homes and studios, and from there we’d venture out into the city to see what we had talked about. It was magical and very much influenced where I am now and the work I do. After graduating I had the chance to work for a year as an English teaching assistant in a French high school outside of Paris. That was when I fully came to embrace French culture and vacation (I worked 12 hours a week and had 2 weeks of vacation every 6 weeks). More recently, in 2009 I moved to Paris for a Masters in Global Communication at the American University of Paris and have been here ever since.
Could you explain what you do in Paris?
I have yet to master explaining what I do because so much is shaped by my experiences. Overall I work between design, travel, communication and education. I started a business in France, in order to stay after I graduated, doing various freelance work from giving tours of Paris through Vayable, teaching design related classes online on Skillshare and working with various clients, including Parsons Paris design school where I’m the Communications Manager to shorter projects with Louis Vuitton and Airbnb. Moving forward I want to be doing more design and business teaching, trainings and workshops.
You recently acquired French nationality - how was that whole experience for you?
It’s a long story, which I’ve written about on my blog in detail. The short version is that I went through hell for years renewing my carte de séjour. Becoming French was long and slow but I feel like I gained a couple weeks of my life back a year from not having to run around collecting paperwork all the time. (Never fear, running my own business still keeps me on my toes!).
Your favourite Parisian experience thus far?
This question stumped me. I've had so many wonderful experiences, but as a foreigner in Paris, I think it's the simple, mundane day-to-day experiences that bring me the most joy.
Something you miss from home? Something you'd miss if you left Paris?
The thing I miss the most about the U.S. is space. I feel like in Paris it’s rare that I can put my arms out and not touch something or someone. It can get claustrophobic at times, but that’s why travel is key. On the flip side, I LOVE how accessible Paris is and how I can walk everywhere. I also miss the U.S. where I can walk down the street without inhaling someone else’s cigarette.
One thing on your bucket list?
For the longest time I wanted to visit France Miniature (116 to scale monuments from various regions of France) and I accomplished that this summer. I think Bal de Versailles is next! On a larger scale, one day I'd like to publish a book, and maybe a screenplay.
Your favourite Parisian neighbourhood?
This is tough because I love so many parts of Paris. I recently moved to Montmartre, and while I knew the 18th was nice before, I never fully realised what a village it was until I moved there. It’s so charming. The 3rd and 11th are other favorites. The 17th is quickly growing on me too.
About to be stranded on a desert island, you have the choice to take with you:
- your favourite book/magazine: Essentialism
- your favourite piece of music: anything Backstreet Boys
- your favourite design/craft item: illustrated maps
Quick fire questions
Favourite patisserie? Popelini’s fraise chou (only available in summer)
Favourite metro line? Line 3 — it’s not as crowded as some others and is a great way to cut across the city
Rive Gauche ou Rive Droite? Rive Droite, but I’m happy to cross over any time
Red, white or rosé? Rosé – it means the weather is nice!
Favourite Parisian café? Deux Moulins (where Amélie worked). The food is actually really good. Favourite French film? Amélie! I saw it in 2001 when I studied abroad. I love how quirky it is. I also adored the recent film L’Effet Aquatique, which takes place in a swimming pool outside of Paris (as someone who made it their challenge to visit all the public pools of Paris, I appreciated this film and laughed a lot).