the great escape new york garance dore illustrations

9 years ago by

You know you’ve reached a new level in your New York life when you hear yourself say:
“Well, ok, I don’t know if I could spend my whole life here. But New York is an amazing city!!!” It’s such a big step in the development of your New York identity. The moment when you realize maybe you’re not such a hardcore New Yorker after all.

For the true New Yorker – the kind who will live and die here – those words come as a shock.

Take, for example, last year when my friend Laure said to me, “I think some day I’d like to go back to Europe.” I almost fell out my chair. What? Why? How could you ever want to leave the greatest city in the world? The most exciting city, the coolest city, the city that has the most opportunity in the world, in your life, in the world of your life?

It almost felt like a betrayal. Kind of like hearing someone is ready to get off the happy boat you and your friends have taken out for vacation (ok, pretty hard working vacation).

Well, that was without counting the movement in my life. My imminent change of decade and the bloody (sorry), shitty winter (sorry) that had been hitting us so hard. We’ll talk more about you later, fucked up (sorry) winter.

There was also the fact that little by little, certain major traits of the city were revealing themselves to me. The dangers of the city, if you prefer. I’ve identified three of them so far:

It’s a city of walking ideals.

In New York, the idea is that life is much easier when you have money (because rent prices are completely outrageous and, hey, aqua barré classes are expensive!). And even easier if you have a little layer of social polish (so you can be invited to the right parties and get all the good gossip and, most of all, feel important), and, of course, even easier when you’re skinnier, younger, and have a better career than other people.

None of that is surprising, I know, but what is surprising is when you realize those ideals are making their way into your subconscious without you even realizing it.
And without ever even asking yourself what you really wanted deep down, you find yourself in a kind of frenzied life competition (and sure, it’s a friendly competition, with that nice, American-style, healthy sense of competition. But make no mistake, it’s definitely a competition).

Restaurant life.

Ok, it’s cliché but, the other day, I was sitting at a table in a restaurant in New York (it was beautiful with good, healthy food, and full of noisy creatives, successful business people and smiling It girls and boys) when I realized that going to restaurants has pretty much become my main activity outside of work. I mean, ok, I did stop going to brunch on weekends because I was sick of fighting the crowds (it’s even louder on weekends, who knows why, probably the mimosas) but even so, it freaked me out a little.

I imagined myself in ten years, sitting at some new, trendy restaurant, doing exactly the same thing, but just a little older, and not being able to tell one year apart from another. For some people, this life is paradise. For me, it’s Groundhog Day.

Peter Pan syndrome.

Some say it’s pure joy. My life here is pretty much the same as my life when I was 20, except I work a lot more. I see my friends, I party like a teenager, I have friends of all ages and, seriously, I don’t even notice the time go by. They say New York keeps people young and the thing is, it’s pretty true.

It’s a lifestyle that most New Yorkers adore – but, for me, I don’t know. I like the idea of change, of not having the same experiences at 20, 30, and 40…

So, anyway, I’m not sure how it happened, but at some point when I was buried deep in that endless winter that we’ve already complained about so many times on this blog that I don’t need to paint you a more dreadful picture, I started to dream about living somewhere else.

I have a hard time with the endless winters. I’ve suffered from the gray days in Paris, and I’m having a hard time with the cold vortexes in New York. They kind of make me feel like I’m not really living, actually, even though Chris and I did everything we could to make the best of it. We got back into snowboarding, we discovered a passion for soup and, when we really couldn’t take it anymore, we just flew to Costa Rica. But I don’t know if that’s going to be enough.
To a Corsican girl, five months of violent winter is kind of like putting my life on hold. And I’m really tired of that.

So, we all decided, the team at the Studio and I, to go spend next winter in LA.

The ironic thing is, my desire to go to LA is the most New York phenomenon there is. I’m not the only one who talks about leaving in the winter, and we’re all going to laugh (a little embarrassed) next year when we find all the same noisy New York crowds in the veggie restaurants in LA.

But the other ironic thing is, when I talk about maybe leaving one day, in a distant future, maybe, I see the same look in everyone’s eyes that I probably would have given them a few months ago.

“What?? Where would you go? How, why? How could you want to leave the best city in the world? The most exciting city, the coolest city, the city that has the most opportunities in the world, in your life, in the world of your life?”

And that inevitable look that goes along with it, that means:

“So you’re just giving up, is that it? You’re not a real New Yorker, I guess. You’re going to go back to some anonymous city, some place less exciting, less cool, with fewer opportunities. Yeah, yeah. Ok, ok. I SEE.”

(And that’s when you get the condescending “you’ve failed” look. You actually have to be really brave to detach yourself from the Walking Ideal.)

Alright. All of this is just a bunch of ideas passing through my mind. I’m not sure how it will all play out. I’m not sure when – definitely not right away. I’ve been thinking about getting a little house Upstate for a few years now so I can get away on the weekends, like Laura, but I have to admit, the idea of spending a winter Upstate shoveling snow, euuuuuhhhhh, how can I put this…

What’s interesting is the little crack that showed up in a place I thought was protected from everything. New York is a city I’m having a real love story with. And if I know anything about love stories, it’s that a real love story is never really over, even if you have to make it long distance…

What about you? Have you ever wanted to escape from a place you loved?

Translated by Andrea Perdue


Add yours
  • I had to leave California. I love California. I went to school there for 3.5 years. Then when I moved to SF after grad to get a job, I didn’t get a job and spent all my money so I had to leave back to Canada. I actually missed the winters, which I used to hate. Last winter was the pits but I think I can take it because they aren’t all like that and in my middle age I’ve come to like the quiet, cozy indoors etc. But I still love California. I moved there again in 2008 but after 2 years I moved back again. It’s a love that I can’t live with for too long. But a love it is that keeps me coming back.

  • Wowww! Great news!
    I completely understand! Two years ago, I was fed up with Paris, my city and as I had the opportunity to go to the UAE (Dubai) for a year, I flew there. I was happy to live something else. But one year later, I was happy to come back to Paris, I miss my friends and family so much.
    Today, I consider the possibility of settling up in another country (a warmer one, winter was just so hard here!) for a few years. I love travelling!!!

    Le monde des petites

  • Tu as raison de vouloir vivre ton rêve Garance !
    Et LA en hiver… 30°C le 1er janvier, pourquoi s’en priver ?

    Les villes qu’on a aimé feront toujours partie de nous… et c’est super sympa d’y retourner de temps en temps, même sans y vivre ! La vie est trop courte pour rester toujours au même endroit…

  • I love that you and your team will live in LA and the illustration is so beautiful! I’ve always wanted to live in New York. I visited this amazing city twice in my life and I completely fell in love. I’ve been there for two months and I felt so good, it’s like I had lived there in another life :-). I live in a small city in Northern Spain, that I love but I’m looking for jobs in big cites and new opportunities in London or New York. So yes, I want to escape from a place I love and I like the idea of completely change my life!

  • I am in love with my city. I’ve been living here ever since my earliest childhood. Yet, sometimes I look through the window and I wish I could see more trees, maybe mountains in the dinstance. I would love to open my windows and hear nothing but the silence or birds chirping. I would love to breath better air. I would love to go to sleep without hearing a group of tourists trying to find a club or a restaurant or without motorcycles wheezing by. Or police / ambulance sirens. I would love not to be surrounded by people all the time. Yes, going out is great – new restaurants, new bars. But once in a while I get tired of all this and I am picturing myself somewhere more quiet, more green, more picturesque. Sigh.

  • Karen July, 9 2015, 5:14

    I like your comment, Anna. Well-said. I am in love with this city, too, and that seems pretty unshakable. But it’s the little things—sunlight, green trees, silence, moonlight—that tug at the corners of that love. Recently I decided that the wild nature in New York, the equivalent of mountains and ocean and silence, has to be art. I’ve been going to museums alone, the way that I used to go on hikes when I briefly lived in California, to encounter the wild. New York is a jungle after all. :)

  • It’s the weather and the lack of light. If you were born by the Mediterranean (like us) you just can’t stand long sad Winters that long. It’s our nature.

  • J’ai mis les pieds à NY pour la première fois fin mars et au final je me suis dit “ouai, okay” sans plus. Je pense que je m’en faisais une montagne à force de voir les films/séries mais qu’en grandissant, ce n’est plus ce qui me fait rêver.
    Devoir faire la file tout le temps en permanence pour tout et n’importe quoi, les prix élevés (surtout quand on a la chance d’y aller la seule semaine en quinze ans où le dollar est plus fort que l’euro), le froid glacial insupportable (alors qu’on quitte 17° en Belgique. EN BELGIQUE), le fait qu’on peut jamais se poser tranquillement boire un café (toujours vite, toujours à emporter, 3 tabourets face à une vitre ou rien), ne manger qu’au resto (j’ai même jamais vu un primeur), bref j’y ai été, j’ai vu ce que je voulais mais une fois me suffit. Je préfère l’Europe et sa douceur de vivre, sa diversité, sa richesse historique et culturelle (et gastronomique!!)
    Je finis mon internat et je vais m’installer près d’Avignon avec mon parisien parce qu’on en a marre du gris, que OUI, la vie est plus douce au soleil et qu’on a que le bonheur que l’on se donne, c’est une question de choix. il Faut bien choisir.

  • Garance, chère Garance, ce que tu décris est ce qui arrive aussi à tous les Parisiens d’adoption (dont je fais partie).
    Paris, New-York et Londres sont probablement les villes avec lesquelles se développent les relations les plus passionnelles: elles sont belles, inspirantes et très vivantes, chacune dans son style. Mais elles sont épuisantes aussi, elles ont de vraies défauts. Ces villes sont des divas, nous les aimons à la folie, mais parfois la folie nous bouffe.

    Ce que tu écris sur New-York, je crois que je pourrais l’écrire sur Paris.
    J’aime cette ville, je m’y sens totalement chez moi, j’aime sa lumière, ses murs, son caractère. Mais parfois j’ai besoin d’ailleurs, j’ai besoin de souffler de la pression que me met cette ville et sa population cultivée & stylée, je n’en peux plus de la grisaille de l’hiver et de l’agressivité des gens.
    Mais pour le moment je n’ai trouvé aucun autre endroit où j’aimerais autant vivre.

    Nos histoires avec nos villes sont comme les histoires d’amour: ce n’est jamais si simple, cela se construit tous les jours et cela demande des petits soins quotidiens ;-)

  • From a 37yr old Aussie living in NYC for 6 years – you just wrote out my thoughts!!!!!!! It’s so refreshing to hear someone say that this may not the life-time be all and end all (even though this city is wonderful, and challenging and brilliant). Looking forward to seeing how you address this in the future x

  • Oh oui ! Je l’ai d’ailleurs fait pendant 2 ans en quittant ma Belgique natale pour l’Asie. Et puis, c’est un peu comme pour tout, quand l’excitation des premiers mois s’estompent on se rend compte qu’il y a du bon et du mauvais dans tout ! Faut juste arriver à trouver ce qui nous va le mieux !

  • Hum… faudrait consulter les jumelles de l’horoscope. Je pense que la vie à des cycles et dans le fond on sait lorsque ces cycles finissent. Après il faut être assez courageux pour en tenir compte et passer à l’action. Moi ça fait 20 ans que je vis à Barcelone et je sens que c’est fini. Tout le monde me regarde bizarrement : “partir de Barcelone ? T’es folle ?” Bah oui, c’est comme si j’avais touché le plafond, Rien ne me surprend, tout est prévisible, c’est devenu chez moi et donc tout le monde sait à quoi s’attendre de moi, Donc plus moyen de me surprendre et surprendre les autres. Je crois que rien n’est plus sain que de parfois, sur un coup de tête, s’éloigner de nos vieilles habitudes et voir les choses d’une autre perspective. La vie est ainsi bien plus créative.

  • C’est ce que je ressens aussi!!

  • Tiens ça tombe pile le jour ou je vais voir le prix des maisons de campagne avec piscine…
    Et pourtant moi je n’habite pas à New york mais en Espagne…
    Je comprends un peu, mais comme je ne connais pas New-York c’est un fénomène qui m’échappe.
    J’éspère ne jamais avoir à quitter la ville où j’habite maintenant, ses palmiers, ses bières en terrasse, ses plage et surtout ses 300 jours de soleil par an ;-)

  • Florence April, 22 2015, 3:54

    Je suis également en Espagne – et tout à fait d’accord avec toi! Aucune envie de m’en aller vivre ailleurs – et quand j’y pense c’est du snobisme- parce qu’il fait vraiment bon vivre ici (malgré tout)!

  • Kate Challis April, 22 2015, 9:50 / Reply

    I love what you have written and completely agree about changing. I think it’s less about the weather (but I live in Melbourne, Australia and only have 2 cold months a year) and more about a complete change of scene and life. That’s what is invigorating.

  • Joli post :):):)

  • Katerina April, 22 2015, 9:56 / Reply

    I perfectly understand you, although I know NY only as a visitor. But I come from a country with long, cold winters and now I live in Spain – oh my, what a difference!
    Garance, are you coming (by any chance) to the south of France-north of Spain within your book tour? there´s Biarritz and surf (the best in Europe), the Balenciaga museum and lovely food in Spain!

  • Alexandra April, 22 2015, 10:06 / Reply

    Garance…thank you for this article. I have, and I’m sure many other New Yorkers have as well, been going through this same battle. That feeling of “giving up” for leaving NYC. My friends can’t even believe i’m THINKING about eventually leaving, considering I would have scoffed at myself for saying something so cruel a few months back. Crazy how our perspective changes! But a warm, laid back lifestyle does have a lot of appeal, doesn’t it?
    -xo Alex

  • jessica April, 22 2015, 10:00

    I think what’s happening is that people are getting tired of having to fight to be a part of the city. The constant increases in the rent and the cost of living are making people reconsider and ask themselves what they are fighting so hard to stay here for, as the fight never seems to be over. Plus, in the end to be able to afford the “dream” nyc life you have to work so hard that you can’t even enjoy it and then it also starts to seem a little like a shallow existence. For me though what’s keeps me grounded to nyc is the energy (it feeds me), I also love enjoying being at one with nature during the weekend or a special trip. My nightmare would be the suburbs though.

  • Très bonne réflexion!! Pour moi qui ait vécu à cheval entre le chaud ( Europe, Amérique du Sud) et le froid (le Québec), je ne pourrais plus me passer du changement de saison et de la lumière du nord… Chaque hiver, je me dis que je ne pourrais pas vieillir ici … mais je suis encore là à profiter de l’hiver, de sa lumière bleutée, des glaces sur le fleuve… le retour du printemps ramène l’énergie créatrice, le chant des oiseaux, le sourire et l’enthousiasme des gens… les terrasses à profiter de chaque rayon de soleil… Je crois qu’avant tout le plus important c’est sentir libre de choisir, de se projeter ailleurs…de se sentir en VIE!!!!

  • La solution: Londres. J’y vis depuis septembre dernier et le quotidien ici me réconcilie avec le quotidien tout court. Londres est hyper active en ce moment, il y a d’ailleurs beaucoup de New Yorkais qui ont bougé ici. Et le soir tu rentres dans ton quartier, et c’est la Province avec des arbres et des oiseaux. Pour écrire, c’est le bonheur ce mélange de speed et de calme… Bon je dois admettre que cet hiver nous avons eu l’effet inverse ici: un temps vraiment clément…

  • How many ways can you say “I agree”? I spend my years going between Sydney and Stockholm. In each place you get the same questioned look when you go back to the other as neither place understand the reason to move. But I can’t make it work in any other way. I love both places equally and can never imagine giving up on either of them.

  • Garance– I’m in the same boat. I’ve lived in NY for 8 years and have recently found myself dreaming of warmer weather and sunny skies. I’ve even been dreaming of LA– the funny thing is, I have never been to LA! Basically, any other world where there is access to the ocean, warm weather, and sun is all I want right now. So, in short, I understand where you’re coming from and know that you’re not alone (regarding the weather or the NY issues)! I find myself fed up with all 3 of them too.

  • I think NY is like the emperor’s new clothes. A lot of people think like this, but are afraid to admit it.

  • J’ai vécu la même chose avec Paris :) et je l’ai raconté ici ! c’est fou ce qu’on peut vivre quand on a une vraie histoire d’amour avec une ville :)

  • Salut Garance,
    Oui, comme le dit Dafne, la vie a des cycles.
    C’est bon de se poser des questions de temps en temps, d’imaginer autre chose, de prendre du recul.
    Moi aussi je m’évade de temps en temps … cela ne signifie pas toujours partir mais plutôt vivre au même endroit mais changer ses habitudes, c’est bon pour le cerveau !!!

  • MerCarrie April, 22 2015, 10:35 / Reply

    Dreaming about leaving Warsaw is what I do for about few months. I L.O.V.E. Warsaw – it has everything I need: bars, restaurants, lovely parks, riverside (with real wild boars living in the woods – seriously…I know – weird), The Most Beautiful Apartment In The World (yep – mine) With Amazing View and of course my beloved friends.
    But the other day I felt like all the things I really loved started annoying me. I felt like I don’t have a space, more opportunities, enough of air (well maybe because of smog) – like living in a cage. And I felt I need a change. I’m thinking about Brussels – looking for a job there, it’s nasty place to live though, or about Sopot – it would be nice to have a sea just around a corner. But my final destination is Paris (when I’ll be wealthy enough ;) ).
    So I really understand you! Have a nice winter in LA!

  • nastassia April, 22 2015, 10:44 / Reply

    Left Paris after 21 years to go live in the countryside… tired of anonymous crowds, the endless cycles of that new exhibition/concert/shop/restaurant (hello Groundhog day!), of feeling that my happiness was always ahead of me, in this next project, next trip, next purchase.
    I wasn’t sure the countryside would fit me though, having been born and having grown in Paris, but to my surprise I feel happier than ever, and so thankful for the internet which allows me to do all my work remotely, while living in such a peaceful environment.

  • Moi je te prédis qu un jour tu reviens en Europe. ….

  • Omy, constantly! I’ve lived in a small town since I was born. I feel safe, loved and confident. But there ‘s a feeling that comes and goes, recently perhaps too often, that I should leave. I feel stuck and that I’m missing something. When I articulate my thoughts people widely open their eyes asking really could you leave your house, family and just leave? I hope I’ll find enough strenght to do that just for 2 or 3 years somewhere there ‘s no winter and the grey views outside (I see your point ).

    ps. I thought new yorkers never get that feeling. .. the post is great. …

  • I go through periods where I feel like I need to escape London. I originally moved here after graduating university and I LOVED IT. I still do, but every so often, I feel quite claustrophobic. It’s just so busy! And the cost of everything is going up all the time. So although for now, it’s great – especially for my career, I can’t imagine living here when I grow into the next natural stage of my life.

  • Thanks for this post Garance. I left NYC after being born there and living there straight for over 8 years. I love NYC but it became too much for me. I worked non stop and when I wasn’t working I was trying to keep up appearances by shopping and eating out. As you wrote, NYC is a great place to live comfortably if you are incredibly wealthy. But the idea of having children, getting little to no maternity leave, paying upwards of $30K a year to have a nanny and good school for my kids so I could continue to have a career (and had to continue to have a career so I could continue to afford to live in NYC) seemed not worth it to me. I couldn’t see a comfortable future in NYC so I got out. When I go home to visit I sometimes regret it because I have so much fun, but then I remember that my time there is a vacation, and reality in NYC is much rougher. I can’t tell you how many people judged my decision, but I am not judging yours! It is so valid.

  • Ah ça, quitter des endroits que j’ai aimé…y a eu quitter NY (même après un tout petit stage de quelques mois), que j’ai ressenti comme un vrai chagrin d’amour (et le seul en fait que je n’ai jamais vécu…et oui!), j’en suis encore toute émue alors même que je ne voudrais plus y vivre aujourd’hui avec une vie de famille (et trop loin de mes proches!), puis y a eu quitter Paris (toujours pour des raisons de commodités familiales…oui je sais pas glam tout ça, et j’imaginais pas un jour prendre ce genre de décisions…).
    Mais le fait est que ces villes seront toujours là, qu’on peut toujours y venir…et ça, ça suffit des fois pour en faire le deuil!
    Après, pour ce qui sont des ambitions qui sont même plus notre, je pense qu’on peut malheureusement le vivre partout de nos jours avec toute cette pression sociale de “réussite”.
    Mais courage! FUYONS!

  • I’ve been living in London for 15 years (I’m French), and I know EXACTLY what you mean by the Peter Pan Syndrome.
    Yes I’m 35 and my social life is more exciting than when I was 20.
    I have friends from all backgrounds, from all ages and I couldn’t imagine life anywhere
    But somehow, London has managed to adapt itself to my changing needs, throughout the years.

    I have found a solution to the ‘problem’ we also have here, with the weather.
    Taking lots of breaks!
    Because I’m freelance I take a lot more time off than average. And the South of France, where my family is, is just around the corner.
    So you’re idea of spending the winter is LA may well be the solution to your problem. And it means you’re not entirely uprooting yourself from the city.

    Maybe London is less overwhelming than New York also.
    My apartement is not far from the centre, but in an extremely quiet, cul-de-sac. Birds sing their heart out in the morning, and every day I go to my garden to see how my plants are doing.
    To me this is also very important. My apartement is my haven of piece. My street is like a village, with lots of artisans. I know all my neigbours!

    I hope you find your balance!
    Au fait, c’est qui, Chris? “^^

    Bisous :)

  • Tu exprimes un sentiment de décalage ou bien une espère de fissure spatio-temporelle. Mise à part cette question de froid polaire, on dirait que c’est surtout ton style de vie adolescent que tu as envie de réformer. Si tu en as les moyens, qu’est-ce qui t’empêche de changer tes habitudes là où tu vis ? Tu peux très bien la gérer sans avoir à partir très loin, non? Tu relies les 2 sujets -maturité et départ- et pourtant, partir sa.

  • it’s definitely always good to leave the place you live in for a while. I think it’s very healthy and normal. That being said — I grew up in LA (well between LA and Paris — there was a lot of traveling back and forth) and I love it here so much that I can’t see myself living anywhere else! NY is also such a great city but the weather would be too hard for me to handle.

  • Firstly, I really do enjoy your blog…I never knew I was the type to check a “blog” as regularly as I read/engage/interact with yours. You are a wonderful writer, and even better, I think you are a wonderful person. Funny, I do feel rather friendly, touched to read your words. I enjoy whatever effort you do to evolve, and affirm yourself. So, thank you for your insightful, honest approach which I often find solace to read!
    As for this New York thing, I think the transformation is epitomized in criticism toward the weather and locale. (Although I think bravo for knowing you have choices. Freud said something like,”Artists must make their own world. One is not already made for them.” So make your world…)
    Maybe an exhaustion in material innodation and “artificial” city reality is not or should not be reality. I think a lot about how the internest has changed things, we can still be “trapped” by locale, but we have to choose outside of it anyway. I could go on for more than days on this one, but its a tangent from my “main” comment.
    We are a similar age and share some similarities, and its my opinion we are going through something similar in the way we are reflecting upon what is au courant in our world: our consumption is not only boring but pickled by the knowledge how it most things are manufactured. I love fashion and I am not going to shop because I love beauty. Its my opinon that beauty is sobering, keeps me in check. Through my middle years, my successes grew and so did my choices. But the world changed, and so did mine. I am not sure where the world is going, we all have to change how we live. We humans are living off a bad check of consumption. And I can’t stop either. I am trying to consciously buy, take more walks in the woods, enjoy “free” things and I am little depressed to see us as a world and individuals in the G7 at least-not changing. To make things worse, I am not even able to change quick enough. I am feeling powerless, and I am seeing little to no effort on the part of others around me.
    I shall add I am know I am not able to have children ( I am happily married but my husband and cannot and have chosen not to have children.) Although I would loved to have children, this lack of procreation comes at some appease due to my depression about the world….and what kind of life for our offspring….and yet not having children gives me less of a stake in it.
    In any case, I was feeling this tornado surrounding your ideas about “New York.” Haahahahahah!!

  • Please forgive all the errors in this last comment, unfortunately way too many to mention. However, I meant to impress no matter what your studio does in terms of switching up to LA or doing a “onefinestays,” I do see you are all changing gears from yesteryears. Whether you move or stay or change things up a bit, I think the overall mode is more about absorbing “what is going on the world” and realizing some previous sources of stimuli(shopping for shoes) are just not enough anymore. I think you, Garance, are picking up on a very current metamorphosis, a kind of “tuning in, dropping out.” As you and Scott split literally and philosophically, I saw you, Garance, dealing less with visage of aesthetic to actually conversing with culture and people and talking about your experience of traversing as a photographer! Whatever is going on in your romantic life is your own, but I think we did see through less much of your personal experience(which I so enjoy!!!!) I am not sure if this comment is clear at all, I just wanted to mention to look to the core of where this feeling originates rather than think it maybe about the winter. It may be more about tranformations…..and a yearning. Hugs!!!!

  • This is so right on, Garance! I lived in NYC for only 2 years when I decided I needed to go home & regroup. It’s not a morally bankrupt city but is spiritually challenging for better or worse, and the pervasive culture you referred to can be hard on the soul. I did try to get back there for years after because I missed the creative life force, public transit, etc. but it just didn’t work out but I’m happy in the city I’m in now. A desire to leave NYC doesn’t make you a sellout. There’s something to say about putting down roots but I personally believe that as a free spirit I’m tied to no physical place. I want to continue to grow as a person and sometimes the only way to do this is to go elsewhere, even if it’s temporary.

  • L.A.? Go to Miami! Art, beach, cuban food/music, stylish… =)

  • I left NYC a little over 21 years ago on the cusp of 39 because after 18 years of non-stop work I was ready for a change. I had a project in mind to write books and to discover l’art de vivre français. I could do this because I had saved some money, and had no extra baggage, (ie husband and children, or even a significant other.)
    I was free to reinvent myself and my life–and with much luck and hard work, I was able to do so. I have written six books on European art and culture, including three books on France, and I have a cultural tourism and events company now in its 11th year. Best of all, I met a wonderful Frenchman with whom I have spent the happiest 14 years of my life. Yes there is life after 40 and after NYC! While I often return, I now know that France, foibles and all, has stolen my heart.

  • From someone who is living in Toronto, you are saying my story .This really F… winter for last couple of years makes me to think the same. I know lots of friends that moving out to San Francisco or Texas (more opportunities for IT Jobs) after last year winter. You go girl, I am thinking of it too. Winter, cold gloomy days will kill us soon; if not physically it does mentally.

  • NY is a great city. I like it for about a week and then I need to go. You find these gorgeous pockets of heaven then return to that mysterious dark scum and stank that people ignore like a toot in church.

    I love beautiful things and delight in gorgeous people but there needs to be a range. As you get older it’s important to avoid redundancy. It’s not good for the mind. The same thin woman, wearing the same timeless uniform is always attractive but I need time for something else.

  • Fabienne April, 22 2015, 12:01 / Reply

    Bonjour Garance, le changement de decennie constitue toujours une nouvelle approche et réflexion sur notre vie et devenir. A San Francisco depuis 21 ans, il y eu a 45 ans un irrésistible besoin de rentrer en France et plus particulièrement à Marseille d’où je suis originaire. Mais voila ……le boulot est ici……en Californie ! Alors la parade fut d’acheter un appartement à Marseille (les prix sont moins DÉLIRANTS qu’à San Francisco) et chaque année depuis maintenant 10 ans prendre mes quartiers d’été de juin à aout puis 3 semaines pour les fêtes de fin d’année. L’Internet faisant que je peux travailler a distance ! Et j’en suis certaine ce petit pied-à-terre marseillais sera dans un futur proche mon nouveau domicile. Je suis parfaitement à l’aise avec ce rythme de vie et beaucoup plus épanouie !Faites ce qui semble bon pour vous, toujours avoir des projets, des ambitions, des envies, pour être bien avec soi-même et ses proches. Bien à vous et bon courage Garance.

  • J’avoue ne jamais avoir été attaché à une ville au point de ne pas vouloir la quitter. Je m’imagine souvent ailleurs et ça ne me dérange pas tant que je sais que je peux rejoindre mes amis et ma famille de temps en temps pour me ressourcer ! Je suis une fidèle en amour et amitié et une infidèle de patrie :-)

  • Miss Conduct April, 22 2015, 12:01 / Reply

    Maybe it is just a growing-up thing: in my mid-40s I left Austin, which I had fallen hard in love with 20 years earlier. It certainly wasn’t the weather, since as a native and proud Texan I thrive in the six months of intense heat. It was the Peter Pan Syndrome. I didn’t like that I was living the same life I’d lived in my 20s. One can actually become tired of the endless grooviness, the pressure to go out and take advantage of all the cool things to do. One can definitely become tired of the crowds everywhere, the traffic on small city streets, the inability to go south of 15th street on the weekends or anywhere near the university when there’s a football game. I had gotten married, and we did some math and realized that with our income we would never be able to afford a home that didn’t come with an hour’s commute. Income inequality is an entrenched reality in Austin. If you didn’t buy a house before 2001, and you’re lower middle class in income, you just can’t have a house of your own. I can’t imagine how people form families there now.

    So I moved back to the large ungroovy Texas city I’m from to take care of my aging mother. I’m not crazy about it but I have a duty I’m glad to be able to meet, which I prefer to the Peter Pan life I left behind. And I get to experience how wonderful Austin is as a visitor again, with the advantage of knowing every shortcut to dodge the traffic!

  • Mariateresa April, 22 2015, 12:08 / Reply

    Chère Garance
    New York c’est magnifique! Je n’ai l’ai vu jamais si non pour les film e le foto, e tes reportages ainsi efficaces..mais le froid le long viver pour moi c’est impossible à vivre! Mais tu, tu es une vrai newyorquaise! Et Je t’adore!
    Ici Bari
    Bisou Mariateresa

  • Garance, you’re great. It is scary yet comforting to read a text that feels like it comes straight out of my head. Although unfortunately I could not frame it the way you can. I made that decision nearly 15 years ago, I left and went back to Europe. I have a family now which I am so so grateful for, but there is that itching in my heart once in a while… It feels like a trade that I commited very consciously but sometimes… well… sometimes I just miss it horribly. I am not living in the center of the world anymore (at least that was how it felt), but rather in a secondary arena. I AM the center of the world for my children now (at least I like that idea a lot), but that is a different story. Time will tell, Garance. Just keep on letting me know ;-)

  • Jane with the noisy terrier April, 22 2015, 12:14 / Reply

    The timing of this post is uncanny. I just got back last night from four months down on Hilton Head Island, SC. (Sorry, I skipped out on winter in NYC.) Six years ago today my Mom passed away unexpectedly and I inherited her house in South Carolina and a whole new life split between two very different islands. I’d lived on Hilton Head when I was first out of college and still have lots of friends down there. It’s a very different lifestyle—people work 9-to-5 and rarely work weekends or evenings. They don’t have weekend homes because they already live at a beachside resort. So it’s easy to get together with friends and get involved with lots of different activities — creative outlets, volunteer work, etc. And it is a much less expensive lifestyle. I still have my apartment in NYC but I’m spending only 1/2 the year here and it is getting more and more difficult to rationalize keeping it, especially given how much it has appreciated over the past 17 years. So I’m thinking of leaving next year. I want more time to spend with my nephews and friends, I want to watch the birds at the feeder, plant something in the ground, be more active outdoors all year round. It’s a tough decision but one I’m getting closer to making.

  • Caroline April, 22 2015, 12:14 / Reply

    Wow, what is it with New Yorkers thinking that NYC is the be-all and end-all place to live? It certainly has advantages, but like every other place in the world, it has its disadvantages too. Nowhere is “perfect” and I think people would be happier if they accepted this.

  • Ha LA! We were just having a conversation about leaving LA. It is so much fun here and always sunny but now very crowded. It takes forever to get anywhere. I guess that’s why we are so into our cars. We practically live in them, It is also so DRY here. We need rain so sorry if we happen to get some in one of your excursions here,
    Seriously I do love it here and there are so many things to enjoy but once in a while I dream of a less populated town with a little bit of weather variations.
    If you do move here for a winter make sure you have live in a neighborhood where you can walk and enjoy the lifestyle. Yes they do exist and we really do walk here. Also plan trips to SF. That is my fantasy city.
    You must promise to write blogs about how awful it is to live here though. We can’t afford to have many more people move to LA.

  • I LOVED this post. Everything you said rang so true for me and I know exactly what you mean about groundhog day at the restaurant! I’m English and live in London which I love, but before that I lived in Sydney where I have to say lifestyle wise, it’s hands down the best place, but soooo far away and I missed the excitement and creativity of London. I constantly toe and froe between both places, I hope one day to find the in-between by moving to the countryside in England (by the sea) but it’s so hard with jobs! So exciting for you to be spending winter in LA, jealous!!

  • I truly loved this piece! Moved to London in 2010, and fell madly in Love with it, swearing I would never-ever leave! And last year, felt exactly the same you describe here, and decided to make a clean break and take a year off London… so came to Edinburgh. Now I can’t hardly wait to go back to London, (which will happen in the next few months) but I think I will see it in a different light. :-)

  • Cristiana April, 22 2015, 12:32 / Reply

    Come to MIA! Don’t be fooled by what some people say about this city. The cultural and business scene have been changing dramatically in the last five years, it’s pretty safe and unpolluted and…closer to Europe than LA.

  • Garance—you get it!

    I’ve been in New York now for more than 5.5 years. I came originally for school—bright eyed, bushy tailed, and convinced I’d be a New Yorker for life.

    I still love being here so much—especially when things are green and there are late nights on roof tops and apartments filled with laughing friends—but I think my love for New York has mellowed. I don’t think I want to be here forever. It’s an exhausting, relentless place. It’s expensive. The weather is rarely truly enjoyable. People don’t really have to grow up here—in some important ways. But it is an amazing city, and I’m glad to be here in my 20s when I want to push through and explore and meet so many people.

    I think when I do leave, I’ll be so grateful for my time here, and for what I learned. And be so ready for the next thing.

  • Sometimes I want to escape England to go back to Belgium but I don’t because I want to finish what I have started. It is not easy sometimes but I remind myself of what I want to accomplish and that I am in the best place to accomplish what I want.

  • What a delightful post! And so honest. I live in the Raleigh/Durham area of North Carolina and absolutely love it. I’m only a few hours from the mountains and the ocean, we have four seasons, and a lot of creative people live here. The area has great art museums, a fabulous food scene, and a reasonable cost of living. I’ve thought about moving to a bigger city, but life hasn’t worked out that way. The cosmos wants me here for now. I’ve moved away twice (for college) and was always ready to come back.

  • J’adore ton article, on apprend toujours plein de choses :)

    Bisous de France

  • Moi j’ai beaucoup aimé vivre en Espagne mais à un moment donné j’ai senti qu’il fallait que je retourne en France sans me l’expliquer vraiment.


  • oui bien sûr !
    j’ai adoré Paris mais un jour, il était évident qu’une page s’était tournée et que, par ce détachement, je rentrais dans une nouvelle période de ma vie
    je suis partie faire un tour du monde et, en rentrant, on a déménagé pour s’installer en face du bois de Vincennes
    le même mois, on achetait une petite maison à rénover, posée au milieu d’un champs à 2h30 de Paris, que l’on restaure maintenant avec beaucoup d’amour
    ma vie a complétement changé, Paris est au bout de ma rue & je n’y vais maintenant que quand j’ai quelque chose de plaisant à y faire (voir des amis, faire une expo, acheter de jolies choses pour la maison) …

  • richele April, 22 2015, 1:18 / Reply

    I hope our winter lives up to your ideal. We’re due to have a doozie here. I hope it involves a lot of rain [that drought thing].

    If you felt like staying a little off the beaten path for LA. I can recommend Long Beach [belmont shore area] or Seal Beach. LB tends to be a little funky, Seal is a small quaint beach town with a homey feel. It might help you feel like you’re seeing a different side to life than the normal LA folks

  • Yes, Garance! Long Beach, and Seal Beach would be such a good place for you and your studio. Check it out when you next visit, a pleasant surprise! Leaving NYC won’t be as if you are never going to have a place there. It has become part of your story, and you have many chapters to write. You are so fortunate to have made it there, successfully, and we appreciate your gratitude for the good things. Welcome, however, to California, and spread your wings in the sunshine.

  • Caroline April, 22 2015, 1:20 / Reply

    Interesting post, though I was convinced that, at the end, you’d go for a more “exotic” destination than LA (LA is warm but LA is sooooo shallow and you need to drive everywhere, so the city is really polluted as well).
    Why not come back to Europe? Or to Corsica??

  • Sometimes it seems as if it’s the place… but really, it’s something within us. And that something will follow us to any place.

  • I agree with your comment but only to a certain degree, that is, if someone is not self-aware. I believe that some places/environments are not good for us and when we are aware of this we can make a change for the better. I live in NYC and can relate 100% to what Garance shared. Visiting here is another story but actually living here day to day is completely different.

  • bavarian_blue April, 22 2015, 2:01 / Reply

    Good idea to go to L.A. next winter. By trying out you will find answer, which place is best for your needs.

  • 10 years ago a charming Peter Pan ex-boyfriend moved from LA to NY. I decided to stay where I was and apply for graduate school. Peter Pans are adorable for heart breaks in your twenties, it gets embarrassing later. My Peter Pan still looks like a kid. I watched Peter Pan with my kids sipping hot cocoa in the long winter. Winters are magical with little kids.

  • Lived in NYC for 12 years. Can relate to so many posts you have written about this city. LOVED it. Cut my hair really short ( just like you did ) and was living and loving live. Was pursuing a career as a professional modern dancer and teaching Pilates. Thought I could NEVER live anywhere else in this world. Then started hating it. Met my husband. Had kids. Then one day we packed our bags and moved to Denmark. LOVE it. Everyone here can not understand why we left NYC. You can only understand it if you have really done the NYC thing. It’s a love story that can turn into love hate. Having been raised in Europe I really started missing the European lifestyle as I got older. I never thought I would write this but I actually don’t miss NYC at all. It was great times and then it was time for a change. So my advice – go for it. Always exciting to go on a new adventure. Nothing worse then seeing people “stuck” in NY just because they think there is no life outside this city :-)

  • On a tous besoin à certain moment, d’un souffle nouveau. Fondé une famille, avoir des projets professionnels ou autres et ça où que l’on soit ! Ensuite, notre famille devient notre maison. On peut aller partout avec elle et on se sent chez soi. Il est peut-être temps pour toi de fonder ta famille, tout simplement (sans vouloir être trop intrusive, hein !) :-)

  • Mademoiselle Vaness April, 22 2015, 2:20 / Reply

    Hallelujah! Real Garance is back…

  • I think you hit the nail right on the head in your description of NYC. I lived there for a year and travel there twice a year (or more) for work on a regular basis and it is definitely enough. I grew up in Canada and agree that I don’t generally like harsh winters. But your description of NY and is exactly the reason why I knew for certain that I could never live there long term. Unfortunately, LA has a different kind of shallowness, similar to NYC, which you will also see as you spend more time there! I also don’t like having to drive a car to get everywhere! You will see this downside also!! I now live in San Francisco and I think it is the best mix of a big city, with culture, mild weather, liberal people, and the beauty of the outdoors within easy access, but without the attitude of NYC or LA. You should come visit sometime and I will personally show you around so you know what I mean!! I am really happy to call San Francisco HOME!!!!

  • Yes! San Francisco is the best. I’ve lived all over and I am so happy to call this wonderful city home.

  • Marie-Aude April, 22 2015, 2:31 / Reply


    Ce post me touche beaucoup! Je suis née à Montréal et y ai vécu toute ma vie. Je n’en pouvais plus des longs hivers. Lorsque j’ai commencé ma vie professionnelle, dès que je pouvais affiler 4 jours de congé, je partais pour le Costa Rica. J’ai pensé m’y installer, mais comme toi, je sentais que ça allait faire son temps. Je cherchais un endroit où je pourrais poursuivre une carrière intéressante tout en ayant la plage tout près. LA offre ce parfait combo : ville-plage. J’y suis déménagée depuis deux ans déjà et je ne cesse d’être émerveillée par sa beauté et le style de vie qu’il est possible de se créer ici. Je travaille comme avocate et habite à Venice. Je surf les matins et ça me met dans un état idéal pour gérer ma journée! LA a la réputation d’être superficielle, mais il semble y avoir un air nouveau d’art, de culture et d’authenticité (finalement nous avons l’équivalent du NYT Mag pour la côte Ouest – le California Sunday). Je pense que c’est un « move » génial pour toi et ton équipe! Bonne chance!

  • You are really talking out of my heart. I love the city I live in. Vienna. But I also kind of feel the urge to go back to the countryside. Calm, no traffic. But do I miss the possibilities of Vienna? Yes! I will, although I never use all of them but just having them gives me the sense of freedom. Rome, was perfect, cold but really sunny winters and perfect spring time and autumm, I was lucky enough to leave Rome in the summer, for the countryside or seaside but that was pretty perfect. Winter in Vienna? — grey, wet and cold, nearly no snow and when, traffic- it is chaos pure! I am looking forward to see how you decide! Kisses

  • This post rings so true for me. I am from NY, born in Queens, raised on Long Island, by parents from the Bronx. I have been here my whole life with the exception of 4 years at University in the midwest, and the several months I spent in France while going back & forth in a long distance relationship. I am now approaching 40 (wow), and feeling very much like, is it worth it? The endless grind, the constant trying to “keep up with the Jones’,” the never feeling like we will have enough money to raise a family here, or buy an apt here, or have that place upstate to escape to. My work takes me to LA often, and as someone who NEVER thought I could live in LA, I’m surprised by this feeling that arises each new time I’m there – “hmm, maybe I could live here?!?!” After all, the weather is beautiful all the time, you have the ocean, the mountains & the desert all close by, and you know the planes, they go back & forth. It just feels easier! My husband is French & his family is in the South of France, and as beautiful as it is there (with a climate much like that of LA), I don’t think we could live there. Not now anyway, maybe to retire (with lots of trips back & forth to Corsica, which I fell in LOVE with on a holiday a few years ago). Needless to say, we are still here in NY, still doing the grind, and who knows when / if it will change, but I am definitely not as enamored with NY as I once was. Can I come to LA with your team next winter?? A trial I guess will be the best way to know if it’s a good fit or not … and as always, to just not be afraid of the change! Thank you as always for your posts, they almost always speak to me, and for that I am grateful. Gros bisou!

  • It’s so funny!
    I am a French girl in L.A. and the only thing I really miss is…Well, the seasons!
    The weather here is ALWAYS perfect, (except when it’s REALLY too hot, August through November) and sometimes it is almost boring!
    And during the “”Winter”” months, all I dream about is…New-York!
    A real Winter, cold, snow, wind…
    Be able to wear my favorite coats, boots and tights again, real clothes.

    L.A. is amazing though.
    But yes, the healthy vegan restaurants are very loud, and if you want to brunch on the weekend, plan on waiting in line for up to an hour at the “hip” places!

    Can’t wait for you to be around;
    Maybe we’ll meet… :)

  • Stephanie April, 22 2015, 3:22 / Reply

    Oui, je pars de Paris, que j’adore pour aller vivre à Ajaccio, où les hivers sont moins rigoureux (et probablement moins trépidants, mais je sais à quoi m’attendre). Midlife crisis. Mes clients restent à parisiens, je bosse de chez moi. Je vais faire une cure de vitamine D. Et de tranquilité. :)

  • Benedicte April, 22 2015, 3:28 / Reply

    Née à Paris, j’y ai toujours vécu et j’adooooore ma ville et ma vie dans cette ville. Mais il y a 6 mois, pour la première fois depuis 50 ans, je n’ai pas eu envie de rentrer de vacances (à la campagne dans le Sud, rien d’exotique). Et, je me suis dit, comme toi, que finalement, il y a peut-être un âge pour tout et des désirs qui évoluent. On verra…

  • Well, I’m currently considering leaving the wonderful city I live in, so I know what you are talking about! It’s a tough decision to make, but I just found out I’m pregnant (!!!) and I would really love for my kid/kids (who knows??) to grow up in a place that’s a little more calm. I love my city, a lot, but I think it’s time to say goodbye…

  • Quelle déclaration amoureuse à New-York!!! Tu as beaucoup de talent dans l’écriture ! Tu sais parler de toi, évoquer ton parcours, ton anniversaire et tes projets sans t’imposer, sans narcissisme, et c’est fait avec subtilité.
    Ta façon de raconter la vie et la ville m’évoque une écriture de scénariste….
    En réalité, je sens que tu aimes profondément et viscéralement cette ville et c’est assez émouvant de le lire. Alors, pour ne pas la rejeter un jour, pour continuer à l’adorer, il faut – un peu – la quitter. C’est une bonne chose! C’est un tournant important, constructif et positif.
    ps : j’ai quitté une capitale pour des plages de sable blanc, et je ne le regrette pas!!! Le problème est que je pensais y revenir, mais, là, je me dis qu’il me faut une autre destination, plus en phase avec mon projet et mon évolution personnelle…ha ha ha…

  • Garance, you’re always speaking straight from my heart. I feel like this ALWAYS because I move around a lot. As a child I did and I guess that rubbed off on my adult life. If I stay too long in a city, even if I absolutely love it (like Vienna), I get antsy, I need a change. I want to see something new, be excited in a new way.

    As for the whole life competition thing, Zurich (where I’m currently based), is like a tiny, oh so tiny, version of New York. It’s Switzerland’s creative hub and boy, do you feel it. Young, skinny, rich and beautiful people with amazing jobs. The only thing missing is that American friendliness. That’s where all the chocolate and cheese comes in ;)

    Anyway, thanks for your thoughts and reflections. I love reading your posts!! xxx

  • What’s funny is all the things that you hate about New York, you will inevitably hate about LA. Except the cold. PS they are out of water.

  • Yes indeed! I was leaving for 6 years in Montreal, with a complete identification with Quebec… but the winter killed me, way to much energy just barely to survive, when you know (by experience) that it does not have to be like that! So, I moved to Costa Rica, for 4 years of tropical bliss – and going back to live there is not excluded. Indeed I have been travelling back there once a year, for the last 10 years! Then, life brought me then to India (2+10 years) and finally back to France, after 25 years around the globe… which is fine with me except that I still need to get out at least once a year (the wanderlust gene, I guess)… and NO, I will never again spend frozen-energy sucker- winters, we have better things to do in life, if possible!
    So, yes, I fully support your moving to a sunny place, as L.A., next winter!

  • I live in California and absolutely love the weather here. But I also really miss the seasons in cities like Seoul where blossoms fly in spring, leaves change color in fall, and snow falls in winter. Everyday seems the same here too since there’s no drastic change!

    I dream of living in New York for a couple of years!

  • Quand tu parles de NY, ca me fait TROP penser à Sex & the City, systématiquement (comme quoi elle est bien cette série). La Californie ne m’a jamais jamais attirée, NY fait toujours rêver, attends c’est la capitale du monde, la ville de tous les possibles. Par contre je ne supporte pas la foule et le bruit permanent, so…
    Je comprends bien tes manques de lumière et de douceur ! Vous avez eu un hiver particulièrement long. No worry, avec le réchauffement climatique ca va changer…

  • born & raised in NYC. Honestly, I can see how anyone who came to NYC after 2001 would want to leave. My city is a shell of it’s former self. Too many restaurants….to the point where it’s starting to feel like that all there is. All my 80’s, 90’s haunts long gone. Too much new-ness…. a cheap new-ness disguised as rich. Yes, it’s cleaner , safer… but not worth paying 50x more to get 50x less. Tired of hearing about the NYC ‘uniform’ in a city once known as the capital of freedom of expression. I could go on but anyway, Garance, I love this post. Please keep us up to date.

  • Garance: You are much too classy and sophisticated for L.A. If it’s the west coast you are thinking of, why not consider San Francisco? There are lovely neighborhoods (Pacific Heights, Richmond, Nob Hill . . .) to name a few. The weather is mild compared to NY. The beautiful wine regions of Sonoma and Napa are a short drive over the Golden Gate with landscapes that replicates the French countryside and with lots to do.

  • L.A!!!! REALLY!!! NOOOO!!!

    Please consider my former hometown, San Francisco or as I call it “Baby Paris”

    You would LOVE it’s walkability, varying cultures, dizzying food choices, the fact that the very rich often don’t flaunt their wealth (take note NYC and L.A), dolphin sightings at Bakers Beach, bon fires at Ocean Beach, black sand at Klondike Beach, inspiring views and of course,……THE eerily, beautiful, famous San Francisco Fog.

    Sure, it’s expensive and rents are high (my family and I moved to Georgia “Hollywood of the South” five years ago and are now proud homeowners!!!) but, you’re used to that already!

  • Yes ! Big time ! San Francisco….I wrote in my comments below…
    I find NY so overrated . And great when you are 25 years old or after 40 if you are super super rich.

    LA is great but lonely and you waste so much time and energy driving or stuck in traffic jams. I also miss the grey days….the sun shines 360 days a year…I like a damp grey day sometimes.

    Took me a while to get accustomed to SF…I bitched and bitched about it for a few years because culturally it is what LA was when I moved there in 1989….there was very little going on except for the movie industry.

    I love SF
    I just hope that the Sillies ( Silicon Valley crowds ) don’t ruin it
    It has changed too much too fast.
    I have lived there for 9 years and when I go now to Ocean Beach or the Sunset area on a weekend and see the hipsters and Sillies instead of the surfers , Asians and Latinos , I run away….I have to avoid certain areas of the city now on the weekends.
    But apart from this….the city rocks and the road trips up north are incredible

  • Jessica April, 22 2015, 4:47 / Reply

    Regarding LA: The water restrictions are real! Think very carefully about your weekly long, hot bath routine before you even think about a move.

    Regarding leaving: I had to leave LA for many of the same reasons. It was sophisticated, cool, artistic, ambitious. The people I know there do the craziest things (did you hear about the Hippos at Coachella?) that make conversation for thousands. The sunny weather made me thinner. The vintage clothes were to-die-for.

    But… I didn’t want to live there forever. I wanted (still do) to buy a house, grow tomatoes, do meaningful things and be surrounded by flowers and green things and easily-accessible nature. I – like so many Californians – moved to Portland. I even work for an environmental non-profit now. There is wildlife (last weekend two bald eagles circled around my little kayak just to check me out) and wildflowers and forests where it looks like nymphs would play among the clover. The people are comically less ambitious, but also less shallow. Their shoes are horrible and practical, but they walk everywhere. The values just seem…better.

    So yes, I totally hear you. About that and about restaurant culture. I’ve decided secret hikes and swimming holes and cabin retreats are the next thing. Because forming memories takes more than some fancy cuisine.

  • I lived in many big cities: Paris, Berlin, Sydney, and currently London. Never felt the urge to move to NYC – too shallow and superficial?! Too much of an survival of the fittest attitude?! London is a bit like that too, admittedly and I am planning to move away soon. My favorite city to live in so far has been Sydney – the weather, ocean, cosmopolitan attitude and quirkiness is second to none.

  • After living in NYC for over twenty years, I’ve realized with mixed feelings that it’s time to leave. I’m glad to have lived and experienced life here, but I agree 100% that it is so hard here for professionals and families. Everyone works so hard but for most, the payoff is minimal. There is even so much pressure on the children as well … One wonders where the joy in living in NY has gone. We are moving to a small city in CA this year, and while our friends and family will be missed terribly … the glimpses of what life in CA will be like assure us that this move is meant to be.

  • I’ve lived in California all my life. And traveled to New York, Paris, Switzerland, Turkey, and Tanzania but I don’t feel like I’ve found a place to call home yet. Lately, I’m dreaming of going to New Zealand or Australia. Los Angeles is nice but I just feel too comfortable. I think I need a change of scenery to force me out of my usual habits and really, fully live.

  • Everyday… I have this love affair with the French countryside. One day I’ll have a place there but for now, Brooklyn is my home. After a tumultuous few years, I’m in need of an escape. And while I love New York, I love myself more.

  • Garance, who is Chris?

  • that’s right Garance…sad to say, and good for you realizing it…you are NOT a dyed in the wool NY’er. You are transplant as many NY’ers are. Real NY’ers don’t really believe the hype as you describe, we live our lives as real people. no matter where we live, where we eat, and certainly no matter what we do.
    We LIVE in NY, that’s it, we live here in the greatest city in the world…sure you can move elsewhere, but trust me on this,,,,you will always compare “there” wherever it is…to NY.

    That’s my humble opinion, thank you for allowing me to express it.

  • I visited NYC last March and don’t know what I would have done without my heat tech underwear, it was so frigid! I am living in LA and I never ever take it for granted that I’m always physically comfortable and can dress in almost anything I want on any given day!! Welcome to southern California where you will be right at home in the only “Mediterranean climate” on the Americas continents! I am so happy I made the big decision to move here!

    adorn la femme

  • Yeeeees, une longue missive de Garance !

    Quand à ta question :
    Oh, si tu savais… J’adore Washington mais parfois je me retrouve à fantasmer sur des appartements à Paris et Toulouse… Surtout après cet hiver qui ici aussi a été pénible. Je pense que l’idéal serait de pouvoir effectivement partir pendant quelques mois tous les ans, avoir une résidence secondaire ailleurs, dans un lieu catégoriquement différent. Quand on est écrivain, on peut se le permettre heureusement (bon, il faut encore en avoir les moyens… mais l’idée est motivante !)


  • alexandra April, 22 2015, 9:02 / Reply

    This is one of your best post ever Garance! You have described so well something that seems to have touched so many of us. I’m older than you and still believe in those cycles of life, and acknowledging the cracks in all love stories. And although I sometimes look with secret envy at those who have lives and roots and profound attachments to their surroundings and can call a city “their city”, I haven’t been able to find the one forever for me. And all my love stories will never be really over.

    p.s. You are amazing!

  • Nous à Montréal on a battu tous les records de froid jamais enregistrés!!! Et franchement, je suis exactement en train de me faire la même réflexion que toi! Je suis encabanée plus de la moitié de l’année… c’est vraiment déprimant! Je me dit que l’hiver prochain, je vais m’assumer et le passer au chaud. Bon courage dans tes réflexions!! xx

  • You describe me nearly 15 years ago when I was about to turn 30 and decided I’d had enough of my beloved London. London – where every night was a new adventure of clubbing and eating and going to parties and having fabulous Cool Brittania experiences (this was the late 1990’s when it really was cool to be living in London and there was money falling out of the sky)
    I just had this realisation one day that my life didnt really have any purpose or direction aside from “experiencing things”. I left because I just didn’t think I wanted to be doing the same old things at 32, or 37 or 40 and I didn’t know what else I would do in London if I wasn’t “experiencing things”.
    So I moved back to Sydney and at first it seemed quiet and dull and “less everything”. But I said to myself that if I really missed London I could always go back…… and I never have. Not because I don’t love London. I will always love London. But Sydney is my home. It’s where I met my husband, had a child, bought a house and started having “different experiences”. I guess it’s just all part of the journey of living.

  • Jessica April, 22 2015, 9:47 / Reply

    I guess we all have our dream places but the reality is never quite as perfect. I grew up in nyc since the age of 9 (I’m originally from the Dominican Republic), but my dream place was Italy. There was something about Italy that just capture my imagination like no other. I still remember the first time I stepped on italian soil, it was wonderful, and a visit or two was not enough. I had to live there, and I was lucky to be able to do so. But the reality was not quite as my fantasy or during my visits and guess who I suddenly started missing like crazy, that’s right nyc! Of course, now that I’m back I miss Italy and those little things that bothered me don’t seem so bad any more. If only I could split myself in many parts and live simultaneously in all these places. I would like one part of me to live in nyc, one in DR, one in Italy, and one that changes among the many other wonderful countries out there every so often. Since that’s not possible I’m dreaming that I would be able to have a career that would permit me to travel like crazy and immerse myself if only for a short bit in different places, always going back to three deep in my heart.

    Regarding NYC, I do understand your dilemma, NYC is the only city in the US I see myself in, and even if I go and live somewhere else for a while I now know I want to always return back here, this is my base. But I do wonder how sustainable it would be for me to stay here into forever. Prices are so crazy. I was also run down for a while by the merry go round of trying to be this super fabulous self, and having serious FOMO (which is constant because it’s impossible to do everything that’s going on), I guess like many I wanted to live our own sex and the city life and had this image that that’s what a great adult life here meant (I feel that’s what a certain part people here still think nyc is about), but I realized that’s not the “real” or only NYC, it’s probably not even the best incarnation the city has had. I’m not trashing the show I still like it but it needs to be see with perspective. I think new york can be many things for many people, and I’m rediscovering what my own special nyc is and it’s perfect! and yes, some people might see you as a loser for not being on the success treadmill but it’s my life so if I want to be a “loser” that’s ok. I just have to be a loser that can afford the rent though!;))

  • I feel like you couldn’t have written this at a more perfect time. I’m a NY resident as well, but originally from Texas. It’s my fifth winter in NYC and I’ve recently been telling everyone I’m working remotely next winter because I can’t take it any longer. My new favorite quote is ‘I’m a child of the sun.’ I made a list of all the cities I could move too, because this winter really got to me, and like you said, it’s a young city. It’s where people go who never want to age. As I grow up, it becomes a little harder to relate to. I loved the comment about how you don’t go to brunch any more because neither do I. I don’t want to wait 1.5 hours to get into a brunch place! I’ll make my own avocado toast at home thank you very much. I applaud your move to LA, and am a tad jealous. Can’t wait to hear about it!

  • J’aime cette expression “le regard condescendant de la lose” : tellement juste ;-)
    Le blog déjanté aà boire au bureau

  • I’m lucky to have lived in wonderful places – growing up in Virginia, 8 years in Hawaii, a year in LA, half a year in New Orleans. I’m about to move to Portland. Each place I lived I’ve fallen in love with, but no matter where I am I desperately want to leave at the same time, because in all those other cities, there are people I love and memories pulling me back in all directions. I always wanted to travel and live in different places, but I didn’t know it would mean leaving a piece of my heart in each one!

  • Patricia April, 23 2015, 12:08 / Reply

    I am having a true love story with Buenos Aires. been living here for 3 years, the loving feelings keep growing deeper and stronger. Tango is my passion but it’s not the only reason I love living here, I also love the fun, relaxed latin life style here. the weather is fantastic with many sunny and warm days, even the winter is mild, haven’t seen snow for 3 years! it’s a huge departure from my life in China and Canada. feels like destiny that I end up here, cannot even bear the thought of leaving…

  • Your personal posts are by far the best thing about your blog. I loved this post. It’s real, relateable content which is refreshing. But I also love reading all the comments because I realize there are all these other wonderful women feeling the exact same thing I am. Its so comforting to know I am not crazy!

  • Loved your post dear Garance! I live in Melbourne – amazing city but dreaming of going back to Auckland, NZ. It’s small and cozy! Really understand how you feel…in my case i think it’s because I’m growing older ..

  • If you have the means and choice, why not shake life up a little and go where the sun shines brighter.

  • Redboots April, 23 2015, 3:07 / Reply

    I moved from London to LA when I was 22 and lived there for 17 years. It was the best of times, I had so much fun and the weather was glorious but I found myself at year 10 travelling a lot. I travelled with work which was good but then I found myself travelling when I wasn’t working… basically leaving LA. Don’t get me wrong I love it, I have fabulous friends there, friends I love dearly…. but I missed the seasons and if I am honest I didn’t want to grow old there, that it wasn’t a gentle place to age gracefully and that years and experience were not appreciated as much as youth and energy. This is my perception anyway, I began to think that without the seasons one doesn’t notice the passage of time and oops one day I would wake up and be old. Also, I wanted to hear a “Hi how are you” not a “what are you working on” or “who are you working with”. I am lucky as I can visit often and I do enjoy every moment I am there so admittedly I am spoilt. But my heart, body and soul are happiest back in Europe and luckily my man is also.
    On a final note.. The EARTHQUAKES… I know no one likes them but arghhh gives me the shivers just thinking about them!

  • Aaah, Garance ! Je me rappelle lisant ton blog en 2007, quand je faisais mon Erasmus à Paris, depuis ma chambre de la Cité U internationale, pleurant mon amoureux (avec qui j’étais depuis une semaine avant mon départ = perfect timing, isn’t ?). Et paf, 8 ans plus tard, tes billets me donnent toujours envie de sourire. Entre deux notes sur les fringue (que je dévore aussi), il y a tes billets d’humeur. Pour revenir à 2007, j’ai su très vite que mon rêve de vivre à Paris, ça ne me convenait pas autant en réalité. Avec mon amoureux (qui, depuis, est devenu mon mari), on a testé d’autres villes, on va bientôt déménager dans un autre pays (vive l’Europe !). Et cette fois-ci, on a arrêté de se dire qu’on s’y établira ‘définitivement’. On a décidé de voir. Et du coup, je me retrouve vachement dans la définition des ‘nouveaux riches’ de Timothy Ferriss, pour qui la richesse, c’est la mobilité et le temps. C’est sans doute aussi pour ça qu’on rêve d’un appartement plutôt qu’une maison, c’est plus facile à déménager… Belle journée, Garance !

  • Harmony April, 23 2015, 3:15 / Reply

    Comme je te comprends !

    Cela presque 6 ans que j’habite à Berlin. Je viens d’une ile tropicale et comme beaucoup de gens de chez moi, je me disais : “Rho, l’hiver, je vais m’y habituer” Eh bé non ! C’est plutôt le contraire : chaque année, c’est un peu plus la déprime et je me couvre avec des vêtements un peu plus chauds.

    Je suis venue à Berlin car j’aimais l’ambiance décontractée mais lors d’un récent voyage à Strasbourg, je me suis rendue compte de tout ce qui me manquait : de bonnes boulangeries, un vrai centre-ville (à Berlin, tout est dispatché donc mine de rien on passe beaucoup de temps dans les transports) et une architecture agréable à l’œil (y’a des coins vraiment sympas à Berlin mais dans l’ensemble, ce n’est pas une jolie ville – ce n’est que mon humble avis).

    Peut-être qu’il est temps pour moi d’aller ailleurs. J’ai d’ailleurs entendu dire qu’on vit un tournant dans sa vie tous les 7 ans ;-)

  • I felt like that about London. It was the perfect city to be in my 20´s, but in my 30´s I started to reconsider. I love London and I am the person I am because of it, but it was time to move on and I don´t regret it.

  • Je vis en Corse, c’est magnifique, la vie y est belle et douce. J’adore.
    Mais ma famille et mes amis sont loin sur le continent, je ne peux jamais les voir à cause du tarif des avions hors saison (je suis étudiante, je n’ai pas de salaire).

    Alors, même si parfois j’ai l’impression d’avoir trouvé le bonheur parfait (mon compagnon et moi nous sommes rencontrés ici et nous y vivons depuis, nous nous sommes vraiment attachés à la vie ici, surtout que lui est corse), et bien j’ai quand même l’impression de suffoquer: voir les même têtes tous les jours, aucune vie culturelle… mais c’est le prix d’une vie à la campagne, non ? :)

  • Comme je te comprends ! Ce qui est intéressant, c’est qu’avec chéri, on a solutionné cette question du “où vivre” il y a peu : impossible pour nous deux de quitter Paris définitivement, -toujours un moment dans l’année où on a besoin de la retrouver- mais impossible aussi de mal la vivre et de s’y épuiser. Du coup, on a un appart’ qui est notre chez nous et qui devient un pied-à-terre quand on a besoin de s’échapper plus longtemps. Mais au moins on sait qu’on peut toujours revenir et que notre âme parisienne peut toujours être satisfaite. Love your article. Une fois de plus, tu mets tellement bien les mots sur les choses.

  • In a very different way, it reminds me of London. As some may know, London is the most populated suburb of Paris. Lots of French go there to find a job, especially in banking after business school. They have a like that is as in business school (with more working): partying a lot, hanging out with the same people. I remember this weird night, when in a bar, a girl started cryining (I had met her like 10 minutes ago) because, it had struck her : she was 30, was partying/working non stop for 5 years, had no boyfriend, not buy a place (very important for us French) and had no idea what she was doing with her life.

    The real problem starts when you’re just going with the flow (which is not a problem) for too long. You loose track of who you are, who you want to be, and what you want.

  • Sweety Jessie April, 23 2015, 4:41 / Reply

    Je suis en plein dedans !
    Mais je crois que la question est plus complexe qu’elle ne paraît, derrière ça il y a probablement plus que le simple fait de quitter cette ville… mais une quête d’une nouvelle identité, d’un autre style de vie. On a l’impression d’échouer, de renoncer à quelque chose… pourquoi quitter ce que j’ai tant voulu, tant aimé?
    Sans compter que le “moi” de la vie new-yorkaise juge sévèrement le “moi” d’aujourd’hui qui ne reste pas au top de ce que la société voudrait.
    Je crois que tu as entamé une période de transition vers autre chose… Et quand tu seras prête tu iras vers une nouvelle vie avec autant de joie que tu as sauté dans la vie new-yorkaise il y a quelques années. Good luck ! ;-)

  • shopgirl April, 23 2015, 7:28 / Reply

    Good identifications of dangers!
    And I also think despite of how cool the city is, that NY is a place that just sucked out the best of your years and then spits you out. It is virtually completely unsuitable for children, or for the elderly.
    As for moving to LA, that shows the other extreme of the same problem: In NY polar vortex and in LA increasingly threatening drought. So in general, I think that the people of USA are seriously insufficiently aware of the consequences of climate change. Escaping in Costa Rica is not the solution. :-)

  • Depuis ton billet, je pense à Londres et à la ville dans laquelle je vis aujourd’hui. Je pense à mes rêves d’ailleurs, à mes envies de donner des “racines flottantes” à mes enfants, du genre qu’ils peuvent replanter partout et je réponds finalement à ton billet par ceci: une histoire d’amour avec une ville évolue aussi naturellement quand tu as des enfants. New York ne sera plus la même ville quand tu y vivras avec tes enfants, Londres ne sera pas plus “ma” ville quand je retournerai y vivre avec eux. Ce sera “notre” ville et mon histoire d’amour va irrémédiablement évoluer.

  • I never wanted to live in NY even though all my friends moved there in the late 80’s and they were like ” Waaaah ? ” why are you moving to LA, LA is so provincial ! NY is the best !”
    I could never live in NY : the noise, the winters , the hamster wheel pace which I find exaggerated and unnecessary.

    I love LA ( and San Francisco , Lisbon , Paris and Madrid ) I have lived there, LA, for many years and still spend a week there every other month to visit friends. I drive down from SF in my Mustang….awsome road trips with great playlists.
    I prefer smaller cities now in my later age. Been there, done that, got the T shirt….yawn .

    It makes more sense , I get more done . I do not get drowned and lost in the chatter and noise of the big cities. I need nature and quality of life , so San Francisco and Madrid do it for me now as my base.

  • Waouhh ! Quel article fantastique sur ta relation avec New York…
    J’y suis allée il y a 1 an pour la première fois (c’était un rêve…) et je ne pensais pas que j’allais y revenir avec cet amour pour cette ville INCROYABLE !!! Depuis j’y pense tous les jours sans exception ! …..pleins de projets se dessinent à travers cette ville et je ne sais pas pourquoi elle nous procure ce tel émoi :) surment le sentiment du “tout est possible à NYC”. Bref j’ai adoré ton article et ta vision (vécue) sur la ville, merci pour le partage ;)

  • Elizabeth April, 23 2015, 10:50 / Reply

    Congratulations on gaining some clarity on what might feed your professional and personal growth.

    I’ve lived in NY for 20+ years, having left only for a stint abroad. In my 20s, I felt like I had found my tribe–all 9 million anxious, loud, brash, alive souls! It was not an easy transition to a rewarding career or to building an adult existence. And, now, as a mom, I struggle more with my love-hate relationship with NY and knowing how best to build the life that I want for my son: With people who are truly interesting and rich of mind, embody compassion, have self-respect yet don’t take themselves too seriously.

    But, I will say this: There are many New Yorks. You might happen to find yourself in a less forgiving social scene and an even more fast-paced career track, which doesn’t really allow you the kinds of friendships and access to diverse ways of living. If I go to Nolita or Soho or the hipper/trendier parts of Brooklyn, I’m exhausted by the focus on image and aesthetics and “cool.” And, those worlds, can be, in some instances, empty, cruel places as you’ve found.

    So, perhaps, along with your wintering in LA you might try to stretch yourself and find new communities in NY that will feed your soul. Try going to literary events—there are readings every night of the week—or public lectures at any of the universities or cooking classes or dance classes. Get on the subway and go to a non-trendy neighborhood where you’ll find great food and a slower, non-superficial and, dare I say, fashion-ignorant populace. Every where you turn in NY there are different types of people and ways of living. And, the more you step away from whatever intense magnet of sameness and Peter Pan-ness, you’ve found, I think you’ll be better able to carve your own path and create space, light and sunshine for yourself even during the dreariest of dreary winters. Not easy in NYC or LA, to be honest, but possible.

    Best of luck to you!!!

  • Jessica April, 23 2015, 5:04

    OMG, You and I are on the same page! I think this other NYC is the best one and the one that is not so easy to find elsewhere. It’s so nourishing for people who are really curious, love diversity and learning!

  • People do leave New York. And other people who live in New York threaten, with regularity, to leave New York and never do. It’s a part of being a New Yorker, thinking you should leave. But try doing it! New York is like an addiction that makes residing in any other city extremely difficult.

  • Je vis près de Paris , à 100kms .Pour moi c’est idéal : j’ai la tranquillité de la campagne , j’ai eu la chance d’y acheter une petite maison , elle est simple mais elle est à moi , assurance , et Paris est à 1h .j’y vais deux jours par semaine et j’en profite bien . J’ y vais aussi le week end lorque je souhaite voir un opéra , du théâtre . Je fais un aller / retour .
    Je ne me vois pas l’un sans l’autre , j’aime le calme , j’aime aussi la vie culturelle … J’ai grandi en province profonde et
    je m’y suis terriblement ennuyée . Vivre près de Paris est un bonheur . L’été je vais dans des villes de festival , Aix ,
    Avignon… Et à la mer … Il faut vivre plusieurs vies dans une à mon sens…. Et si l’on peut…

  • Beautifully written! I’m heading to NYC tonight and look forward to living there someday.

    Warm Regards,

  • Dear Agnes (from Vienna), if you are not an Austrian just stay where you are. We did the same mistake a couple of years ago, dreaming about countryside life…Well, no idea if everywhere is the same but impossible with Austrians if you are not one of them. Happy to live in totally different country with friendly people around. Best regards!

  • It’s funny when you hear people say,

    “I don’t know if I could live in New York my whole life… I’m thinking about Brooklyn?”

  • J’ai connue ça avec Toulouse. La ville où j’ai grandi et qui fait rêver plus de la moitié des français. 1h30 de la mer et de la montagne, LE bassin pour l’emploi pour les ingénieurs comme moi. Et son charme fou avec ses briques rouges.
    La ville qui m’a vu grandir. Mais un jour j’ai saturé j’avais besoin d’autres choses, j’ai migré à Belfort. Tout l’opposé, et j’ai déconcerté tous mes proches, j’étais “complètement folle” d’après eux. Mais j’ai rencontré le prince charmant, Toulousain lui aussi. 5ans plus tard il fait sa demande “fonde une famille avec moi”, ça sonne bien, “retournons faire notre vie à Toulouse”, beaucoup moi.
    J’ai donc largué le prince charmant parce que j’aime Toulouse, j’adore y retourner voir ma famille, flanner dans les rues, mes journées shopping chez ton amie Carole ;) mais une part de moi semble allergique à cette ville.

  • Veronica April, 23 2015, 2:32 / Reply

    The problem many people have with NYC is that they can’t avoid getting into the competition game (which is exhausting), when one of the virtues of this city is that you can live an amazing life without getting into it and only enjoying the benefits of what this city has to offer. I’ve been living here for the past 13 years and I had escape the craziness of the “NY competition” years ago. I don’t need to get invited to the “best parties” to feel important, been there done that.
    My husband and I every now and then fantasize about leaving NYC and always the inevitable question comes up: “Where would you like to live if not in NY?”. We always come up with a couple of options, and then, just a couple of minutes after, when we really think about it, there’s no other option. At least for now. Maybe when we are old and want to retire we would go to some idyllic Greek island (he’s from Greece) but for now we rather spend our lives in this magical town.
    Yes, there’s the winter, but in L.A. you’ll have the traffic (all year long!). There’s no perfect place, but NY is as close as you can get to it.

  • Hi Garance, thanks for this post and what an uncanny timing!
    Your NY is my London. I fell in love at first sight when I arrived in London at the end of the 90’s. Many years later I left, I guess I escaped actually and I’m not even sure why. I regretted it bitterly, then gradually less, then not at all.
    After 9 years in the US, I am now about to go back to London and it feels like going home – mind you, not that it’s easy.
    There is no right or wrong answer, you’ll do well either way, NY will always be a part of you and a part of your heart will always be in NY.
    Keep us posted and best of luck!

  • Rien de plus vrai.j’ai veci 4 ans a’NY City et je m’en suis extirpee pour les memes raisons que toi.cela m’a coute’ un divorce mais je ne l’ai jamais regrette’.

  • I understand! I realised I was in the wrong place when I felt that there was a film over my eyes when I looked around me. It was the strangest thing. Everything felt tired, worn, wearing. I needed something fresh. Cue London!

  • Tu me fais penser à Carrie Bradshaw (Sex and the city)… tu es une vraie fan j’imagine : )

  • Uh oh, sounds like you took some time for reflection…and look at what it gets you. But if you didn’t take the time to reflect, look at what that would get you. I think New Yorkers are constantly looking outward and Angelenos are constantly looking inward. Finding middle ground literally and figuratively is a navigating tool we should all have. What if there were a place smack dab in the middle of the U.S. where we could all go for finding that middle range? One of the fly-over states might work.

  • mashita April, 23 2015, 4:31 / Reply

    je suis tombée sur cet article (traduit de l’anglais) par hasard et ça m’a fait penser à la réflexion qui t’anime

  • “Wherever you go, there you are.”

  • Garance, you are French through and through, you will like L.A. for a while but will wish for New York, you won’t be happy in N.Y. forever, I think you should consider living in France (Paris) again, it is more your style. Whatever you decide I hope it makes you feel happy and content.

  • Best post I’ve read on this site in a long, long time!

  • Ladies, all of the same feelings in reverse – from LA to NY. I think about moving to NY every day. Best of all worlds is that we have a place in LA and a place in NY…and maybe one in Paris and one in London…and so many other places! ha. But seriously, I have a great place in Los Angeles if anyone wants to do an apartment swap! I’m itching for some time in New York and the spaghetti limone at Supper. xo

  • Hi Garance,

    I totally get what you are saying. First, I think there is no ideal place anywhere, then, that after sometime we get bored of everything, that is human nature and that is why traveling is so refreshing and I would say necessary, well if you are lucky to afford it and to have the time to do it. I have lived in several cities and I really love where I am now, BUT, I have become a snow bird since 2013 and I can’t be any happier about this decision. Traveling during then winter to my home city (I don’t say town because I am from a big city) makes me appreciate the place I am living now. I can’t bear the winter even though were I live it is nothing compared to NY, but having the opportunity to get away, makes me feel more refreshed and appreciate life more. Of course, not everyone can afford leaving their cities for 2 or 3 whole months, but I believe for ones who can, it is a great idea. Sometimes we also think, we can’t but it actually is not that hard as we think it is.

    Btw, love LA in the summer, I mean almost all year long, but I wouldn’t live there, so you idea sounds AMAZING.

  • Fourth Gen New Yorker April, 24 2015, 1:21 / Reply

    So brave of you to admit NYC isn’t the end-all and be-all of the universe. I come from a long line of former New Yorkers but I was born and grew up in California. I have no interest in going to NYC now or ever – my father lives there and it is a brutal place on elderly people – he is jostled, cursed at, yelled at, and, worst, ignored. Sounds like hell. I find New Yorkers to be, for the most part, insular and arrogant and completely unaware that their alienated urban life is sustained by rural and suburban worlds that they despise as backward or insignificant. My NYC grandfather used to say “New Yorkers think they’re so sophisticated but they’re a bunch of hicks – their worlds are about 3 blocks square.” I hope you escape to the real world soon!

  • It’s sad that your whole family hated New Yorkers so much and then yet they had to live their whole life in NY.
    I just wonder after reading your post, if NY and New Yorkers are so brutal (hell in your own words) why there are millions of people never wanting to leave this city, and most of the ones who did are always missing it? I’m sure it’s because it’s hell… right?
    It’s clear that you have never lived in NY. You did the right thing, stay in California, that’s were you belong.

  • Eilaroc April, 24 2015, 2:14 / Reply

    L’hiver à NY doit être rude! (plus qu’à Reims même! ;) Mais pour moi l’idée d’un été éternel est un vrai cauchemar. Tu dis que tu aimes l’idée de ne pas vivre les mêmes choses à 20, 30, 40 ans, dans le même esprit, je n’apprécie rien tant que de ne pas vivre la même chose tous les mois de l’année, j’adore le défilé des saisons! Comment savourer le printemps et l’été si on n’a pas eu d’hiver? De ton côté, peut-être que tu apprécieras une vie plus calme justement parce que tu auras connu une trépidante vie newyorkaise? Bonne continuation!

  • Allison April, 24 2015, 3:45 / Reply

    Hello Garance! Lectrice silencieuse ou tout du moins discrète, je me suis tellement retrouvée dans ton post mais à…Paris!

    Parisienne dans l’âme, le coeur, le sang et les tripes, je ne supporte pas qu’on critique ma ville (même si je la critique tout le temps, to be or not to be parisienne!)
    Je la connais comme ma poche, en long en large et en travers (même en quinconce, sait-on jamais). Elle est belle, triste, fougueuse, révolutionnaire, rebelle, bref je l’aime.
    Mais un soir, mon copain (Américain ayant vécu dans le sud de la France, OMAGAD) a failli vérifier mon pouls quand j’ai exprimé le besoin de partir vivre au bord de la mer, à la campagne, ailleurs. Mais c’est justement parce qu’on aime nos villes qu’il faut s’en éloigner, pour ne jamais cesser de les aimer.

  • Thank you, Garance! Such a relatable post for me. I just moved to LA from NY about 3 months ago. Skipped most of the horrid winter and all of my friends there are jealous. Just like you mentioned, I had to endure plenty of pity-filled looks when I informed my friends and family I was moving to LA. When I first moved to NY my family told me I wouldn’t be able to handle it (mainly because of the weather) and now they probably feel that they were right. But they weren’t! I LOVE New York. I miss it so much and still feel so connected to it, as if the city itself is my best friend. However, sometimes you have to welcome change, and it’s such a rewarding thing. I moved out West for grad school and other exciting opportunities, but I’ll always have those years in NY to look back on. It was such an amazing adventure, and I’m so ready for the next one!

  • Absolutely! I am a life-long NY-er (with the exception of going away to college). But there was something about this past winter. I kid around to my friends that it “broke” me, but its true! I developed skin problems that I never had before. My eyelids are soooo dry they are like tissue paper (no matter how much I moisturize/humidify the house), my lips were terrible (tried Nuxe, Carmex, brown sugar scrubs, Aquaphor, regular old Chapstick, etc… Not all at once. But this winter was so long I had the chance to try them all!!), and so is my left hand (my right hand is doing okay, strangely….). I coped by looking at SF real estate, and it turns out even though everyone complains about SF housing, you get more space! and sunlight! on the West Coast.

    So even though it’s warming up around here and by sandals are coming back out, I’m still wary about the next November and all that’s going to bring…!

  • Dear Garance, I used to live in NY, then I felt what you are feeling now and moved to Hawaii! Now I live in California and I couldn’t be happier. I have found MY place in the sun. I am a warm-weather, beach-lovin’, surf-culture, laid-back kinda gal. I lived in NY in my 20s and now I’m in Cali in my 50s. It took awhile to find “home” but here it is for me and I’m grateful for every sun-kissed minute of it. Good luck finding the zip code that feeds your soul. Thank you for sharing your lovely and funny ruminations.

  • Gretchen April, 24 2015, 2:06 / Reply

    Hooray for you and hooray for us! You’ll all enjoy a completely different winter and environment, which will translate to a different experience for us all. Honestly, being a citizen of the world is ideal! Living in Seattle offers all four seasons, while surrounded by the green of trees, mountains and sea – it’s quite perfect. However, when the deep of winter arrives, we flee to Maui, one of the Hawaiian islands, for a couple of weeks, for a bit of warmth, outdoor activities and fresh, tropical food. It’s a perfect balance. No matter where you live, you’ll find you’ll need an escape every now and then. We’re very thankful to have that opportunity. Looking forward to next winter! (Can you believe someone wrote that?!?!)

  • I understand the need for sun and warmth, especially when you feel like it’s in your bones. I travel a lot for work and am often in South Africa for a few weeks during the US winter. It makes a big difference.

    I am a New Yorker and don’t live a life like you describe–most New Yorkers don’t. I know there are the pressures of your job, the way they inform the places you go, things you do, and the people with whom you interact, so your life, I think is bound to include some of the elements and people you describe. I don’t know if what you are describing is unique to New York, though–I find it in a lot of the bigger cities, especially where there are people with lots of money, able to be mobile, to live sort of bigger social lives with the kind of competition you describe.

    LA sounds good–and it will help you approach the coming year knowing that you will manage it well, that it will be varied and interesting and full of light. x

  • My husband and I currently live in San Francisco and love it. I highly recommend the Garance studio crew consider wintering in SF. :) An amazing city with incredible vacation spots all around: Napa, Big Sur, Carmel, Red Woods, Yosemite.

  • Garance, reading this post made my heart ache a little (a lot!) I’m going to university in Los Angeles now, just finishing up the last few months of my undergrad years. New York City has always been this beautiful illusion of the future, that I always just assume would fall into place. I met you on a random street in East Village last summer when I was visiting ( well, I spotted you, followed you for a block, then had to say something haha) It’s wonderful reading your true thoughts here, because if I went by images alone- well NYC would be quite a different story. I think any city has its good and bad sides- certainly LA does, but maybe its the stages we are in our life that makes or breaks the city we’re in. I’m going to Paris this summer, then NYC in the near future, or at least I hope, and it’s incredible to me to read the parallels between our lives :) Beautiful thoughts!

  • Read your blog often Garance and do enjoy…. you have come a long way and you have oodles of talent, shall continue to read your progress with interest.
    Am rather curious that not one of the comments noted above didn’t make mention of Asia i.e. Hong Kong and Singapore in particular. Asia is the most happening area of the world, there is a huge growing fashion scene, massive retail business, it’s edgy and fashionable, it’s hot and lots of countries to explore and culture to take in nearby, exciting and pacy, always changing and different from Europe and the States. Look further than LA, Hong Kong would be my first port of investigation, in fact when living there some years back it was known as ‘Manhatten on the Rocks’

  • I lived in Istanbul for many years (Turkish decent). It is i think resembles to NY crowd, buzz, night life, roof bars etc.But than i moved to Amsterdam for a year to study than i like the cuteness of Holland of well but didn’t feel like Istanbul. Than in Sweden Stockholm where the winters are endless :( for a southern person like me. I am in Istanbul back but it is always a question in my mind. Because it is too dense, very much like you are hurrying somewhere all the time or you have to go out at Friday night :) otherwise you are missing everything when everyone else getting crazy fun at night clubs. But i think it is super hard for creative professions to concentrate on your work in buzzing cities. I think that is also a good reason that Scandinavian design is very simple and has good detailed work. You have so much time to think during long winters. Sooo i think buzzing cities are good for some professions but not for others.

  • Eternal wanderlust is a nasty infliction.. I think I am doomed.
    Recently I have been wondering a lot where I will end up settling down in. And the thing is I am sure it will be a place I least expect it to be. I have lived in a good variety of countries and cities and love them all, but I wanted to leave. New York was lovely in so many ways, but oh so wrapped up in its own magnificence, it is a bubble, and I got claustrophobic. The ‘pity face’ just validated my opinion that there is something wrong in a place if people seriously are this surprised when someone wants to leave – it is like New York is an extension of their egos and be wanting to leave the city you are putting a dent on that. But yes I still miss and love New York.

    I am also not looking for perfection. Also it is said that people make the place, but I have been lucky enough to have these splendid people in all the places I live – yet I have never gotten this feeling of a deep connection to a place in the sense I feel it is a part of me, maybe I never will and will only settle down for practical reasons at some point. And maybe that is better – there are plenty of glorious places in the world and if one is lucky has a chance to live in several.

    It is not about finding the perfect place, but rather a place which resonates so strongly you accept its faults gladly.

  • You encourage me to explore, dream and listen to myself instead of everyone else.
    This post makes me think about what I want, just like all your other posts.
    To me, as 19 yo, not specifically about places, but about who/what I want to be in the future. Its so hard…
    But I guess its about trial and error (you’re such a great example) and what I mentioned in the first sentence..

    Anyways, I just want to Thank You!

  • Pas plus tard que la semaine dernière lorsque j’ai profité d’un quasi été chez mes parents en Bourgogne où j’ai laissé mes fistons pour les vacances. J’habite à Paris avec maritomio et les loulous dans un tout petit appartement budget oblige. Mon sicilien de mari n’aurait pour rien au monde acheté ailleurs il y a 5 ans mais plus le temps passe, plus la pluie tombe et le métro pue, plus des envies d’ailleurs nous titillent.

  • Anonyme April, 27 2015, 8:22 / Reply

    Hi Garance,

    It is so fascinating to see how many responses this post got, with so many folks completely agreeing with your sentiments. I found myself reading your post and nodding my head too, not because I’ve “done the NYC thing” but because, ironically, having grown up and lived in LA all my life, I had a lot of similar feelings before moving away from LA. I visited NYC multiple times and somehow could never see myself living there (sorry but it felt like a rat race…awful thing to say I know.) I think you would enjoy LA a lot if you move there just for the winters (the sun, the arts community and lifestyle choices) but I personally as an ex-Angeleno wouldn’t actually recommend it to folks if they don’t already have strong community/friends/work on the ground there. Many people find it surprising when I don’t sing glowing praise of LA and react similarly to what you describe here when questioning life in NYC.

    Part of me also wonders if this is a bigger worldwide trend now – especially as an American, we are encouraged to pursue higher education in other cities/parts of the country/do study abroad, etc, or after graduation, we are drawn to job opportunities in major cities like NYC or LA. Are more of us experiencing this rude awakening, or malaise, or struggle to accept and acknowledge that those hot places to live and work may not actually be the recipe for our individual happiness? And how do we then find our footing in another new place, assuming we once again uproot ourselves and start over in another new, unfamiliar city, probably not where we grew up, are accustomed to ways and people, or have family/friends/moral support? Add another layer of complexity on that and consider the number of young people moving to international locations (isn’t that so American – calling anything outside of the US “international” :) where there is even more newness to conquer – languages, foods, rules and laws (no spitting on the sidewalk, no photographing an iconic landmark), cultural mores (no kissing in public) etc. One little misstep can actually be really costly.

    I think LA is a great change of pace (and weather) when you need an escape from winter in NYC, and of course it is in so many ways a different and more relaxed lifestyle, but as far as actually living there, a lot of the big city woes are still going to be similar. In fact, if you’re not used to living in a commuter town, it can be even harder to adjust to. Yes the traffic really is horrendous and you do have to drive significant amounts of time to anything, unless by some miracle you happen to find a job / suitable home within an amazing 30-minutes-max (insert the standard “without traffic/non-rush hour” language here..) type of commute. I was the happiest being on earth when I found myself doing a ten-minute commute via public transportation in my new “home”.. What a shocker! I didn’t have to get in my car, queue up for petrol (as the Brits would say!) and then drive on two or three different (all equally congested) freeways breathing smog for about an hour one way in to work, and then sit at my desk in the afternoon arranging evening plans every single weekday or working overtime just to kill time and avoid rush hour on the drive home.

    I left LA wanting to try something different, wanting to be away and experience another part of the world. So many of us feel this way when we are young, and we are lucky to have the opportunity. Then slowly but surely friends and family would ask the inevitable “when are you moving back” question… and it dawned on me that I would probably never move back. I missed friends, family and special places that held a lot of meaning for me. But I didn’t want to move back to a city that I would have to commute in for long periods of time daily, and not have that extra hour in my evening for my family or friends.

    The interesting thing is, I think some folks become good at adapting to the “newness” factor and to change. It is never easy to “put down roots” in a new city, and even when you live in a place with a good job, friends and a great social life, there may still be other factors that come up in your life that make that place not-so-ideal anymore, and you may have to look at moving again. Being able to recognize that mentally and emotionally is also not easy. Having a family adds another layer of complexity.

    Oh and btw, LA is not hot. Hong Kong is hot (and humid). Singapore is hot (and humid). Dubai is hot (and humid). LA summers are a sweet breeze by comparison. :)

  • Make wise decisions about where you go next. No doubt LA falls into that category. I hear you on all of your excellently put points about why getting out of NYC might be just the thing. I did it 12 years ago. And I regret it. Perhaps I moved to the wrong place. But I miss everything–my fabulously smart and interesting female friends, the restaurants, the nightlife, the shopping, coming into my office every day instead of every couple of months like I do now. Make sure you choose a place where you are sure you will find your community. Even now I find myself struggling to find my place where I am now and it was never that way in NYC where I lived for one beautiful decade. I left for love and thought I could find like-minded friends anywhere, which turned out to be not true. Sometimes in places which attract decamping NYers there is a lot of negativity, lots of “I was soooooo done with it…could never live there…etc etc” and that gets dull fast. Just my 2 cents. I’m sure you will make a much better project of it than I have. Just look very had before you leap.

  • Absolutely! I adore Sydney and have been here for 12 years but something inside tells me that whatever lifestyle I’m leading here is just not really enough, not materially but experientially and emotionally… Something’s still very much lacking… maybe it’s those dreams within me that have yet to come true… I crave for a change! xx

  • Bonjour Garance,
    Super post, merci.
    So accurate! 15 ans à Paris, puis il y a 6 mois, j’ai tout lâché. Pourtant cela faisait des années que je disais : j’ai envie d’autre chose, c’est super Paris, mais bon… Le gris, le manque de lumière. Mais je crois que surtout ce qui m’a décidé aussi, c’est le tourne-disque. J’ai fait ça : les dîners, les fêtes, les restau, les contacts. J’ai vécu.
    “J’ai vécu Paris. Je connais… Je m’ennuie. ”
    Combien de temps pourtant m’a-t’il fallu pour oser penser, oser dire : “Paris m’ennuie”. Chaque fois je rajoutais, je justifiais “c’est une ville géniale, ouverte, tellement enrichissante qui fait grandir, pleine d’ambition, tout ça, j’adore”. Mais je me commençais aussi à m’y ennuyer. Une vie trépidante pourtant, branchée. Oui, mais… tout ça devenait connu, trop connu. J’adorais mais cela ne me surprenait plus. Comme si le moment présent était une énième sucrerie (bon, ok j’ai mangé le bonbon, mais après… déjà fini en fait et ça laisse pas grand chose comme effet).
    Le signe pour moi c’était que des fois (et de plus en plus) me venaient en tête deux chansons : celle de Dutronc (le fils) “j’aime plus Paris” et celle de Camille.
    La vérité c’est que j’avais tellement besoin d’air, d’ouvrir mon horizon comme pour donner de l’espace à ma liberté, changer les paradigmes de pensée. Ouvrir l’avenir. Ouvrir le champ des possibles.
    Et il m’a fallu du temps pour voir autrement que dans les yeux pressés d’une parisienne. C’est fou, je ne pensais pas, presque une petite detox pour ré-ouvrir quelque chose.
    Alors, c’est un saut dans les Alpes du Sud depuis 6 mois. En attendant la destination prochaine qui est encore incertaine. Mais quelle respiration.
    Alors oui, c’est difficile d’oser dire je m’ennuie et de quitter l’image idéale, rêvée d’une ville, d’une vie. Sortir un peu du film qu’on s’était construit pour aller vers autre chose ?
    Au plaisir de te lire.

  • When I told my friends I was leaving NYC after only three years there, I felt like a failure in their eyes. They were almost even defensive when I explained my reasoning for wanting to move away.
    The noise and cold winters and crowds were too much for me! I moved out west and am now so content with the pace of life here. I love the sunshine and warmth as well as what it allows me to do in terms of being more physically active and involved in my community. No more hiding away from the cold!

  • Jhén May, 1 2015, 4:53 / Reply

    I completely understand how you feel. I am having the reverse here in Jamaica. Everything that annoys me is what everyone comes here for–> the sun. It is soooo hot, I can’t stand it. When I lived in Sweden, it was amazing, I actually loved the winters, the summer wasn’t too bad- most because I knew it was only for a little while and it wasn’t as warm as here in the Caribbean.

    When I say this to my friends, they look at me like I am nuts. Why would you leave the beach and the sun? It’s so beautiful here! I gladly say- let’s trade places for at least half the year. *sigh*

  • Cela veut peut être juste dire qu’il est temps de tourner une page, de passer d’une vie publique (trop publique?) à une vie privée, voire la vie tout court…ce n’est pas un renoncement mais une continuation. Notre époque nous transforme en éternels adolescents… mais l’adolescence n’est qu’une partie de la vie (pas forcement la plus intéressante d’ailleurs). Ella a cela de fascinant que c’est l’époque de tous les possibles. Mais il ne faut pas -je pense- passer sa vie entière à être “adulescente” sous peine de se retrouver une fois de plus à la même table de restaurant qu’il y a dix ans…sauf que c’est arrivé si souvent depuis dix ans que l’on ne sait même plus le nombre de fois où l’on y a déjeuné. Et où l’on a presque du mal à se souvenir de son âge. C’est un peu comme la ronde des saisons et la mode…on est contentes que ce soit cyclique, contentes que le temps et les saisons changent (rien que pour changer de garde robe d’ailleurs!!!). Bel article au demeurant.

  • Lisa Walker May, 5 2015, 12:19 / Reply

    I never really want to leave LA. It has nothing to do with being a born and bred Californian, I’ve lived and traveled to many places, but the relaxed lifestyle, and the beauty of the beach alongside the quiet urban-ness is wonderful. Mind you, everything you said also happens here. Particularly the Peter Pan Syndrome. And half of the city are East Coasters! I say, pack your bags!

  • marie May, 6 2015, 7:55 / Reply

    Ahahah !!! je suis une parisienne, ayant posé mes bagages à NY avant d’être aujourd’hui à LA.
    Alors oui le gris, le froid puis le soleil…. Mais chaque jour Paris ET NY me manquent… Et je rêve d’Asie ! où le soleil de LA me manquera certainement…
    Mes rêves changent selon les endroits où je vis. Et c’est ça qui me fait avancer. mais c’est aussi beaucoup de nostalgie et de séparation. rien n’est simple.
    follow your flow !

  • Hi! I really loved this story and thank you for being honest and writing about this. I TRULY agree that, people think you are a quitter, when you tell them you are leaving the city. We struggle because there is something about NYC that is so attractive that we somehow can never truly say ” I am done with this city!”. I too hate NY winter. t has given me depression (for real!). This past winter, I was able to finally say ” I am done!”. I decided to take a break from the life in NY and spend time with my family in Japan for 5 months, first time in 10 years! I am writing this in Japan now. It’s been 2 month since I escaped from the craziness of NYC. With my mind cleared, I realized that I was so occupied with myself as a New Yorker and thinking as if being a New Yorker is the greatest status, which really is not. More than anything, I need to find myself, I need to find what I love, what I am good at, and what makes me happy. If I know all these, it doesn’t matter, where I live, really. But you know what, I still love New York lol.

  • I’ve traveled a lot around the globe and moving to NYC is kinda challenge for me – there is a big difference between going somewhere to a holiday and moving in with significant other! I’ve heard that NYC is the epicenter of the sophisticated living and awesome parties at night so I want to live through all of that! I hope I’ll stay there for a quite long time because it is a dream comes true!

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